A Series of Krampus Films (2013-2016) Reviewed

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So it is Christmas or should I say Krampus…

No Christmas is fine and I have decided to forgo the usual Christmas horror films for something that focuses on something a bit older than Father Christmas but has some films made about it or doing these reviews would be a bit difficult.

So here are some new-ish Krampus based films.

Krampus: The Reckoning (2015)

Zoe is a young girl staying with foster parents, that immediately raises questions about the vetting process for becoming a foster parent in America, who suddenly are killed by the creature in the poster.

A really bad CGI interpretation of Krampus. That means Krampus: The Reckoning is going to be so bad its good or just bad.

So she is taken to a hospital and held in a children’s ward where Detective Miles O’Connor calls in Dr. Rachel Stewart to start a romantic sub-plot that doesn’t play itself out but more on this redneck love story later.
She is also called in to talk to Zoe to help the detective in the case of her murdered foster parents.

Zoe is a little bitch. She has a look of Damien from Omen about her expressions and does a good job of being the creepy girl but sadly everyone can only hope of being as adequate in their performances.
They do try but this film it turns out isn’t so bad its good but just bad.
The actress playing Dr. Stewart has some moments which she ruins with her vocal fry then goes back to being as bad as everything else we are witnessing.
Remember that romantic sub-plot? Every film has one!

Seriously why does every fucking film have one?

Well in this case it is to fill quite a fair bit of the films run-time and drags an already slow experience.
Imagine a dog or cat on a lead playing dead so they don’t have to go walkies being dragged. That sums it up.
It moved so slow that during the last 20 minutes I started cleaning my flat to get ready for Chrimbo yet on the positive I did find a Teapot I forgot I owned.

Its only big enough for one really but does have a Tea cosy and I was contemplating buying one the other day so I’ve saved myself a few quid.
It is your simply bog-standard white Teapot but now I can have elevenses. Just not with any guest given the size of it but I don’t like people so not an issue.

Eurgh, back to the film. So that love story. So shite and we do have a sex scene. The second in the film but none of the actors are attractive in either so unlike the CGI mess that is Krampus at least there is something scary and disturbing here.

The picture quality is nice and the makers managed to film in nice locations but the audio quality is bad. Cheap horror bad. The acting is bad, the story is bad, the film feels like it is crawling at a snails pace and the music is bad.

Everything here is bad.

Well apart from one WiFi joke and the music during the end credits which is a bloody good take on Come All Ye Merry Gentlemen if I remember my carols properly.

Overall looks and sounds crap.

Krampus:
The Christmas Devil (2013)

More like Krampus: The Christmas Log.

So in a snowy small town called Edinboro (yes they really do spell it like that) every 10 years children are taken never to be seen again.
Well apart from our hero who was taken but escaped after he was thrown into a frozen lake in a hessian sack.

30 years later he’s now a cop hell bent on finding the person who is still doing this to children. He finds the Krampus but is knocked unconscious and his team murdered. Managing to escape and despite knowing where Krampus is not only hiding but holding a woman and a child hostage goes to a pub while his chief does nothing.
Of course this is a combination of a low budget horror and a modern one so the writer couldn’t think up enough story based on that premise to fill 80 minutes meaning about half way through the film is about cops blaming our hero for the death of fellow officers and a recently released prisoner holding our hero’s family hostage.

What a shitty day.

I am having a go at the story and plot but there was one thing I really liked and that was how Krampus was working for Father Christmas and it was the fat man who was giving Krampus the names of victims based on his naughty list.
Krampus was merely his servant. A hitman elf.

Just a shame it was thought up and used in such an underwhelming film.
The acting is bad, the audio is bad (but better than in the Reckoning) and there is more shaky cam than you can shake a camera at.

A one point the hero is attacked in a pub and the fight choreography, I have to call it that because that is technically the correct term but my god was it bad.

Beautifully bad and that is the best way to describe this film. It is awful in every way and while I cannot recommend anyone watch this I can suggest it you like bad films with wooden acting (the killer who is killed by the daughter springs to mind) that you can laugh at then maybe you will tolerate this.

Sequel tomorrow… Yay.

Krampus:
The Devil Returns (2016)

More like the shaky cam returns.

The story here is it is five years later and our hero from the first film has now become almost like a recluse but is drawn out of retirement when children once again are going missing thanks to Krampus and Father Christmas.

