Whisky Horror Film Society Presents: Dec is for Deviance

This post was conceived of with the assistance of students/staff from Denver School of Innovation and Sustainable Design who shared their favorite holiday films and who’s psychology course discussed: Deviancy.

“anything different from the norm or “outside of the box.” In sociology, deviance is not necessarily considered a bad thing, it is just simply breaking away from what is considered normal in a certain context.”

“An individual who possesses the intellect to have other beliefs than social programming teaches us. Most deviants make a positive footprint on society, rather than the misconceived negative version. Deviants are simply individuals who differ in many aspects to the larger flock of society.” From UrbanDictionary.com

Winter Holiday Horror deviates from the It’s a Wonderful Life or Scrooged fantasy narrative. Focused mostly in the slasher sub-genre, in the last several years we’ve seen Krampus themed stories come back from the netherworld. The main stab of these stories pokes at the deviation from Santa’s lawbreaking niceness, human decency, and base consumerism towards a generous glee for consequences, torture, destruction of life & property (mostly of young women–which is not a deviation from anything…seriously is there any horror -fiction or reality- not about female abduction or torture?). These stories mostly play on audiences expectation and desire for a peaceful season. How do these films flip the narrative of a ‘happy home invasion by a consumeristic coca-cola-loving, red-clad man’? In my opinion, holiday horror can only ever be so good. Some of the recommended films are annotated, I’ll likely return as I have time to watch more. What would you write/say about any on this naughty list? Any nicer/scarier movies you’d add?

Recommended Libation: 
Since underagers helped with this article the recommended drink is Hot Cocoa or Tea, no brand, drink whichever you prefer. If you are over twenty-one you can add some Knob Creek Whiskey which was recommended to me by a smooth and handsomely tattooed Alabaman sitting next to me at an airport bar.

Recommended Films:

Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Gremlins (1984)
30 Days of Night (2007)

Krampus (2015)
Directed by Michael Dougherty, featuring the acting of Toni Collette, Adam Scott, and Emjay Anthony this simple story is about “A boy who has a bad Christmas ends up accidentally summoning a festive demon to his family home.” (IMDB) My middle-school-self loves all the Krampus stories, my adult-self thinks they’re ridiculously fun. The effects are dumb, but they work. More interesting is that the counter-Santa myth of Krampus offers a deviation from consumer-based motivation to a consequence-based motivation. We are ethical not so Santa will bring us gifts but so Krampus won’t kidnap and/or torture us. While I don’t need horror to enjoy a holiday movie, the push away from ‘happy american consumerism’ feels healthy. However, the film I actually watched this year is Krampus The Reckoning. Again if you are in middle school, I totally recommend it, if you’re an adult….you can probably find a better film.

This Todd Nunes film took me by surprise and it wasn’t just the prolific number of jump scares. It’s a solid holiday-themed slasher horror film featuring a mid-(forced)-transitioning frank-incensed Santa who’d likely describe american capitalism as “Mirthy”. Instead of collecting money or products (s)he collects bodies and uh, well, let’s just say this film is as fresh as his/her bag of dicks. Moral of the story? Don’t underestimate Mrs. Claus.
Directed by Steven C. Miller with an estimated budget of 5,000,000 the movie hardly made its money back. I can’t imagine why.
Black Christmas (1974?)
This “old” slow burn directed by Bob Clark offers phone bullying and female abduction motifs. In retrospect, it covers several controversial themes hardly explored in current more horror: stalking/harassment, gender toxicity, abortion, ineffective police work and their (pre-cell phone) surveillance. It’s interesting to see where modern horror tropes, like Scream’s use of phones, may have originated. I don’t know why, but I did expect more Black, Afro, or African American people to be in the film so that was one disappointment. This film is campy and grim. The script alone is worth watching the movie for with solid lines like, “You’re a real gold-plated whore, mother, you know that?”
Raise hell peacefully,
Anne Arkhane

Photography by Seth Nagle 

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