Christmas Horror Movie Review: Rare Exports

by  on Dec.03, 2012, under Christmas Horror, Christmas Nightmares, Creepmas, Movie Review

So Christmas Horror films are a very mixed bag of supernatural creatures, serial killing Santas, and vaguely connected to the holiday spooky happenings. Luckily we seem to be getting more and more of them each year which at least makes the Xmas season bearable for us horror fiends. So there’s bound to be a few gems right?

If your the kind of movie fan that feels like Christmas Horror films could use 100% more old man penis then “Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale” is for you. Hailing from Finland, Rare Exports looks beautiful, shot in some of the most picturesque locales I’ve ever seen. The film follows a young boy named Pietari who lives up in the mountains with his widowed father. Pietari and his friends stumble upon a group of Americans working on the mountain that are digging up the real Santa buried deep underground. But or course something goes wrong and things start getting really weird. (more…)

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Christmas Nightmares part 2: Home for the Holidays is here!

by  on Dec.21, 2011, under Christmas Nightmares, Creepmas, HDSLR Filmmaking, Slasher Movies

It’s that time of year again! Christmas is this weekend and its time for this years Christmas Nightmares episode! After last years quickly put together episode we decided to invest some time and money into this one. Brian Lashchuk and I wrote up a script, storyboards and decided to actually try our hand at some special effects. Luckily we were able to get some help from a professional cinematographer named Keith Slawinski who helped us make our movie look amazing! We also got some valuable advice from Jon Shroyer on how to shoot out effects shots. Brian was able to find a family that wanted to get murdered in our little movie and they did a fantastic job considering they aren’t actors at all. it was a lot of work but a lot of fun too! So check it out and below and let us know what you think!

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Christmas Horror Movies: Black Christmas

by  on Dec.24, 2008, under Christmas Nightmares, horror movies, Movie Review, Retro Horror Movies, Slasher Movies

Its Christmas eve and its time to conclude my Christmas horror films series here. We end on the best Christmas Horror film ever, Black Christmas. Directed by Bob Clark, who would later go on to make another Christmas classic called A Christmas Story, Black Christmas is a suspensful horror that really started the slasher movies even though it was filmed years before Halloween.

The story is a very well written and suspenseful one that’s something of a mystery as well. It starts out as your basic slasher flick, a sorority of girls enjoying the holidays. A crazed killer hiding in their house and lots of disturbing prank phone calls. The killer is never seen. He’s shot much like that of a killer from giallo films in the first person so we only ever see his hands or parts of his body. As you can imagine the girls get picked off one by one finally only leaving the heroine played by the beautiful Olivia Hussey who suspects the killer is actually her boyfriend. There’s a wonderful subplot about Hussey’s character being pregnant and she wants to abort it. Her boyfriend is pissed about it and we’re led to believe he’s stalking the house and making the disturbing phone calls. When the local detective, played by the always great John Saxon, determines that the calls are coming from inside the house there’s a big showdown between the cops, our heroine and her boyfriend who ends up being at the house at the wrong time. But everyone thinks they have their killer and they leave the shocked Olivia Hussey locked up in the house to rest. Of course she’s not alone in the house. The killer is still inside.

Black Christmas is the real proto slasher film. this movie, while short on gore, is high on suspense. Even though the story takes place over a few days the suspense still mounts and your kept guessing as to who the killer is. Its clear how this movie influenced John Carpenter who would go on to direct Halloween 4 years later. Bob Clark tells the story that Carpenter came to him after seeing Black Christmas and asked him how he would do a sequel if he did one. Clark said he would have the killer come home on Halloween night. Carpenter of course went on to make a movie about a killer who comes home on Halloween night. Bob Clark never thought that Carpenter ripped off his idea but its clear how he and his movie truly helped to make Halloween the classic slasher film that it is.

A couple years ago Hollywood tried remaking Black Christmas with very very mixed results. The movie has absolutely no suspense or mystery as to who the killer is. It delves into a new backstory for the killer which is way over the top. There’s buckets of blood, 1 dimensional characters and the abortion subplot has been eliminated for a one about a guy who put his sex tape online with one of the girls in the house. The only improvement made in the remake was that it looked very good. The set design, directing, & production is very clean and pretty. However the story is just a shadow of the original.

