Red Christmas

Synopsis: A previously aborted baby is rescued after a religious fanatic bombs the abortion clinic. The baby then grows up and tracks down his real mother, ruining Christmas by killing everyone she loves.
 
Written, Directed, and Produced By: Craig Anderson (not the hockey player)
Year Released: 2016
Movie Pitch:
Craig: “Alright everyone, I have a great idea. I want to tell the world my thoughts on abortion while at the same time include random gruesome deaths; maybe something with a bear trap.”
Movie people: “ooh, interesting, will these people live out in the woods as hunters and have to survive on their wits to stay alive?”
Craig: “Hah, no, they all have cellphones and live in a mansion.”
Nope Rating
Favorite death: Suzie for sure. She comes out of the house (Stupidly) to help her mother and is stabbed through the eye, skull, and brain with an umbrella by Cletus. She then falls down the front porch steps which triggers the opening mechanism in the handle and her head explodes. Unfortunately, it’s left to the imagination what that might look like. All we get to see is the brain-matter covered top of the umbrella.
Funniest part: In the midst of Cletus’ killing spree, there’s this part where Jenny, the pregnant daughter, runs out of the garage where the family has decided to stay to stay safe. She somehow falls as she approaches a staircase. Her brother, Jerry and her mother, Diane come quickly to her aid. Diane screams out that she’s going to have the baby. Jerry then replies that they should take her to the hospital. So, naturally, Diane says “we can’t go to the hospital now, it’s too far.” NEVERMIND THE GUY TRYING TO MURDER YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY WANDERING AROUND YOUR FRONT YARD.
What they did right: The death of Jerry was actually really tragic and symbolic. The fact that it was an accident was really well done. I also liked the character of Cletus. He’s homely and sweet. He just wants to know who his mother is and what her reasons were for leaving him. He’s well-developed and I wish I could see more of his back story.

 

This is quite the movie. It’s actually the second time I’ve watched it now. The first time I saw it, it was just so bad that I had to gripe about it to someone. Actually, it was the movie that inspired me to start this blog, so I thought it might be fitting that this should be my first review.
Anyway, the story is about this kid named Cletus. He’s all kinds of fucked up. He wears a ratty old cloak and has bandages wrapped around his face, hands, and feet.

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Basically he was rescued from a bombing at an abortion clinic and found by this radical Christian dude that set up the bomb in the first place. Throughout the title sequence, you see him growing up whipped into submission to believe that what his mother did was wrong. He’s finally set free into the world after his adoptive father lets him go. Honestly, whatever is going on in the title sequence is more interesting than the entire movie. That’s the movie I want to watch.
We’re then introduced to the main family. They apparently don’t have a last name and honestly, you don’t find out some of their first names until the movie is almost over. We have the Mother, Diane, Uncle Joe, who is only ever called Uncle Joe once, so you have to pay attention. We then meet Diane’s biological children. Jerry has Down’s Syndrome and an inexplicable British accent. Jenny is pregnant, has an Australian accent, and is married to a dude named Scott (though we don’t know his name until after he dies). She is the best actor in this movie by a long shot and delivers her lines with actual facial expressions. Suzie is an uptight religious woman that we learn is having trouble making a baby because her husband is super gay for Scott. Speaking of her husband, she’s married to a Catholic priest named Peter (who we don’t discover the name of until about an hour and twenty minutes in). Peter is introduced as a peeping Tom that likes to watch Scott’s hairy butt crack have sex with Jenny in the laundry room. Peter is a creep.
Interestingly, Diane also has an adopted daughter named Hope. I found this interesting, because Hope is the youngest child we meet before we find out about Cletus. Even if she was adopted as a baby, she’s still the youngest and a fairly recent addition to the family. Why then, Diane, do you plug this story of “I didn’t want to have to raise a child on my own knowing your father was sick and might not pull through” to Cletus? You could have just put him up for adoption and saved your entire family. The well-developed hand that reaches out of the bio hazard bucket in the beginning clearly shows he was a late term abortion.

