As this year’s holiday review, I checked out 13 Slays Till Christmas, an anthology of a bunch of short films preceded by a fake trailer, all Christmas-related.
Unlike the second feature shown by JB and Darcy on the Ghoultide Get-Together, this one took the conventional anthology route with a framing story and then a vignette and then back to the framing story and then back to another vignette and so on.
The vignettes are uniformly solid. Some are a bit less developed than the others — you’ll always get that when there’s that many cooks in the kitchen and stories to tell in one anthology — but none overstays its welcome.
The framing story is a bunch of people gathering at a local watering hole discussing how there’s a bunch of killings that happened in the town and there’s also a bunch of human trafficking going on in the area, too. So we’re not talking Frankenmuth, Michigan, here when it comes to holiday spirit.
Anyhow, everybody in the bar – a cop, a priest, a guy with a Vanilla Ice hair and a scarf, a guy in a lumberjack shirt who uses a wheelchair, a guy in a Santa suit and the bartender pass the time amusing themselves by telling these creepy stories, as follows:
Vignette 1 – “Like a Family”: A woman is summoned to help decorate the old family home one last time by her sister.
Vignette 2 – “The Devil’s Due”: A single dad and her daughter run afoul of the dad’s doppleganger.
Vignette 3 – “One More Gift”: A couple of killer roommates celebrate the holiday in their own special way.
Vignette 4 – “It’s a Wonderful Death”: A guy considering suicide is visited by the anti-Clarence.
Vignette 5 – “Don’t Kill Santa on Christmas”: Two guys break into a house with murder on their minds.
Vignette 6 — “Kringles the Christmas Clown”: A family is visited by an evil Christmas clown.
Vignette 7 – “Santa Claws”: A bratty brother summons the anti-Santa after playing a Christmas song backwards.
Vignette 8 – “The Scarionette”: A killer doll is unleashed from storage.
Vignette 9 — “A Christmas to Dismember”: A Christmas killer is on the loose, then gets a visit in the asylum.
Vignette 10 – “Dead Air”: A radio show host makes a career mistake.
Vignette 11 – “Jingle Bellz”: A Christmas party is cursed by killer visitors.
Vignette 12 – “Killer Caribou”: A guy out in the woods takes care of some special reindeer.
My faves were Numeros Four-o, Ten-o and Twelve-o and even if you don’t like one of the segments, there are a number of in-references to classic horror flicks by John Carpenter and others to keep an eye out for as well.
Best Way to Fight Your Vengeful Junkie Sister’s Ghost: Whack her upside the head with a wreath.
Best Dexterity: This doppleganger’s thumb is so strong that he shoves it through the back of a girl’s skull.
Best Pun: The text a dead guy gets from his ex in a posthumous invitation over to celebrate the holiday.
Best John Carpenter Easter egg: “Watch Clark — it’s THE THING to do!”
Best Way to Eliminate a Competitor: Radio host Dean Castle, evidently a fan of late 1980s hip-hip, takes “Hammer time” quite literally.
Best Gift: The anti-Santa is really nice to Parker — she gets two gifts every little sister needs.
Three and a half stars.
If you want some more suggestions on what to watch once you’ve gotten through the Ghoultide Get-Together and 13 Slays, just because it’s kinda hard to remember that far back, here are a few more holiday-themed reviews by yours truly:
Silent Night (2012)
Have a safe and great holiday!