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Christmas Movie


imagesAfter a disastrously disappointing Christmas where are the family constantly argues and bickers, young boy decides he’s done with Christmas. Ripping up his letter to Santa, he turns his back on the holiday and in doing so summons the demon Krampus. At this point I was rubbing my hands together, onboard and eager to see him, but that doesn’t quite happen. In this movie Krampus has more similarities Santa in that Santa come to your house while you’re sleeping, and drops off gifts. Well, Krampus also come to your house while you’re sleeping, and brings things, but in his case they’re small monsters, designed to punish the wicked.

The movie is very much a siege film, with the family trying to survive the night, fighting against all of the Krampus’s minions. They’ve designed these to look and feel much like traditional Christmas toys, giving us an interesting, if grim sort of variety to the carnage.
Ultimately I found myself a little bit disappointed perhaps more because this wasn’t what I expected. I was hoping fr a huge Pumpkinhead monster or big bad like what we got in Saint or many of  the other low budget movies that flood the market during the holiday season. Nevertheless, considering it’s a Blu-ray pick from the dollar store, it’s a nice addition to my collection and I’ll definitely be giving this another chance once December rolls around.


Hell on a Shelf


I don’t think there’s that many found footage Christmas movies. Hell on a Shelf is a sort of ghost hunters spoof, with the team investigating a house called “the Wingate house“ and if the cover is to be believed, it’s haunted by a killer elf on the shelf (It’s not. But it is a elfish doll. Close enough).

It starts off with some Talking Heads setting up the story, then shift to security camera footage of some burglars breaking in. Leaves, take note. Don’t burgle a haunted house. And if you must, especially don’t go into the basement. 

Titters of laughter load in from off screen, and the burglars are our first two victims. And that’s before the credits even roll!

I’ve actually heard good things about the Polina brothers from my buddy Doug, so I was eager to sit down and watch this one. The doll on the title cards however, looks very different from a traditional elf on the shelf. So I’m still not entirely certain what we have in store for us.

We get some more Talking Heads stuff though, getting to know you schtick. We get the backstory about how do boys are playing in the house and, one of them fell down and broke his neck on the basement stairs. It was Wall-E were fighting over a toy elf Christmas ornament. It’s not his spirit is the one that haunts the house.

They waste no time in their investigation cranking out the recorder and making contact with something that seems to be talking back to them. And of course, that night, shenanigans begin to happen. Blankets being pulled off of people, more tittering laughterq. I’m a doll, the dog keeps moving. It keeps going from the shelf onto a specific chair that was on fire the dead boy. In the basement, something throws things at them, and the disembodied voice on the recorders tells them it wants to hurt them, it just wants them to die. But how will it make good on that threat?

I’ll be honest, I got a lot more out of this than I expected to. It’s short, but well paced. There’s not a wasted moment of footage. The story is straightforward, and hangs together efficiently. We even get a little bit of a monologue towards the end where you get an interesting perspective on ghost hunter shows.

I come concludes with a interesting reveal, liking a solid film. This one’s a firm recommend!


Stalled really tries to establish an identity early on. We dive straight into the credits without a pre-credits kill, and they are interesting. Simple. White on black, but flickering, like a fluorescent light. With a gentleman dressed as a maintenance man standing timidly outside the women’s bathroom. Looks like he’s here to fix something… The speaker, which has been chewed by a rat. Of course he also has a toolbox full of cash, suggesting that he may not be exactly what he appears to be.

He gets sick and dashes for the stall, and while he’s vomiting, a couple of women (in sexy Christmas garb – that’s odd, nothing on the box suggested to me that this was a Christmas movie!) come in. He closes the door to hide so he doesn’t get caught in the ladies bathroom, but things go from bad to worse when one of the girls turns into a zombie and bites the other one. Back into the stall, as the rest of the nights zombified partygoers meander through, finding themselves into the bathroom.

He tried calling 911.

“ emergency services, ambulance fire or police?”

”I don’t know, who handles zombies?”

Unfortunately, the zombies have already taken over the police station, he’s stuck in the bathroom stall. Fortunately, it looks like he’s not alone there are people in neighboring stalls as well, that way we can have some dialogue. Things get really weird when his stallmate pops him some ecstasy… Including a techno dance number; once again proving my theory that if you’re faced with a zombie horde, all you have to do to survive is start dancing… And then dance along with you!

