A Christmas Horror Story is a thoroughly good time. It contains four separate stories that all occur on Christmas Eve within the same town. The stories do not truly interconnect, although some characters from multiple stories do know each other, but the multiple directors and writers chose to jump back and forth between them instead of trying to run each story concurrently and I thought it worked out great that way. The whole movie comes off as a cohesive unit rather than multiple short stories shown one after the other. It pulled me along and kept me wondering what would happen next right up to the end when they resolve each one in turn. As an added bonus to provide holiday cheer and ample amounts of humor, amidst the four stories are broadcasts and Christmas music delivered by the town’s radio station DJ, played by William Shatner.
Let’s tackle a basic description of the four stories in no particular order.
A father decides last minute to take his jaded, emotionally disconnected family to visit his reclusive and rather strange but rich aunt without telling her they are coming. When they get there things turn awkward right away. His aunt is distant and uninterested and her male companion is no less pleased to see them as well. The father’s young boy, a little shit in need of an attitude adjustment, messes with a figurine of Krampus and when told by the man to put it down drops it on the floor, intentionally breaking it. The man is infuriated and advises him it was a terrible mistake. The aunt tells them they need to leave. Once on the road something runs out in front of them and their car spins out of control, sliding into some deep snow where they are now stuck. They begin their track through the woods to find help when they realize they are not alone.
A high school girl and her two male friends decide to sneak into a school and enter a restricted area where one year ago this night two students were brutally murdered in a room and the killer was never caught, which has cast a shadow over the Christmas spirit in general according to our DJ on the radio. The girl is doing a journalistic type school project and though she managed to get a copy of the police walk through video to guide her own journey, she has to go get video footage of her own. Once in, the kids get trapped and are unable to get back out of the area which has mysteriously locked them inside. Strange things start to happen as they explore and try to figure a way out.
The police officer who worked the murder case at the school the year before takes his wife and son, who appears to be around 6 years old, into the woods to chop down a Christmas tree. While walking back out the son lags behind and disappears. The parents, distraught with fear, scour the forest looking for him, finding him inside a particularly large tree with a sizeable hole in its base big enough for a human to hide in. Once home they notice that their son is not talking and is displaying unusual behavior, including uncharacteristic hunger, rebelliousness and anger. Things take a horrible turn as the parents try to figure out what is wrong with their son while dealing with marital stressors as well during the holiday season.
Santa, who looks suspiciously like a large Viking, and his elves are working hard to get ready for the Christmas run when things go very wrong. Shiny the elf manifests some type of sickness and eventually tries to cut off his hand with a hatchet. In doing so his blood sprays all over several of the elves, infecting them with his sickness as well. Before long all the elves are turning into something between a zombie and vampire. All work stops as they try to eat Santa and ruin Christmas. Santa has to go on a killing spree to stop them and save Christmas from ruin, all while suspecting it may be the work of the evil Christmas Spirit Krampus.
Lastly, we have William Shatner as the town DJ who is keeping the tunes rolling while trying to check in on the Charity Drive at the mall, and getting his buzz on with egg nog and liquor while he does so. His scenes provide comedic relief and nice segues in between some of the story changes. William Shatner is absolute PERFECTION! Simply phenomenal. He was so good in this role and it definitely added a great holiday touch.
So, go watch this movie. There are some creepy and disturbing moments, some wicked spirits and creatures, plenty of gore with Santa decapitating elves left and right, and some great twists. The ending even had me in stitches, busting out laughing. I believe I’ve found another movie to add to my Christmas viewing tradition and I’m going to watch it again soon.
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