For Christmas there’s nothing like the original 1974 proto-slasher Black Christmas. Director Bob Clark also gave us A Christmas Story some years later which is still a classic Christmas flick that get around the clock play on TBS each year. Unfortunately Bob and his son were killed in a car accident by a drunk driver about a year ago. They had been working on a film and were returning home late.

While Bob may be gone his many films will live on forever. I know I’ll be spending Christmas eve with Black Christmas and a Christmas Story every year!

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Christmas Horror Movies: Silent Night, Deadly Night

by  on Dec.20, 2008, under Christmas Nightmares, Movie Review, Retro Horror Movies, Slasher Movies

Boy this was the movie that had a lot of parents pissed off in 1984. Before the film even came out it came under fire for its tv spots and the poster which depicted Santa going down the chimney with an Axe his his hand. As far as Christmas Horror films go this ones pretty decent. The concept is that as a boy named Billy and his family are visiting his grandpa at a retirement home. Grandpa seems non-responsive to the world around him until he’s left alone with Billy and then he goes ape shit crazy ranting about how Christmas is the scariest night of the year because Santa is coming to punish the bad kids. Understandably worried now about seeing Santa the family leaves to go home and comes across a broken down car in the road driven by a man in a Santa suit. Of course this is the same Santa that just finished robbing a liquor store and killing the sales clerk. Billy starts to freak out telling his parents to drive on but they don’t and Santa kills his parents while Billy runs away and hides in the bushes watching.

Fast forward to years later and Billy is living in a orphanage and still terrified of Santa. It doesn’t help that the Mother Superior tries forcing him to sit on Santa’s Lap or that he’s witness to the Mother Superior beating two kids for having sex. The filmmakers at least make an attempt to make the killing spree he goes on later in life seem plausible. Seeing your parents killed by Santa seems a lot more traumatic than seeing Santa performing oral sex on your mom like the killer in Christmas Evil.

Billy gets older and finds a job at a local toy store and everything seems perfect. In a bad 80’s montage we see Billy stocking shelves, cleaning up, helping little kids reach things, while a bad 80’s “happy song” plays. However Christmas finally comes to the store and Billy is asked to play Santa for the kids. He reluctantly does it and tells the kids that if they’re not good he’s going to punish them.

Christmas Eve arrives and the store closes for a little Christmas party. Billy, still dressed as Santa, see’s the girl he’s had a crush on get attacked by one of his co-workers and he snaps. He kills everyone that works at the store and heads out on the town. We’re given some decent creative kills here Billy does decapitations, antler impalings, and bludgonings, All the while screaming “NAUGHTY”. Christmas morning Billy heads back to the orphanage to kill Mother Superior but is stopped by a local detective before he can finish the job. The ending leaves a lot to be desired and there could have been some more killings in there too but its still pretty good.

Silent Night, Deadly Night has really become something of a classic Christmas horror movie even with all its failings. Watching it today I wonder if this is where Rob Zombie based his concept of explaining why Michael Myers becomes a psychopath in his remake of Halloween.

Silent Night Deadly Night was followed up by several sequels. The second one is only worth watching for its laughs. I’m really on the fence as to whether it was intentional or not but Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 is hilarious. It features Billy’s little brother Ricky as the killer. The actor playing him is so over the top with the character that its almost bizarre. Every line that comes out of his mouth sounds sarcastic and condescending. He goes on a killing spree while he’s out on a walk with his girlfriend and ends up killing several people just walking outside their houses. You may have seen a clip from this on YouTube which I’ve posted just below which has to be seen to be believed. The other sequels are pretty much crap but Silent Night, Deadly Night is a pretty decent 80’s slasher film and one that I wouldn’t mind seeing remade today.