You can forget that plot though because for the majority of the films first 66 minutes (the film is 79 minutes long) is about the brother of the released prisoner from the first film out for revenge with his girlfriend.

Remember I said how bad the pub brawl was in the last one.
Well here we are treated to a catfight which is actually better choreographed but not by much. It is funnier thanks to the bad puns made throughout the fight.

Most of the cast returns including the person playing Father Christmas who is the only good thing about this film.
There is a scene reminiscent of Lot and his Daughters but given how bad the film is I think it was written into the film in an attempt to be shocking.

It isn’t.

A bad film that belongs on the fat man’s naughty list but still worth a watch to see how bad it is.

A Christmas Horror Story (2015)

Look at that poster.

Go on click on it and take a good look.
That’s a fucking cool poster and that is what everyone wants to see who sees that poster.

Well lucky for you that is in the film. The fight last for 2 minutes but it is good while it happens.

This is an anthology film that plays all the stories together simultaneously but that is where its biggest failing is.
They are such different random stories and one left me asking “well what happens next?” and “what was the point of that” plus the final conclusion had me wondering if the Krampus was real in the films world because if it wasn’t then one of the other stories didn’t make sense.

It has William Shatner putting in a great performance as a radio host randomly throughout trying to link the stories to each other when they should have had him telling each story one after another in the traditional manner.

This way they could have kept each segments link to the other like the girlfriend for the Krampus one dating the boy in the convent part so that in turn would have allowed us to enjoy them more and as they are tales being told the twist for the final segment would be more fitting given you aren’t left asking if this in all happening in the same world.

And you could skip some of them. In these anthology films there are always ones too cliched or that slow the pace too much that we skip.

It is a shame because this is very nicely filmed. For a low budget horror film it screams high production values apart from some of the effects like the giant tongue but the rest are great.

When Father Christmas is killing his undead elves it is a sight to behold. So much fun to watch and then it cuts to one of the other parts.
A part you don’t care that much about and you want over but know that because of how the film is setup you wont have the resolution here instead the film will jump to yet another story with you knowing that if you start to get into that you will inevitably jump back to this one at some point.

The music is fantastic, the acting is great and the overall look is brilliant but the way the director has chosen to tell these tales lets it down. I can’t knock the director for trying something new with the anthology narrative but sadly it doesn’t work.

Worth a watch for the Krampus and Fat man vs Elves stories because when it works it works very well.

Maybe I should edit the segments together into individual tales?

Krampus (2015)

So the main film. After sitting through shite and good but could’ve been great it is time to see how this big budget version stands up.

Pretty fucking well. I loved it.
After a slow motion opening showing shoppers fighting in a shopping centre a la Black Friday and the son of the family Max fighting in a nativity play the film starts two days before Christmas day and one family are preparing to have some of their more trailer trash family members around to stay.

This is all very much National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and effectively done. We see just how dysfunctional both families are on their own and worse when together. Krampus doesn’t waste much time here which is a bit of a shame as it was entertaining.

So a sudden blizzard occurs prompting one of the families daughters to go looking for her boyfriend but along the way a strange creature (Krampus) stalks her before she is attacked by another creature in a Jack-in-a-box.

So the Dad’s go looking when one is attacked by what I can only describe as a snow-Graboid. They return and decide to barricade the house to protect themselves.

I liked the families, the characters, all of them and I loved the look of this one. People have said Krampus is a Joe Dante-esque film and I agree.
It has that dark comedy and real world setting but imbued with a fantasy element.
If feels like something he would’ve done only he would’ve done it better which isn’t to take anything away from what writer/director Michael Dougherty has accomplished here.

The effects are top notch and mostly practical for the creatures, the humour is on form plus despite the pace slowing a bit in the middle when it starts to get hectic it moves with just the right pace and energy.

Story-wise this is kept simple and to the point with no real sub-plot elements like a love story or that nonsense so i’ll give it a tick for that.

A fantastic throwback to those films of the 80’s and early 90’s and while not as memorable is currently the best we have and for me a success.

Loud and one to watch.

Krampus Unleashed
(2016)

 

Another low budget horror film that looks and sounds like a YouTube effort.
What other genre turns out turds of this quality?

So around 30 years before the films modern day setting some treasure hunters mistakenly dig up a summoning stone that well summons the Krampus who appears where they are and proceeds to kill most of them.

