I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days, for the ninth night I am listing the 2015 slasher movie Secret Santa.
Secret Santa (2015)
Dir- Mike McMurran
A popular trend in horror movies is to mimic the look and style of 80's slasher films to try and capture the spirit of what made that era so popular with filmgoers. Secret Santa is a low budget indie horror about a group of college students who are partying after fall exams only to find that someone is leaving them gifts from a Secret Santa that will reveal the cause of their death. The killer, of course, is inside the house and takes out the drunk and horny students one at a time. The positives of this movie are the creative way that Director Mike McMurran has made the film look like an aged VHS video complete with tracking issues and screen glitches. This creative editing style does help the movie get past its obvious low budget and cast of unknown actors. The gore effects are pretty decent with some creative kills and enough blood to satisfy gorehounds. The negatives are the derivative plot and generic cast of actors who pretty much cover the usual collection of victims. Secret Santa has enough bloody kills to make film worthwhile, and as an homage to 80's slasher films, it indeed is better than other movies I would have picked at the mom and pop video store.
I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days, for the eighth night I am listing the 2016 slasher Red Christmas.
Red Christmas (2016)
Dir- Craig Anderson
A hooded figure named Cletus pays a deadly visit to a dysfunctional family celebrating Christmas holiday in a remote Australian country home. This horror movie opens with an attack on an abortion clinic that seems out of place in the movie yet this scene will set in motion the events that are shown 20 years later. The film is quite gory with some bloody deaths but not too scary compared to other slasher movies. The film's star is horror movie scream queen Dee Wallace who plays the mother of a family who has to face off with the killer and confront some unexpected ties. Red Christmas does not stand out compared to other holiday themes slasher films and viewers may be put off by what seems a mixed message involving pro-life issues and the violence of slasher movies
I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days, for the seventh night, I am listing the 1972 horror thriller Silent Night, Bloody Night.
Silent Night, Bloody Night (1972)
Dir- Theodore Gershuny
After the tragic death of his grandfather 20 years prior, a young man wishes to sell the mansion and estate that he inherited, yet the attorney sent to handle the matter is murdered in the house. Not knowing this event has occurred the young man returns on Christmas Eve and meets with the local town officials who wish to purchase the estate for development yet secrets come out about his grandfather, deceased mother and other skeletons that the town's leaders don't wish to share. These secrets come out as each of the town's leaders fall victim to a killer calling himself "Marianne." Silent Night, Bloody Night has a look and feel of a TV movie borrowing some plot points from Edgar Allan Poe's story "The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether." The movie was originally titled Night of the Dark Full Moon and even Death House in later releases but has been shown under the Silent Night name as the film is now in the public domain. The film does predate most slasher movies and can be seen as an influence on Black Christmas and When A Stranger Calls.
I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days, for the sixth night I am listing the 1980 horror film Christmas Evil.
Christmas Evil (1980)
Dir- Lewis Jackson
This obscure horror film follows an emotionally unstable man who decides to dress up as Santa and keeps a list of the good and naughty kids in his neighborhood. After he sees the misplaced generosity of his employer, he steals toys and gives them away to children in the hospital, but a murderous streak counters his jolly spirit as he kills a number people who he deems naughty. Christmas Evil is not the usual holiday slasher but is instead a more profound film that shows the antagonist as a man who is troubled by a society that he views as being oblivious to the meaning of Christmas and the lack of concern for sick children and those who have been tossed aside. As a result, we have a villain who is somewhat sympathetic in his desire to entertain and reward children despite the horrible murders he commits. The film is known to be a favorite of John Waters and predated the more vicious Santa dressed killer in Silent Night, Deadly Night.
I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days, for the fifth night I am listing 1972 made for television horror thriller Home For the Holidays.
Home For the Holidays (1972)
Dir- John Llewellyn Moxey
A television movie produced by Aaron Spelling and starring Sally Field, Eleanor Parker, Julie Harris, Jessica Walter, and Walter Brennan focuses on an older wealthy man who invites his four adult daughters to his home for Christmas and reveals to them that he fears he is being poisoned by his wife who is their stepmother. It is revealed that she had been accused of killing her first husband and the sisters are suspicious when a storm traps them all in the remote farmhouse with someone killing the daughters one at a time. This television movie plays out like a dark soap opera with elements of Agatha Christie yet the stellar cast and direction will keep you guessing as plenty of clues are shown that may be red herrings. The standouts among the cast include Sally Fields and Jessica Walter as well Julie Harris who plays the suspicious stepmother to the sisters. An otherwise forgetful movie from the 1970s that gets more attention as being one of the early horror movies that take place on Christmas.
