The only thing better than one Krampus film is… eight of them?!
When Michael Dougherty’s Krampus was released during the 2015 holiday season, the titular character – a mythical Christmas demon from Alpine folklore – didn’t really have much of a presence in the world of pop culture. As a sort of anti-Santa, Krampus’ popularity had been growing in the years prior (Friday the 13th remake star Derek Mears portrayed Krampus on an episode of “Grimm” in 2013, titled “12 Days of Krampus,” which was the character’s first major movie/TV appearance), but it was Dougherty’s film that turned him into what he was always destined to be: a horror icon.
Dougherty was smart to make Krampus when he did, because he knew it was only a matter of time before someone else came along and beat him to the punch. And indeed a handful of Krampus-themed horror movies came in the immediate wake of the 2015 film, firmly establishing Krampus as *the* holiday horror villain of our time.
The Krampus trend in movies, however, does date back further than Dougherty’s film. Notably, Finnish gem Rare Exports, released in 2010, re-imagined the original Santa Claus as a massive, horned beast not unlike Krampus. The monster is never referred to as Krampus, but the film was no doubt inspired by the Krampus mythology.
So let’s begin there, shall we?
RARE EXPORTS (2010)
“In this darkly comic gem, it’s Christmas Eve in northern Finland, and an archaeological dig has just unearthed Santa Claus. But this Santa isn’t one you want coming to town. When local children begin disappearing, Pietari and his father capture the mythological being and attempt to sell Santa to the corporation sponsoring the dig.”
KRAMPUS: THE CHRISTMAS DEVIL (2013)
“Jeremy, a local police officer leads a life of a confusing past, spending his current time searching for his kidnapper as a child. After other children begin missing, Jeremy pieces together the truth and realizes that his childhood kidnapper could be a creature of ancient yuletide lore, Krampus, who is the brother of St. Nick, and punisher of children who perform acts of unspeakable evil without repercussion. Can Jeremy kill Krampus and prevent more missing children?”
“Legendary Pictures’ Krampus, a darkly festive tale of a yuletide ghoul, reveals an irreverently twisted side to the holiday. When his dysfunctional family clashes over the holidays, young Max is disillusioned and turns his back on Christmas. Little does he know, this lack of festive spirit has unleashed the wrath of Krampus: a demonic force of ancient evil intent on punishing non-believers. All hell breaks loose as beloved holiday icons take on a monstrous life of their own, laying siege to the fractured family’s home and forcing them to fight for each other if they hope to survive.”
KRAMPUS: THE RECKONING (2015)
“Zoe, a strange child, has a not so imaginary friend Krampus, who is the dark companion of St. Nicholas.”
A CHRISTMAS HORROR STORY (2015)
“It’s the season of joy, peace, and goodwill… unless you live in Bailey Downs. Last Christmas Eve, two teens came to a grisly end in a school basement. Now, one year later, a new set of horrors has come to town. As three friends explore the site of the massacre, a malevolent spirit is determined to keep them there forever. One of the first cops to the scene of the bloody murders has new complications as his seven-year-old son exhibits terrifying and violent behavior. And when a local family seeks reconciliation with an estranged aunt for the wrong reasons, they suddenly find themselves running in terror from Krampus, the demonic anti-Santa Claus. Not even St. Nick is immune to the terror as he fights back against a horde of zombie elves. This is destined to be a holiday no one will ever forget….”
KRAMPUS UNLEASHED (2016)
“In pursuit of buried treasure, a group of fortune hunters unearth an ancient demonic summoning stone that holds a terrible curse and awakens a timeless evil, the Krampus. After centuries of slumber, Krampus has awoken with a thirst for blood.”
KRAMPUS 2: THE DEVIL RETURNS (2016)
“Five years after the murder of his wife and disappearance of his daughter, former police officer Jeremy Duffin is brought back to help in the hunt for a yuletide monster that punishes children that have been “naughty.” As the monster becomes more erratic and unpredictable, Jeremy learns the truth about the disappearance of his daughter and the fate that has been bestowed upon him by an unlikely source. Can Jeremy finally end the nightmare Christmas monster that has terrorized this town for years?”
MOTHER KRAMPUS (2017)
“Based on the myth of Frau Perchta, a witch that comes on the 12 days of Christmas taking children each night.”