Red Christmas (2016)

I had the option to watch something good for today’s post. Friends have recommended Make the Yuletide Gay to me for a while now, but for whatever reason I just wasn’t feeling it at the moment. No, I was in the mood for something absolutely awful. Just some utter dogshit. But because it’s December–Christmas Eve today, in fact–it has to be festive. Well good thing there’s Red Christmas, a movie about an aborted fetus that survived and seeks revenge on his mother (Mrs. Dee Wallace). No, this isn’t the only “survived being aborted” movie, and yes, I’ll get to Hanger someday. But today we talk about Cletus the fetus in this movie that’s barely about Christmas.

That intro paragraph has been your content warning. This movie is bad.

So after an abortion clinic is bombed–this movie starts off strong–an aborted fetus is found to still be alive. That’s not how any of that works, but who the fuck cares, apparently. After 20 years of being raised by a Christian fundamentalist, he tries to return to his family. The first time we see him as an adult is when he rips a dude’s dick off, so he’s a real charmer. Turns out talking about an abortion clinic bombing on Christmas isn’t a good conversation starter, so Dee Wallace and her extended family throw him out while refusing to believe his story is true. So then murder happens. Highlights include setting up that a character is deathly allergic to peanuts and having her get split down the middle with an axe instead, snapping a bear trap on the sheriff’s neck complete with exaggerated blood spray, shoving a man’s head onto the spinning blade of a blender causing blood to shoot from his eyes like a fountain, and impaling a woman through the eye with an umbrella and when she falls, it opens and her head explodes. Dee manages to kill him with an anchor and chain, but dies in the process. The only survivor is a newborn baby, who the cops most likely find.

So by that description, you might think this is a black comedy. A perfectly reasonable assumption. But it’s… not? It’s a movie about Cletus the fetus killing his family, but it’s played deadly seriously. There’s never a wink and a nod beyond the ridiculous premise and the cartoonish kills. Hell, “Cletus the fetus” is never said by a single character, meaning it’s a joke only for the viewer. After a lot of back and forth I decided not to tag the movie “black comedy,” but know it was a rough decision.

I think the worst thing I can say about this movie is that some scenes are shot well, because that means it can’t fall fully into “hilariously incompetent” and thus hovers around “regular incompetent.” Now, too many shots rely on a shakey hand camera and that gets annoying real fast, but there’s a couple good shots in this! But apparently it was a nightmare to film, as told in the documentary Horror Movie: A Low Budget Nightmare. I haven’t seen it yet, but I absolutely will get to that soon so I can find out what the fuck were the people making this movie thinking. Or at least what they were smoking. Yeah, that one tracks more with the final product.

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