tek's rating:

A Christmas Horror Story (not rated)
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This came out in 2015, but I didn't see it until 2020, on Kramupsnacht. It was sort of in competition with another 2015 holiday horror movie, Krampus, and I have no idea which movie "won," because this one didn't get much of a theatrical release, like "Krampus" did, but I think it got slightly better reviews. Anyway, as always, I wanted to judge for myself which I like better. I should mention this is sort of an anthology movie, with stories threaded together, kind of like Trick 'r Treat. Ironically, "Krampus" was made by that movie's director, while this one was made by... some other people. But anyway... the stories don't ever really intersect, for the most part. And while there's a radio DJ named Dangerous Dan (William Shatner) whose scenes I was given to believe would serve as a framing device... they didn't, exactly. I think of that as just one of the stories. Well... that one does actually end up intersecting with one of the main stories, in a way I don't want to spoil, because it's a shocking twist that I never saw coming, and it was horrifying when it did. In fact, without that twist I would have given this movie just 2 and a half smileys instead of 3. So I guess since I ended up rating both this and "Krampus" the same, I must like them pretty much equally.

The stories all take place on Christmas Eve. In one of them, three teens, Dylan, Molly, and Ben, have broken into their school (a former convent), which is closed for Christmas break. They want to shoot a documentary about two teens from their school who had been killed there the previous Christmas Eve. They end up locked in the basement with the malevolent ghost of a girl who had died there back when the place was still a convent. And that's all I want to say.

In another story, there's a policeman named Scott Peters, who hasn't gotten over the trauma of the unsolved case of last year's murders. He takes his wife, Kim, and son, Will, onto private property to cut down a Christmas tree. While in the woods, Will wanders off and gets lost. They soon find him and go home, but he doesn't say anything, and begins misbehaving in increasingly bad ways. I guessed what had happened to him right away, but it's still a good story. And again, I don't want to say how it ends.

The three friends from the first story had a fourth friend named Caprice, who had planned to go with them to the school, but instead her father made his family, including Caprice's mother and younger brother, go to visit a wealthy relative named Aunt Edda to invest in his business. And I want to mention that she has a caretaker named Gerhardt (played by Julian Richings, probably the only actor in the movie, other than Shatner, who was really familiar to me), but his role is very minor. Anyway, Edda sends the family away without investing, and then they end up getting their car stuck in the snow. So they start wandering through the woods, as a shortcut to wherever they were going. And it's not long before they're attacked by Krampus. I won't say how that ends, either, but it does have a twist of its own which is rather interesting.

There's also a story in which Santa Claus has to fight off all of his elves, who have turned into zombies. (He's played by George Buza, who looked familiar to me, but I couldn't place him. IMDb listed a couple of shows I know him from, though, even if I didn't clearly remember him.) Anyway... this is definitely the strangest of the stories, and despite being the goriest story, it's also sort of the campiest. I mean, zombie elves? How could it not be campy? Well... in the end, it turns out not to be, after all. But I won't say why.

Anyway, I'm not sure which one of the stories is my favorite, because they're all fairly decent, all rather scary and disturbing. And I liked that the movie had such a wide variety of horror elements. And... I don't know what else to tell you. Oh, except I really liked the song that played over the opening and closing credits, "It's Christmas Eve" (to the tune of "Carol of the Bells").

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