monsters!!!

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Krampus comes to Suburbia

Published December 8, 2015 by vfdpixie

Krampus

Krampus (2015, 98 mins.)

 

The frenzy and stress of pulling off a perfect Christmas can put a damper on the spirit of good will, charity and the more important things in life.  In Michael Dougherty’s Krampus, we learn there is a price to pay when we ignore these core values of the holiday spirit.

The Engels are stressed out.  Tom (Adam Scott) and Sarah (Toni Colette), have organized an elaborate Christmas spread for their family, including Sarah’s sister Linda (Allison Tolman), her husband Howard (David Koechner), their four rambunctious children, and Omi (Krista Stadler), Tom’s German mother.  In tow is the gate crashing Aunt Dorothy (Conchata Ferrell), who just can’t be pleased.  Presents, food and decorations take the spotlight as they gather for some holiday cheer.  Unfortunately, they argue, toss barbs at each other, and Aunt Dorothy adds a certain acidic spice to the train wreck festivities.  Right in the middle is Max (Emjay Anthony), Sarah’s son, who tells his concerned Omi that he hasn’t sent his letter to Santa yet, sad that his family has forgotten what Christmas is about.  After being ridiculed for his letter by his mean cousins, he rips it up and tosses it out the window.  To his Omi’s dismay, Max unwittingly awakens the sinister Krampus and his nightmare minions who terrorize the family amidst a freak storm.

This pixie loves the legend of Krampus.  I’m sure if I was aware of him as a child, I would have been gleefully terrified and perhaps developed a phobia, but luckily I came across this horned hellion in my old age.  It’s scary, it’s pagan, and it keeps all the shiny happy people in their place during the Christmas season.  With the many Krampus contributions to the big screen, Rare Exports:  A Christmas Tale being my Krampus litmus test, I think this one is a decent effort.

Dougherty, the mastermind behind the Halloween modern classic Trick ‘r Treat, conveys the Krampus legend with a slightly schmaltzy, feel-good message.  He emphasizes the importance of remembering love and family during the holidays, and the film is a mixture of references such as Gremlins, Puppet Master and a touch of Home Alone, but that’s surprisingly o.k.  Despite the routine holiday spirit lesson, the need for a shorter second act, and the slightly predictable ending, there’s an ominous vibe that makes the film really work.  The large cast jibed well off each other, with the comedy star power of Koechner and Ferrell keeping the one-liners sharp and smart. My only wish would have been to see the versatile Collette flex her comedy muscles a bit more.

What Dougherty also does right is the Krampus character design which was simply delightful.  I loved his take on the Yuletide demon with gigantic hooves clomping thunderously through suburbia.  And be sure to pay attention to the evil toys Krampus leaves the family.  Another display of great character design created with both practical and digital effects.  Definitely the highlight of the film.

It’s fair to say that despite a few minor issues, Krampus should be added to your horror Christmas roster.  It’s a ton of fun overall, does justice to a great creepy Christmas legend, and perfect for scaring all the little brats in your life.

 

Dark Moon Issue #3 Scares up Sci-fi Horror for Halloween!

Published October 28, 2015 by vfdpixie

darkmoon3

Dark Moon Issue #3

Art by Benedick Bana

It’s almost Halloween and Dark Moon Comic is all about the treats.  To Freematik, creator of the innovative motion comic, this holiday is about sharing creativity, and to celebrate the launch of the first comic last Halloween, the third and last part of their introductory sci-fi horror trilogy will be released for free on October 29th.

The first two issues brought us a team of survivors beamed to a mysterious moon as the Earth is hit by a deadly meteor.  They are led by Dante, the scientist responsible for saving them, who finds the moon has perils of its own in the way of hostile and hungry creatures.  Surrounded by these beasts, they discover an alien outpost and take cover while trying to figure out their next move.  As they explore the base, they find out what the beasts are and how they got to the moon.

The third installment finds the group’s numbers dwindling and Dante reflecting on the remaining survivors fate.  His inner process comes to the forefront as he feels the guilt of placing them all between a rock and a hard place, and he is desperate to get them off of a planet teeming with bloodthirsty creatures.  And if some of you were wondering, we also learn what has happened on Earth after the meteor hit.

Once again, Dark Moon transports you to a brutal place.  We see aliens run amok and a conflicted leader who wills himself to save this random group of characters.  It was nice to see more back story for both the Earth’s fate and Dante’s relationship to each of the fallen.  Of course, the artwork is absolutely stunning with all the near 3-D detailing accented by bursts of vibrant colours, and the sensory experience is completed with the trippy soundtrack.

I think the average comic reader could get used to this, spoiling them with HD visuals, an engaging story and the added hip-hop fusion scoring.  These mini movies will keep you wanting more story and more creatures, so here’s hoping Freematik and artist Benedick Bana will surprise us with something in the near future (but not like, death by meteor near future…)

Check them out on Twitter : @DarkMoonComic

and their deviant art site: http://freematik.deviantart.com/ to check out issues 1 and 2 so you’ll be ready for the alien chaos in issue 3…all for free!

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