The eighties were weird time in cinematic history. Teenage werewolves who’ve found the need to fit in and become all-star athletes, a transgender serial killer who has a disdain for camping and boating, lastly, a man wearing a fedora who finds enjoyment by tormenting teens through their dreams, a weird time for films. And if you could take one of those films and use it to describe the cinema from that particular era—The Toxic Avenger, would be your best bet.
A lot of questions can be raised, in regards, to what makes The Toxic Avenger a great movie. Is it the story? No. Is it the special effects that will make Predator shake in shame? Not necessarily. Continue Reading
December 28, 2017 | Categories: Horror, Movies, Reviews | Tags: 1980's, 1984, Creature Feature, Creature Features in Review, gory, guest contributor, heroes, Horror, Kurt Thingvold, monsters, movie reviews, Movies, scary, scary movies, The Toxic Avenger, toxic waste | Leave a comment
Nothing makes Christmas better than a warm cup of cocoa or the warmth of your loved one sitting next to you, as you snuggle close to watch your favorite Christmas shows. Except, when the cable goes out and nothing seems to be on, you find yourself heading down to the nearest Redbox—you can’t break tradition ( my wife loves tradition, god help me, if I break our holiday ritual). You see that all the movies are sold out—the only one remaining is “Krampus”. You select it and move back to the house, and you and the misses continue the night. I can’t stand the holidays. My father passed away five days after Christmas and to this day: December is my month of hell, so, when it comes down to it: I fake it for my wife’s sake. Now, Holiday movies are a different kind of beast for me. I love them—they make you feel good and warm, (I can’t explain it and neither can my therapist) and you see people be happy and together—which, is always a good thing. Now, I love horror movies and holiday movies, More so, I was excited to get the opportunity to write this review. So, let’s make sure our stockings are hung tight on the fireplace with care, add a little bailey’s to our cocoa, and let’s look at “Krampus.”
For those of you who aren’t familiar with European traditions, Krampus works for Santa Claus, abducts naughty children and stuffs them into a sack, and whips them with a switch, repeatedly. Now, that you know that I feel a little safer continuing with the review.
Krampus is a holiday horror film directed by Michael Dougherty, who also directed, “Trick’r’Treat”, another great holiday movie, and will be directing the upcoming “Godzilla” Sequel. Which, if you’ve seen “Trick’r’Treat”, you can imagine what type of movie “Krampus” will be. A bit of humor, and a bit of terror.
The story takes place on Dec.22. A suburbanite family is preparing for their annual Christmas get together. Tom and Sarah and their two children: Max and Beth. Sarah’s sister Linda and her husband, and their three children. Along with their German-speaking grandmother, Omni. The family has a bit of a falling out, and max rips up his letter to Santa—which summons the Krampus, who appears when people have lost their Christmas spirit have lost their Christmas spirit (unlike, the Germanic folklore of Krampus beating naughty children with sticks). The power is cut and all hell breaks loose, family member begins to disappear and toys start attacking the family. Omni reveals that the family is being tormented by the Krampus, and tells of a time when she had lost her Christmas spirit and her hometown was dragged to hell. Max finds Krampus loading his sleigh with his family members and begs and pleads with the demon to return his family, and that he will appreciate Christmas and never lose sight of it again. Contemplating the plea—Krampus opens up a portal to hell, and max apologizes, considering his apology, drops the child into the pit.
Max screams and wakes up, back into his bed—on Christmas Eve, with everything back to normal. The camera pans out and you see the house in a snow globe, as Krampus watches the house to make sure, the Christmas spirit is never broken again.
The movie wasn’t bad, and it wasn’t good. It was well worth the Redbox price. One thing I will praise this film for are the special effects. Weta workshop nailed the look and feel of what I think are demonic toys. Krampus looked amazing as well. While I can’t praise a movie for special effects alone (learned my lesson after the Beowulf movie). Also, the dysfunctional family plays out well. It feels like Gremlins—I like that.
One thing that I feel is: The story is too generic, the twist ending, the grandma who knows what’s going on and the overall trope of the family. It felt like any other holiday movie when it could have been something, so, different and magical. Yet, it stayed too much into the Holiday trope of killer presents, and everything working out again and starting something anew. It had a lot of hits and misses with me.
Overall, I had fun with the movie, and my wife…well…she thought it was “Okay”, and that’s the best response I can manage to get out of her. I would have loved to have added this movie to my holiday library, I just feel, now is not the time.
Kurt Thingvold was born and raised in IL. He finds passion in writing, that helps calm his demons. He grew up in a tough household that encouraged reading and studying. He spends his time writing in multiple of genres. His published short story, Roulette, can be found on Amazon. When not writing he can be found playing games, reading, or attempting to slay the beast known as “Customer Service”, which, he fails at almost every day. Kurt is a frequent flyer here on Machine Mean, you can also check out his review on Ridley Scott’s legacy movie Alien here.
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December 20, 2016 | Categories: Horror, Movies, Reviews | Tags: 2015, Christmas, Christmas Eve, Christmas horror, Comedy, dark fiction, Demonic, demonic toys, devils, fiction, film, folklore, German folklore, gingerbread, Guest author, hell, holiday horror, Holidays, horns, Horror, horror comedy, Krampus, Kurt Thingvold, movie review, Movies, nihilism, nihilistic, Reviews, Santa Claus, scary movies, shadows, snow, teddy bears, terror, toys | 4 Comments