It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Krampus, A CHRISTMAS CAROL And MORE!
In this Issue:
- Horror History: It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Krampus
- Image of the Week: More Of Gravy Than Of Grave, You Say?
- Tiny Bites – This Week’s Best Horror Headlines
- Things We Love: … – – – …
- Hey, That’s Us! – Shudder in the News
HORROR HISTORY: IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE KRAMPUS
By Jeff Ewing*
Some activities will forever be associated with the Christmas season: Roasting chestnuts over a fire; waking up early to catch the morning snowfall, with presents by the tree; dressing up like a horned demon-goat-man and threatening to shove bad neighborhood kids in a sack. You know, Christmas classics.
Depending on the region, Christmas is usually associated with St. Nicholas or Santa Klaus, but the lesser-known companion to the jolly red-suited gift-giver is Krampus, the ‘Christmas Devil’. Popular in parts of Germany, Austria, and other nearby countries, Krampus is a horned beast with hooves, dark fur, and a long, red tongue. Often appearing with a chain, a sack, and/or birch sticks for kid-swatting, he’s said to punish bad children by dragging them to the underworld as a sort of contrast against St. Nicholas, who gives gifts to the good ones. In short, Krampus is Christmas horror par excellence.
In countries that believe in Krampus, the beast is celebrated on December 5th, a night known as Krampusnacht. Modern celebrations include Krampuslauf, a run where people are chased through streets by men dressed as the creature. At one point, Krampus beliefs and celebrations were suppressed by the Catholic Church and even outlawed by fascists during WWII. Krampus has, however, had a major resurgence in the last few decades.
Krampus memorabilia, greeting cards (which originated in the 1800s), and representations in popular media are more prominent than ever. For fans of unconventional Christmas tales (and especially Christmas horror), this is a great time to be a fan of the Christmas Devil, who features prominently in a number of films, including Night of the Krampus (2013) and the anthology A Christmas Horror Story (2015).
The most notable film in recent years to feature the creature is Mike Dougherty’s fantasy-horror-comedy Krampus (2015). Following the dysfunctional Engel family as they prepare for Christmas, young son Max becomes angry at his family and declares his hatred for them and for Christmas itself. He tears up his letter to Santa, scattering it to the wind. The town is soon subjected to a sudden blizzard and power outage as the Engles are terrorized by a massive, horned creature alongside a host of other Christmas-themed beasties. With great performances, excellent creature design, and a great balance of scares and humor, Krampus is an excellent celebration of the iconic Eastern-European holiday demon.
*Jeff Ewing is a screenwriter who writes for Forbes on genre film and television, with a focus on horror in particular. He recently co-edited Stranger Things and Philosophy: Thus Spake The Demogorgon for Open Court, and often overthinks perfectly good films.
IMAGE OF THE WEEK
More Of Gravy Than Of Grave, You Say?
As A Christmas Carol gets a new, terrifying remake from the BBC, let us take you back to the truly horrifying image of Jacob Marley. You can see the ghost here in this illustration by E. A. Abbey from the 1876 American Household Edition of Dickens’ classic. But why does he have the sash on his head? To prevent his decaying jaw from falling off.
THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, PELOTON AND MORE
Sophia Takal gave us some early Christmas presents with these Black Christmas stills from the upcoming remake.
Popsugar put together a stellar list of Christmas horror classics including Christmas Evil, Gremlins, and, of course, Krampus (2015).
Did horror-comedies define the last decade of film? Mashable seems to think so.
In Fabric is making serious waves, and the Los Angeles Times is here to explore its satirical horror.
WhatCulture put together a quiz to see if you can guess who said it, Chucky, Freddy, or Pinhead? It’s harder than you think.
For the Chicago Reader, the Unspookable podcast breaks down horror stories for kids aged eight to 13.
The highly anticipated Train To Busan sequel finally has a name and a release date.
Continue leafing through the Best of the Decade lists with this look at the best horror novels of the past ten years.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina may be the go-to teen horror show du jour, but SyFy Wire is all about Riverdale’s tongue-in-cheek, campy approach to the genre.
Honor the contribution to the horror community that is this attempt to make sense of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre timeline. Thoughts and prayers.
THINGS WE LOVE
… – – – …
HEY, THAT’S US! – SHUDDER IN THE NEWS
Rolling Stone’s 10 Best Horror Movies of 2019 (Tigers Are Not Afraid)
Hypebeast’s Top 10 Shows of 2019 (Creepshow)
The A.V. Club’s best films of 2019 that we didn’t review (One Cut Of The Dead)