Truth is, it’s a very simple idea. A guy is stuck in the bathroom stall during a zombie apocalypse. They lean into that simple premise, and as a result, Stalled manages not just to be funny but I also have some heart. It manages to deliver more than enough blood and guts and brains to satisfy any zombie gore hand, while still giving us an actual story and some real laughs. It’s a brilliant mix and a good balance… What I’m saying, is a little silly film like this has no business being this good. It’s not necessarily the broad success of some thing like Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse or Zombieland or Shaun of the Dead… It’s a much smaller, simpler film but it works on that scale. A definite must watch. I don’t care if you can’t find this in the dollar store and have to go pay full price. You really ought to have this on your Christmas playlist.

Axemas and Axemas 2


Kings of Horror were screenign a couple of shorts this weekend and the name had me hooked from the word go.

You don’t want to be burgling a storage locker on Christmas night… especially if you’re in a movie called Axemas.

The burglar’s really just the appetizer though. You’ve got a bunch of young cow spending the night in the storage facility to have their own private party… The burglars really just the appetizer though. You’ve got a bunch of young cow spending the night in the storage facility to have their own private party… Basically chopping mall, but with a killer santa instead of robots, right? Yeah, kinda.

I gotta say,  schtuping in a storage locker is kind of a bit more pathetic than Using them all furniture store… it’s a bad premise, but I imagine it was mostly because they had the location. I’m also disturbed that the killer santa looks a lot like the guitar player in my favorite band…. well, 20 years ago.

Santa himself looks rather uninspired, and the kills are really plain.  We’re also taking way, WAY too much time to get things moving. We don’t get our 1st main kill until halfway through this 20 minute film. The delivery is pretty terrible as well. There’s a great line that the killer goes right before he legends a girl to death with a large rock… “wanna get stoned?” but the problem is it’s delivered so flat, It just fails to land.

This is all a bit of a shame too, because the style and photography here is good. They know how to frame a sequence and light a scene. Everything is shot really well. There’s some fair effects here too, the compound fracture is effectively effectively squirm inducing. The decapitation is serviceable, and they’re smart enough not to linger on it. But sadly, outside of the really original name, this thing is just a misfire.

And yet, somebody still managed to make a sequel.

Of course when I say “someone” , I’m talking about John Ward… the person who did the 1st one. It’s not just enough to bring back thepshcho santa though. We’ve also have to bring back the storage locker!

We’ll get to that in a moment…

Santa’s murdering a bad dad out by the dumpster, and I’ll say this… it’s a better looking Santa Claus Jim. It’s also a nice original kill, impelling the dude on a Christmas tree. I’m already feeling better about this short than the previous one.

Even the opening credits are better. A  small Christmas tree burning in a fireplace with a creepy looking mantle… There’s some real progress here.

We got to a news report recapping the previous film, something that happened a year ago now.The final girl is at home watching In agony as the manager gives his own slimy opinions on the events.

The trauma of the murders has her seeing things. She still sees the bloody image of her old dead boyfriend, and it’s messing with her. What her best friend tells her that what she really needs is to get out and start dating again!

I kind of feel like I should hate this. but the truth is, the guy that she picks up at the bookstore and goes on a date with… all the character development is fascinating. Ashamed that he happens to be a psycho obsessed with the murders from the previous year and about ready to kidnap Her and return to the storage locker is!

OK, so I’m actually kind of happy this director got a second chance. Because the 2nd film is way better than the 1st period there’s so much more depth here and I honestly watch this short again.It’s a shame that it doesn’t work unless you have the 1st one, but what I’d really like to see is somebody merged the 2. I watched them back-to-back, and the continued is just perfect. But if somebody could cut that original short down to about 10 minutes as a prologue and grafted onto this 1, maybe even beef up some of the kills and effect, I think you might just have something perfect.

The bit at the end actually makes me want more….and that’s cool, because as of Oct 4, 2022 part three and four are still planned to be filmed back to back.

