In 1997, we really needed a movie like Michael Cooney’s “Jack Frost.” The decade was so serious and bereft of horror that “Jack Frost” was such a wacky and demented shot of horror comedy that baffled horror fans then and has rightfully become something of a cult classic. What’s unusual about “Jack Frost,” (a cocktail of “Child’s Play,” “The Blob” and “Sleepstalker”) is that something this ridiculous obviously had a lot of deliberate construction of its awfulness. Every shot is pointed from a weird angle, the odd color scheme for most shots are off, and a lot of the snow is so obviously fake or Styrofoam, and director Cooney doesn’t even try to hide that apparent fact.
I swear, there’s nothing more baffling and unusual than “Tales of the Third Dimension,” a horror anthology of cobbled together horror tropes that doesn’t deliver a remotely scary movie. There’s a stiff, robotic skeleton who narrates in a bad Rod Serling impression. He’s accompanied by three puppet buzzards that interact with one another like the Three Stooges, and there’s the inexplicable recurring presence of cats. It was originally supposed to be in 3D, so there are a ton of scenes obviously meant for the gimmick that just looks laugh out loud moronic sans the effect. Finally there are three bland horror tales where, I swear, the moral of one is “Be a good kid, and Santa Claus will defend you against your psychotic, mentally deranged, wheelchair bound grandmother.”
A widow, Diane, and her family celebrate their final Christmas at the family home. Typical family feuding is interrupted by a cloaked stranger. Unfortunately for them, he doesn’t come baring gifts but vengeance. Red Christmas was written and directed by Craig Anderson and stars horror legend Dee Wallace, Geoff Morrell, Sarah Bishop, David Collins, Janis McGavin, Sam Campbell, Gerard O’Dwyer, Bjorn Stewart, and Deelia Meriel.
Chris Peckover’s “Better Watch Out” is absolutely nothing like I thought it’d be. That might be a criticism by some when the movie makes its way to VOD this year, but walking in to it blind, I was stunned to find something different but still rather entertaining. “Better Watch Out” just might end up being a Christmas classic somewhere down the road, as it’s a pitch black comedy, and unusual horror thriller that derives great pleasure in its sheer sadism. I’m not usually a fan of horror movies filled with such a mean streak, but “Better Watch Out” is shockingly clever, and very slick in how it builds up its villain slowly and makes the menace in the movie more and more terrifying.
What puts you in the Holiday Spirit? What puts me in the Holiday Spirit? Honestly, as I grew up in and near Montreal, Quebec, Canada, some of my traditions are a tad different from those I live surrounded by now in Southern California. Growing up, every Holiday Season, some movies and TV shows were broadcast in Quebec for all of us to watch as an odd little community spread out over a huge, snowy territory.
Nowadays, these movies and TV shows help me get in the mood for the Holidays and as I am having a hard time getting in the Spirit this year, I figured I’d watch a bunch of them and share them with you all.
From Youtube Red and Blumhouse comes, “12 Deadly Days” a limited horror comedy anthology centered on pretty much every element of traditional Christmas. The series overall isn’t perfect, but it’s a good, entertaining horror anthology that works around the format of interwoven stories in a particular universe. “12 Deadly Days” and its formula feel very similar to that of “Trick r Treat” where every story’s end is the beginning of a new tale and situation. The first episode is easily the best of the trio of episodes I was sent, as it’s a fun twist on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Set in modern times, billionaire Scrooge begins getting haunted by a ghost and calls in a pair of ghost hunters known as The Cratchit Brothers.
It’s about time the world has caught up with “Black Christmas” and (thanks to Shout!) given it the proper treatment it’s always deserved. What is arguably one of the first slasher films ever made was always out of print and hard to find while “Halloween” was granted various editions of VHS, and DVD. While “Halloween” is a masterpiece, “Black Christmas” is far more superior. It works as a slasher film, a mystery, a dark comedy, and is genuinely spine tingling in a movie draped in Christmas ephemera. It’s surprising since the tone for “Black Christmas” is almost the same tone from his other Christmas classic “A Christmas Story.” Yet director Bob Clark really never misses a beat, offering up a very scary tale about an inexplicable maniac wreaking havoc on a small neighborhood during the holidays.
“Home Alone” already stretched the idea of logic and suspension of disbelief already, but when Dreamworks squeezed out a sequel hoping for equal to more success, we instead got “Lost in New York.” Not only did this follow up basically prove that the original’s premise was a tad far-fetched, but something of a flash in the pan. This sequel is just leaps and bounds sillier than even the third “Home Alone” and even presents a ton of misguided morals within its narrative. You can sense the movie is one giant misstep, when it casts the likes of Tim Curry as one of Kevin’s adversaries, and turns Rob Schneider in to a hilariously slimy bellboy, and wastes them in favor of rehashing the same dynamic we saw with Marv and Harry from the first film.