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Ben Nagy reviews ’13 Slays Till X-mas’: Barflies tell holiday horror vignettes, then get swatted

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. 

Ben Nagy reviews '13 Slays Till X-mas': Barflies tell holiday horror vignettes, then get swatted 1
The priest (Jay Woolston) wishes that it was a bowling ball in that bag in the framing story for “13 Slays Till X-Mas” (Photo courtesy IMDb.com).

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.

Ben Nagy reviews '13 Slays Till X-mas': Barflies tell holiday horror vignettes, then get swatted 2
Laurie (Kaylee Williams) is menaced by a killer doll in “The Scarionette” vignette from “13 Slays Till X-Mas.” (Photo courtesy IMDb.com)

Vignette 8 – “The Scarionette”: A killer doll is unleashed from storage.

Ben Nagy reviews '13 Slays Till X-mas': Barflies tell holiday horror vignettes, then get swatted 3
Sheriff Kalpana (Sonya Delormier) looks for the Christmas Killer in the vignette “A Christmas to Dismember” as part of “13 Slays Till X-mas.” (Photo courtesy IMDb.com)

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.

Ben Nagy reviews '13 Slays Till X-mas': Barflies tell holiday horror vignettes, then get swatted 4

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.

Check it out streaming on TubiTV, Plex and Jeff Bezosville or you can get it on physical media directly from our pals at Scream Team Releasing.

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:

Enter Three Dragons

Better Watch Out: Silent Night, Deadly Night 3

Silent Night (2012)

Anna and the Apocalypse

Have a safe and great holiday!

The Screening Room Archive

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