Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes
Mother Krampus: The 12 Deaths of Christmas,
In 1921, twelve children went missing near a small town, on the 12 days of Christmas. They were said to victims of Frau Perchta, the Christmas Witch. Just before Christmas of 1992, five children have already disappeared. Some of the parents take it upon themselves to accuse a woman they believe to be the killer, and they hang her. Before dying, she curses them. Now it’s 2017, and children are disappearing once more.
Amy (Faye Goodwin) and her mother Vanessa (Claire-Maria Fox) head to visit Amy’s grandfather., Alfie (Tony Manders) for the holidays. Amy’s dad Wildon (Tom Bowen) isn’t going with them, as he moved out two months previously – for a younger woman. Undeterred, Amy secretly calls her father, who agrees to come for dinner on Christmas. However, when he does show up, he isn’t alone.
A woman turns up unexpectedly on Alfie’s doorstep, one he isn’t particularly happy to see. She tells him that it’s happening again, despite the fact they hung the witch years ago, and tells him he has to come to a meeting. He reluctantly goes to the church, where the other parents have gathered, to discuss what to do to save their loved ones.
Well, to begin with, the title is misleading – there is no Krampus, just Frau Perchta, the Christmas
Witch. Secondly, it’s a very muddy story, and it’s not done particularly well. I had hopes for it at the beginning, but those soon faded. While I don’t mind being mislead or misdirected, sometimes I wondered if the writer knew what they were talking about or doing.
Timing and pacing are certainly an issue here, besides the less than stellar writing and so-so acting. There’s a scene early on with a babysitter and her charge, and my first thought was why does this girl have a babysitter? She’s way too old to need one. Then when she requested… no, demanded… a bedtime story, I was like seriously? She proceeds to tell the babysitter not to tell her Snow White and how she got lost and lived in the woods with seven men… and she knows what was happening there. Again, seriously?
The other distracting issue for me was the casting for Amy’s father. The first time I saw him, before I realized who he was, I thought he was some kind of boyfriend or something. In no way does this guy look old enough to be her father, and in contrast he makes the mother look as though she robbed the cradle.
There is a great confusion in this movie, lot of blood and gory bits, including but not limited to the eating of body parts. The witch is not particularly scary (until she attacks, and anyone would be then). The ending is strange, and makes you wonder if you’re going to be tortured with more of the same. I admit I did request Mother Krampus 2 because it didn’t sound like a direct sequel. I’ll get back to you when I found out.
All in all, I’ll give this film a shaky 1.5 Stars, and I’m being kind at that.
The Hitcher (2007)
College students Grace (Sophia Bush) and Jim (Zachary Knighton) are headed off for a break from school, going to Lake Havasu to meet up with some of Grace’s friends. They haven’t met Jim yet and she wants them to get to know him. Driving at night, in the rain, Jim almost runs down a figure standing in the middle of the road. After the narrow collision, they see the man headed toward them and Grace urges Jim to go on, they can send help back to him. Jim agrees and they continue on.
Later they stop at gas station for snacks and to take a bathroom break. Jim asks about help for the motorist but the clerk tells him none is available. A semi pulls in, and a passenger hops out and heads inside. Jim realizes it must be the same guy and tries to make himself inconspicuous, but the chatty cashier gives him away, and Jim finds himself agreeing to give the man a life, to Grace’s chagrin. The guy’s name is John Ryder (Sean Bean).
Grace sits in back, while John sits up front, by Jim. What starts out as innocuous conversation quickly crosses a line, as the hitcher reveals himself to be less than the ideal companion. When he becomes too much to handle, Jim and Grace force him out of the car, thinking that will be the end of it and they can continue on their way.
They are sadly mistaken, however.
This movie is surely a cautionary tale of why you should not pick up hitchhikers. To be honest, I haven’t really seen a hitchhiker in years, but there was a time when I was young and foolish, and did pick hitchers up. This hitcher is not your run of the mill hitchhiker, by any means, and he makes these two young people’s lives a living hell.
Sean Bean plays his usual superb villainous self, charming one moment, exceedingly creepy the next. Mostly creepy as he tries to kill Jim and Grace, and manages to kill a number of other people along the way. One can only speculate what his actual body count is. Also, why is he doing this? We never really find out, and in the end, it doesn’t really matter.
This movie succeeds on many levels, not least of which is that it made me jump… more than once… and that isn’t easy to do. I generally brace myself for those kinds of scenes. This film caught me unawares. Look for Neal McDonough as a New Mexico State Trooper who wants to stop Jim and Grace in their flight no matter what, unaware where the real danger lies.
I really enjoyed this film, and I’m glad to give it a solid 4 Stars.
Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence)
Martin Lomax’s life has not been an easy one. His father molested him at an early age, and sexually abused him, for which he was sent to prison. Martin (Lawrence R Harvey) is not only mentally disturbed as a result, he has limited intellectual capacity, and works in a parking garage. He is the classical loner, lives with his mother (Vivien Bridson), who blames him for her husband, whom she misses being in prison. His psychiatrist Dr Sebring (Bill Hutchens) makes house calls in order to treat him, but the good doctor has ulterior motives, and wishes to sexually use Martin himself.
Martin has a fascination with centipedes, and keeps one in a terrarium, feeding it live insects. He is also obsessed with the film The Human Centipede, and watches it constantly, dreaming of having his own human centipede someday. At some point, he decides to make his dream come true. He wants his centipede to be longer than the original, so decides on twelve as the perfect number of people for his project.
He acquires his victims from the garage where he works, couples who are just there to park their cars.
Martin utilizes a crow bar as well as a pistol to beat or shoot them into submission. One couple includes a very pregnant woman, who is carrying a toddler. Martin goes to see about renting a warehouse, a place where he can carry out his plan. And when the rental agent gets a little mouthy, he makes quick work of him. Then he takes his victims and lays them out on the floor, bound and naked, as he acquires them. Some of them he has enticed through bogus offers to audition for a Quentin Tarantino film.
The feather in Martin’s cap is getting an actress from the original film to “audition”. He picks her up from the airport in his van, and as she excitedly chatters about the opportunity to work with Tarantino, he drives her to the warehouse. There she mistakes the agent’s luxury vehicle for Tarantino’s. But when she gets inside, a whole other scenario presents itself. Soon she too is subdued, and Martin is ready to bring his plan to fruition.
First, I really suggest having seen the first film before you tackle this one. It’s not the same experience without that. Secondly, this movie is not for everyone. I’m not gonna lie. The director himself, Tom Six, admits that the first film is My Little Pony compared to the second one. Lawrence Harvey is amazing as the demented Martin, deliciously creepy and repulsive and crazy. Of course, you can understand why that is, at least up to a point, considering what his father did, and the way his mother treats him, including trying to murder him in his bed.
The film is shot in black and white, which is explained by Tom Six in an interview in the Bonus section, and I think that was a great choice to make. He makes a brief nod to Schindler’s List (which I admittedly didn’t catch, having not seen that) in a briefly color sequence at the end. I think everybody did a pretty good job of this, and kept it from being something schlocky or outrageous in a bad way. And, unlike the first film, this one is 100% medically inaccurate. I plan to watch the third film at some point, will review it then. I give this one a pretty solid 4 Stars.