I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days, for the fourth night I am listing the 2015 Finnish fantasy horror thriller Rare Exports.
Rare Exports (2015)
Dir- Jalmari Helander
This fantasy thriller directed by Jalmari Helander centers on a small community in Finland that encounters some truly bizarre circumstances when an international mining company digs into a local mountain and finds something unexpected. A pair of local boys sneak into the mining camp and learn that the company is looking for remains of Santa Claus. The boys leave for home as Pietari looks into the legends of Santa Claus and is shocked to discover that the target of the mining company may not be as jolly and friendly as they think. To make matters worse the local herds of reindeer that provide for the community are found slaughtered by something that may have escaped from the dig site. Rare Exports started out as a short film and was expanded to a full-length movie by Jalmari Helander and Juuso Helander after the short became popular on the internet. The film is told in a blend of dark fantasy and deadpan comedy, including some of the mythology of Santa Claus in a movie that shows the extreme life faced by the men in this community and how something out of the ordinary has shaken things up. The absolute bonkers outcome is exciting and filled with the kind of action that will keep the audience entertained enough to not question how absurd the plot is. Ultimately the film is about a father and son having to save the community and bond together as the events threaten to destroy the community and maybe more if is not contained. The movie was well received by critics and has gained a following that has pushed the film into cult classic status.
I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days, for the 3rd night, I am listing the 2015 slasher movie All Through the House.
All Through the House (2015)
Dir- Todd Nunes
College student Rachel Kimmel comes home for Christmas break and offers to help a reclusive older neighbor Mrs. Garrett with her decorations. She then recalls the young girl who lived there that she tried to befriend until she disappeared one night. As she decorates the home with the help of some friends the neighborhood is terrorized by a lunatic dressed as Santa who kills Rachel's neighbors and friends yet her greater fear may be what she finds inside Mrs. Garrett's home. All Through the House is an independent Christmas themed slasher starring Ashley Mary Nunes and directed by Todd Nunes. While the film follows the usual trope of horror slashers what helps it stand out is the use of practical gore effects that will make this film a treat for fans of 80s style slasher films. The cast is decent given the low budget, but special praise goes to the design of the evil Santa costume and the vast amount of Christmas lights used in the film to help make the movie look festive despite being filmed in California. Even with a plot that borrows from such classic horror movies like The Burning, Sleepaway Camp and Friday, the 13th, All Through the House is a notable effort and should be watched as an homage to the excellent holiday slasher films of the '80s.
I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days, for the second night I am listing the 2007 horror thriller P2.
Dir- Franck Khalfoun
A young lady finding herself stranded in an office parking garage during a Christmas holiday weekend becomes the target of an obsessed security guard who kidnaps her and holds her hostage. A cat and mouse game ensues as the young lady escapes only to find that she is trapped inside the garage with no way out and no one to seek out help from while she is being stalked with no relief in sight. Alexandre Aja produced this film and compared it to his movie High Tension. The movie is a game of survival that takes place in a setting that is not one often seen used in thrillers. Rachel Nichols plays Angela with believability and shows her will to survive and fight back against an attacker who has all the advantages. Despite looking like a slasher film, P2 is a tightly paced thriller featuring a genuinely realistic villain and a situation that would bring anyone true fear.
I will be posting Christmas themed horror films over the next 24 days, for the first night I am listing the 2006 remake of the classic slasher film Black Christmas.
Black Christmas (2006)
Dir- Glen Morgan
A partial remake of the 1974 slasher classic, Black Christmas follows a group of sorority girls who are stalked by a killer who is hiding in the attic of their house after escaping from a mental institution. The young women are planning on going home for Christmas holiday but are caught in a winter storm, and tensions rise after sordid secrets are revealed. The arrival of a family member looking for her missing sister set in motion a bloody night of terror as the killer known as Billy makes his presence known. In an attempt to differentiate from the first film director Glen Morgan uses flashbacks to give the killer more backstory and show the motivation for his evil deeds. The cast is made up of familiar faces including Katie Cassidy, Michelle Trachtenberg, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Lacey Chabert, Oliver Hudson and Andrea Martin who appeared in the original film. The film is nowhere near the classic that the first film is as the scores of horror films that copied the original have pretty much dried up the creativity well. The one aspect that Black Christmas does excel at is the casting of attractive actresses who despite their stereotypical roles seem more genuine with their use of bad language, alcohol use, and family issues.