If you’re a normal human being (then how did you find this article) you might associate Christmas with joy, good will and generosity. Well, since we aren’t normal, Christmas is associated with cartoon Christmas specials, DOCTOR WHO and horror movies. And we don’t mean well made, award winning horror films (although we do have an awesome review of THE SHINING). And they are masterpieces. We’re talking B-rated masterpieces. All of these films are generally the same. And as a dear friend of the author pointed out, they are almost all named SILENT NIGHT. They are full of holiday-themed killings, evil snowmen/evil Santa/evil reindeer and a whole lot of blood. These are the kinds of films only true horror fans could love. Their campiness is what horror fans really appreciate in good, killer Christmas flick. And we at Den of Geek are in the holiday spirit so we will be reviewing two of these “wonderful” films. One is an American classic – JACK FROST. It is a bit like a grizzly version of FROSTY THE SNOWMAN. And the second film we will be looking at is a newer Dutch Sinterklaas-themed film. It follows the murderous revenge rampage of Saint Nick.
JACK FROST (1996)
We honestly wonder how many times a poor unsuspecting family rented this version of JACK FROST thinking they were renting the 1997 family film of the same name. That probably made at least one sad Christmas morning. After all, what could be more family oriented than a freak chemical accident turning a serial killer into a killer snowman? And of course the killer snowman goes after the small town sheriff responsible for Jack Frost’s conviction. And we want to stop for a second here to consider the awful parents that named their child Jack Frost. Of course he ended up on a killing rampage. Anyway, this small town has to band together to fight the killer snowman.
JACK FROST is a film that has become a cult classic. The effects are simply horrendous and most of the snow doesn’t even convincingly look like snow (and by most, we mean “all”). We also really appreciate JACK FROST’S score which incorporates minor toned Christmas carols to remind us that this is a dark film. The holes in the plots are more abundant than drunk uncles on Christmas. Exactly what truck just happens to be carrying around genetically modified chemicals? And why does antifreeze cause Jack Frost to be burned? Shouldn’t it just melt him? And why exactly did the child put antifreeze in his father’s cookies? That’s a bit dark. Wait, we forgot. This is a Christmas themed HORROR movie. We shouldn’t be so picky. So why do we love it so much? Because it is exactly the kind of film horror fans love. It’s easy to love a well made, big budget horror movie. It is a true testament to how much one appreciates B-rated nonsense when we can love even JACK FROST. How could we not rejoice when a woman expresses her wish to be the angel on top of a Christmas tree and Jack Frost makes that happen for her (in a fairly grizzly manner). Or how about a boy’s head being cut off with an ice skate? JACK FROST is a delight to watch and will create holiday cheer for the whole family.
SAINT NICK (2010)
Americans certainly don’t own the right to the Christmas holiday and we don’t own the rights to making awful Christmas related films either. Nothing quite says holiday cheer like a bishop named Sinterklaas and his band of Black slaves giving presents to all the good children and kidnapping the bad children and taking them to Spain. Actually we wish that was the horror plot, but that’s just Dutch Christmas. And to understand this film it’s probably best to get a 101 on Dutch Christmas (http://suite101.com/article/christmas-in-the-netherlands-a35200). There. Now that you’ve read up on the wholesome traditions of Saint Nick Day (well, wholesome except for the whole RACISM THING) we can begin this happy tale. See, it turns out Saint Nick is not at all the beloved figure who delivers presents to good boys and girls. Instead, the Saint Nick of this SAINT NICK is a ghost/zombie seeking revenge for his own murder. Every December 5th when the moon is full, he goes on an Amsterdam killing spree on his ghost ship with his creepy ghost crew of Black Petes. And of course, only one lone hero is willing to speak the truth and to go after Saint Nick. Because apparently the government of Amsterdam has been keeping this situation on the down low for years now. Why the government would put that much effort to cover up a ghost ship is beyond us. We have to admit, if you can get through the awful dubbing this is actually a really fun film to watch. And maybe because it is so different, culturally speaking. The idea of Saint Nick stabbing people with his curled scepter is a lot of fun people. He also rides this incredibly cool and scary white horse (the Dutch equivalent of reindeer?). And of course, his Black Petes also help with the murdering. There are definitely some amazing killings. Some include children dragged through chimneys and others grabbed by Saint Nick’s epic hook.
But which one is better? JACK FROST or SAINT NICK? It is a little like asking which kind of giant shark you’d like to be attacked by. And while JACK FROST is a great contender and definitely an American Christmas horror classic, we are going to have to give it to Saint Nick. This film is incredibly fun to watch. It blends the perfect elements of an awful cheesy B-rated horror film with Christmas seasonal imagery. And we love the idea that Saint Nick was this awful monster who was murdered and is now here to seek revenge. A bit like a Christmas version of Freddie Krueger. And when he rides on the rooftops with his majestic horse it is just incredible.