If there was a finale for our weekend at the 2017 Indianapolis Days of the Dead convention, then surely the costume contest was it. I arrived at the hall early and roughly the same time that many of the contestants did. Just the few I passed on my way in let me know I was in for a treat. Some of the costumes weren’t just creative but downright brave. Case in point, a giant-sized Count Chocula that towered over all of us. As hard as it was for me to maneuver that crowded hallway, I could only imagine how tough it must have been for him.
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…
Before we officially begin looking forward at the big horror/thriller films 2016 has in store for us, we thought we’d take some time to look back at which films of the genre earned a permanent spot in our home video libraries last year. Most of these never made it to our local theaters so we thought we’d share our Top Ten Choices; possibly calling attention to some you may have missed. Before delving into them, we’d be remiss not giving a special Terror Dave ‘shout out’ to our friend, Jason Schoolcraft. He’s responsible for bringing most of these to our attention and his love of cinema made him the ideal person for helping us sift through the riff raff and directing us straight over to the good stuff! The following films represent our ten favorites. We’re not saying they’re critically the “best,” just that we liked them a lot and deemed them worthy of multiple viewings. Please feel free to share YOUR favorites of 2015 in the comments below!
Backcountry: I love a good “man vs. nature” film but finding a decent one can be pretty daunting. Sure there are plenty of them out there but, unfortunately, for every JAWS there’s about a hundred Sharknados. Personally, I like the ones where the animals aren’t super-sized, riding tornadoes, or boasting multiple heads. Despite our complacency, the fact is we humans are fairly easy prey items for plenty of real creatures living today. Two great examples are the Australian films, The Reef (2010) involving a shark and Black Water (2007) featuring a crocodile. Canada added another great entry to the mix this past year with a rather minimalistic story featuring two people, the great outdoors, and a marauding black bear. The tension between the main couple is occasionally reminiscent of Strangers and makes the viewer almost as quick to ignore the signs of a lurking bear as they are. By the time the animal actually does materialize, tension gives way to terror and you’ll think twice before ever veering off a forest trail again. Dave F.
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.