The Christmas Season and horror have a relationship that dates back to folk tales of The Krampus.However, it was The BBC’s 1971 decision to air an adaptation of M.R. James’, ‘The Stalls of Barchester’, that eventually led to A GHOST STORY FOR CHRISTMAS. As a result, television and film audiences’ fascination with the horrific potential of the season had begun.
Now, Kier-La Janisse and Paul Corupe have edited YULETIDE TERROR: CHRISTMAS HORROR ON FILM AND TELEVISION; a collection of essays that examine this connection between the most wonderful time of the year and our darkest fears and imaginings.
They’ve done this by exploring the works of a wide range of knowledgeable and often familiar genre authors; including longtime FANGORIA editor, Michael Gingold, Stephen Thrower, author of NIGHTMARE USA, and Kim Newman, who has more writing credits than most could count. In addition, the exploration of a varied mix of authors, journalists, and documentarians provide everything from scholarly articles, interviews, and personal reminisces. This balances out the more serious and academic pieces with those of a more light and fluffy nature, nicely.
The films examined in YULETIDE TERROR range from classics, like the original BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974) and SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT (1984) to less well-regarded films such as ELVES (1989) More modern fare like P2 (2007) are looked at as well. Mainstream horror is represented by looks at adaptations of A CHRISTMAS CAROL and, as previously mentioned, The BBC’s A GHOST STORY FOR CHRISTMAS. The mix of materials is good. It is neither a rehash of information on films you’re tired of reading about, nor is it a catalog of obscurities you’ve never heard of, or care to read about. Personally, I learned some things about films I was already familiar with, about some films I had no idea existed, such as the Canadian, French-language film, PETIT POW! POW! NÖEL(2005), which I’ll be tracking down as soon as possible.
Despite the wide range of works and 488 pages to work with, some people’s favorites will be left out. For example, I was surprised to discover there wasn’t a chapter on the David Hess directed TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT (1980), Even so, there is a compendium of reviews covering another two hundred, or so films reaching as close to date as 2017’s SUPER DARK TIMES.
YULETIDE TERROR boasts cover art and chapter headings from acclaimed artist, Alisdair Wood. Along with interior artwork from Rick Trembles, Mainger and Justin Erickson of Phantom City Creative, Michelle Winer, and Lauri Ahonen. Plus loads of stills and poster reproductions.
Published by Spectacular Optical Publications and available via their website http://www.spectacularoptical.ca/ YULETIDE TERROR deserves a place on every serious genre fan’s bookshelves.