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Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Lucky 13 Returns! Week Seven: Christmas

Deck the halls and all that jazz, Vault dwellers! We are but a few days away from the single most commercialized holiday of the year, and that can only mean one thing for The Lucky 13... That's right, we're taking a look at our favorite Yuletide-themed horror flicks. Here's hoping all my gentile friends have a beautiful Jesus B-Day this year, but in the meantime, check out what we've put together below--and be sure to also head over to Brutal as Hell for their Santalicious choices...

B-Sol on The Nightmare Before Christmas

I had debated whether or not to include this as my Halloween pick, since it could arguably work for both holidays. But I've always felt, first and foremost, that Tim Burton and Henry Selick's 1993 masterpiece is a Christmas movie. A very twisted and deliciously deviant Christmas movie, but a Christmas movie nonetheless. And it truly is such a unique motion picture--what is there not to love?

I mean, really... Have you ever come across someone who didn't like this flick? I know I haven't. It's a brilliant work of art, a triumph of stop-motion animation, and a refreshing change from the usual stale holiday fare. I can't recommend it enough for your family's festivities. It really is a beautiful motion picture, with superb art direction, the usual terrific music by Danny Elfman, and of course...that irreplaceable, completely wacked-out Burton sensibility.

I happen to be a big-time Christmas person (although Halloween has been gaining in recent years, natch), and so a movie like this one really does warm my heart. It's got pathos without being treacly, it gets to the very core of the holiday spirit without getting preachy, and best of all, it never fails to be entertaining. Plus, it's one hell of a marvel to look at. I never get tired of it, and really, it's the type of film whose greatness precedes it.

The Mike of From Midnight with Love on P2

If there's one thing we know about Christmas, it's that nobody - no matter their religion, beliefs, or status - wants to be alone for the holiday. That's the case for both Thomas and Angela in P2, a Christmas Eve chiller from the folks behind High Tension and Piranha 3D. Angela is a business woman who is driven to succeed, and is thus working late on Christmas Eve, while Thomas is the Elvis loving security guard who haunts her building's parking structure professionally. Both have their own ideas as to what their holiday will consist of.

But there's a disconnect between their plans for this holly jolly holiday. Angela wants to get home to her family, who are already disappointed that she's running behind again; Thomas just wants Angela's company and will go to any lengths to keep her around. His action plan starts with car sabotage, moves ahead to kidnapping and re-clothing (the film is certainly in contention for any awards for "Best Low Cut Dress in a Supporting Role"), and he soon escalates to trying to win Angela's heart by brutalizing the coworker who groped her at the work Christmas party. Angela has her sanity intact, and is not as receptive to Thomas' advances as he hoped she'd be. (To be fair, she should at least be thankful for that dress.)

Wes Bentley has been a fish-out-of-water type of actor for most of the years since his breakout performance in American Beauty, but here he seems to capitalize on the quiet unease we felt with his voyeuristic character in that film. As Thomas, Bentley manages to become a Jekyll-and-Hyde of sorts, balancing between portraying a socially awkward everyman and a totally homicidal maniac without going too far over the top. Offset by Rachel Nichols' Angela, who seems to be a prototypical survivor girl, the film really succeeds in presenting a Christmas nightmare for her as Thomas tries to live out his Christmas fantasy.

Though this disparity in their Christmas plans might have been more interesting at a shorter length - I'm reminded of Tales from the Crypt's wonderful "And All Through the House..." tale - the filmmakers do a fine job of filling the rest of the film with some well-executed games of cat-and-mouse and a couple of vicious scenes that establish danger while providing ample splatter. The film could have worked focusing on its setting alone (Has anything good ever happened in a parking garage?), but its Christmas conundrum makes it a fun treat for anyone who wants something more horrifying than a holiday with the in-laws.

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Join us next week for the Christmas edition of The Lucky 13 Returns!

Week 1: Halloween
Week 2: Man vs. Nature
Week 3: Veteran's Day
Week 4: Thanksgiving
Week 5: Hanukkah
Week 6: Horror Musicals

1 comment:

Keelee von Cupcake said...

The Nightmare Before Christmas is my favorite ax-mas movie too! Of course I'm a Halloween girl (which just increases my adoration for the movie ten-fold) but there is~ just something undeniably wonderful and uplifting about the Christmas season. Coming in a close second is How the Grinch Stole Christmas, another perfect classic.

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