‘Saint Nicholas is not coming this year. Instead, a much darker, ancient spirit. His name is Krampus…’
I have had some strange experiences during the course of this project. The screaming lunacy of the Star Wars Holiday Special is one. Watching Tim Allen dressed as Santa Claus whilst absolutely smashed is another. I can now add Krampus to this disconcertingly expanding list.
The first odd thing about Krampus is that it was ever made at all. A horror comedy about an ancient, horned, anthropomorphic folklore figure was always going to be a hard sell. Who is the target audience for this? The clinically unwell? People who keep pot dolls in their house? It is difficult to fathom how Krampus got out of the planning stage.
That being said, and I can’t believe I am about to write this, but I actually mostly enjoyed Krampus. Don’t get me wrong the first half is truly, irredeemably terrible. Mothman bad almost. But when Krampus gets going it is so fucking weird that it just about works. The decision to avoid CGI in favour of puppets straight out of the minds of lunatics saves the film, and while there are still numerous flaws (for a supposed comedy Krampus is never intentionally funny), there is also loads to enjoy in this bizarre Christmas fable. Adam Scott wears a lovely cardigan throughout, for example.
One of the glorious things about watching loads of Christmas films, aside from it being an excuse to escape the wailing siren of misery that envelops all of us, is that it provides an opportunity to discover some truly odd films. And in that respect Krampus is very much a winner.