This is very important to point out one of the many huge flaws in this film later.

Present day we have a family going to spend Christmas at the grandparents. Then more family members, the screw up family or the Johnsons to the first families Griswolds (god I wish I was watching Christmas Vacation instead).
Anyway at 50 minutes we finally get some conflict as the Krampus finally appears.

Wait that’s wrong.

Up til this point we’ve had plenty of conflict.
Between family members, siblings, cousins, married and recently split up couples and most of this leads absolutely nowhere.
Here is the films biggest flaw. The writing and not just because they’ve taken the modern, lazy route of filling most of the film with people bickering.

So the summoning stone ends up in the hands of our ‘heroes’ which means the Krampus has awoken and will kill them.
But unlike at the start it’ll get to that later and won’t appear where they are instead wondering off to a nearby home to kill only one of the people who lives there.

Considering it picked off several armed individuals at once at the start I don’t see why it couldn’t kill two people here.

The survivor makes it to the our ‘heroes’ home and phones the police. Meanwhile several family members go out to look for what attacked the survivors partner with a fully loaded and cocked weapon.
Which needs to be cocked again when the old man sees Krampus leading to his death. So the Eddie Johnson character makes it back and tells everyone what happened and that they should all get in the car and leave.
They all ignore him and more family members including an elderly woman with a walking stick and a 10 year old boy head out to I guess confirm everyone is dead and get separated.

I don’t know what the point of them doing that was. Didn’t they believe him?
Inside Eddie finally manages to convince them to get in the car and flee. Shouting at his idiot son for playing games this whole time in his room as if the idiot should psychically know whats going on. He shouts at him that they are leaving and to get a move on but never tells him why.

Anyway no matter what other sense he makes is quickly undone by the stupidity of everyone around him and yet he is the one that his wife, mother, son and others spent the first 50 minutes rolling their eyes at and up til his death is blamed for their inevitable deaths.

Which they caused not him.

So more bad writing where we end up with one of the original treasure hunters who tells them that Krampus and the stone needs to be buried to put him to sleep but no-one buried him or the stone 30 years ago so what made it stop killing back then?

The idiots, I mean heroes, bury him at the end but decide not to bury the stone.

This is one of those horror films where everyone is an idiot and you want them all to die.

The trailer shows most of the deaths and the films plot so you don’t need to watch it. Avoid this shite.

Mother Krampus aka
12 Deaths of Christmas
(2017)

 

Here we have a British stab at cashing in on the current Krampus craze and if we ignore the only two Krampus films worth watching (Krampus 2015 and A Christmas Horror Story 2015) this ends up near the top end of the low scale despite itself.

But that isn’t saying much given the overall piss-poor showings from the other films.

A mother takes her daughter to her fathers for Christmas just as a spate of child kidnappings start happening.
Does her dad know more than he’s letting on?

Yes he does.

Of course he does.

So years ago he and other parents killed a witch and now she’s back to seek vengeance on those who killed her and their families as well as anyone nearby.
The film does try as does most of the cast and does have some good moments in it, a couple of nice deaths and does take the story seriously that works in its favour overall.

However the last 35 minutes is when it falls apart. The film establishes rules to protect yourself from Mother Krampus early on and during the final showdown the characters stick to the rules. At least until she turns up then suddenly they are ignored by everyone including the titular character.
There is a story about the daughter trying to get her recently separated parents back together which ultimately ends up being completely unnecessary.
Just having them be a family would have worked better if only by not having this part of the plot add to the shambles that is the last 35 minutes.

Up til this point most of the people in it were decent enough but then all seem to undergo a personality transplant which leaves them as screaming, petty idiots.

Another film where everyone deserves to die due to their stupidity. Mother Krampus herself suffers from this.
After killing everyone she meets with absolute ease she doesn’t do a Freddy Krueger here and become a useless punchbag instead she seems to decide to take her time. To attack them and not kill them.
It isn’t like anyone puts up any fight against her at any point because no-one does. Most just stand there as she saunters up to them then are attacked.

I suppose you have to fill 30 minutes. There is a nice if silly twist at the end and I do feel the film ends strongly here but the film is still weak. The director does seem competent enough but the the cast vary in quality and consistency and the script turns the story into a mess.

I did like the Mother Krampus character.

I can only recommend if you like to see films that fall apart.