Monday, December 13, 2010

Have Yourself a Deadly Little Christmas

Having now sat through three film equivalents of reindeer poop, i think I’ve figured something out:
Christmas horror is the new zombie movie.
Somehow both subgenres seem to attract the least talent when it comes to cinema. Flip through Instant Watch for dozens of examples of Romero ripoffs or, with a little more work, compare the ratio of of good to atrocious yuletide horror. For every Christmas Evil, there are three times as many titles like Feeders 2: Slay Bells, Santa Claws, and today’s ever so painful (yet not without its charms) Deadly Little Christmas.
Quick Plot: 15 years ago-
Yes, you read that right. The movie technically starts in the past, rather than beginning, then flashies forward 15 years later. I’m already confused.
Anyway, a dark-haired family is enjoying Christmas morning as the three rugrats wrestle in wrapping paper, mom Felicia Rose (Sleepaway Camp) snaps photos, and dad (as Santa Claus) sneaks off to the bedroom to get naked with the housekeeper, quickly being stabbed to death in a scene my DVD decided to skip. Thankfully, the film later gives us a 5 minute flashback of the very first five minutes, which is quite thoughtful.
In a scene that offends John Carpenter’s Halloween far more painfully than anything Rob Zombie ever did, middle child (whose name I can't remember, so eh) slowly walks outside, a bloodied knife in his little hands. Fifteen years go by with Middle Child Whose Name I Can't Remember living in a mental asylum, escaping on a fateful Christmas night as his now-grown sisters Taylor and Noelle are rehearsing a community theater production.

Stop everything for this plotline, please. Sure, there’s a masked madman on the loose, but really, we need to talk about this play, especially since every character onscreen says the word ‘play’ or ‘director’ at least three times in every scene. Taylor is directing a PLAY, a PLAY about Easter being performed on Christmas Eve, being DIRECTED by her this PLAY is. 
How does a young woman DIRECT a PLAY, you might ask yourself. Taylor’s method is quite Scorcessian. It involves advising her cast to run lines and do their best, sometimes to do their best and then run their lines. For the PLAY. 
Before we get to the actual performance of The PLAY Taylor DIRECTED and many actors RAN LINES for, we need to meet a few more characters. Two actors who smoke weed (or really, in their words, weeeeeeeeeeed cough cough cough) are murdered by that pesky madman (who would dare to be in conflict with Taylor’s PLAY). That doesn’t seem to have any effect on the PLAY though, which goes about as planned despite missing two of its actors. Taylor is that good of a DIRECTOR.

Also, there’s the greatest police detective in cinema history, a man who can barely look another person in the eye or complete a full sentence. Instead of a business card, he writes his number on looseleaf. Instead of solving crimes, he lets emotional mothers search for escaped homicidal mental patients on their own so that he can watch Taylor’s PLAY. Which is actually quite nice of him since he’s one of eight people in the audience. Also, he dresses like a waiter, which I imagine might be the actor’s night job which he was headed to after filming his two scenes.

Despite a missing mother and brother, Taylor and Noelle put on a PLAY about the Last Supper, which, did you know, involved folding chairs? And graduation robes. And three people.
 After the PLAY, other stuff happens but were we supposed to care? There’s a twist that my cats saw coming and a hilarious showdown with one of the easiest to defeat villains of all time.
I just realized that I’ve been writing for a few pages now. What am I doing? In all that time, I never once RAN MY LINES. Reindeer poop for me.
High Points
Well...with their dark hair, at least the female actresses in the film look like they could potentially be related

Low Points
Clearly the whole movie, but to not be petty, here’s an example of why this movie is awful (yet still not Santa Claws awful): when the two ill-fated actors smoke their pot, they make incredibly crass comments about how they’d like to have sex with Taylor. While I don’t disbelieve that a pair of 18 year olds would talk the way they do, their conversation is just ugly. Not funny, not sexy, not with any point whatsoever. 
Lessons Learned
Family is supposed to protect family
The main rights of passage in turning into an adult include having sex, doing drugs, and directing a play
After killing a villain that has destroyed your family, take comfort in knowing there will be no more bloodshed (also, run your lines)
Deadly Little Christmas is a deadly little awful movie, but as you might guess, I had some fun watching it. The set design gets as advanced as a lamp on a snack table (I have the same one in my apartment, so hollah that) and the performances seemed to have been given without the actors ever once RUNNING LINES with each other beforehand. Sadly there’s not nearly a strong enough xmas element to make this any kind of seasonal tradition, but hey...there is community theater. You can’t find that in any town!
Oh wait. You can. But Taylor didn’t DIRECT it.
Yup, I guess I sort of loved this movie.


  1. Is that whats her face from Sleepaway Camp?!

  2. Yeah, it's the girl from Sleepaway Camp! And all was lost after you mentioned the obvious Halloween plot chewing.

    I guess originality would've made the film worse?

  3. Tough to say. Originality may have at least made it a little more interesting, but hey...then it might not have been quit so bad, which means it may not have been quite so much fun on that particular level. It's a question for the Buddhists.

  4. "Despite a missing mother and brother, Taylor and Noelle put on a PLAY about the Last Supper, which, did you know, involved folding chairs? And graduation robes. And three people."

    "There’s a twist that my cats saw coming"

    Pure gold!

    I am, however, disappointed in one thing, that it isn't on instant watch. Lame...I really wanted to PLAY it, but I wont get the chance to see where the DIRECTOR went with the story, unless I purchase it, which ain't gonna happen!

    Maybe this will be something to "look forward to" for next year's holiday festivities. Good find, and great review!

  5. This is definitely a movie that should be reserved for Instant Watch. My DVD was a 'short wait,' and THEN it was slightly damaged for the first all-important scene. So even queing it the old fashioned way is filled with hazards only the greatest DIRECTOR could PLAY her way out of.

    Eh, wait til next year. In the meantime, can you please run your lines?