SHOCK looks at the graphic novel companion to Michael Dougherty’s upcoming chiller KRAMPUS.
With Thanksgiving over and Christmas on its way like an unstoppable monsoon of ugly sweaters and eggnog, movie-goers are being treated to a selection of seasonal films to set them in the mood for the coming of ol’ St. Nick. Among the feel-good comedies and feel-good dramas is a new arrival on the market, KRAMPUS. A holiday tale of horror, KRAMPUS promises to show the dark side of our merry revilement, or lack there-of, as a family trapped in their house learn after a snow storm soon gets a visit from the grimmest version of Santa Clause, one with hooves and a bag full of tricks. Thanks to the films production company Legendary Films recent interest in the comic business, Christmas is coming a bit early this year with the recent release of the KRAMPUS graphic novel.
The comic presents three new stories set on the same night as the movie. While our film family is battling KRAMPUS in their house, the town outside is also battling the creature in its own way. The first story focuses on a mall Santa who has pretty much given up on everything but the bottle, but once the storm brings the first sign of KRAMPUS’s evil elves, he takes up arms and joins the fight. But will his change of heart be enough to save him from the creature’s evil present bag? The second tale is about a cop who had never gotten over the death of her sister and her vigilance has kept away from her family for years. After picking up a robber who was Grinching presents from families in the neighborhood, they soon find themselves face-to-face with a town full of monsters and a secret that the two share. The final yarn spins its own version on A Christmas Carol as a penny pinching billionaire takes a trip down the path of his greed.
KRAMPUS is not only helmed by KRAMPUS director Michael Dougherty of TRICK ‘R’ TREAT fame, but many of the writers and artists that he used for the TRICK ‘R’ TREAT comic make a returning appearance. It’s fun to see the artists who have worked on his previous stuff come back for a second round and those who were fans of the TRICK ‘R’ TREAT comic that came out a couple months ago can expect a lot of the same quality. The only drawback is since this comic is out before the movie, it sets the standard for what to expect in the film where with TRICK ‘R’ TREAT, it’s the other way, so it’s easier to find flaws in the KRAMPUS comic instead of thinking of it as an extension of the movie universe (and cutting it some slack). An example would obviously be the stories in this collection came off as a mixed bag. The first two were fun and original, if not unexpectedly dark, but the third simply came off as another re-telling of the same Dickens story that has been told a hundred times. Perhaps in the context of the movie, it all makes sense, but without the source material it comes off as a bit trite and unnecessary. Maybe if the two were released at the same time, the comic work would seem more complete.
The art was very similar to the stories where the first two shorts seemed to have the luck of the draw while the final piece came off as a bizarre ode to late nineties, graffiti style, ‘attitude’ art with cut corners and unfinished background pieces. Its predecessors had a very solid look, especially with the drunk Santa tale presenting fantastically dark line work by Christian Dibari. The last one seemed barely inked, but the facial expressions were spot on and the action scenes turned everyday situations into acrobatic feats.
Either way, this is a fun work for those who hunger for a little twisted morality with their Christmas stockings and, with less than a week until the movie hits theaters, it’s a great way to prepare for the blood-filled holidays!