or “Santa Claus is Coming to KILL!”
Featuring: Onni Tommila , Jorma Tommila , Tommi Korpela
Director: Jalmari Helander
Writers: Jalmari Helander , Juuso Helander , Petri Jokiranta , Sami Parkkinen
Also Known As: Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
“It’s Christmas time, so let’s act like it!”
Man, this holiday shit it exhausting. It took me 3 hours to program our singing Abdul Alhazred on the front lawn, I had to go to 4 different occult shops to find the proper spices for purifying our Cthulhumas ham, I had to dig through the mountains of boxes (of madness) to find our Necronomicon in the pocket dimension we use for storing our seasonal crap, and I fell straight on my hairy ebon ass while hanging the cephalopods over every doorway in the Tomb. And I still need to go out and get fresh entrails and strings of eyeballs for the Cthulhumas Tribute Tree! Times like this I wonder if it’s even worth praying to Cthulhu for another year of existence. Blart. Oh well. Nothing gets me back into the Cthulhumas mood like a holiday horror show, so let’s pop in Rare Exports and find out how to the Fins celebrate!
Based on the original 8 minute short Rare Exports Inc., about a trio of hunters tracking and capturing Santa Claus, director Jalmari Helander and his co-writer/brother Juuso multiply their interesting idea by The Gingerbread Principle, subtract the square root of egg nog, and bring everything to a rolling boil before letting simmer for 84 minutes, then serving hot as a full feature. Contains 100% of your daily allowance of peppermint schnaaps per serving – 7 servings per container. Serves 4 drunken dinner guests and 1 partridge with or without pear tree… wow, that turned into a mess almost immediately. Kids, never try to write stream-of-consciousness style when it’s 3am and half your consciousness went to bed without you an hour earlier. Rapid winter thaws can lead to flash flooding in low lying areas and those streams of consciousness can become white water rapids on the river to mental breakdown… what the duck am I even saying now?! Santa’s punishing me with a stocking full of writer’s block this year and trying to break the wall down is just leaving me with broken toes and fingers. Speaking of punishments doled out by twisted old sadists in red suits…
The American version of Santa is a very sterilized, Coca-Cola selling, holly-jolly grandpa polished up by marketing execs to sell, well, EVERYTHING in end-of-the-year consumer frenzies of greed and guilt, oiled with the tears of whining children and the seething resentment of grown ass adults whose inner child never grew out of their “gimme gimme gimme” phase. Our Santa is the marketing Viagra that would give Don Draper a boner big enough to fuck all of Madison Avenue long into the holiday twinkle of Christmas morning’s first light. But, as we learned last time on “Hangin’ with Mr. Anubis” during my review for Saint Nick, Father Christmas’s origins are of a much harder to market darker blend of torture, abuse, and punishment that would sell better in a sex dungeon than a Macy’s window.
When young Finnish child hero-to-be Pietari (whose name makes me picture a mass produced pie dessert-combination-gaming system produced by deceased video game manufacturers Atari) delves into the old myths of Santa Claus, he finds lots of disturbing tales of vicious old men and demons who would whip the flesh off of bad kids’ asses with switches, boil them in scalding cauldrons, or just chow down on the kiddies and grind their bones into bloody pulp between their jagged fangs before swallowing them whole. As noted in our previous episode, I much prefer the threatening coal-eyed penance monster that was to the rosy-cheeked philanthropic jelly belly that is, but that just means I’m probably better off remaining not-a-parent… though, if a pack of kids with jackal heads comes by here with bills for unpaid child support, you’ve been living here by yourself for over a year and you’ve never heard of me… or the landlord told you that I died in a fire and that’s how the space became available… either or.
As for why Pietari (I’m just gonna refer to him as “Peter” from here on out, otherwise video game consoles with flaky crusts and real fruit filling are going to haunt my attention span for the rest of this review) has such an interest in educating himself on Mr. Claus, it’s not so he can pursue an at-home degree in Santanomics from the University of Phoenix. See, Pete and his buddy Juuso had recently snuck out to an American excavation site in the nearby Korvanturi Mountains to see what all the noise was about. Eavesdropping at the most opportune of times to listen in for plot points, the lads overhead the project’s eccentric industrialist financier (who looks like Ebeneezer Scrooge by way of Dr. Caligari) excitedly proclaim his theory that Korvanturi isn’t a natural rock formation, but the world’s biggest burial mound for the ancient evil known as… Santa Claus.
Yep, according to local legend the man in red wasn’t just a punisher of misbehaved boys and girls, but a beast of unholy proportions who tormented the countryside, casting a very long shadow of terror and misery with him wherever he went. No longer willing to suffer the barbs of this barbaric vindicator of etiquette and morality, the people lured him out onto a lake where he fell through a trap in the ice, sank to the bottom, and was frozen in a massive block of frozen sin… not unlike Encino Man, buuuuuuuddy! I better watch out, or Santa’s gonna be beating my ass bloody after a few more of those.
