As is the way around these putrid parts, my arcane ass has yet another horror anthology to review… so let’s hang the monstrous mistletoe and get balls deep into Holiday Hell shall we?
Waiting until the last possible moment; a woman enters a curio shop on Christmas Eve looking for a gift. Well, said shop is run by Re-Animator‘s Jeffrey Combs, who gives fuck-all how late our heroine is and proceeds to weave a quartet of terror tales involving objects in the shop… on of which she must choose to purchase before the clock strikes midnight.
Lady, just leave and grab a gift card somewhere; sure it’s unoriginal and lazy, but you get to not be menaced by supernatural shenanigans, and who doesn’t like iTunes or Target?
Since she defies logic and stays, let’s start examining these yarns…
First up we get Dollface; the story of a gang o’ teens poppin’ a squat in a murder house. this dread domicile was the scene of a Valentine’s Day domestic dispute that ended in murder… except that dastardly act may have involved a doll faced psycho… and guess who re-appears to put the kill on those dumbass kids?
Well, this is nothing new, but it’s a serviceable slasher as far as narratives go. Of note are some of the kills, especially a mid-blowie decapitation, and the visual of ol’ Dollface which is suitably creepy and memorable.
Next we get:
The Hand That Rocks the Dreidel, a Hanukah set piece that involves a boy and his evil-ass rabbi doll… a doll that comes to life and starts going hog-wild on the murder.
We are two for two on the standard trope scale… but, The Hand That Rocks the Dreidel is admittedly a ton of fearsome fun as that demonic doll reeks unholy havoc on our heroes bitch of a babysitter and her nogoodnik boyfriend. Ghoulish goodtimes!
Following that comes:
Christmas Carnage, which gives us the story of a beleagured company man who gets hopped up on pills and becomes a sinister Santa with destruction on his maddened mind!
Yup, all of us have seen this before, and while this particular entry manages the Herculean task of making us feel pathos for our psychotic anti-hero, it does little to be anything other than standard.
Room to Let, which features a young woman coming to stay in the spare room of a kindly woman. Of course she isn’t as kind as she appears and terror ensues.
While yet another journey down a well-trod road; this segment has enough twists and turns to keep things interesting… and the ending was unexpected, so big kudos there!
While being overly-familiar, Holiday Hell is an entertaining enough horror anthology (with The Hand That Rocks the Dreidel being the best tale present) and worth a watch (which you can do for free when it hits Tubi as an exclusive on October 15)… just don’t expect the originality here to burn Yule log bright, ya dig?