A Christmas Horror Story (Blu-ray Review)

A Christmas Horror StoryIt’s the season of joy, peace, and goodwill… unless you live in Bailey Downs. Last Christmas Eve, two teens came to a grisly end in a school basement. Now, one year later, a new set of horrors has come to town. As three friends explore the site of the massacre, a malevolent spirit is determined to keep them there forever. One of the first cops to the scene of the bloody murders has new complications as his seven-year-old son exhibits terrifying and violent behavior. And when a local family seeks reconciliation with an estranged aunt for the wrong reasons, they suddenly find themselves running in terror from Krampus, the demonic anti-Santa Claus. Not even St. Nick is immune to the terror as he fights back against a horde of zombie elves. This is destined to be a holiday no one will ever forget….

A Christmas Horror Story


Santa Claus knows when you’ve been naughty or nice but what happens when the tables are turned against ‘ol St. Nick? Well, in this pseudo anthology tale of A Christmas Horror Story Santa’s elves have been possessed by an evil force and his archenemy the Krampus is out to claim his head. Not only that but Krampus has made it to the real world and is causing havoc for one family in a remote location. Oh, and William Shatner is a radio disc jockey.

I made mention that A Christmas Horror Story is a “pseudo” anthology, because it does not subscribe to the anthology format. It plays as one whole cohesive unit. There are now breaks or segues into the next chapter, which is pretty clever since all three tales carry over elements of each story. It reminds me of Planet Terror and Death Proof – how those two films existed in the same world. That’s how these tales exist in A Christmas Horror Story. 

The first tale has a bunch of high schoolers out to crack the urban legend of some deaths in the high school basement. The second tale is about a father and his young son and the strange occurrences that have befallen the child. The third tale is about a family who set out to reconcile with a wealthy aunt of theirs. Then there’s the proverbial glue that holds the film together. No, it’s not William Shatner, but Santa Claus himself, as he sets out to duel against his greatest enemy: Krampus.

I should explain the rating of the film since I was most certainly entertained. It’s a fun movie and the first scare involved made me jump, because it was most effective. The problem I have is with the actors they got to play the kids and young people. Outside of the “problem child” in the second story they’re all awful and it takes you out of the picture. William Shatner is there to spout knowledge on the radio while getting tipsy on some bourbon and then it gets really exciting when Santa Claus himself battles the forces of evil in a no holds barred fashion. Shatner’s character muses about random subjects and those scenes transfer over into the stories, which is why I compared it to the films I mentioned above.

The film may have been filmed on the low-end but some of the special effects look great and the level of violence and gore was not spared. Keep in mind that this is an UNRATED film. I also didn’t like the fact that folks receive some really terrible wounds and they’re still talking as if it were minor flesh wounds while they’re pretty much leaking out. Those scenes bordered on parody.

In the end A Christmas Horror Story was not a great or even good film but it had just enough horror elements to please gore and horror hounds just a bit. A rental is more than enough. Also, don’t let the cheesy cover art fool you – it makes it seem like this is one of those awful low budget affairs. The film is more than competent when it comes to technical merits.


A Christmas Horror Story


Encoding: AVC/MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail: The image is clear and I did not notice any instances of contrast boosting or sharpness adjustments.

Depth: The image does run a bit on the soft side – mainly in the outdoor scenes but once inside everything is rather warm and low-lit.

Black Levels: Black levels were deep and inky.

Color Reproduction: The color palette shifts from muted to bright but banding, pixilation, etc., were nota problem.

Flesh Tones: Natural and unnatural, if you get my meaning.

Noise/Artifacts: The image was clean and I did not observe any bits of debris, noise, or artifacts.


A Christmas Horror Story


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD MA 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics: A Christmas Horror Story gets a reference rating in the audio department, because the first scare that made jump was great and the mix itself is aggressive, which is cool for a tale like this.

Low Frequency Extension: The LFE channel cause the house to shake a bit, which is what I was going for. The low rumbles of evil really came through in the low-end mix.

Surround Sound Presentation: This is the one that sealed the deal. There’s a scene towards the latter part of the film in which Krampus is stalking victims and you can here his heavy breathing and snarls make a complete 360-degree pass around the sound stage. I literally turned to my left (left rear surround speaker) and followed the sound as it traveled clockwise to my right (right rear surround speaker) and chuckled to myself. It was bloody awesome!

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is clean and crisp and if you thought Regan from The Exorcist had a bit of a potty mouth then wait until you get a load of the evil elves.

A Christmas Horror Story


A Christmas Horror Story has only one special feature and that’s a 150minute behind-the-scenes making of. It’s standard fluff but more expansive extras would have been better – like a special effects make-up featurette or something. Anyways, the making-of featurette is presented in high definition.

  • Behind-The-Scenes Of A Christmas Horror Story (HD)


A Christmas Horror Story


Don’t let the initial 2 1/2 stars of the film itself fool you. This is a decent Blu-ray release that has some good video and a phenomenal soundtrack. Yes, the special features are paltry but the overall design of the Krampus rocks. A Christmas Horror Story is definitely worth a rental, so get yourself some eggnog and crank it up!






A Christmas Horror Story is released on Blu-ray & DVD

November 24th!






A Christmas Horror Story


Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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