Mrs. Claus


Mrs. Claus it opens up with an initiation that ultimately pushes a sorority sister too far, and ends up in a murder.

That is however, just to set up and we Flash Forward years later where her sister Danielle is pledging the same sorority and getting ready for this year‘s Christmas party.
(having just re-watched black Christmas, I gotta say, this is where the budget starts to show… Because it doesn’t look like a sorority house. Rather it just looks like the normal house somebody’s living in. It really is a difference.)

And then, Danielle is a threatening email from someone identifying cells as “Mrs. Claus“.

The slutty one gets it first with a garrote out of Christmas lights. It’s not a huge impact considering we were just introduced to her about two minutes ago after she rolled off a guy. Nevertheless, it’s a nice clever kill and a good start.

Around that same time the mother of one of the dead girls shows up… And it’s some coincidental timing isn’t it? Feels like we got a Friday the 13th situation going on here.

The decorations are all set up for tonight‘s Christmas party and Brinke Stevens is out there as a security person patrolling the streets, but Mrs. Claus is already inside the house. Her victims get a text before she shows up and spills their blood in a bad rubber mask. However, she’s about to have a whole new crop of victims as the front boys are about to arrive, ready to get smashed in the name of Santa!

While one of the frat boy guests complains about the very existence of sororities and how hazing leads to murderous behavior – do we have another killer suspect here? – Bring Stevens shows up to let the party know that our first girl did not ever make it home. It’s a buzz kill and starts to shake the party apart.(although I have to admit, I laughed at the one frat boy’s theory that serial killers like Freddy and Jason don’t go after ugly people… I just watched Friday the 13th part three last night, and I assure you, Jason totally goes after ugly people in that one). Separating them up is a good thing though, because it gives Mrs. Claus a chance to shank the whiny one with a large candy cane. 

Down in the basement, a couple of them are getting baked and talking about how the elves in North Pole probably have the best weed. Seriously, this movie has the best small talk.

To be fair though, they’ve got some pretty good kills as well. Somebody’s mixing up some nice looking blood… Dark and thick. They know enough not to linger on the kills, and give us more than enough banter to make us care about these characters. Indeed, the rest of the guests upstairs are sharing the worst Christmas dinner story ever… And it just feels like the sort of party I want to hang out at. Younger sister tells a little bit about how that Christmas was… The year her sister died. It gives an interesting perspective on the effects of horror movie murder has on the rest of the family. There’s no Christmas presents, instead there’s visitation and a funeral. 

Of course, this year, there’s text messages and murder. The image of Mrs. Claus coming for you in the dark is actually fairly effective, and a shot of earbuds dangling, with blood dripping down from them, it’s all really nice imagery. They work the creep factor and that, in addition to the creative kills on a low budget definitely make this film worth watching!

Two last thoughts, Brinke Stevens is in this a whole lot more than you expect. It’s a supporting role, but more than a cameo just to get a credit on the box cover. And second, we do get a twist at the end… And it’s not the one you expect. This thing is definitely worth spending 86 minutes of yueltide cheer on.

A Christmas Carol (2013)


I’m not going to waste time recapping the synopsis of A Christmas Carol. If you don’t know the story of A Christmas Carol, then you’re really in the wrong place. And indeed, the wrong movie… Which may be the key to watching and understanding it all together.
The 2013 edition of A Christmas Carol seems to be vehemently hated by the reviewers up on IMDb. But I’m not sure that it deserves the hate that it gets. The thing is, this vision of A Christmas Carol isn’t the straightforward film that everybody was expecting. It’s visually stylized and gorgeously realized, but it comes off almost as more of a music video style story then a feature film. It’s focused very much on the imagery and layering concepts and frames on top of each other. This leads to long stretches, particularly when Scrooge is observing the scenes the ghosts set before him, that are merely dialogue. There are stretches over and over with the actor or the narrator simply speaking to the audience, telling, not showing. But the telling is done in a beautiful mosaic way. Clouds and fire overlaid on top of the image of men and ghosts. It had to have been a hundred days of green screen for these guys, and yet the effect is quite striking. Indeed, it’s so visual, it might actually have made a better comic book than a film.
That’s not to say there isn’t a traditional narratives here as well. The vignettes of Scrooge and Cratchit, the scenes at the Cratchit household and the scenes of Scrooges past they’re all presented in straightforward and competent manner. Someone’s going to a lot of trouble to arrange filming at historical sites to make it work right. That’s impressive. Doing a period piece on a low budget is a Herculean task, and this crew has pulled it off admirably.
Of course the low budget is a big part of the problem. It shows. Those blank walls? While they’re perfectly appropriate for historical building, and probably quite stunning to be inside, they come off as long stretches of negative space in a film. They may actually be more accurate than some of the more lush adaptions of dickens work out there, but we’re so used to greater detail and more complex that design, that for all the authenticity that they add, they also bring the production down in their planes.
Also present are the pervasive close shots. Tight one/two shots of people, with a camera in close enough so that you see very little of the dark and background. The gloom of course, is there to hide the more modern architecture of the room. They do their best to get around it. Every trick in the book, including overlays, shooting through windows, lighting and framing, but those type of shots are always a hallmark of a low budget film production that does not have room to show a well dressed background.

