Rob Archer Talks Playing Krampus in ‘A Christmas Horror Story’


At 6’6″ and 285 lbs., actor Rob Archer was an easy fit for the role of Krampus in the new horror film, A Christmas Horror Story. The unique holiday horror movie, which is set to be released next week on blu-ray and DVD, tells 4 interwoven stories of separate horrific events in the small town of Bailey Downs during the Christmas season. At the heart of it all is Krampus, the horrifying “anti-Santa” who seeks to unleash his wicked punishment on anyone who’s been naughty.

Krampus himself, stuntman-turned-actor Rob Archer, recently talked with 1428 Elm about A Christmas Horror Story. He touches on the shooting conditions of the film and what it was like to bring Krampus to life. Among other things, Archer even confirmed the development of a sequel to A Christmas Horror Story, and yes— Rob will be back as Krampus! Read on to find out more.

Jeremy Dick: Thank you, Rob, for doing this interview for 1428 Elm. I wanted to talk to you about A Christmas Horror Story. I know you’ve done some stunt work and have appeared in other movies before, such as Pixels and Kick-Ass 2. Can you tell me how you got involved with A Christmas Horror Story?

Rob Archer: One of the stunt coordinators that was on A Christmas Horror Story, Paul Rapovski, I worked with him my entire career and when that came up, he had mentioned it to me and at that point, I had no clue who or what Krampus was. I looked it up and I started seeing everything behind the Krampus legend and whatnot. When he brought it up, everything was still in the works with A Christmas Horror Story, but I said yes, that I wanted to be a part of it, and everything went from there.

JD: The FX in A Christmas Horror Story were really great, especially with how they turned you into Krampus. Can you tell me about the make-up process involved with becoming Krampus?

Just as intimidating sans make-up.

RA: It was anywhere from an 8 to 9 hour ordeal just to get the make-up on and start the day. My shortest day on set, with make-up and filming, was 18 1/2 hours; my longest day was 22 1/2. Everything below the neck is my body. I got it down to between 4 and 5 percent bodyfat for that role, so there’s absolutely no prosthetics below my neck. It’s just body paint. My face was put on piece by piece by piece. The face is all layers. So although it shows I have a nose, my nose is totally covered up. My mouth I could barely open. I had custom-made crazy teeth. The face was crazy.

I’ve grown up my whole life as a huge Stephen King fan, of the Creepshow stuff that he did, and that got me into FANGORIA magazine and the special FX. From there, I became a huge Friday the 13th and Jason Voorhees fan. So I was always really into the special FX make-up part, like all the prosthetics and fake blood and all that. So although I’m spending all that time getting all that done, I’ve always been super, super intrigued by it, so it was a lot of fun for me at the same time.

JD: Being a lifelong fan of horror movies would’ve certainly made that role much more fun. While we’re on the subject, I wanted to ask if you could you tell me your all time favorite horror movie?

RA: My favorite horror movie would easily be The Blair Witch Project. I don’t know if you can classify that as horror or thriller, but everything from how it was filmed, what they filmed it on, and to how they marketed the film— I think every aspect was absolutely genius. It’s my favorite one to date.

JD: Awesome— back to A Christmas Horror Story, I just wanted to ask— it looked really cold. Can you tell me about the shooting conditions on that movie?

RA: [laughs] It didn’t look really cold, it was really bloody cold, my friend. Every day that I shot was usually at nighttime, and it was in between -20 and -25 degrees. And I was there with in between 4 and 5 percent bodyfat. It was the coldest thing I’ve ever done. A lot of people thought that was done on a set, but no, that was outside, and it was -25, and yes, they threw water on me at that point!

JD: Wow. That sounds pretty brutal. Well, with all that being said, what would you say you’ve enjoyed better thus far, acting or stunt work?

RA: You know what? I’m gonna have to say both because I’m an action guy. That’s the direction my career is going in. I want the dialogue, I love the acting, I love developing a character. I’m getting more dramatic stuff with my lines and dialogue, and the projects I’ve been taking on. But I’ll always be an action guy. I’m dying to do a movie with The Rock or Jason Statham. Getting that dialogue, but doing all my own stunts. I never want anybody doing my stunts. I pride myself on that.

JD: That’s great to hear. I know you’re an action guy at heart, but was it a lot of fun to do a horror movie?

The poster alone is incredible.

RA: It was, it was amazing. I can’t wait to start part 2. The Copperheart team has some really great ideas that we’ve discussed at some of the film festivals, and I’m beyond super excited to get started on the next one.

JD: So there is a sequel in development, officially?

RA: Yes, there will be. If not 2, 3, 4— they’ve got some amazing, amazing ideas, and it’s just fun to hear and be able to have the inside scoop of what’s going on. It builds for the excitement for bringing Krampus back.

JD: That’s very good news. Aside from A Christmas Horror Story 2, could you tell me what’s next for Rob Archer?

RA: I just finished working with James Caan on a film called Operation Insanity. It was amazing to be able to exchange dialogue and have a 15 hour day with the James Caan. That was a lot of fun for me, and to be able to talk to somebody that I’ve grown up my whole life watching, and have him laughing and joking throughout the day, it was just an incredible day. I was just so happy I didn’t flub any of my lines. With certain projects, I could roll out of bed, walk on and do my thing, and it wouldn’t even make me flinch— but you get certain days where you have a star that was on that show, and it’s like ‘Wow, I can think all the way back to when I was a kid or a teenager watching this person,’ and it’s like, ‘Wow, I get to share the same stage with this person, I get to be on screen with this person.’ So I had a little bit of anxiety that day, because James Caan is just a legend, you know, it was incredible.

A bunch of others. I just finished doing— I just had a couple days on another small film, a feature called 22 Chaser. And I have something coming up on a new TV show called Slasher. These last 6 weeks, I’ve landed 5 different roles. And before that, I starred in a web series called Driver, I’m in 4 of the 7 episodes of that. But my big focus is on starting A Christmas Horror Story 2 next year.

JD: I’m looking forward to it. I just have one more question for you. You make such an excellent villain, but I was wondering if you’d ever want to play the hero?

RA: Maybe, at some point, but I live for being the bad guy. My whole life growing up as a kid, like I said, I lived for Friday the 13th, I was a huge Jason Voorhees fan. I played with GI Joe when I was a kid, and I was Cobra Commander and Destro. I played with He-Man, but I loved Skeletor. I grew up watching Star Wars, I was a huge fan of Darth Vader and all his bounty hunters and whatnot. So, to be a grown-up— I can only call myself a grown-up because I have the number 40 beside my name, otherwise I have the maturity of a 16 year old— I love playing the bad guy. I love being a villain. It’s a lot more fun and sinister, and you get to wear way cooler outfits. Yeah, I’ve got a huge love for the bad guy. I’m sure at some point in my career, if a good guy role came up, and if it was right for me, I would take it to maybe challenge myself, but right now, I’m more comfortable playing the bad guy. Right now, I love being bad.

A Christmas Horror Story is set to be released on blu-ray and DVD on November 24, 2015.

Next: New 'A Christmas Horror Story' Trailer Brings Holiday Cheer