“Keep The Fire Hot” 2 Krampus Christmas Horror Films (not) For the Whole Family

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Scary Movies and Series

Krampus approaches with an unsettled face, ragged looking eyes and a looming dark body. Monster horns twist up from his head, showing his half-goat, half-evil spirit ancestry. Behind this monster, adults and children run through the avenues, pursuing snickering youngsters and grown-ups the same as they celebrate the spirit of Krampus.

Lienz’ yearly Krampus Parade, otherwise called Perchtenlauf or Klaubaufe, revives a centuries-old convention: Young men take on the appearance of the legendary Krampus and march through the streets in an antiquated ceremony intended to scatter winter’s ghosts. They walk wearing hide suits and wooden masks while carrying cowbells. The convention—otherwise called the Krampuslauf, or Krampus Run—is having a worldwide resurgence and recognition partly made famous now by major Horror productions such as these including an appearance by William Shatner himself.

Krampus 2015

A Christmas Horror Story – Featuring William Shatner including a Krampus vs Claus fight scene.

Is the Movie Red Christmas Based On a True Story?

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Scary Movies and Series

A seemingly normal family meets for Christmas, all gathering together from varying walks of life and styles of living. Clearly there is a dark family secret, however, and a lot of puzzle pieces are not revealed until far later in the film.  The characters are nicely built and all members of the audience most certainly identify with at least one of the actors or actresses.  This personal connection to the audience is one of the most important aspects of a horror film, without it, the audience is unable to feel empathy for the victims within the movie, and ultimately unable to be scared or enjoy the film. 

That said, Red Christmas does a great job of building the characters, as niche as it may be. And the story line is so unique and compelling that one must wonder… Is Red Christmas based upon a true story? 

The Inspiration and Making of Red Christmas [Spoiler Alert]

Red Christmas (2017) was written by Michael Joy and is apparently his first title, at least to be popular enough to find through imdb. Michael Joy does an awesome job of putting together the dynamics which is interpreted by the viewers as a sincerely terrible situation to be in. A mother had long ago aborted a baby after learning he has down syndrome, but the baby survives (unknown to the mother).  This baby grows up to be truly disfigured and in a great deal of emotional pain…deciding to seek out the mother and slay her and her family on Christmas itself! 

What Inspired Making Red Christmas?

Dee Wallace recently shared in an interview that the movie Red Christmas possessed a strong “slice of life” element, which she describes as ‘real’ and ‘those quirky things that go on between families.’  And she is definitely right: the movie capitalizes on real family dynamics to make a personal connection with the audience, and posses a quite possible real life horror scenario.  Director Craig Anderson is interviewed about the movie as well and is specifically asked about the inspiration for the villain Cletus. Craig states that the abortion debate had a lot to do with the movie itself and that he wanted to encourage thinking about it from multiple perspectives.

The film was somewhat a result of a shot in the dark, as Craig also goes on to admit that he started out with a pro-life slasher film because he was trying to capitalize on satire.  He even tried to model the movie after previous low-budget horror films (interesting that he wound up picking Dee Wallace, who absolutely KILLED IT in this movie!). However, after realizing his initial plot didn’t align with his personal beliefs, he spent a couple years researching and getting to know reproductive rights and the ethical challenges that all perspectives faced. The result was creating a slasher who the audience would feel sympathetic towards, but also fear.  Ultimately, both Dee Wallace (playing Diane) and Sam Campbell (playing slasher Cletus) were made to feel as though their characters were justified in their actions, as though they were both ‘the good guy.’

Is Red Christmas About Pro-Life or Pro-Choice?

Director Craig Anderson specifically tried to give both sides a spotlight and opportunity for sympathy in his film, Red Christmas.  While it is true that the movie seems to sway in favor of pro-life, as the director himself suggests the film is most likely received as a pro-life film, he still insists he was concerned with giving both sides a fair chance and a fair amount of unbiased representation within the film.

Could a Baby Really Survive an Abortion Like in Red Christmas?

Both, doctors and abortion clinics have proven that babies can survive the abortion process. If a baby survives the abortion, they are supposed to be immediately transported to the hospital.  In fact, there are many documented cases of a baby surviving an abortion.

Are There Any Documented Cases of an Aborted Baby Murdering Their Mother?

There has not been any documented incident of a baby growing up after surviving an abortion to seek out their mother to murder her. Still, it is possible a renamed baby could grow up (like many before have done), and murder their mother without law enforcement ever making the blood-relation connection. 

The Bottom Line: Was There a REAL Red Christmas Before the Movie? [Spoiler Alert]

red christmas abortion horror movie

No, Red Christmas is not based upon a true story…however, a common fear of a mother-to-be has spawned this tremendously creative horror film, which no one would want to experience in real life.  Real life fear is what drives horror…and Red Christmas strikes upon a very real fear.

Final Notes about Red Christmas

This movie hosts some pretty fantastic performances, most notably by Dee Wallace, previously known for E.T., Critters and Cujo. Props needs to be given to director Craig Anderson as well.  Whereas Red Christmas may have received poor reviews in other places, Horror Enthusiast applauds the originality and acting in the 2017 instant cult classic.  Red Christmas is a diamond among the rough that every horror movie fan should see (though we can’t guarantee it won’t offend you)!