Now I present to you Garbage Day from Silent Night, Deadly Night 2

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Christmas Horror Movies: Don’t Open Til Christmas

by  on Dec.17, 2008, under Christmas Nightmares, Movie Review, Retro Horror Movies, reviews, Slasher Movies

Another addition to our alternative holiday movie viewing! Don’t Open Til’ Christmas falls into the “Its so bad its good” category. This ridiculously cheesy British Production features a serial killer that only kills Santa’s. The dialogue is horrendously bad. The opening scene finds 2 lovers making out in a car when they notice that there’s a heavy breathing lunatic watching them the man gets upset to which his woman says “oh don’t worry about him:” Apparently she’s an exhibitionist. On top of that we have really awful breaks in logic. Our Leading lady Kate’s father is killed at a Christmas party. The next day her boyfriend takes her to a friends place trying to get her to pose for nude photos and maybe some lesbian action with another model! She’s going along with it until she sees a Santa suit and is reminded that her father died the day previous. She leaves but the boyfriend, who’s also a suspect, sticks around for a little action with the model. Talk about a sensitive guy!

After 3 Santa killings the cops are still trying to figure out the pattern. No kidding! One of them says: “do you think we have a psycho on our hands?” to when the lead inspector replies “early to find a pattern.” Right so the fact that all of them were Santa’s isn’t a pattern? Priceless!

The storyline gets convoluted with the killer trying to sway the investigation and indicate the lead inspector played by the Director Edmund Perdom who is just awful but in a hilarious way. When we do find out why the killer is psycho we discover he’s another child traumatized by seeing his dad, dressed as Santa, having sex at a party. What is it about sex that seems to drive kids to grow up to be killers?

Make no mistake that this movie is bad, really really bad. But the dialogue, lack of logic and bizarreness of it makes it worth watching. It even has a horrible soundtrack complete with bad disco music and lots of shaky camera work. Don’t Open til Christmas is Fantastic!

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Christmas Horror Movies: Chrismas Evil Review (aka You better Watch Out)

by  on Dec.10, 2008, under Christmas Nightmares, Creepmas, Movie Review, Retro Horror Movies, Slasher Movies

Continuing in my countdown of Christmas Horror films we come to Christmas Evil or also known as Better Watch Out. This little film was released in 1980 by Lloyd Kaufman and Troma Films so you pretty much can guess your not in for the highest level of film entertainment. The film follows Harry who when he was the fragile age of eight saw his mother getting oral sex from Santa Claus. Somehow this really screwed up Harry’s little mind and he grows up being obsessed with Santa and Christmas. He wears Christmas Pajamas to bed as an adult and keeps his apartment decked out for the yuletide year round. Not surprisingly Harry also works for a Toy company where he’s apparently managed to appear competent enough to get promoted to a management level. In his spare time Harry checks up on neighborhood kids to make sure they are being good. He spies on them from his rooftop and makes a list, checking it many times over. Apparently the parents are oblivious to this creepy single middle-aged man’s fascination with their kids. Harry catches one boy reading Penthouse in his room and he practically has a conniption fit getting to his list to record his sighting.Harry is mocked by his coworkers over his overexcited obsession with making quality toys as opposed to the really crappy toys his company makes. I marvel how someone who is so clearly “off his rocker” can manage to hold down a job let alone ascend to a level of management yet, Harry has. After finding one of his coworkers making fun of him he runs home like a little kid and makes the leap to full bat-shit crazy. He decorates his creepy rapist van like a Christmas sleigh then goes on to spy further on the neighbor kids and hiding in the bushes. Harry can’t even get any respect from his younger brother who has a normal life with a couple kids and a house in the suburbs. The brother has really great dialogue like: “when I think about how lame he is I just can’t help but get mad.”

When the big night finally comes Harry dresses up in his elaborate Santa suit and hits the town delivering toys to the good boys and girls in his neighborhood. He visits the home of the coworker that made fun of him and smothers him in his sleep. He attacks a group of midnight mass-er’s leaving church, killing a couple. But he also does some good things like bringing toys to an orphanage whilst creepily practicing his Santa voice and gets down at a Christmas party. The best part about the Christmas party scene is when he tells the kids they better be good or he’s going to bring them something horrible. Apparently if you are a 10 year old reading Penthouse magazine that means Harry will hide in your bushes with mud on his face and try to scare you straight.

