in Shocktober

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)

I don’t know about you, but I find it annoying how at the tale end of October stores put up Christmas crap. Just today I saw a display of advent calendars next to a bunch of pumpkin tote bags. It looked terrible. Can we not wait another month? At least let one Holiday have its moment. Sometimes I think there’s a war on Halloween! It’s like Christmas is some bully who always gets what it wants.

Christmas: Hey Halloween, you got a big day coming up, huh? Gonna eat some candy? Do a little dress up?
Halloween (talks like Droopy): Please don’t hurt me.
(Christmas proceeds by beating the holiday cheer out of Halloween.)
Halloween: NOOO!!!
Christmas: Time for some motherf#@king Elf on the Shelf!

And yet I approve of horror Christmas movies, because Christmas is already insane to begin with. Here you have a holiday about a magical fat man who travels around the world delivering presents. We decorate trees and watch 24-hour-marathons of A Christmas Story on TBS. Christmas doesn’t need much tweaking for these kooky elements to get much kookier. In the case of Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, all they did was ask the question, “If Santa was real, what would he be like?” And the answer is, he would be a monster.

Set in Finland, Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is about a group of rugged reindeer herders living beside a snowy mountain range. Meanwhile, a scientist on the mountain has ordered a team of workers to dig up an ancient grave. There they dig up a naked man with a white beard. Santa? Turns out this is one of Santa’s helpers, or “elves” and he’s not alone. People start to die, children go missing, and only one boy named Pietari (Onni Tommila) knows what’s going on. This elf is punishing the naughty and soon other elves like him rise and wage war on the people of the mountain as well.

It turns out Santa is a supernatural monster who commands these elves from his grave to do his bidding. The results of which are a twisted series of over-the-top deaths and Christmas cheer. It’s a solid action picture with an original setup and plenty of twists and turns. Leave it to Finland to expose Santa for the murderous cannibal superbeast he is.

The end is what really does it for me. After Santa is defeated, all the elves are rounded up and taught by the locals how to be real Santas. They are sent around the world to deliver presents and become figures for good. This was the basis of the short film precededing this version. It’s kind of heartwarming, thought. Turning your enemies into your allies? Isn’t this what Christmas is all about? Wait, what holiday am I celebrating right now? I’m not sure. I better go as zombie Scott Calvin to cover all my bases. Merry Halloween!

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  1. Good timing on this, people in my office just started prepping for the holidays today, even though we have a big Halloween event tomorrow.

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