Krampus:  How Christmas Vacation should have ended.

Horror and Christmas don’t really go together in film. Many have tried to tackle it and only Gremlins managed to pierce Olympus. I’m seriously not sure how the hell that could have happened without Gizmo, but as it stands, that’s what we got. Now we have Krampus which is the latest in a shot for the title. In the most unlikely and arguably unwanted attempt to be bring home the belt, I’m scratching my head when I say that it works.


"Fuck you, Howard. When you drink my beer, sleep in my home, and take a dump in my toilet, my wife's cooking will always be fantastic to you. Now stop talking shit and hand me a beer."

Krampus is based on the legend of the same name where Anti-Santa terrorizes children on the naughty list. In this case, the naughty list consists of two wildly different families visiting each other during the holidays. Tom’s (Adam Scott) seemingly upper middle class lifestyle seems to immediately clash with the visiting Howard’s (David Koechner) blatantly conservative family. In the middle is Max who just wants Christmas to be a continuously good thing for everyone. His cousins botch his feelings on that by reading his Christmas letter and embarrassing him at the dinner table. This in turn, causes him to rip the letter into shreds and holding the family in scorn. Krampus, now set in full motion, hunts them as the days countdown to Christmas. Take the last twenty minutes of National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, throw in a demonic monster, and you get the idea.

The first bizarre thing is that everyone (well….most of the cast) is likeable to even include David Koechner’s usually over the top shtick of being a clueless fuckwad. Their clashing personalities seem to simmer as the stakes get higher and there are some really human moments to be had thanks to some solid writing and decent acting chops. Yes. This is a movie about an evil Santa, and evil Santa looks so dark and brooding you forget that it is a movie about evil Santa start to view it more as some demonic creature set loose to hunt them down in the snow. The creature design is so good that I though Guillermo del Toro had a hand in it. Seriously.


I wouldn’t call Krampus funny or even campy. For veteran horror fans, I wouldn’t even call it scary with that PG-13 rating dangling in the air. Maybe unsettling at best. Krampus exists in that weird middle ground all those traits seem to blend together and somehow work all while being completely unaware of itself. Krampus isn’t perfect, but for those that need a horror itch right now, it’s not a bad way to go.