A great follow up to one of my favorite films of last year “Hereditary”.
The improvements in world building from Aster’s first feature allows for repeat viewings. Once you know the lore behind some of the villages traditions. Not sure if the demons in this film have a correlation to the one in his previous film but time will tell.
I found the characters lacked like ability and just felt like devices to further along the plot. I found Will Poulter of “Breaking Bad” fame to be the most amusing of the bunch. The crew that portrayed all the villagers did a fantastic job and really made you feel like you where living on their compound.
The trippy feel the film gives off has the characters being experimenting with mushrooms and various magic teas is something very seen in other films that try to take the psychedelic approach. Often films add in unrealistic elements like wacky unicorns or talking plants. Aster’s approach gives off the sense that the plant life is a living breathing thing, in some cases even becoming one with the humans.
The set design for the film is top notch. The shots all have a flat perfect look to them, that blend well with the sets capturing a Kubrickian esthetic.
The gore elements of the film are what will bring me back for a rewatch. I enjoyed how Aster didn’t hold back, giving us one of the most shocking scenes on the year.
If your a fan of modern horror I would definitely suggest this. The run time is a little longer than it needs to be but definitely one of my favs from this years.
A yearly Christmas tradition for me is to watch the old Rankin Bass Christmas specials. Mostly known for their stop motion portrayals of Rudolph and Santa, the technique called “animagic” was created by Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass during the seventies and eighties. For me the evil doers in these Christmas tales interest me more then the hero’s. Whether it be jealousy of Santa or just trying to survive the fact that each one of these villains tries to end Christmas makes them the worst of the worst. This is my Top 5 Rankin Bass holiday villains.
Note: Characters like the Heat and Snow miser didn’t make the list because they eventually turn good, all of these picks are pure evil.
Honorable Mentions: The Cat and Fox from Pinchocios Christmas do some mischievous stuff but not enough to make the list. The Dukes servant they sell Pinchocio to has one of the best songs in the Rankin Bass films. The Agwahs from “The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus” are pretty evil looking but the film lacks as a whole for them to make it on the list.
5. Old Mag the Banshee. (Leprechaun Christmas Gold 1981)
One of my favorite underrated movies from the Rankin/Bass series of films is “Leprechaun Christmas Gold” due to the wacky Banshee that is released from the pine tree. If she does not secure the Leprechaun’s gold by Christmas she will turn to tears. In order to do this she uses various disguises to trick the various inhabitants of the island.
4. Eon The Terrible (Rudolph’s Shiny New Year 1975)
This giant bird doesn’t necessarily try to ruin Christmas but rather the New Year instead. In order for Eon to go on ruling over The Island of No Name found in the Archipelago of Last Years were old years go to retire. The only way for Eon to survive from turning into snow and ice is to capture the baby New Year Happy who if not returned to Father Time by the twelfth bong on New Years Eve, time will stop preserving Eon.
3. Burgermeister Meisterburger (Santa Claus Is Coming To Town 1970)
Not only is he the first person to try and stop Santa from giving out toys but he also sends him to jail. After slipping on a toy breaking his leg Meisterburger bans all the toys in the town, making Santa an outlaw. Eventually Santa is able to change is heart with the power of Christmas by giving him his Childhood favorite toy a yoyo.
2. Kubla Kraus (Jack Frost 1979)
The top two spots could have gone either way but Kubla landed second due to his inability to really hurt anyone. His band of Keh-Nights and his iron horse Klang Stomper are pretty dope and his King of the Cossacks song is definitely a mood. His friend and right hand man Domy is the comic relief really adding to Kublas evilness. He rules over January Junction with an iron fist forcing them to rely on Jack Frost’s ice coins instead of Kaputnicks.
1.Winterbolt (Rudolph and Frosty’s Christmas in July 1979)
The ice wizard who is pretty much responsible for this list getting made. Whether it’s his magic ice septor that he uses to extinguish Rudolph’s Nose, or his fog breathing snakes that keep Santa from flying his sleigh.Winterbolt is the epitome of Christmas evil, he even has his own ice genie. After Lady Boreal, Queen of the Northern Lights sends Winterbolt into a deep sleep Santa is able to take over the North Pole restoring the wild life and the Kringles to the area. After he awakens Winterbolt seeks to claim his throne back as king of the north “making the world his own personal snow ball.” In order to do this he tricks Rudolph and Frosty into helping out the Circus By The Sea which puts Frosty and his family in danger of melting. So basically Winterbolt kills Frosty and his family. He also recruits the evil reindeer Scratcher from The Cave of Lost Rejections featuring a rogues gallery of evil North Pole wildlife. Winterbolt definitely has the best death of all the villains, with him turning into a meth addict tree after Ethel Merman breaks his magic spetor. Winterbolt takes on the holy trinity of Christmas hero’s and almost succeeded making him the number one Rankin/Bass Christmas Special Villan.