The greatest failing here though, is it it’s cast. The director has cast a bunch of theater actors, and it shows. There is great enunciation, but it comes at the cost of passion and emotion. The performance would absolutely reach the back of the room in a stage setting, but Scrooge in particular, lacks expression necessary to convey the emotion that he must show, increasingly so as the film goes on.
Nevertheless, I see it for both what it is and what it could be. I really enjoy this movie, and considering this is a very early work for this Director, I see a lot of promise here. For me, this is a perfect companion piece. Certainly not a main version, not my first choice, but probably my second… and definitely a perfect party movie. In the background of a crowded room, you could look up to a television and know exactly what’s happening, and benefit from the Christmas setting and provides us. It’s an admirable stylized effort, and really needs to show up as a special feature on a better edition rather than the main feature itself.

Christmas Bloody Christmas


 I’m not even trying to bury the lead here. Christmas Bloody Christmas may be the surprise hit of the season.

I was fortunate enough to catch a advance screening of this on Saturday night. That’s cool because I’m not expecting this to hit many theaters (it’s a Shudder release), but nevertheless, Cleveland film scene knows what’s good and holy crap, this was good.

It begins with some trashy retro throwback commercials, culminating in an advertisement for a new robotic Santa that stores and malls can use to replace the ones they would hire for the season. They’re made from army surplus robots… Refurbished killing machines now designed to delight children of all ages. I sat back in my seat and looked over at my buddy Mark said “please let this be with the movies about!”. Chopping Mall with Santa robots? Yes, please.

We open with our main character Tori, heading into work at the record store that she owns (I think it’s a record store. There’s lots of albums there and she’s definately an audiophile. It could be a “Exchange” type store though too – I see VHS and comic posters around as well). It’s a nice bit of business with her saving her friends boyfriend from buying the wrong record as a present, and some pleasant banter with her employee Robbie. There’s some banter as they’re ready to close at the shop. But Tori is not feeling Christmas. She doesn’t like it, and really all she wants to do is hook up with a random Tinder date. No problem of course, is that this Tinder date is an absolutely horrifying douche bag and will only make her the mockery of everyone she knows. Robbie joins her as they head down the street to the toy store where Tori’s friends work. They’re staying over that night because they are great ambition is to schupt in their toy store… (Okay, I gotta admit. I can’t blame them. that sounds pretty great). The friends in the toy store just so happen to have one of those robotic Santa’s. They’re actually all on recall and things probably going out the next day, but for now it’s creepily watching them as they crack open a bottle of whiskey and pass it around. After washing their friends merry Christmas Tori and Robbie are off to the bar, while the toy shop people get busy on Santas throne.

That’s about the time that the Santa robot comes to life and hilarity ensues.

