Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Holiday Horror: 6 Films to Keep You Awake: The Christmas Tale (2005)

 6 Films to Keep You Awake: The Christmas Tale (2005)
Director: Paco Plaza
Starring: Maru Valdivielso, Christian Casas, and  Roger Babià
Running Time: 71 min

This is a made for TV movie from Spain from a series called "Films to Keep You Awake".  I haven't seen or heard of this but the poster has an axe wielding Santa, so sign me up.  Also, this has the writing and directed team of Luiso Berdejo and Paco Plaza, who did the [Rec] film series, so hopefully this should be good, if not at least interesting.

 A group of twelve year old friends, Koldo, Tito, Peti, Moni and Eugenio, stumble upon a woman in a Santa suit trapped in a hole in the forest by the houses. While Tito, Moni and Eugenio stay and try to pull her out, Koldo and Peti bike over to get the police.  However as Koldo and Peti are waiting for the officer to get off the phone and talk to them, a most wanted picture is faxed to the police station with the face of the woman who is trapped in the hole.  They steal the fax and quickly get back to their friends.  Luckily, they get there just in time because she is half way out and Koldo yells to them to cut the rope.  Which they do and the woman tumbles backwards back into the hole breaking her leg.  Koldo and Peti explain to the others that this woman has robbed a bank of 2 million pesetas and they should force her to give them the money if she wants to get out.  They tell the woman in the Santa suit their plan and she refuses to give up the location of the loot, so the young extortionists tell her that she will starve down in that dark dank hole until she does.  Moni is the only member of the group that doesn't like this idea and over the next few days tries to bring the poor bank robber some food, but she is usually stopped by her greedy cohorts but is able to slip the poor woman some food here and there.
  As the days roll by, the woman eventually gives them the cash which was stashed in her Santa suit but before the young gangsters release her, they tell her that they have to count the money first and if it's all there they will let her go.  The next day, they return to release her but the kids think that she has died.  After Tito performs the old "hitting her repeatedly in the head in with a bucket test", they pronounce her dead and head home to come up with a plan to tell to the police.
  That night after watching a voodoo zombie movie, Peti and Eugenio learn how easy it is to resurrect the dead and have them become your slave.  So, they grab a chicken and some candles and perform a voodoo ceremony at the hole with the woman in it but it doesn't work and the kids head home.  However the night morning, when the gang brings a police officer to the hole to get the woman out and get their reward, she has disappeared!  Did the voodoo zombie magic work and is the woman out to get her revenge for killing her or has she escaped from the hole and wants to get her revenge on these kids for stealing her 2 million pesetas and almost killing her?  Either way these kids are fucked.

  This was pretty cool movie and it was surprisingly gripping for a television film.  The film was set in the 80's and is written in a way that resembles films from that era, like "The Goonies" and "Stand By Me".  Director Paco Plaza and writer Luiso Berdejo do a very good job at keeping the balance with these kid characters because at times they seem to be the real villains.  They take on this tremendous task of blackmailing this dangerous criminal with ideas and plans that they've seen on TV and movies but aren't fully aware of the consequences of their actions.  It's like a game to them but they don't realize what's a risk here, so you are sympathetic to their situation when it comes to a head.
  There is a great chase sequence near the end of the film.  Although it is a very adult type feel, an axe wielding Santa chasing people, the plans to escape are set in a "Home Alone" horror fashion.  It's pretty amusing and the end of the sequence will make you flinch. At least, I did.

  This is TV movie and probably PG, so there isn't a whole lot of gore in this film.  Even at the end, when the karmic justice is handed out, it is implied rather than shown.  Which in these circumstances, considering it's children, is quite fine.
  Also what I found strange about this film is are there no adults or other people in this town?  These kids are running around, breaking into a theme park and eventually dragging a body across town, how does nobody see this?  Also, there is a grotesque woman in a Santa suit carrying an axe on main street and nobody calls this in?  It's a real stretch logic but once you get settled in the film, you just let it ride because in the end, you'll know it's worth it.

  This is great TV film and I would recommend checking it out over the holidays if you get a chance.  It's a great throwback kind of kids adventure/horror story, with a killer chase scene and an ending that is chilling and justifiable.  So if you're looking to get you're 80's vibe on again in a scary way, then this may be just what the doctor ordered.
(Couldn't find a specific trailer for just this film but this trailer is for the collection)

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