2011 HORROR ADVENT CALENDAR – DAY #8: Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

Rare Exports

Could it be?  An actual horror movie recommendation from someone who prides himself on horror movie recommendations?  It’s a Christmas miracle!

I figured I had to throw in at least one holiday themed horror flick from this past year.  And if you’re into twisted reinventions of common myths, then you’re not going to do much better than this little Christmas gem from Finland. Now before I get any further I should clarify, while there are some really creepy/scary moments in this movie (the man they “capture” is downright terrifying,) it is far from a straight horror movie.  It’s actually more of an fantasy/adventure film like The Goonies, except a lot darker.  And in this one Santa Claus is actually an ancient demon that punishes “naughty” children by torturing them viciously.

Wait, what..?

Yeah, you heard me.  But trust me… Santa Claus actually being an ancient demon with giant horns that was frozen in the ice years ago only to be excavated by a secretive corporation to try and thaw out, is only the tip of the iceberg.  It is chock full of clever little touches and reinventions of common Christmas myths.  I obviously don’t want to ruin them all here, but one of my personal favorites is the “rules” near the excavation site (“No Swearing”, “No Smoking”, and other apparently “naughty” things.)  It’s just awesome.  And don’t even get me started on the creepy-ass elves.  Dear lord.

Now hey, it’s not a perfect film.  How many are?  Like a lot of foreign films, it’s sometimes an odd film to watch with an American sensibility.  Obviously the Fins have a different basis for what they call parenting, and the dad can be outright abusive.  But I think as hard as some of that is to watch, it all plays in to the tone, and it worked for me.  Look beyond a few of the slower scenes and just get involved in a real original vision.  That’s the key here.  ORIGINAL.  It’s highly original, extremely inventive, and just fun to watch some crazy Finnish filmmakers work some dark Christmas magic.

And I promise you, after you’re done watching the movie, you won’t look at mall Santa’s the same way ever again.

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