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Tag Archive: Krampus


Review by C.J. Bunce

You really need to read the promotional information for AMC’s new series NOS4A2 to understand what happened in the first episode, which premiered this week.  A slow-starter that meanders more than it should to introduce characters, place, and conflict, NOS4A2 has enough going for it that it should get viewers to at least return to give the second episode a try.  The mood is horror, beginning with the murder of a woman and her boyfriend and the kidnapping of the woman’s son.  The kidnapper is a take on Krampus, played at first by an unrecognizable Zachary Quinto (Star Trek, Hotel Artemis, Heroes), who tells the kid he is taking him to a place called Christmastown, and he de-ages over the course of the episode as he drives north in his vintage Rolls Royce.  The show screams Stephen King, complete with Easter egg throwbacks to King’s many stories, the overall feel of IT, and a setting reminiscent of his classic coming of age werewolf movie, Silver Bullet, complete with an old covered bridge as a central plot element.

What does this NOS4A2 have in common with the 1922 horror film Nosferatu?  Nothing yet, and so far it has no vampire appearances, although Quinto’s Krampus-esque villain appears to be sucking the life force slowly from his child victims.  There is a reason for the throwbacks and similarity to Stephen King’s works–it’s because the series is based on the novel NOS4A2 (NOS4R2 in the UK) written by King’s son, Joseph King who writes under the name Joe Hill (also known for the IDW Publishing comic book series Locke & Key and the book and film Horns).  Unfortunately the first episode takes its time getting anywhere, and before you know it the hour has run and viewers are left with a vague introductory picture of what is happening.

What do we learn?  The kidnapping takes place in Iowa.  A local librarian who knew the missing boy, played by new actress Jahkara Smith, divines supernatural messages through Scrabble game tiles, which looks like it will soon connect her with an 18-year-old young woman in Massachusetts named Vic McQueen, played by 27-year-old actress Ashleigh Cummings (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries).  As her character’s name would indicate, she drives a motorcycle and she’s from the wrong side of the tracks.  She favors her wife-beater father, played by Ebon Moss-Bachrach (The Punisher, Medium)–who encourages her to follow her dreams of being an artist–over her mom, a bit of a caricature of the disinterested parent, played by Virginia Kull (Big Little Lies, Twin Peaks). 

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krampus-movie-monster

Nobody knows how long Krampus has been around, but some scholars think in some persona or the other he may have been spreading his nastiness for some 2,000 years.  Since the 17th century he’s been thought of as the anti-Santa Claus in Germanic folklore–where Santa is good to good boys and girls, Krampus… well he isn’t so good to those who have been naughty.  If you don’t have the Christmas spirit, then beware.

We here at borg.com think the best story ever to feature Krampus was a 2013 episode of NBC’s Grimm, “Twelve Days of Krampus,” which made our Best of 2013 list.  Stream that episode to see what the next vision of Krampus should be compared to.

Grimm krampus

Grimm’s Krampus left coal behind after he kidnapped anyone caught being naughty. He’d put them in a basket hung from a tall tree and at the Winter Solstice he was to eat them. Yikes!

And that next vision of Krampus is this Christmas’s horror release, suitably titled Krampus.  We haven’t yet been able to glean a good look at the new fellow, other than the silhouette image at the top of this article, but we hear the production modeled him after images on classic German holiday cards.  Krampus stars Oscar nominee Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense, Muriel’s Wedding, Shaft), Adam Scott (Star Trek: First Contact, Parks and Recreation, Veronica Mars), and David Koechner (Anchorman, Get Smart, Paul, Monk).

From the first trailer released this might be a light-hearted romp as horror movies go, although there’s definitely plenty of demonic nasty types that are going to be jumping into your lap.  Here’s the first look at Krampus:

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X-Files X-mas Special cover A

Review by C.J. Bunce

The X-Files Season 10 is one of IDW Publishing’s best series, following Mulder and Scully and friends in their ongoing exploits following the TV series and two films.  The spin-off mini-series The X-Files: Year Zero followed Mulder and Scully in the present day as they pursue a case first investigated by the original keepers of the FBI’s X-Files, Bing Ellinson and Minnie Ohio.  This year both of these series shared a combination of good storytelling, evocative imagery, and familiarity of the well-loved characters that made for required reading for genre fans.

This week IDW is releasing a rare, prestige format holiday one-shot: The X-Files X-mas Special.  It includes two unrelated stories, one about Mulder and Scully in the present day, and a second about the 1940s’ duo and their encounter with a creepy character that very well could be the vile holiday elf Krampus.

X-Files X-mas Special cover B

The first story, “Season 10 Greetings,” comes from the creative team of writer Joe Harris, artist Matthew Dow Smith, and colorist Jordie Bellaire.  The 1940s FBI team story “Merry Christmas, Comrade!” was written by Karl Kesel, with art by Matthew Southworth, and colors by Matheus Lopes.

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