Mystery Horror Theater: The Holidays
For many of us, there is no scarier time of the year than the holidays. The thought of embracing distant family members, traveling long distances, or, heaven forbid, extending good will to other humans is just too terrifying to bear. Thankfully, this existential fear created by the Christmas season is ripe for the horror short treatment, so in today’s edition I’ve collected three shorts that will make you never want to open presents again. What? It’s almost April? Look man, I just needed a theme to fit this first video, and the holidays seem as good of one as any to remind you of what horror lurks around every turn of the calendar. So grab your sharpened candy cane and just go with it, will ya ?
This first short is very special to me because it’s the first reader-submitted short film I have the privilege of sharing with you. In Santa, brothers Dionysis and Manos Atzarakis are putting a different spin on the story of St. Nick, exploring childish expectation and fear. It’s brief, a little cheesy, but definitely charming, and for its low budget, I definitely consider it a fun interpretation of what happens when we stick our noses where they don’t belong. Thanks, Atzarakis brothers!
Christmas Eve‘s efficacy lies in both its short length and its disarming levity. The first two minutes or so of its four-minute run-time show nothing scarier than vague hints of a stalker lurking in the shadows. Suddenly, things get violent very quickly, though the juxtaposition of the cruelty against the cheerful Christmas tunes is truly what sets the horrific mood. Gage Briney’s effective little homage to 70s horror will likely surprise you.
I honestly don’t even know what to say about Jason Eisener’s reverse-slasher film where the lumberjacks are the villains and the trees shake and shimmy in fear. It’s shot in a delightful, 1970’s vintage style that recalls gruesome grindhouse exploitation films except from the perspective of a tormented group of pine trees. It’s just so absurd and whimsical and shockingly violent. If you have 16 spare minutes, you HAVE to watch this. Disclaimer: if you’re skittish about depicted scenes of eyeball gore, you may want to stay away from pine needles after watching this.