Streaming: Santa Claus gets sinister in 5 horror films for the holidays

Photo: Deadly Games.. Image Courtesy Shudder
Photo: Deadly Games.. Image Courtesy Shudder /
4 of 6

3. Krampus

The evil twin of Santa Claus would most likely be Krampus, a demonic creature who, rather than rewarding good children, beats the naughty ones with sticks. He then packs them up in his bag, and carries them off to whatever hell-like location he calls home.

The legend of Krampus is most prevalent in Germany and Austria, but even some Americans now participate in December 6th’s Krampusnacht (Krampus Night). And in 2015, writer/producer/director Micahel Dougherty (the man responsible for the Halloween horror gem Trick ‘r Treat) brought us the Christmas horror film Krampus.

Young Max Engel is at odds with his family over Christmas. He loves the holiday, and even still believes in Santa Claus, but the remaining family members (Mom, Dad, Aunt, Uncle, cousins and Great-Aunt) are pretty Grinch-like. The exception would be his Grandmother, Omi. His cousins make fun of a letter Max wrote to Santa, and Max yells that he hates his family and Christmas, rips up the letter, and throws it outside.

An unexpected blizzard hits, and a large, frightening, goat-like creature stalks Max’s sister Beth. Just to add to the horrific fun, psychotic gingerbread men, a terrifying Jack-In-the-Box and crazed elves start to attack the family. Omi has figured out what’s going on, and a tale from her childhood brings everything to light.

As scary as the back-up characters are, the worst is the gigantic Krampus, who is torturing the Engel family for their lack of Christmas spirit. Though most of the film is fast-paced fun, the unexpectedly bleak ending packs an emotional wallop.

Krampus can currently be streamed on Amazon Prime, iTunes and Vudu.