Come summertime, after the rest of the land had thawed, the villagers gathered their freezer burned oppressor, encased him in sawdust, dirt, and stones, and left him to his tomb for thousands of years as the rest of Korvanturi formed around him. Now, this rich weirdo (who leaves his workers with explicit instructions to do “good” things like wash behind their ears for the rest of the excavation) has finally found Kringle’s Tomb and fully intends on exhuming the immortal man beast for… reasons never fully explained, really. I mean, maybe he’s gonna sell the remains to a museum? Clone Santa and ruin the fantasies of children the world over with villainous reality? Bring discipline back to the modern age and hopefully fear-beat the lazy selfish shit kids of today into the strong-backed leaders of tomorrow? Or maybe he just gets off to BDSM and plans to jerk himself into a blissful oblivion once the global spanking holocaust hits its frenzied pitch. No idea. Whatever the case, the old guy wants to dig up St. Nick. Just go with it.
Upon learning this, Pete and Juuso return home, having the all important “Santa talk” as Juuso is a few years older than Pete and has already learned the secret to killing your childhood. Pete doesn’t believe that Santa’s just some made up treat for children (and a seasonal mall job for unemployed alcoholics and child molesters), so he does the aforementioned research. What he lacks in internet access though he makes up for with an impressive library of books his dad happens to have on such topics (weird, right?), and our pint-sized protagonist learns the horrible truth about the child boiling cannibal known as Claus. Living now in abject terror every night that the figgy pudding loving fiend from Hell is not only back, but stalking the lad while he sleeps, Peter’s concerns are cast aside by his pissy dad Rauno, who hates that his son still has an imagination at the ripe of old age of… I don’t know… 8?
Whether she died or just left them, one way or the other Pete’s mom is not in the picture. In fact, NO females are in the picture oddly enough, as this is an all male cast. Anyway, this lack of a baby momma makes Rauno one of those overly stressed single dad types who needs to not only raise the boy to be tough and manly like himself, but also needs to keep the lights on, the toilet flowing, and their plates filled with gingerbread on little more than the money he makes as a freelance butcher. With the year’s reindeer herd ripe for capture though, Rauno and his fellow deer hunters (“Di-di Mao! Di-di Mao!”) plan to make a killing of the literal AND figurative kind with an $85,000 haul just in time for the holidays!
Man, I used to think those midgets who dress as elves and pass out jewelry store flyers had the most depressing thing you could possibly do for a paycheck at Christmas time, but I gotta say, “Rudolph butcher” may just be the new number one. Yikes… Well, unless you’re talking about butchering Rudolph Giuliani or Eric Rudolph, in which case, thanks for putting the “penis” into “happenis”!… What do you mean there’s no “penis” in “happenis”? I’m sorry, you’ve obvious never enjoyed a penis before and still spell it “happiness”. Get with the times, grandpa… unless you’re an actual grandpa, in which case you probably haven’t enjoyed your penis for years, and are exempt from this spelling revision.
Rauno and his hunting buddies end up getting a rude awakening upside their faces this year, when the massive herd they pegged their entire season’s income on ends up being a pair of malnourished bucks. Investigating the matter uncovers hundreds of slaughtered carcasses full of rotting meat that they blame on the Americans and ravenous Russian wolves for reasons that may be Pete and Juuso’s fault, involving wire cutters and a chain link fence around the perimeter of the excavation site. But Pete notices something in the snow amidst the bodies that he opts not to tell anyone else about: human footprints. When the men attempt to storm the Korvanturi work site in demand of restitution for their traumatic financial losses, they find the place an abandoned mess. It’s like something forced the crew to leave in a hurry… [cue the ominous dramatic music]
Christmas Eve soon comes, leading to an incredibly uncomfortable night between Peter and poppa where son basically asks dad repeatedly if he regrets conceiving him while dad awkwardly dodges the obvious “yes”. Convinced that St. Nick will be making off with him in the middle of the night for his part in dad’s financial apocalypse, Petey wishes Rauno what he’s sure is going to be his last “goodnight”, before retiring to bed to await Santa’s inevitable invasion, loaded rifle in his lap, dressed in hockey gear, and nodding off like a Norman Rockwell NRA Christmas card. Awwwwwwww.