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Cletus then makes his first appearance. He stumbles out of the….woods? Because that’s where he lives? I have no idea.
There is no transition or explanation as to how he got into the woods in the first place, not to mention, there is no camp set up or hut to sleep in. He just….exists out there or something. Anyway, Cletus emerges from the woods and introduces himself to a man clearly going through his own shit, sharpening a knife against a stone.
After he yells at Cletus and then pees on him for some reason, Cletus rips his dick off. You’d think this would be enough, right? I guess not. As Cletus leave’s the man’s house, having nicely placed his dick on the dining room table, he passes the dude sitting on the stool next to his sharpening stone. His face is smashed into the stone, making it seem like there was more to the story. I guess this was what was supposed to set the tone for how Cletus kills, I know I was excited when I saw that…and then promptly disappointed.
I won’t go through every scene of the movie, I’ll let you do that if you have the brain cells to waste, but there were a few that I just loved.
The first happens almost immediately. The camera pans to Suzie as the rest of the room is chattering about inane shit and she says “Is Hope not allergic to peanuts anymore?” really loudly and with that lip-curl thing girls do when they “literally can’t.”
The camera then shows Hope’s hand LITERALLY JUST SITTING IN THE BOWL OF PEANUTS. She quickly moves her hand and says “what?” like she has just discovered this allergy. Diane runs over, repeating the name “Joe” we don’t know who Joe is at this point, so this makes no sense. Shortly, we find out that Joe is the strange bearded man that looks like a vagrant and definitely doesn’t want to be in this movie. Diane proceeds to yell at Joe about the peanuts and he says “what? She can’t have just one?….What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
At this point in the movie, we haven’t met Cletus, so I don’t know if this was a weird insinuation that maybe Joe is the murderer of the movie? I don’t know, he and Hope continue to have a tense relationship throughout the film that goes unexplained.
The next scene I really liked was when the Sheriff arrives. First of all, there’s only one Sheriff and he’s 60 something years old. Second of all, he’s alone. Someone tells him a girl has been murdered, and he doesn’t bring backup. This is all funny and great, but not the reason I love this scene.
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Diane is watching the Sheriff get out of the car from the front lawn. Without any kind of warning or pretense, the camera shifts from her watching him to a bear trap enclosed over this guy’s head, blood spurting everywhere.
The director must really have liked this scene, because the promotional picture used as the result of Googling this movie is from this scene. It’s this one. I’m not even kidding.
Finally, the first time Cletus kills, the tension-building scene the film uses is an argument between Jenny and Suzie about whether or not their mother’s meringue pie belongs in the refrigerator. As the tension drops, so does the meringue. It’s one of the more tragic deaths in the film.
Let me take this time right now to comment on the lighting and soundtrack of this movie. As the movie progresses, the lighting gets more….intense? I don’t know if that’s the word I want to to use, it’s weird, basicallycraig2The room where Jenny is having her baby is a weird shade of neon pink, the kitchen is green, and the hallways are blue and yellow. I’m not sure if this was done so we’d be able to distinguish between scenes quickly, but it was odd and gave the movie a goofy kind of feel.
dave-collins-blender-head-02-red-christmas-photo-by-douglas-burdorffThe special effects are basically nonexistent. The best example of it working is when Scott is killed. Cletus comes up behind him and sends and axe through his skull. It’s done quickly, so it looks realistic. When Paul is killed by the milkshake blade, it’s such an obvious fake head, it’s laughable. I also laughed because I can’t get my nutri-bullet to blend a banana in one shot. Let alone scramble someone’s brain through their skull.
Cletus’ face is another bit of special effects that went horribly wrong. He’s clearly wearing a mask. As he speaks, you can see the giant rubber teeth moving up and down unnaturally. Also, he’s supposed to have had Down’s Syndrome, not some strange deformity that causes his face to look like it does.

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I can understand him looking a bit odd because he was premature, but like I said earlier, he was clearly a late term abortion and doesn’t need to look like that. Besides, his bandages are shaped like a normal face; I think he would be a lot creepier if they were formed to what his face looks like after the “big reveal.”
I’m not going to lie, this movie is awful. I’ve given it a straight up “Nope” rating. It’s bad, really bad, but I’ve seen worse. Some big ticket items are the fact that it’s trying to be about abortion, but doesn’t really have a message about it. Diane refers to Cletus as a “Crazy Christian” and Joe a “Bible Thumper” to insinuate that Cletus is trying to push his pro-life agenda down their throats. Really though, he’s just trying to reconcile with his mother and figure out what happened. Diane is the one that freaks out and has him thrown out of her house after he brings up the abortion.
The lighting, soundtrack, special effects, and camera angles are all off and weird. Some things in the movie felt forced, like when Peter and Cletus are praying in the kitchen and Jerry overhears them. Peter’s prayer is so obviously the only way the director thought to keep Jerry in the loop, it’s almost painful.

Next Week’s Review: Bedeviled

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2 thoughts on “Red Christmas

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