After all the carnage Harry tries hiding out but his little killing spree is all over the news and everyone is looking for him. After nearly being hunted down by his neighbors Harry runs to his brother’s house to escape. However his ol’ bro isn’t too understanding of what he’s done. A really lame car chase ensues and Harry ends up driving off a bridge that looks more like a little ditch and supposedly is dead. Lucky us that Christmas Evil didn’t do well enough to warrant a sequel.

Christmas Evil really takes itself too seriously to make it fun and there’s very little blood so there’s really nothing here for gore hounds either. Visually the film looks really rough and dated. I’d say skip this one unless you’re a completist when it comes to Holiday horror. There’s really not much here to like except for the occasional unintentional humor of bad acting and storytelling.

2 out of 10

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Christmas Horror Movie Review: Gremlins

by  on Dec.04, 2008, under Christmas Nightmares, Creepmas

For Horror and Halloween addicts like myself, Christmas always comes too fast after October and dominates everything. You can’t go outside without being bombarded by Christmas lights and cheerful holiday melodies. TV is no help with all its holiday programming taking over before the Thanksgiving Turkey even comes out of the oven. If your like me all this good cheer can get old and you need some alternative holiday viewing. To help I’ve decided to put together some reviews of my favorite holiday horror films to chase away the Christmas blues. First up is on my list is Gremlins!

Having not seen Gremlins since I was a kid I had kinda forgotten that the movie takes place on Christmas eve. For the uninitiated Gremlins is about, well gremlins. They start out cute and furry but if you don’t follow the rules they can get ugly real fast. The rules are just about one the most poorly thought out plot devices I’ve seen in a movie but hey it was the 80’s man. Rule number one, they don’t like bright light. Rule Number 2, don’t get them wet. I should mention that if you do get them wet they spontaneously and instantly reproduce! I think there’s probably a lot of loopholes to this rule. What if they dribble some soda out of their mouth? How do they clean themselves if they can’t get wet? Will their own saliva result in a reproductive orgy? If that wasn’t dumb enough the 3rd rule takes the cake: Don’t feed them after midnight. How does the biological system of a Gremlin’s body know its after midnight or not? And since the the gremlins originated from China does that mean you have to account for the time in China or do they adjust based on the time zone?

Moving on. Randall Peltzer, a hack inventor, decides to buy his son Billy a gift for Christmas while in China. The gift is a cute little animal called a mogwai. The old man who owns the mogwai doesn’t want to sell it to him but the old mans grandson sneaks out with the little critter and sells it to Randall. Reciting the 3 inane warnings Randall goes on his way with his new pet. All starts out well when he returns home and everyone loves the new little pet which they name Gizmo. But they break the first rule and get him wet which results in a bunch of little babies popping out of his back that subsequently grow to the same size as Gizmo in just seconds. Not only that but they’re intelligent and can speak bits of English in cute ways almost immediately.

The new batch of Mogwai are a devious bunch. Let by the mysterious mohawked one name Stripe they plot to fool Billy into feeding them after midnight. Which he does which results in them becoming reptilian-like Gremlins. Billy’s Kill happy mother manages to wipe out all the gremlin except for that clever and devious Spike, who escapes and heads straight to the YMCA to hatch up some friends. The army of Gremlins basically massacres most of the town in an orgy of Christmas violence.

Billy and the very very hot Pheobe Cates manage to blow up all the Gremlins while they watch Snow White at the local cineplex. However once again Stripe escapes and manages to cause even more havoc at a local department store where Gizmo gets to shine and save the day finally wiping out Stripe once and for all.

Somehow Billy and his family are never held accountable for having a pet that multiplies, turns vicious and murders half the townspeople in one night. In fact even when the old man returns to get Gizmo back he seems nonchalant about the carnage and is more upset that Gizmo has been taught to watch TV. Talk about priorities!

For all the ridiculousness of this movie and its concept it was still a great movie when I was a kid. It scared the crap out of me and made me want my own Gizmo bad. In fact I had a Gizmo doll for a long time after I saw the movie. Looking at it today it hasn’t aged to well and the concept, which was dumb before, seems even worse now. But its still a fun movie and good if your looking for some alternative holiday viewing.

6 out of 10

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