A Christmas Horror Story (2015)
Directors: Grant Harvey, Steve Hoban, Brett Sullivan
Starring: William Shatner, George Buza, Rob Archer
Plot: High school students investigate a mysterious homicide that occurred the prior holiday season, a couple notices their young son is acting strangely after a snowy forest trip to cut down a traditional tree and one family are stalked through a winter wonderland by Krampus, the Xmas demon. Meanwhile at the North Pole, Santa is fending off zombie elves.
I downloaded this with the intention of waiting until closer to Christmas time to watch it. But then I stumbled across a couple of screenshots of its Krampus creature on a website, and they looked so damn badass I had to watch it as soon as possible.
A Christmas Horror Story is an anthology film, and like all anthology horrors it has some segments that are stronger than others. While none of them are terrible, I'd say two are great and two are just okay. And unlike a lot of anthology films this one tells all the stories at the same time, cutting back and forth between them. I'm not sure I like that idea, as it made things a little disjointed. But on the plus side it meant not having to sit right through a lesser story in its entirety.
The wrap-around segment has Bill Shatner playing a radio host on Christmas Eve. I usually can't stand The Shat in anything he's done in the past 40 years, but here he's actually pretty entertaining and his portions are kept short.
The first segment I'll talk about involves a family going into the woods to illegally cut down a pine tree for the holidays and instead bringing home a shapeshifter creature. The little kid who plays the monster is actually pretty creepy, but I felt like this was the least-enjoyable of the segments. The parents are portrayed as pretty unlikeable, and the story is very, very predictable.
The other segment that doesn't work involves a trio of high school kids breaking into a high school where two students were killed a year before. They find a hidden part of the school (this part is pretty cool) and are soon at the mercy of a vengeful spirit. Talk about Ho Ho Hum.
Luckily the movie is saved in a big way by the segment involving Santa Claus fighting off his elves after they all get turned into zombies. Come on, who could possibly not enjoy seeing ol' Kriss Kringle taking an ax to flesh-eating midgets? It's pure, gorey fun.
The best effects of the movie come in the last segment, featuring the aforementioned Krampus. A family are on their way home from a relative's home when they crash and have to survive an attack by Christmas evil personified (kind of a giant goat man). Krampus looks completely badass and is nigh-on impossible to stop. Between this and another movie called Krampus coming out in December, I can see the big goat dude being a fan favourite for years to come.
The wrap-around segment then concludes everything in a really fun way that I didn't see coming (and which I won't spoil).
While not quite as good as Trick R Treat, A Christmas Horror Story basically does for Christmas what that movie did for Halloween. It's definitely one I'll be revisiting in years to come, during the festive season.