- The Washington Times - Friday, May 6, 2016

Director Michael Dougherty’s holiday horror homage to “Gremlins” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” gave movie audiences last year an amusing as well as terrifying look at what happens to those who do not trust in Santa Claus.

Krampus (Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Rated PG-13, $34.98, 98 minutes), now on Blu-ray, offers a chilling reintroduction to an awesome half-goat, half-demon creature of Germanic folklore that visits naughty children.

A quirky plot explores how the act of a young child Max Engel (Emjay Anthony) tearing up a letter to the jolly fat man can call into action the demon to unleash terror and chaos upon a dysfunctional family trapped in a home amidst a violent snowstorm.

Krampus further extends the macabre mirth through his devilishly designed helpers including a band of evil elves, violent gingerbread men, a blood-thirsty teddy bear, killer cherub and a voracious jack in the box.

An ensemble cast features comedic actors Adam Scott (“Parks and Recreation”), David Koechner (“Anchorman”) and Conchata Ferrell (“Two and a Half Men”) along with Toni Collette (“Little Miss Sunshine”) and Allison Tolman (“Fargo”).

Considering the film’s potential for horror, it falls a bit on the tame side. “Krampus” would have benefitted greatly with an R rating and an infusion of gore and jump scares in the tradition of a Sam Raimi’s “Evil Dead” or Tobe Hooper’s “Poltergeist.”

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However, devotees of “Krampus” will be tempted to purchase the Blu-ray package thanks to an excellent selection of extras.

An anecdotally detailed and fun optional commentary track leads the way with Mr. Dougherty and co-writers Todd Casey and Zach Shields outlining the production, their friendship and explaining how they wanted to make “Krampus” faithful to traditional Christmas movies.

Next, a 5-part, 30-minute featurette presents a further overview of the production offering the folklore of the demon, the movie’s origins, an introduction to the cast and a welcomed focus on the costuming, stunt work, and practical effects that brought the very cool creatures to life.

Along those line, viewers also get a 10-minute visit with the famed effects house Weta Workshop as the artisans reveal what it’s like to work in what they considered to be a classic 1980s monster movie. I could have used more from Weta and fewer interviews with the actors.

The extras conclude with some skippable content including a gag reel, deleted scenes and an alternate ending that did work when compared to the movie’s finale.

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