Look, I’m not even going any further with this synopsis because I want you to see this. I seriously want you to go see us very badly. It is everything that I wanted from this movie. We have a killer romantic Santa, the best terminator since Terminator two honestly. And we see it get progressively and progressively more robotic and damaged as we go through the film. We get good clean kills, plenty of blood, but we also get characters that we really enjoy. Quite frankly, I could do an entire movie just with Tori and Robbie clapping back at each other over music and film and boozing it up together. It’s just great stuff. I also couldn’t help but notice that every time I would think “man the only thing that would make this movie better was if this happened…“ About two minutes later, the very thing I was thinking about would happen. It’s intuitive, it’s organic, and it’s a brilliant bloody mess. I should expect no less from Director Joe Begos, who gave us the intense action packed thriller VFW. That one was a High Point and a real hidden gem. This is every bit as good… If not better. It’s just one of the best, freshest Christmas horror movies that I’ve seen in ages. Absolutely check this out on shutter or wherever else it may be streaming. 

Christmas Bloody Christmas hits theaters and begins streaming on Shudder December 9

Stealing Christmas

I happened to come across a bizarre title from 2003 called Stealing Christmas over the holiday season last year. I’m always looking for stuff to watch with the wife, and this TV movie seemed like a fairly good prospect. Tony Danza from who’s the boss, Lea Thompson from back to the future, and Betty White from 100 years of being Betty White.

Tony Danza is a bank robber, who bundles of robbery at a mall in Chicago. He barely gets away, stealing a Santa suit to try and sneak out. He then jumps on a bus, using money he found in the wallet of the Santa suit, and buys the first ticket heading anywhere but here.

Anywhere happens to be a town called Hell. I’m going to assume this is Hell Michigan, because I don’t know any other cities with that name, and it would be definitely within driving distance of Chicago. It’s smaller than advertised though, a dying town where the new mall has sucked up all the business. Danza is greeted at the bus stop by a surly teenage girl who seems to be expecting him. It turns out her mother, Thompson, runs the local Christmas tree stand and put in an order at the employment agency for a Santa Claus for the season. It’s a misunderstanding, but because the employment agency is notoriously unreliable, no other Santa arrives, and Danza figures it’s a good place to Lay low… and plan his next bank job.

It’s a traditional fish out of water story, dancing with his heavy Brooklyn accent and a gruff persona, sometimes telling the kids the way it is… Sometimes you’re feeling he’s a big softy inside. He brings in his old partner to help figure out how to blow the safe, and get him a job in Betty White’s Christmas Shop. But along the way, Danza starts to get emotionally invested in the town… Bringing in business, and being a surrogate father to Lea Thompson‘s daughter. He may be about to get cold feet out of the robbery, that is, if he isn’t exposed first and he can stop his partner.

It’s a surprisingly fun film. In many ways it almost feels like a reverse Hallmark movie. It’s not the busy city girl finding her way to the small old home town where she has to save the ranch and pull off the baking contest… In this case it’s a bad guy who’s arriving in a strange (but still small) town and has to save the town before he rob the bank. Me, I’m always rooting for the robbers to get away with it, but it doesn’t feel like that sort of film… It’s a strange mix. Still, all the familiar faces keep you engaged and the performances are genuinely good. Tony Danza is just being Tony Danza, Lea Thompson is just being Lea Thompson, and Betty white… Well, you know the drill. Still, I enjoyed this way more than I expected to, and if you can track it down on streaming You could do worse.

A Boy Called Christmas

In our house, our tradition for Christmas Eve is the kids get new pajamas, and then we all get together for a Christmas movie. My wife was scrolling through and found something in the same Netflix category as the Christmas Chronicles. It had a similar feel and she watched about 15 minutes of it, before deciding this would be a good one for this year. The film is A Boy Called Christmas.

The movie reminds me a great deal of L Frank Baum‘s the life and adventures of Santa Claus. That’s really what it is. It’s Claus as a young boy, in desperate poverty, he was left alone when his father goes out to hunt for a miracle to save the town. Young Nicholas soon followed him, having discovered a secret map to the legendary city of Elf Helm, hidden in his red hat… You know, the one lined with fur?

Nicholas and his small pet mouse begin the arduous journey across barren snowscapes to seek out the land of the elves, along the way making friends with a reindeer that he names Blitzen… after his favorite lake.

But when Nicholas finds Elf Helm, he discovers a chilly reception. They don’t want humans here, they’re distrustful and his life is now on the line, unless he can somehow prove that humans are good.

