The Yuletide festivities are upon us once again and we can now begin counting down to the big day with the 12 days of flickmas. What better way to kick off the celebrations than by revisiting Michael Dougherty’s dark comedy, Krampus!
Every year, the trusty Die Hard debate strikes: is it really Christmas without Hans Gruber falling from the Nakatomi Tower? Let’s all agree to disagree with that one.
Actually, the question we should all be asking: is it really Christmas without a good family feud? Here’s where Krampus succeeds, with an appreciation for the wholesome holiday and a twist of the dagger of cynicism right into its heart.
There’s few Christmas movies that truly capture the essence of the festive season; the stress of finding the right gift on time, anticipating the in-laws visiting, catering to the boozy foul-mouthed relative who isn’t even a relative, how about that picture of perfectionism? Max Engel (Emjay Salazar) understands all too well with a family dysfunctional enough to rival the Bundys – of Married…with Children, just so we’re clear.
Krampus has it all, right down to the pompous uncle. Of course, what hits the nail is the striking opening scene depicting mall shop riots and the evils of consumerism. Fire Bing Crosby crooning atop the chaos and the tone for the rest of the film is captured fairly well. Never mind satanic Santa, bargain shoppers on a Black Friday deal are the real demons in this cult horror.
Things go from bad to worse for Max, now a boy whose family’s spite has rendered his Christmas spirit meaningless. It’s a feeling every teen can relate to. One year, it’s decorations galore; the next thing you know, the magic of Christmas is dwindling and you’re left clinging to youthful innocence whilst trapped inside the house with feuding relatives. It’s a dream scenario really.
Now, Max isn’t a bad kid, he just wants that festive spark back – and for his family to start getting along. Cue Krampus and the merry band of elves, who promptly remind Max to be careful what he wished for when the Engels are picked off one by one.
The moral of the story with Krampus teaches you to embrace all those little things you hate, like your uncle’s obnoxious ‘know it all’ personality or that your parents still tell you off for swearing in front of them. It may not be the conventional festive flick, but it deserves a place on the list!
What’s Christmas without a small disagreement amongst loved ones? I’m not saying to take Krampus literally, it’s still a goofy horror, but its representation of a worn out household isn’t too far off. Nothing brings the family closer than some board game tension. Maybe the Die Hard debacle is necessary every year after all, just to stir the pot.