Krampus

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Pixie’s Christmas Binge Fest!

Published December 20, 2016 by vfdpixie

This Christmas, I could put out another Pixie’s picks for holiday viewing, but with the exception of Krampus or A Christmas Horror Story, it’s pretty much the same. See that list here, my review of Krampus here and A Christmas Horror Story here. Instead, I’d like to list a bunch of series that I’ve fallen in love with, and a couple that I’ve had no time to view. What better time to watch them then when you’re enjoying (or avoiding) family this holiday season? So here’s a list of binge-worthy shows to help you unwind with (or hide from) your favourite horror cousins, aunties and uncles this Christmas:

 

Channel Zero:  Candle Cove (Syfy)

Take 2 parts It, 1 part Twin Peaks, 3 parts The Children and give it a swirl. Strain the aforementioned inspirations and you’ll get a delectable and unique mixture of one of the most unsettling, genuinely creepy shows out there. Inspired by a Creepypasta called “Candle Cove”, writer Kris Straub has created a tense world where child psychologist Mike Painter (Paul Schneider), plagued by disturbing dreams and personal demons, returns to his hometown to revisit his twin brother’s disappearance.  When he arrives, there’s a whole lotta weirdness going on with the kids in town, and it harkens back to a local tragedy, along with a dreaded TV show that only children can see. Throw in some creepy puppets, truly intense scenes that will make your skin crawl, and fantastic, understated performances, and you have an instant horror hit.  The subsequent seasons will be based on other Creepypasta stories, so stay tuned for more uber-weirdness.

 

 

 

 

Stranger Things (Netflix)

If you are the last person on the planet that hasn’t seen this great throw back to 80’s sci-fi horror, I suggest you get a subscription to Netflix and hunker down to watch a really cool show.  The Duffer Brothers wrote and directed this story of three boys Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) desperately searching for their missing friend Will (Noah Schnapp). When they meet a mysterious and mostly silent waif of a girl they nickname “Eleven” (Millie Bobby Brown), their world changes forever. There is also a sinister government organization, an alternate reality and the missing boy’s determined mother played by Winona Ryder to provide us with plenty of chills and spills.  Season 2 is in the works, so you’d better catch up if you haven’t seen it yet!

 

 

 

 

The Exorcist: The Series (Fox or CTV)

Here is my review of this brilliant adaptation of a classic horror film to the small screen. You must see this!

 

 

 

 

Beyond the Walls: Au-Dela des Murs (Shudder)

This French mini-series is on my list to watch.  After inheriting a house from a man she doesn’t know, Lisa (Veerle Baetens) moves into the sprawling and somewhat derelict abode.  When she starts to hear noises in the house, she smashes through a wall to find a creepy and ominous world.  She’s taken on a psychological journey to deal with her past and bizarre present. The trailer alone had me.  With such beautiful and artistic scenes, I’m excited to see what director Hervé Hadmar has to offer.

 

 

 

 

Black Mirror (Netflix)

This was a show I got wind of last year, and was so enthralled with it that I had to watch it in one sitting. Here is my post on Season 1 and 2.   Season 3 is now available on Netflix. I’ve only watched 2 episodes, but it’s pretty much the same great writing and sly observations on society at large. Definitely a cup of very dark humor not to be missed.

 

 

 

 

Sense8-Christmas Special (Netflix)

For those of you who have been champing at the bit like I have to see more of this mind-blowing, multicultural, gender-bending, identity positive and incredibly produced show, champ no more!  The continuation of the trials experienced by a group of psychically connected individuals and the nefarious plot to control their powers will air on Netflix December 23rd.   This 2 hour Christmas special offered up by the prolific Wachowski sisters will be watched with glee by myself and the horror boyfriend!

 

 

 

 

Westworld (HBO)

Yet another classic film adapted for TV, but this one I haven’t had a chance to catch. I loved the 1973 movie, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about the HBO series. With a stellar cast and what seems to be a stellar production, it seems I’m in for a treat!

 

 

 

 

The Fall (Netflix/BBC2)

This gorgeous contribution to the serial killer genre is a slow-burn creeper that really gets into your head.  Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan), is an unassuming father of 2, a grief counselor and serial killer.  Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) is the detective brought in to find him and soon becomes consumed with his horrific crimes.  The two circle each other as each makes progress with their obsessions, but only one can ultimately win.  Written and directed by Alan Cubitt who also penned episodes for Prime Suspect 2, Season 3 has just been released on Netflix, and not only is it a visual treat to watch, but the writing and performances are top notch.

 

 

I hope you enjoy your binge watching whatever your tastes may be, and have a wonderful and safe holiday season!

Merry Christmas!

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.

 

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