This is good. I mean it’s shockingly good. We have enjoyed the Christmas Chronicles a couple of years previous which were fine fantasy, elevated by Kurt Russell, but it still very traditional in it’s Christmas imagery. A Boy Called Christmas looks more like straight fantasy – though you never forget that it is indeed a Christmas film. it’s a great adventure with amazing characters, and is narrated by Dame Maggie Smith (in intermissions much like grandfather in The Princess Bride).

I liked this WAY more than I expected to. It hits all the right notes, with fantasy, adventure, drama all wrapped up in a Christmas package.

The Munsters Scary Little Christmas

I found this at the dollar tree sometime either this past spring or summer 2020. I came across it for something else in my library, and decided it was finally time to throw this in the DVD player and give it a spin.

I know I was in trouble almost immediately, when it became apparent that wasn’t Fred Gwynne on the cover. I understand how universal would’ve been eager to try and reboot the Munsters in 1996. The massive success of the two Addams family films made it seem like a simple prospect. But there’s some significant differences between the Addams family and the Munsters . Scant as it may be, the Addams family has source material. It may just be a collection of single panel cartoons by artist Charles Adams, but it defined The look and ethic of the TV series, movies, and all other sundry sequels. With the Munsters however, they are the source material. Yes, I understand they’re based on the universal monsters, but Herman Munster is not Frankenstein. Grandpa is not Dracula. They are their own unique creations, defined by the actors who stepped into those roles.

This is one of the immediate places where these Munsters reboots fail. The actor playing Herman just doesn’t look right. He’s not tall enough to proportion out that barrel chest, nor is his face long enough. And would’ve gone along way towards that, as well as an additional half inch at the top of the four head appliance. Grandpa is even worse. We have Jack Klompus, (The rival of Jerry’s father in Seinfeld) done up in corpse paint and an incomprehensible false nose. He lacks the roundness of Al Lewis, not to mention his charm. He’s chewing the scenery and doing his own thing, and it’s jarring. Herman at least attempt to act like Herman… When he remembers to. But it’s a cartoonish exaggeration, something that was earnest when Gwynne would do it. Honestly, I am completely incredulous that they didn’t just bite the bullet and hire Brad Garrett. That man had been preparing for that role his entire life, and he was definitely available for a TV movie or two in 1996.

The other big difference between this and the Addams family reboots, is money. Those two films had an enormous budget, they backed up the stellar performance by Raul Julia and Christopher Lloyd with a well-funded background design. You can see a huge difference by the time we get to the Addams Family Reunion, where the scanty Power Rangers TV budget makes the whole thing look so cheap that even the brilliance of Tim Curry can’t save it.

Likewise, this series looks cheap. I realize that HD TV wasn’t a thing in 1996, but I’m watching this on DVD in standard definition and I can still see the seams on the ears and the noses. You can spot the eyebrow pencil being used to create the widows peaks. They re-created the costumes all right, but they look cheap. Fur around Santa‘s boot falls down at one point, circling his ankle, and they leave it in. Even the film stock feels… Less than.

The exterior set Is done well enough, it’s a facade that’s designed to look more like the Addams family house than the monster one though, and the actors they use who are pretending to be animatronics, well, it just looks a little dumb… Much the way it did in Kiss meets the Phantom of the park. I just keep coming back to that. The whole thing just looks cheap.

For their parts, the actress playing Lily, and the kid playing Eddie do a good enough job. Marilyn too. But the truth is, they’re mostly walking props. The focus isn’t on them, though when Lily does get a little something to do, I do feel like I’m watching Yvonne DiCarlo. It’s good.

Since they’ve moved from Transylvania to Southern California – really? – Eddie just isn’t in the Christmas spirit. It’s too different here, he’s getting bullied at school, and he’s just down. So the family devises their own plans to make him feel better. Marilyn wants to throw a party with all of their relatives… A good excuse to bring in as many universal monsters as possible! Lily on the other hand thinks that what Eddie  needs is involvement in the community… Kind of like in a Charlie Brown Christmas. Herman thinks he can solve it by getting Eddie the perfect Christmas gift, and goes off to look for a second job so he can afford it. Grandpa just believes all Eddie needs is snow. Herman and Marilyn’s plans are quickly sidelined, they’re not even the “B” storyline… Although they do get referenced at the very end. The main thrust of the story comes when grandpa accidentally transports Santa into his lap instead of snow. Then the movie becomes a story about how the Munsters have to get Santa back to the north pole and save Christmas. But can they do it in time? Santas got to lecherous elves with him who would really like the night off and they might just have a thing or two to say about it!

