Christmas horror is a staple. Some of it good, some of it bad, but it remains a sub genre of horror that is explored the most, perhaps more than Halloween. YULETIDE TERROR: CHRISTMAS HORROR ON FILM AND TELEVISION, the latest book from Kier-La Janisse and Spectacular Optical, delves deep into the subject of Christmas horror to reveal it’s lengthy history. The great thing about Christmas horror is that it never really goes out of season, It’s as enjoyable in June as it is in December. The same can’t be said for straight Christmas films which even get tiresome when there is a tree lit up next to the T.V.
While starting off with Black Christmas (as it must) this 488 pager spends equal time exploring lesser discussed classics like Elves, Christmas Evil and the more recent The Children. Nothing is off the table and that is what works about Spectacular Optical releases. The history and folklore of Christmas is examined and one needs only to explore the ghostly connection between Christmas and Halloween to realize that this tradition (or sub-genre) dates back further than the advent of film.
My tastes are a little skewed so I love that P2 has its own chapter while I skipped Silent Night , Deadly Night because in my opinion, that film is best left forgotten. Hell even Santa Claus Conquers The Martians is given a moment. Something for almost everyone.
As it is a book of essays, there are many different points of view from the likes of Michael Gingold, Kim Newman and Amanda Reyes to name a few. There are some opposing opinions of course, but that is part of the fun. Many books of this nature are filled with a single writers musings and when they hate a film, they tend to hate all similar ones as well. That makes for a one sided conversation with the author that grows old quickly. Not here!
Another, and surprisingly complete aspect, is the compendium of films that includes anything you could think of with one notable exception. The film list is up to the minute and even includes T.V. specials and anthology episodes!
YULETIDE TERROR is not just a Christmas horror book but a book for all seasons. Each writer bringing an ornament to place on Kier-La Janisse’s tree of horror knowledge. This is a book all horror fans need in their collection. Order the book HERE and I’m sure you will find yourself saying “God bless these writers…every one!”