Slay Belles Movie Review
Written by Stuart D. Monroe
Released by Epic Pictures
Directed by SpookyDan Walker
Written by Jessica Luhrssen and SpookyDan Walker
2018, 77 minutes, Not Rated
Releases on Streaming on December 4th, 2018
Barry Bostwick as Santa Clause
Kristina Klebe as Alexi
Susan Slaughter as Dahlia
Hannah Wagner as Sadie
Stephen Ford as Sean
Diane Salinger as Cherry
Richard Moll as Officer Green
There are basically two choices when it comes to your Christmas horror films. You can tear the wrapping off a big old box of intensely disturbing and serious (i.e. Sick For Toys, Krampus, Black Christmas) or you can pull the bow off the funny, silly stuff (Anna and the Apocalypse, the Jack Frost series). I’m down with either approach, but the spirit of the season really shines through when everyone involved is having fun.
Slay Belles is having some serious fun.
Alexi (Kristina Klebe; Alleluia! The Devil's Carnival), Dahlia (Susan Slaughter; Ouija House) and Sadie (Hannah Wagner; The Devil’s Carnival) are YouTubing, cosplaying urban explorers known as The Adventure Girls. They delve through creepy abandoned places and film it for the benefit of an internet audience that may or may not be there just for the skin and sexy costumes. When they enter Santa Land, however, they bite into a nasty slice of ancient fruitcake in the form of a centuries-old battle between Santa (Barry Bostwick; The Rocky Horror Picture Show) and Krampus!
I’ll tell you right up front that Slay Belles is a friggin’ blast. There isn’t one point in the scant 77-minute runtime where it takes itself seriously. The tone is comedic. The look alternates between YouTube cheese, cinematic gore, and cartoonish visuals. The ladies are busty and not afraid to flaunt it, bouncing around and properly squealing. The dialogue is hammy by design, but their chemistry makes it more fun and less of a cheesy porno vibe. It’s one of those strange blends that shouldn’t work but somehow keeps you grinning. No stone is left unturned when it comes to unabashedly going for the horror-comedy jugular.
The writing and plot structure, however, is accomplished enough to provide a solid premise and deliver on it through all the silliness. The Krampus monster is a tight piece of SFX work, providing wet gore work. There are imitation Critters that look like they might have bred with those troublesome Tribbles. There’s even a plot twist that I genuinely didn’t see coming that throws some cringeworthy physicality into the late stages. The feature debut from SpookyDan Walker keeps itself busy.
Barry Bostwick embraces the role of a biker-styled Santa living in an abandoned theme park as if he were going for either an Oscar or a Razzie (I’m still not sure which). Every time he cheesily screams “Krampus!”, I couldn’t help but laugh. It’s all just so damn goofy. Throw in some nice side work from Diane Salinger (Simone from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure) and Richard Moll (Bull from the classic sitcom Night Court) and you’ve got a pretty cool cast.
Slay Belles falls into one of my favorite sub-subgenres: the get-shitfaced-and-laugh-at-it Christmas movie. Don’t even bother to admire the shiny wrapping paper on this one if you’re in the mood for serious holiday scares. You won’t find them here.
You will find some classically fantastic Snakes in a Can, though. The label doesn’t even pretend there are peanuts inside. If you’re a connoisseur of cheese, as I am, you’ll enjoy this present. Did I mention that there are montages?