Flying in with his red-nosed, rubber chicken, Sventa Claus dropped in on Fantasy Costumes last weekend to greet fans. I’d seen him there last October in his less festive, Svengoolie, persona and it was notable for attracting a large turnout despite inclement weather. In contrast, this December day was sunny and in the 60’s proving once again that, so far as the weather goes, Chicago’s always riding the Bi-Polar Express. This would mark the horror host’s final 2017 appearance and third as Sventa. Unable to attend the previous two, I made it a point to rearrange my schedule for this one. And so, with a camera strap around my neck and a poster tube under each arm, I made my way to Fantasy Costumes a.k.a. my 82nd Svengoolie appearance!
The Daves would like to wish our fellow American monster fans a very Happy Thanksgiving while also giving them the bird! No, not just any bird, mind you, but a “battleship” sized fowl from another dimension! I’m referring, of course, to the 1957 quintessential “turkey,” The Giant Claw. This film’s not only achieved cult status for all the wrong reasons but has since gone on to become something of a Thanksgiving movie tradition (for fun people who hate football). In fact, about seven years ago I included it as part of my list of Thanksgiving-related genre films. I remember at the time wondering if I wasn’t reaching a bit by having it on there but those doubts were all erased last July during a “Hollywood Kaiju Strikes Back” panel at G-FEST XXIV. Although the Godzilla Festival revolves around Japanese monsters, Martin Arlt and Archie Waugh gave an entire hour to some of their American contemporaries. This included such atomic menaces as The Deadly Mantis and The Beginning of the End while saving the best of the worst for last. Our moderators introduced the film by informing is it was their Thanksgiving movie tradition. So I not only walked away feeling validated regarding my list, but also with enough tidbits to offer YOU this special Turkey Day blog. And if that isn’t a reason to feel thankful, then we just don’t know what is!
It’s no surprise that after the success of last year’s Krampus more films on this subject would pop up, only with much smaller budgets. To be fair, Christmas’ anti-Santa had already been gaining steam here in the States before mainstream Hollywood decided to finally give him his big break. Personally, I loved Michael Dougherty’s film; saw it three times at the theater when it came out and another three this year at home. It’s pretty much replaced Holiday Inn (1942) as my favorite Christmas movie which is odd considering it’s dark nature. Or maybe not so strange at all. Despite the seemingly odd pairing of Christmas and horror, it’s often been a fun one. We’ve covered Yuletide horror movies before, many featuring murderous Santa Claus’, but never on any that dealt with Krampus. So this year I decided (with the amazing help of Jason Schoolcraft who works with the other Dave in Rhode Island and has been a great friend to both of us) that it was time to start sorting through all these Krampus-themed films and find out which ones are holiday gifts versus cinematic lumps of coal. Let’s get started…
It was a chilly December evening when I headed up to Elgin, Illinois to experience their annual “Krampus Krawl.” After seeing it advertised during the city’s Nightmare on Chicago Street, I knew it was something I had to experience first hand, and I’m so glad that I did! I mean, seriously, just because Halloween is over doesn’t mean we still can’t enjoy a few more sinister events before the year is out. This particular one was brought to Elgin by John LaFleur and sponsored by Side Street Studios whom I’ve mentioned before. Their shop served as Svengoolie’s headquarters during the last “Nightmare” and I swear if I lived anywhere near Elgin, I’d be signing up for just about every workshop and art class they have to offer! Though the celebration of Krampuslauf is relatively new to American culture, the recent success of the film, Krampus, along with other events popping up around the country show that it’s quickly gaining its own spot on our busy December calendars. The festival originated in the Alpine regions of Europe and honors the darker version of St. Nicholas; a horned creature named Krampus whose job isn’t to reward the good kids but punish the naughty ones. With our culture’s shift towards more self-entitled and less, shall we say, respectful children, one can’t help but wonder if the sudden rise of Krampus over the past decade is much of a coincidence. Regardless of whatever possible sociological commentary it may carry (if any) it’s definitely proving to be a lot of fun for us naughty adults!
Here’s how the night unfolded…
The Daves are pleased to welcome back our very first guest writer, Jamie Lee Cortese!
Horror comedy is a very interesting and diverse genre. “Horror comedy” sounds like an oxymoron, but horror and comedy go together so well, and there are so many ways to approach this fun genre.
Terror from Beyond the Daves is pleased to welcome back, guest writer Brandon Engel…
Vampires have long been associated with passion, seduction, immortality — and fear. Every day, millions of couples flock to theme parks for the privilege of plunging into darkness, careening at top speed around blind corners, hearts pumping and blood racing as they cling to one another for dear life. Vampire movies demonstrate the lengths to which we will go for survival and love, and that either, without the other, has little value. If you’re among those who would rather explore the deepest recesses of the human heart together than exchange candy hearts, this list is for you.
The Daves would like to welcome guest blogger Brandon Engel to our site with his insight on the 1974 movie BLACK CHRISTMAS!
Often cited as one of the first true “slasher” films, BLACK CHRISTMAS puts a scary spin on time-honored holiday traditions. When threatening phone calls escalate to the cold-blooded murder of a group of college co-eds, tensions run high and the looming threat of death hangs alongside the perennial mistletoe. The anxious figures of an era – liberated feminists with loose morals, urban legends, restless youth – stamped a template for a new subgenre of scary films.