14 Days of Christmas Horror | Krampus

We guide you through 14 days of Christmas Horror. Released in 2015, Krampus has become a modern horror classic. 


‘Tis may be the season for romantic comedies set in idyllic English cottages or whimsical tales of elves lost in New York, but if you’re in the mood for something a little more gory, we’ve got your back.

We guide you through 14 days of Christmas Horror. Released in 2015, Krampus has become a modern horror classic. 

Horror and comedy have always gone together. Crafting a scare is similar to crafting a joke in a scene. You need a decent build-up, perfect timing and a great performance to sell it to your audience. So it’s no wonder a lot of horror films mix a lot of comedy into their narratives and it doesn’t get much better than Krampus

With an all-star cast including Adam Scott and Toni Collette, Krampus is a Christmas film that is as funny as it is mean-spirited. Directed by Michael Dougherty, Krampus starts with a slow-motion montage of Christmas mayhem in shops, set to Bing Crosby’s ‘It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas’. Krampus reveals even regular Christmas to be a deeply unpleasant and violent affair. 

We then cut to the Engels; youngest son Max still believes in Santa and his parents Sarah and Tom (Collette and Scott) don’t have the heart to tell him he’s not real. Max is close with his German-speaking grandmother who gently offers Max a Christmas cookie when he’s feeling down and depressed for the lack of Christmas joy in his family. 

krampus max

Credit: Universal Pictures

When Sarah’s sister and her family barge in for a traditional Christmas, bringing along Aunt Dorothy, the Christmas dinner escalates to arguing and fighting. This breaks Max’s Christmas spirit, which in turn summons Krampus, the mythical anti-Santa who brings only misery and violence. 

Cue Christmas horror that borders on the ridiculous. Krampus is a real mythological creature, based on European folklore. In the film, he is described as the ‘shadow of Santa Claus’. Krampus has horns, massive hooves and terrible posture, but proves to be quite nimble as he jumps from roof to roof after Beth leaves the safety of the house to visit her boyfriend in a blizzard. 

Krampus is undeniably hilarious, but the hilarity is constantly underlined with nightmarish imagery. It’s equally disturbing and funny when Howard (David Koechner) is attacked by several, evil gingerbread men. This is how you really do murderous cookies. Take note, The Gingerbread Man

One of the kids is swallowed by a mutated jack-in-the-box, it’s truly terrifying. Krampus is surprisingly light on actual gore, unlike some of the entries in this series, but it never waters down the horror in the film. Dougherty perfectly pairs giggles and frights together completely seamlessly so you’re shrieking and howling in laughter often within the same scene. 

krampus santa

Credit: Universal Pictures

The ending to the film is particularly perfect. The ‘it was just a dream’ twist is overdone, but Doughterty turns that to his advantage as we slowly realise the true extent of the horror. Somehow Krampus is both full of Christmas spirit while also completely crushing it to bits.

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