It’s just weird. It feels like somebody took a bunch of puzzle pieces that may or may not fit together, tossed them all into a blender and poured out this movie. I can almost see The writers room with a couple of checklists.

Munsters costumes question Check.
Herman in a Santa suit? Check.
Herman in a biker costume? Check.
Junior high bullies? Check. Santa Claus? Check.
Comedic misunderstanding? Check.
Munsters saved Christmas? Check.
Nosy neighbor? Check.
Holiday contest? Check.
Fruitcake? Check.
Subverting Christmas archetypes for comedic affect? Check.
Drag U La? Check.

It’s all here, it’s all mashed up, safe as can be, but with no coherent vision or Throughline. It’s so safe, no network exact could possibly have said no. But, that makes it so by the numbers, what’s here to get me to watch this instead of a rerun of Baywatch?

Perhaps I’m being a little hard on this, it was the third attempted monster reboot over the course of about five years. But still, this thing is pretty much a stinker. It looks nice on my shelf of misunderstood Christmas movies, but I can’t recommend it in anyway shape or form.

New Years Evil

The Capitol couldn’t manage to  put on thier 12 hours of terror marathon this year, but did pull together a smaller one; a four film night called Season’s Bleedings. Of the movies in that lineup, the one I was most looking forward too was New Years Evil. Not only have I never seen it before, I’d never even heard of it.

New Years evil is a straightforward slasher. We have Diane (Roz Kelly – if you ever watched Happy Days, you may remember her as Pinky Tuscadareo) basically a pre MTV VeeJay, hosting a Nu Wave countdown for New Years. The special is spread across all time zones, with diffrent countdowns in each one. But she caught the attention of a serial killer who also has plans for each time zone – a murder each for each one! Now it’s up to the hapless ’80s cops to track down and capture the killer before he gets to his last victem; Diane herself.

It’s an interesting enough setup, but the film itself is LOADED with problems. Setting aside my own preferance for a monster or a masked killer (This one just has an interesting assortment of costumes, false glasses and moustaches – though he does don a strange Stan Laurel mask at the very end) I’m genuinely not sure who to root for here. Obviously we’re ment to side with Diane, but honestly, she’s so unlikeable. She’s a disinterested mom, and really dosen’t even care that her emasculated and drunken husband is either shacked up or on a bender (I actually though he was he Ex from the way she talked about him), just got to get on with the show! And can we be real for a moment? Roz Kelly, at this point in her career, was not passing for a punk princess. Even if she were trying, the fact that she’s got a 20 year old son (and even he’s just…yuck) just makes her too old to be a pop idol. Heavy makeup over bad skin just drive home the slightly karen-esque characterization.

On the other hand, I’m not rooting for the killer either. We don’t get an explination for his motivation until well into the third act, and even then, he feels like a loser. He also never really ingratiates us with cool kills like a Jason or Michael. It’sjust stabby stabby with the switchblade and no set pieces until the final bit at the end.

The cops are basically cardboard cutouts. And this movie could have REALLY benifited from a charasmatic investigator. A Thomas Harris type like Will Graham or Clarice Starling (for that matter, a more charismatic villian would have been equally helpful). These guys aren’t even there to be stereotypes for kills. they’re just…there.

The one notabel thing abotu this film thoguh is the soundtrack. While our rocker crowd and VeeJay are really more….hollywood’s IDEA of what rockers should be like, the two bands featured in the film are the real deal. Made in Japan and Shadow are both good bands cranking out music that is authentic for the era. The real problem is, they’re good, but not GREAT – and on the Sunset strip….good dosen’t really get you anywhere. Still, the soundtrack is actually my favorite thing about this movie.

Despite my issues, this is worth a watch. It’s not a keeper, and I think that smack dab in the middle of a marathon like this is the perfect way to watch it. If it hits streaming like Pluto or Tubi, it’s worth 90 minuets, just for the curiosity alone.