So, if you’re like me, you aren’t exactly thrilled about this time of the year. I don’t particularly care for the twinkly lights and the mad dashes to the stores to find the best deals on the biggest trends of the season. I’m more about looking forward to the ho-ho-holiday hibernation. After all, home is where the heart and the horror are, right? That’s all you truly need during these times of comfort and joy.
Speaking of holiday joy, have I got a special something to tell you about. If you’ve been following me for a time now, you know how much I enjoy a horror anthology, especially a holiday-themed one. Well, it seems that jolly ol’ Satan Claws has come through. The brilliant minds of writers/directors Robert Livings and Randy Nundlall Jr. have given us the gift that is…The Christmas Tapes.
The Christmas Tapes starts off as any other typical holiday film. We have a seemingly happy family excitedly celebrating the holiday and having a good time opening gifts, one of these being a camcorder which is immediately put to use.
The celebration is soon disrupted by a knock on the door. Naturally, they open it and immediately the trouble begins. There stands Greg Sestero (The Room, Best F(r)iends), holding a festively wrapped box and giving a sob story about how both his car and his phone have died. He asks if he can come in and use the family’s phone to call for help. Being in the holiday spirit, the family lets him in.
Once the intruder is in the house, things get rolling. It turns out the guy isn’t so nice. Uh oh! He winds up binding and gagging most of the family, leaving the budding cinematographer free to film his evil doings, because he essentially wants to make his own kind of Christmas movie.
As he taunts and teases the bound family, he opens his mystery box to reveal that he’s brought the holiday entertainment, which winds up being several VHS tapes of various “found” footage holiday tales. Each story is supposedly more horrific than the next.
The Christmas Tapes is an anthology made up of four stories. I don’t want to give too much away about any of them, but I’ll give you a little taste of what to expect. Just as in a Halloween anthology, a couple of the stories have to do with summoning the spirit of the holiday. The other two have to do with delivering of gifts, so to speak. As I mentioned before, they’re all filmed in a “found” footage format. In particular, the first story we see is very similar to The Blair Witch Project, which is fun. Also, not all of the stories are straight-up grim and dire horror. Comedic bits are thrown in to lighten the load. There are cameos by a familiar face or two in each entry as well, including Dave Sheridan, Jason Kuykendall and Vernon Wells which add to the viewing pleasure.
The Christmas Tapes is a solid holiday movie that you should add to your ‘to-watch’ list. The movie is an enjoyable scare to watch with family and friends (but not the little ones). While this isn’t an out and out gorefest, there are some pretty bloody and disturbing scenes scattered throughout. Kudos to the writing/directing team of Livings and Nundlall Jr. for bringing back a playful style of storytelling using both a dark sense of humor and fantastic plot twists. Adding a brilliant cast that can work to bring it all together flawlessly doesn’t hurt, either! My husband and I will be watching this one again for sure! Happy Horrorslays!
The Christmas Tapes will be released on December 12, 2022, so keep your eyes peeled!