Review: CHRISTMAS BLOODY CHRISTMAS, Joe Begos Paints The Holiday Season With Neon And Blood
On the night of Christmas Eve Tori had planned to go out on a date, likely get drunk, probably fuck if all goes well. Her plans get derailed when a robotic Santa Claus goes rogue and starts killing off everyone around her. It doesn't matter if you’ve been naughty or nice, everyone’s on Santa’s shit list this year. One of Tori’s customers said to her at the beginning of the story, “You saved Christmas, once again”. Tori had no idea how true those words would end up being. Her fight for survival begins now.
Joe Begos’ Christmas Bloody Christmas is a great antidote of a holiday horror movie, ready to fight off the ill effects of all those saccharine, feel good holiday offerings that come around this time of year. It’s raunchy, it’s bloody, it’s fuck-off violent, and near taboo at times. Christmas Bloody Christmas is a lump of coal shoved up your ass that gives you a diamond by the end you've clenched so much in its run time.
It was fueled by what we can guess were multiple viewings of video store classics like Chopping Mall and The Terminator when Begos was a child. Now that he's grown-up (debatable) he has the means and resources to pay tribute to those classics and make a contemporary classic of his own, on his own terms, one that will please the holiday horror gods.
Christmas Bloody Christmas starts with a healthy dose of banter between our heroine Tori and Robbie, one of her employees and her wingman to start off the night. It's what you would imagine Linklater would sound like if they were obsessing over High Fidelity and smashing as much drugs and alcohol as they could. It is investment in time, in character, and makes you starve for the inevitable bloodbath that you were promised in its title. It also goes to show that Begos has the gift of gab.
Is Begos' star Riley Dandy making amends for appearing in two family friendly Christmas rom-coms this and last year when she signed on to play the role of Tori? Maybe. Tori is loud, she’s crass. She prides herself on being able to drink anyone under the table. She a take charge kind of gal and after all the boys have gone off to fight the big, scary Christmas monster and die awesome, horrific deaths she gears up and takes care of business.
When it comes to death and violence credit is due to Josh and Sierra Russell at Russell FX for their amazing animatronic work. The effects are a throwback by their setup and brilliant in their execution. There is mass appeal in watching an animatronic head with an ax sticking out of its head wordlessly call for help. You will believe that a simple ax can cleave a whole person down the middle because the Russells say so. It should be called Bloody Christmas Bloody because of the fuck-off violence in it, but that sounds stupid. Come for the Christmas, stay for the violence. This is Begos' yueltide gift to the World.
Begos alumni Josh Ethier, Graham Skipper, Jeremy Gardner, Matt Mercer have appearances in the movie, along with production designer Adam Dietrich - a man whose only instructions seemingly were, "Needs more neon" - and first AD Mark Greene returns to help out behind the camera.
And how about the other Begos alumus Abraham Benrubi as the murderous, robotic Santa Claus? We’ll give you a moment to look him up if the name doesn’t ring a bell. You’d be forgiven if it took you a moment because he’s near unrecognizable under the Santa suit also. Well holy shit, there is always room for jello (obscure reference to one of Benrubi's first roles) when you’ve opened up your victims with an ax!
Christmas Bloody Christmas is a bloody good time. It should easily find its way into your annual rotation of holiday viewing each year, a palatte cleanser that pushes against the tide of Hallmark-esque formulaic crapfests that wash up on shore each year. It kicks off with conversation, gets a wee bit sleazy, then proceeds to slap you back and forth with kick-ass practical animatronic visuall effects and gore.
Bathe it all in the glow of neon light and you've got yourself the Christmas movie equivalent of a night out at a seedy strip club. First, you got drunk and tried to dazzle a dancer named Candy Cane with your musical history know-how. Failing that you got to business with the lap dance, but then you put your hands on her. Now you've done it, the bouncers, dressed in Santa suits to counter the depression of the holidays spent alone, have to shit kick you into the New Year.
Christmas Bloody Christmas is kind of like that.
Christmas Bloody Christmas begins streaming on Shudder and will be in cinemas on Friday, December 9th, 2022.
Christmas Bloody Christmas
- Joe Begos
- Joe Begos
- Riley Dandy
- Sam Delich
- Jonah Ray