Come Christmas morning, Rauno’s illegal wolf pit (just a tiger pit, but for wolves) he keeps in the backyard finds itself occupied by a new tenant. Seems some naked old homeless man with a long white beard picked the wrong place to have a hankerin’ for suspended pig head (the pit’s bait) and ended up impaled on a spike. Not wanting to end up on the wrong side of the law over a manslaughtered transient (I can relate!), Rauno enlists the help of his buddy Vuppe Piiparinen to “dispose” of the body before anyone of note discovers it. But, before they can butcher the geezer like a malnourished calf, they realize that the frostbitten old codger’s still alive!… and might be a zombie!… and he can smell children!… which is a level of creepy unease usually reserved for Catholic priests and those SNL skits about the family who make out with each other. Gross.
The rest of the movie is gonna be up to you to watch. I won’t tell you where it goes, but I will say that there’s a helicopter, high explosives, a bunch of missing kids and stolen radiators, and that odd title will be explained before the end credits roll. I was definitely surprised by the detour that takes place in the final act, and I mean that in the best of ways. Oh, and before it’s all said and done, Peter will grow balls bigger than a Kodiak’s as he joins the very exclusive club of child heroes I wouldn’t rather hit in the face with a brick than watch for five minutes, let alone an entire fucking movie.
If you didn’t figure it out by the 4 heart rating at the top, I liked this movie. I REALLY liked this movie. The story is incredibly original, the special effects are competent, the camera work is great and captures the Finnish countryside beautifully, and the relationship between Peter and Rauno has moments of heartbreak and modest warmth that are probably helped greatly by the fact that the actors playing them are real life father and son.
When I was told that Rare Exports was going to be about a killer zombie Santa, I was expecting something like I’d just seen in Saint Nick. I’m not gonna say my expectations were low as much as I thought I was sitting down to a different movie than what I wound up watching. Which, as stated, was definitely not a bad revelation. This is probably only the third time in my lifetime of movie watching that that’s happened, with the others being Cabin Fever and The Item, both of which I was expecting to be cookie cutter horror crap with way less to offer than they actually delivered. It’s like calling Pizza Hut and telling them “surprise me” on the toppings. I figured they’d just send me something with pepperoni, but instead a stuffed crust with ham and pineapple shows up at my door delivered by Aubrey Plaza wearing nothing but a smile and a wink.
Thanks for smiling and winking at me, Jalmari and Juuso Helander. I look forward to giving your first American movie, Big Game (starring Samuel L. Jackson!), a viewing when it releases next year to see if your lightning can strike twice. I hope it turns out to be a success, if not a full-on career maker, Sirs.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, my singing Alhazred has apparently eaten the head off of one of our neighbors and his wife is currently banging on my front door and threatening to call the constabulary. The crematorium takes a few minutes to heat up in these winter temps, so I better go fire it up now. Looks like my human sacrifices to Cthulhu will have to be a few days early this year…
The Moral of the Story: Even when you think you’ve seen everything, you haven’t seen everything.
That’s mandatory for any tourists visiting Utah.
He looks like the type of guy who spends every Christmas being visited by three ghosts.
“The hills are alive, with the rage of Santaaaaa!”
“What the hell’s that old man up there on about?”
Yeah, he’s making child chowder. Why? Did you think Santa ate nothing but cookies and milk all year long?!
It’s a Very David Lynch Christmas!
“Here. Fox News said that if I don’t send you to school with one of these, there’s a 200% chance someone else will shoot you dead.”
Sarah Palin and her helicopter strike again.
The people who brought the Alien Autopsy hoax video bring you a new kind of Christmas special…
Now it’s a Very Quentin Tarantino Christmas!
Looks like Scrooge there stepped in some reindeer’s yule log.
Years of exposure to Rudolph’s irradiated nose have left Santa with severe cataracts… and heat vision!
Happy Stork Adoption Services: delivering your children the old fashioned way!
“Sure! ‘Volunteer your time at the men’s shelter’ they said! ‘It’ll be a rewarding experience’ they said! ‘Re-discover the true meaning of Christmas’ they said! Well next time I’ll just say ‘FUCK YOU! YOU DO IT!’.”
This Christmas it’s ABC Family’s Cavalcade of Christmas Movie Originals! It all starts at noon with Babe 3: Babe’s Christmas Dinner!
Then, at 2, it’s Herbie the Developmentally Challenged Elf That Made Christmas An Awkward, Complicated Event for Everyone Around Him!
Following at 4, it’s a very wiseguys holiday when Santa whacks the Grinch! Ray Liotta stars in Henry Hill’s “A Christmas Carol”!
Finally, at 6, it’s the world television premiere of Kid Rock in Trailer Park Santa, Motherf*ckers! Suck My D*ck, Obama!
So join us at The Hallmark Channel, where this holiday season we’re putting the “Christ, what the fuck is this garbage?!” back into Christmas! 😀
Anubis will return next time in
“Let’s Scare Megyn Kelly to Death!”
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