Christmas is a time of peace, love and family. But not for one Norwegian town as a psychopath dressed in a Santa Claus suit has been terrorizing them for the past 13 years. For as soon as the caroling starts, this demented Kris Kringle dispenses bloody ax blows regardless of whether you've been bad or good. As the holiday approaches on one snow-covered town filled with revelers, a pair of detectives work against time to find and arrest this bearded serial killer. Will they manage to stop this demented St. Nick before he kills again? Director Reinert Kiil (The House, Whore) delivers a dark, disturbing and bloody holiday thriller.
Rejoice horror fans! Christmas has come early with Artsploitation's release of the Yuletide slasher, Christmas Blood. Known primarily for bringing foreign-made exploitation films to the American audience, Artsploitation tends to pick films that satisfy their somewhat extreme tastes; violence, gore, nudity, physical and psychological torture, rape—I'm sure you are starting to get the picture. Christmas Blood is another in their list of evil offerings that checks of that naughty list quite nicely, resulting in something of a very different Christmas movie...something you aren't going to be playing after Christmas dinner for the kids to settle down to.
The opening act is a bit of a let-down; we get a text intro catching us up on the story, which is about as original as drawing penises on things. We are then introduced to our hero-cop character and our probably-soon-to-be slasher victims. The plot is pretty much Halloween, but Christmas...Jason now instead Jolly Old Saint Knife-a-lot. A handful of soon-to-be-bodies arrives shortly before the end of our first act, presumably to join in on the upcoming slay-ride (I can't help myself, I'm sorry...there will be more).
There really isn't a clear cue as to when the second act kicks into gear—the story just seems to add character after character in preparation for what (at this point of the film I was guessing) seemed like an incoming bloodbath, but by nearly halfway through the runtime, Santa had not yet begun to slay. Instead, we got a heavy dose of character development and backstory; very different from how the film took liberties with the framing of the plot at the start.
Christmas eventually becomes XXXmas, with the relatively mild first half of the film giving way to a very bloody Yuletide, but not to the degree to which one would expect from your regular Artsploitation film. It is actually a pretty mild entry—something on par with Scream or the billion other slashers that followed in its wake. It's predictable to a fault, tropey, and a very rinse-and-repeat, though admittedly a lot more bloody.
The score was surprisingly decent, almost great—well composed, technical and suited for each scene. It was definitely a highlight of the film and deserves a salute, as does the editing and camera work. The film is incredibly well shot and competently pieced together; something sometimes lacking in lower budget releases.
As far as slashers go, this is a very well-made, detailed, and fun addition to the plethora of films like it out there. I'd go as far to say that it's better than many of those films in the same genre, boasting entertaining characters and plenty of guts, gore, and great kills scenes. I just personally don’t really enjoy slasher films as they are too formulaic and predictable.
If this is a genre that you enjoy, you will love this film. It's a textbook hack-and-slash with a Yuletide theme and the gore setting turned up to 11. It's also just in time for your Christmas viewing pleasure. Christmas Blood was released on December 11th and is available on Amazon. Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid. Catch the trailer and poster below.
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