A Christmas Horror Story DVD Review
Written by R.J. MacReady
DVD released by RLJ Entertainment
Directed by Grant Harvey, Steven Hoban and Brett Sullivan
Written by James Kee, Sarah Larsen, Doug Taylor and Pascal Trottier
2015, 107 Minutes, Not Rated
Blu-ray and DVD released on November 24th, 2015
William Shatner as Dangerous Dan
Rob Archer as Krampus
George Buza as Santa
Zoe De Grand Maison as Molly
Alex Ozerov as Ben
Shannon Kook as Dylan
Amy Forsyth as Caprice Bauer
Olunike Adeliyi as Kim
Adrian Holmes as Scott
Julian Richings as Gerhardt
A Christmas Horror Story is an oddity. Going in I knew nothing other than that it was a horror anthology, and it had William Shatner in it. Fifteen minutes in and I'll admit I was a bit frustrated with the format because I'm used to horror anthologies that present individual story after story, most of the time tied together via a through-story or wrap-around story.
But A Christmas Horror Story tells bits and pieces of each tale concurrently, ducking and weaving in and out of the stories at random intervals that frequently left me confused for a few seconds as to which I was currently in.
Luckily most of the tales are strong enough that after a while I got used to it and went with the flow. William Shatner plays a radio DJ who's only barely connected to any of the stories, and is probably only in the movie to get the filmmakers' the money they needed to shoot it. I'm not going to blame them (or him), as the Shat does no harm and is amusing enough in his brief stint.
The narratives involve a haunted school, a changeling, a family who may have incurred the wrath of Krampus, and finally Santa Claus having to deal with zombie elves before taking on Krampus himself. Now seeing all that written out myself, I'll admit that it sounds pretty terrible, but trust me when I say it turns out to be a fun little movie with a decent twist at the end.
There's plenty of gore, most of it practical, and Krampus himself looks pretty damn impressive. You find out in the Making Of that he's played by a giant muscle-bound man with some great makeup and prosthetic horns on. As far as Christmas horror goes there really aren't a lot of decent ones, so it's nice to see another added to the list.
Video and Audio:
Presented in 1.85:1 widescreen, and the picture looks great. The cinematography of Gavin Smith is on point, with lush colors and full frames and a couple of absolutely gorgeous shots.
The sound is Dolby Digital 5.1, which sounds fine, but my setup never really tests it to the limits.
The features are barebones here. There is the Behind The Scenes of A Christmas Horror Story featurette that clocks in at just under 15 minutes and contains both the standard "The script was so good" moments as well as more interesting factoids and shots during action scenes revealing some of how they did what they did. A commentary track would have been welcome, and not cost much additional disk space.