Toys of Terror, from the mind of comedian Dana Gould, aims to put a horrific spin on the holidays. Could it be the next Krampus?
I became aware of Dana Gould in the fledgling days of Comedy Central (known as “The Comedy Channel” at its inception), which would play clips of his stand-up. In recent years, I’ve grown to appreciate him as an adherent of classic horror and sci-fi. He was the creative force behind Stan Against Evil and has now written the upcoming Christmas horror, Toys of Terror.
One thing about Gould’s sensibility is his deep appreciation for the genre. In some ways, listening to him recount film history hits the sweet spot between good-natured fanboy and well-read college professor. His interview on Criterion’s Carnival of Souls disc is a lot of fun.
Perhaps this is why the trailer for Toys of Terror looks pretty darn good. Closer in spirit to Crimson Peak than Annabelle. Ominously-lit hallways, creepy toys, and haunted history, oh my!
The story follows the Cashman family, venturing to an out-of-the-way home for Christmas vacation. Upon arriving, their children gravitate toward toys in the toybox, and become inseparable from them as events grow increasingly bizarre.
As with many current mainstream horror trailers, Toys of Terror hits certain expected beats: jump-scares, fake-outs (is that a ghostly boy in the background?), and a long-ago tragedy that manifests in present day.
That said, a certain sense of style and craftsmanship shines through. Director Nicholas Verso was also responsible for Boys in the Trees, which garnered praise from horror fans a few years back. The trailer also carries an atmospheric wintry chill, complemented by the dark corners of the home. And the macabre transformations the titular items undergo lead to some effective scares.
Warner Brothers shepherded Michael Dougherty’s Krampus to the big screen a few years ago, so perhaps they’re looking for another effort from a genre up-and-comer to give horror fans their ghoulish fix. After all, the holidays have always been fertile ground for dark takes on celebration and togetherness (in addition to the Silent Night, Deadly Night series, we have 3 versions of Black Christmas to choose from).
Toys of Terror will be available on digital platforms October 27, with Blu-ray and DVD to follow on January 19, 2021.
Let us know what you think about the Toys of Terror trailer in the comments.