|A Christmas Horror Story (2015)
|Grant Harvey, Steven Hoban and Brett Sullivan
|James Kee, Sarah Larsen and Doug Taylor
|George Buza, Zoé De Grand Maison, Alex Ozerov-Meyer, Shannon Kook, Amy Forsyth, Jeff Clarke, Michelle Nolden, Adrian Holmes, Olunike Adeliyi, Orion John, A.C. Peterson, Corrine Conley, Percy Hynes White and William Shatner
“What the hell is it about Christmas in Baily Downs?” – “Dangerous” Dan
In the town of Bailey Downs terror reigns on Christmas Eve.
This 2015 effort combines four separate tales of Christmas horror that have a combining thread.
A trio of students, Molly (Grand Maison), Ben (Ozerov-Meyer) and Dylan (Kook), head to school after it closes for the holidays hoping to make a documentary of a horrific double murder that took place there a year before. They accidentally get locked inside and discover something sinister is lurking about.
A dysfunctional family, Taylor (Clarke) and Diane (Nolden) and their kids Caprice (Forsyth) and Duncan (White), heads to the husband’s Aunt Edda (Conley) hoping to salvage their financial situation but find themselves in snowbound terror as something evil is accidentally let loose.
Kim (Adeliyi) and Scott (Holmes) along with their son Will (John) head to the woods to bring home the perfect Christmas tree. For a few moments the son goes missing but is found shortly after. Once home they discover that Will is not all like himself.
Santa Claus (Buza) is preparing to head out for Christmas Eve when suddenly his elves turn into the homicidal walking dead and Santa has to fend for himself. All this culminates with a showdown with Krampus himself.
And throughout the feature there’s “Dangerous” Dan (Shatner), a radio host, spreading Christmas cheer until an incident at a local food drive turns serious.
It’s eight Christmas in a row that I’ve religiously watched “A Christmas Horror Story”.
With a trio of directors, a relatively low-budget and four stories crammed into a feature; I wasn’t expecting much when I gave this a chance initially but I was pleasantly surprised. The stories are all pretty good and it was a good choice to play them out at the same time rather than as standalone episodes. It’s very well paced and gels well despite the fact that it’s the work of three directors. The Santa story is chock full of action and gore while the others opt more for atmosphere and jump scares. As a whole it’s a hell of a ride.
Visually the feature is quite the looker at times and the CGI looks fairly good.
If forced to rank the different storylines I’d put the trio of kids in the school first, the Santa vs. Elves second, the weird child third and the dysfunctional family last.
The school segment is wonderfully atmospheric and even rewards further with each viewing. All the young performers are very good and for a good while the viewer isn’t entirely sure where it’s headed. It’s quite spooky and eerie.
The Santa segment is just gonzo and so over the top in gore that it’s a joy to watch. Buza is wonderful in his role as Santa.
The weird child segment really builds up momentum and becomes quite disturbing as it goes along. It’s very well performed but especially so by young Orion John as the youngster. It’s just a pity it has the most lackluster denouement.
The dysfunctional family segment is the least interesting but every year of watching I grow to like it a bit more. It’s well made and well performed with a neat conclusion.
Then there’s the intervening segments with Shatner as radio host “Dangerous” Dan and the veteran actor is always fun to watch.
All the stories have some loose connections and the final scenes in “Dangerous” Dan’s segment play out wonderfully as there is a really good twist that I didn’t see coming (those eight years ago) that puts a whole other spin on the feature. And as in movies with some confidence; the viewer is given a clue to the twist early on…bet you won’t spot it though.
I never fail to pop in “A Christmas Horror Story” every December along with a few others of the same ilk that spotlight the dark side of Christmas.