Fun Fact About Red Christmas: The movie is released in the summertime because it is an Australian film and their seasons are reversed, thus due to the logistics of shooting and the psychology of the local Australian release, director Craig Anderson and team decided on August 2017.

Krampus

Krampus Stuffing Child into Basket
Krampus Stuffing Child into Basket

Date of Discovery

If you believe the idea that the Wild Man could, in fact, be the predecessor or most ancient embodiment of the Christmas Devil, then the first report of his existence dates back to 2000 BCE.

Name

Krampus actually goes by several different names, including Knecht Ruprecht, Certa, Perchten, Black Peter, Schmutzli, Pelznickel, and Klaubauf. There is also a record of him being referred to as the Wild Man, but it is unsure if these legends refer to Krampus himself, or Bigfoot. Krampus and Bigfoot are considered distinctly separate creatures.

The name Krampus is derived from the German word krampen which means, “claw.”

Physical Description

Der Weihnachtsmann und Krampus
Der Weihnachtsmann und Krampus
(St. Nicholas and Krampus)

Krampus is typically portrayed as a monstrously large, muscled, dark half-goat, half-demon, with horns, fangs, and a ridiculously long tongue. He’s seen as the anti-St. Nicholas who carries a chain with bells to announce his arrival, as well as a wicker basket or, in some cultures, a bag and bundle of birch sticks so he can mercilessly beat naughty children and then haul them to the underworld.

Origin

The origin of Krampus as he is known today relates heavily to German folklore that celebrates Krampus with a December 5th holiday celebration called Krampusnacht, where children placed their shoes out to see whether or not they have been naughty or nice. If a child had been naughty, they would receive either a rod or piece of coal, where good children would receive candies or some other type of sweet treat.

Mythology and Lore

Due to the possible spread of misinformation on the internet, it has recently been proposed that Krampus is the son of Hel, a Norse goddess of the underworld–so much so that it has appeared in articles in National Geographic and Smithsonian Magazine. That claim, however, is not necessarily as factual as it may seem–those who know Norse Mythology either have no record of this part of the mythology or vehemently rebuke the idea.

Instead, Krampus is the Christmas Devil–the evil counterpart of St. Nicholas or Santa Claus whom aside, from leaving children an indicator of their behavior throughout the year, would gather bratty and naughty children into a sack or wicker basket, beat them with the birch sticks he carried and the drag them off to hell.

It’s a popular event in countries such as Austria, Germany, Hungary, and the Czech Republic for men to dress in a Krampus costume and take part in an event called Krampuslauf. Typically this is celebrated as a sort of parade of Krampus monsters as a way to bring back old traditions.

Mythological Timeline

The people over at the Official Krampus website gave a timeline of how the mythology of the Krampus legend is believed to have evolved. There are several references that might indeed be speaking of what we now call Bigfoot, which is also referenced to the Wild Man.

Krampus Chasing a Child
Krampus Chasing a Child on a German Krampusnacht Postcard

2000 BCE

  • In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Enkidu is considered the earliest known appearance of the Wild Man within folklore.

600 BCE 

  • Within the Old Testament, in the Book of Daniel, the Christian mythos tells of when God punished King Nebuchadnezzar for his pride and turned him into a hairy beast.

217 BCE 

  • Saturnalia, a pagan holiday within the month of December is officially introduced in Rome as the official winter celebration. It established one of the first instances of social role reversals where the slave became the master and vice versa. People would throw wild parties and give gifts to one another.

300s

  • Around five hundred years after the introduction of Saturnalia to Rome, the Romans had actually converted to Christianity–with their influence, they converted many Germanic tribes to Christianity. Their pagan roots survived only in small remote villages within the Alps where the Church could not gain favor.

1250

  • Konungs skuggsjá, or King’s Mirror–a historical Norwegian text in which the Wild Man appears, described as being covered in hair.

1600s

  • The first appearance of Krampus as Knecht Ruprecht within the Christmas procession in Nuremberg.

Early 1800s

  • When the Brothers Grimm began recording and publishing Germanic Folktales, acceptance began to be re-established within the culture. Jacob Grimm even mentioned Krampus within his Deutsche mythologie.
  • Within this time postcards celebrating Krampusnacht were introduced into the culture of Austria, Germany and other parts of Europe which officially initiated the recognition of Krampus and other companions of St. Nicholas.
  • When German and Dutch immigrants began to arrive in the US, they also brought the popularity of Pelznickel traditions to Pennsylvania, and Maryland which spread as far west as Indiana.

2004

  • A collection of vintage Krampus postcards from the 1800s was published by Monte Beauchamp as Devil in Design. This would mark the growth of the popularity of Krampus within the English speaking world.
  • The Venture Bros., an Adult Swim Network show featured Krampus during a Christmas special.

2007

  • Supernatural, an American television show based on the unexplainable supernatural mythos of the world, they showcased Krampus as a diabolical monster they had to defeat.

2009

  • Stephen Colbert, an American comedian, brought Krampus on to his television show The Colbert Report.

2013

  • Krampus was featured twice within American television, by appearing both on Grimm and the animated television series American Dad.

2015

  • The movie Krampus was released as a horror/comedy fusion.

Modern Pop-Culture References

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Is there anything we missed about Krampus? Let us know in the comments section below!