Patiño’s Lores and Myths in Film: Krampus (2015)

Hello there, dear reader!

It’s that time of the year. The time for community and closeness, love and gratitude, to shower those whom you care for most with affection and merriment when jolly ol’ St. Nicholas sweeps down the chimney to reward all the wonderfully behaved boys and girls. Or, if you’re in this movie, you watch in dismay as a caravan of nightmares parades themselves on your nuclear family as a horned, hooved monster of the ancient dark looms on high, ready to carry all your souls to the bowels of the underworld. Because this ain’t Santa Claus, folks—it’s Krampus.

Krampus, released in 2015, comes from the twisted mind of Michael Dougherty, the man behind my beloved Trick r Treat. This time around, he plays the story straight while still keeping his finger on the pulse of holiday essence. While the film isn’t quite the instant classic that Trick r Treat is, Krampus still manages to be a damn entertaining Christmas horror movie in the vein of Gremlins. Dougherty has a penchant for folklore and legends, dialing in here on an ancient figure with roots in Norse mythology and pagan rites (I swear to God, these damn pagans! If you’ve been with me all semester, you know.).  It can be quite fascinating to see how these bygone characters through a contemporary prism. Although this flick isn’t a through-and-through hit, I appreciate the filmmakers digging deep into our world’s horror culture and shining a spotlight on this darker Christmas spirit.

Continue reading

Halloween Horrors: A Review of “Trick ‘r Treat”

Michael Dougherty’s 2007 cult classic Trick ‘r Treat is a well-realized anthology that works at face value as both a fun and sinister horror film, but also serves as an absolute celebration of Halloween. Over the course of 82-minutes and four interweaved tales, Trick ‘r Treat revels in the centuries-old pagan holiday, intermingling traditions both new and old to substantial effect.

A character seen throughout the stories ties the film together. This character is Sam, short for Samhain (pronounced Sah-win), the name for the Gaelic holiday precursor to what we know of as Halloween today. Sam masks his face within a burlap sack, appearing to be a child due to his size and stature. This is appropriate for a supposed figure that symbolizes Halloween within the film, since the holiday is often recognized as one for children anyways — it’s children who “trick or treat,” after all.

Trick ‘r Treat is most successful when twisting many childhood fears associated with Halloween, a trick Dougherty employs throughout. Horror films are a Halloween tradition, but very few truly capture the spirit of the holiday like Trick ‘r Treat does.

Continue reading