Sunday, December 12, 2010

Day 12: More Christmas Horror

I'm rather surprised by how today turned out.  It was low key, yet productive, and I feel completely prepared for the coming week (especially since its our last one before Christmas Vacation...weee!!!).  Here's a recap of what I will be doing this week:  Monday: the Thespian Club Xmas party, Tuesday: Day 1 of Revue Auditions, Wednesday: Block and Day 2 of Revue Auditions, Thursday: Block, Packing, and helping with the Christmas Choral Concert, Friday: Drive home to WV for Christmas 2 of 3.  It's gonna be Friday before you know it.  Plus, we've got a storm a brewing outside that looks to make some sort of delay for us tomorrow at school (and if there's none, I will hear about it ALL DAY LONG from those wonderful students of mine).  Going back to being productive, I baked cookies and made another cheeseball.  I also was sure to put party supplies by the door and get everything situated so I can just grab it and go in the morning. I'm hoping to have several cookies leftover when I head home on Friday, but you never know with giving them to teenagers and my work colleagues first.  Mom has informed me that she won't have time to do any baking before the weekend...and I don't really mind.  Its not about cookies really, its about us being together as a family (no matter how corny that sounds).  Anyway, to wash that bit of cliche from our palates, I've decided to revisit an episode from "Tales from the Crypt" that has a bit of holiday flavor while still being a bloody good time.

On Christmas Eve in a nice, out-of-the-way, house a greedy wife decides to murder her husband and collect on the insurance.  She soon begins working to dispose of the body while her daughter stirs around upstairs waiting for Santa.  On the radio, a news report informs her that an escaped mental patient is loose tonight dressed as Santa Claus, but she ignores the report.  Afterall, what are the chances that he would come through her neighborhood?  Pretty good actually, because the man soon shows up and begins and intense game of cat and mouse which she must struggle to survive.

Every television show does their take on the holiday special and each has its own flavor, this one being no exception.  "Tales from the Crypt" was always a violent and tawdry little show on HBO and this entry follows that line in spades.  Mary Ellen Trainor is deadly, sexy, and scared all at the same time as the wife who gets her comeuppance at the hands of Larry Drake, the killer Santa.  Drake, with his oddly shaped face and tooth appliance, actually looks a bit like the mascot from MAD magazine...which makes me giggle a bit each time I watch it.  Or rather, I would giggle if he wasn't so damn creepy.  The cold Christmas setting is also very well shot in deep blues that contrast with the white of the snow and the Christmas lights in the back ground.  This was look that the remake of Black Christmas also used to good effect (if only that movie was as good as the production design).  I would like to take time to also note that "And All Through the House" was originally published in the "Vault of Horror" magazine and then was adapted as a segment of the 1972 film Tales from the Crypt starring Joan Collins, and I think that each version of the tale offers great pros and cons.  The Joan Collins version strives for realistic thrills and intensity while the HBO version views the film through the lens of the 80s slasher film.  If I could combine elements from each together, I think I would have the perfect version...but for now, the television version works well as a suspenseful stand-alone work. Watch it yourself and see if it doesn't give you a chill.

No comments: