Getting Into The festive Mood With Krampus

“That’s a thing in Don’t Starve, I have to see it,” was my reaction to seeing a trailer for a new comedy/horror film. I don’t think the Krampus folklore is very well known where I come from, but it’s an idea dating back hundreds of years, originating in Europe. Krampus is best described as the shadow of Saint Nicholas and comes to punish those that have been naughty. It’s often depicted as a devil with horns, hooves and a monstrous tongue.

The new Krampus film came out just in time for Krampusnacht, a festival held on the 5th of December where people parade around dressed up as demons. I was able to go and see it on that very day and was thoroughly excited about it. Unfortunately I can’t say it was a perfect film, but I found it entertaining nonetheless.

Christmas is meant to be a happy and jolly occasion, about giving and being around the people we love, but some of my favourite festive stories are actually quite dark in tone, A Christmas Carol for instance. Not everybody is able to find joy around this time of the year, and many more succumb to the pressures of commercialism. Krampus opens up to the scenes of greedy shoppers fighting over goods while playing the song, ‘It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.’ I love this type of contrast between idealism and actuality – rather scarily I’ve seen videos of Black Friday that look exactly like this. The film then moves onto the chaotic and stressful preparations for the arrival of family. Despite the good acting some of the characters do feel a little too stereotypical and heavy-handed during these scenes, trying to drive the point home. I did enjoy the humour around the interaction of family members however. Admittedly, I’ve had moments where I’ve felt the same way; Why do we have to spend every year with people we have nothing in common with just because we share the same DNA?

Eventually the loss of the Christmas spirit results in the arrival of Krampus and his minions. The build-up to Krampus’ reveal is very effective, although I do feel that the pacing is lost a little later on. There were a lot of characters to clear out and much of that was handled by the minions. As such a couple of the captures feel rushed and I would have liked to have seen more of Krampus in action. Apparently, parts of the film were cut to keep the rating down and it shows. Hardcore horror fans may therefore find it a little on the light side. I wasn’t sure as to how something with horns and hooves could be made scary anyway, but some parts of it do work. I found a few of the minion designs to be genuinely creepy. The film picks up again by the finale.

Krampus reminded me a lot of the book ‘Call of the Jersey Devil
‘ by Aurelio Voltaire, in which a group finds themselves trying to survive a hellish night after finding out that the Jersey Devil is real. A gross mix of horror, charm and humour. It won’t be to everybodies tastes (there were times when only my partner and I laughed), but I walked away from the cinema feeling like I enjoyed myself. While it’s pretty dark for a festive movie, I feel like the message behind it is a positive one and serves as a reminder of the true spirit of Christmas.

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About wallcat

I have a strong passion for computing. In particular programming for which I am able to use a variety of languages including C++, Visual C#, Blitz Basic, Actionscript 2.0, Python and Lua. I also enjoy web-design and have some knowledge of HTML/CSS, PHP/SQL and Javascript. As well as programming I have a strong background in art and enjoy drawing in my spare time. When I’m not sat at my computer I like to keep fit by going to the gym or using my exercise ball.

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