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Season’s Greetings! It’s been a minute since I’ve reviewed a holiday movie and now that this brutally bizarre year has come to a close, I figured I’d better get my two cents in before it’s too late. So, I’m going to tell you about a horror-comedy anthology I just watched called Nightmare On 34th Street, a weirdly dark and demented mixed bag of four Christmas tales brought to you from writer/director James Crow.

Essentially, a grumpy Santa Claus is the tie-in character who tells a young boy four scary Christmas-centered tales, all having another underlying theme other than Christmas. I found most of them had to do with “Daddy” issues, but there are other familial ills dealt with as well. Anyway, I die-gress. Sit back and let me tell you a little bit about Nightmare On 34th Street since that big ball’s already dropped.

In the first tale— “Toby and Chloe’s Christmas Nightmare”—Santa, a snowman, and an elf walk into a house and wind up killing an entire family because they’re escaped serial killers. A young girl named Chloe (Eloise Henwood) is oblivious to the fact and winds up going off with Killer Santa and his buddies. Five years later, we see that Chloe has been schooled in the ways of the wicked, and Christmas chaos continues. Poor Toby is just along for the barbed wire sleigh (slay) ride.

The second tale, called “The Ventriloquist Who Stole Christmas”, is about a failed ventriloquist named Henry (Mark Beauchamp) who is down on his luck professionally and personally. The only thing he has to lean on is his snowman puppet, Mr. White. After he loses out on an audition, getting beaten up by a group of local thugs, and losing the woman in his life, Henry starts losing his grip on sanity. He keeps having flashbacks of his father who was a successful ventriloquist in his time, as well as a pretty good serial killer. Can Henry follow in his pop’s footsteps? Maybe Mr. White can help.

The next installment is “Merry Krampus” featuring Lucy Pinder (Strippers vs. Werewolves). Honestly, this tale fell flat for me, and I didn’t pay that much attention to it. It’s just that lackluster. Sorry folks.

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Next up is “The 12 Kills of Christmas” which is a more disturbing tale that has to do with the evils that Father McShane (Jeff Kristian) of the Church commits against the innocents in the choir and more. Dementia strikes Father McShane, and although he’s cared for by his daughter, the disease doesn’t stop him from being haunted by the horrors he’s committed in the past.

So, after those tales have been told, Grumpy Santa has one more tale to tell that ties together everything. It’s his backstory and guess what? He’s a killer, too, because it turns out that he was a mall Santa who was replaced and he’s super fucking disgruntled about it.

Nightmare On 34th Street is an absolute mixed bag of weird, dark, mean-spirited, twisted holiday delights. If you’re so inclined, give it a watch on VOD!

Happy 2024!