A trailer for a Christmas movie already? But it’s only September! Yes, while the yuletide festivities always seem to be marketed earlier every year, the horror-comedy Krampus appears to be anything but your by-the-numbers Christmas-themed movie. Directed and written by Michael Dougherty (Trick r’ Treat), Krampus follows a dysfunctional family during Christmas Eve as they are preyed upon by a demonic force of ancient evil, intent on punishing those who lack the spirit of the holidays. As all hell breaks loose around them, the fractured family must protect their home and themselves while batting the monstrous entity and its deranged servants. The film stars Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner and Allison Tolman.
It’s incredibly refreshing to see a film incorporating and playing with the darker myths and legends surrounding the Christmas Holiday, specifically the creature of Krampus.
Germanic in origin, Krampus has often been depicted in folklore as the dark contrast to Saint Nicholas (Santa Clause). Whereas Nicholas rewards children with gifts, Krampus often punishes children in various ways (kidnapping, maiming, eating etc.) for their bad behavior or misdeeds. Although often associated as a creation of European-Christian folklore, some historians and anthropologists believe Krampus may in fact be heavily influenced by pagan-deities, specifically a horned pagan god once worshiped by witch covens and Germanic tribes. Though Krampus’s true origins are a bit muddled, he has almost always been depicted as anthropomorphic demon-like creature with horns and cloven hooves. Leave it to the Germans to invent such a “cheerful” character for the holidays!
In an age of horror films constantly dominated by ghosts, possessed teenagers or whatever mediocre, half-assed creation Jason Blum tries to sell us every other month, it’s encouraging and fun to see a somewhat obscure legend of folklore like Krampus be the central antagonist of a movie. Obviously we won’t know if Krampus will be a film of quality until it’s finally released later this year, but I applaud the efforts of writers and directors like Dougherty who at least try to take risks in a genre that has been dominated by lazy and disinterested filmmakers and producers.
Krampus will make its way to theatres December 4, 2015.