Movie: *** 1/2 out of 5
Video: **** 1/2
Audio: **** 1/2
Extras: ** 1/2
Article first published as Blu-ray Review: ‘A Christmas Horror Story’ Featuring William Shatner on Blogcritics.
The two holidays I love the most,
also happen to have the most films at their disposal: Halloween and
Christmas. And as much as I love both of them, I may love holiday horror
films even more. There’s just something cathartic about watching
something so sacred get torn to shreds for the sake of a laugh or scare.
While ranging in quality to severe degrees, I’ll watch pretty much
anything with a good holiday twist to it. Black Christmas/X-mas, Silent Night Deadly Night, Rare Exports, Gremlins, Jack Frost, and Santa’s Slay, there’s something for everyone under the tree. So, how does the new anthology, A Christmas Horror Story,
stack up? Unfortunately, it doesn’t all gel the way you’d hope, but
there is a great twist at the end that almost more than makes up for it.
tales come together on Christmas Eve in the fictional town of Bailey
Downs where radio DJ Dangerous Dan (William Shatner) is keeping everyone
in the spirit of the season, while a trio of groups are about to cross
paths with some demented mythology. Video journalists Molly (Zoé De
Grand Maison), Ben (Alex Ozerov), and Dylan (Shannon Kook) are
investigating the deaths of two students who are about to find out that
there may be more to the Virgin Mary than they ever imagined.
Dysfunctional family Scott (Adrian Holmes), Kim (Oluniké Adeliyi), and
young Will (Orion John) get up close and personal with the effects of a
changeling. Caprice (Amy Forsyth), her parents Taylor (Jeff Clarke) and
Diane (Michelle Nolden), and brother Duncan (Percy Hynes White) get to
find out why Aunt Edda (Corinne Conley) keeps a Krampus figurine laying
around. Meanwhile, up at the North Pole, Santa (George Buza) discovers
that Krampus (Rob Archer) may have been released after his elves wind up
turning into zombies.
Image Entertainment unleashes these
sordid Christmas tales to stunning life, proving yet again that
sometimes you can’t keep a 25GB disc down. Detail never falters, whether
out in the woods, or in the basement of a creepy old school. Shadows
never result in crush, and there is surprisingly never any banding.
Colors pop, which only exacerbates the punches of red whenever blood
starts flying, and the bright greens and reds never result in bleeding.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track also gets a lot of mileage, with
plenty of deep, rumbling bass, and a lot
of surround effects. This is a horror after all, and there’s plenty of
carnage to assault the viewer from every speaker. The festive score and
dialogue are never lost in the chaos. English SDH subtitles are on hand
for those in need.
The special features are as sparse as
can be, but at least we aren’t left with a lump of coal in our
stocking. Featuring pre-menu trailers for Odd Thomas and WolfCop,
the lone extra is a “Behind the Scenes” (14:45) featurette letting the
cast and crew provide insight as to who directed which segment, and
where their inspirations stem from. However, it wasn’t pleasing hearing
them say how Creepshow
was a huge inspiration, only to turn around and say how “corny” they
think it is now. That anthology is a true horror classic, and I have to
say now, that I will probably never watch A Christmas Horror Story
again. As much fun as it may be seeing elves die in extreme fashion,
there’s just not enough to make this an annual favorite. It works in
spurts, but never comes together in a satisfying whole, but there is at
least enough good to make inquiring minds get their money’s worth.
Anyone making a blind purchase may find themselves in the mood for