“El Sacerdote” J.L. Caraballo Twitter @captzaff007
Happy holidays, fellow geeks. While I had intended to look at a Lifetime Christmas movie (oh, worry not, I’ll be hitting up those insane nuggets in no time), I took a drunken trip to 1989, where director Jeffrey Mandel unleashed the unintentionally shitty Elves into our yuletide lives.
Do you love schlocky, shitty, what-can-only-mockingly-be-called-“horror” movies set during the Christmas season? Do you love barely mobile puppets that can’t move, blink, or change facial expressions? Did you ever look at a Christmas movie and think, “You know what Rudolph needs? Fucking shittily-accented Nazis.” Were you hoping to witness some of the least sexy nudity possible, AS WELL as witness a department store Santa get murdered via being repeatedly stabbed in the dick? Do you want some sweet, sweet Germanic inbreeding and incest?! If you answered “Yes” to one or none of these questions, then Elves is for you.
Oh, you know those oddly-specific-holiday-metric bewitching spells…
Like every good Christmas-themed movie, Elves begins right where you’d expect: three women performing an “anti-Christmas” ritual in the middle of the woods, in the middle of the night, and cursing up a storm. Kirsten (Julie Austin) is just your typical 35-year-old teenager with an odd penchant for absurdly specific holiday-centric witchcraft, and shares her love of Christmas-themed spells with her two like-minded, awful friends.
“Oh, you know, just doing what every 35-year-old teenager does.”
She slightly cuts her hand on a shattered Christmas ornament performing said ritual, and her blood awakens a single demonic elf that happens to reside right underneath their spell-making circle. But alas! This isn’t just ANY demonic elf: this is the same very elf that apparently Hitler and the Nazis were trying to conjure up and breed with some uberfraus or some shit and bring about the REAL inbred master race! Because that makes sense. Oh, I didn’t mention the Nazi experiments earlier? It’s quite alright, because this movie decided to casually throw that in there, because this is Christmas, and they don’t fuck around.
Getting into the holiday spirit.
Kirsten lives with mother and grandfather — who, as it turns out, are really her sister and father? and don’t have names? and the revelation of their true relationship to her has no bearing whatsoever? and Grandfather has one of the shittiest German accents I’ve ever heard…and I haven’t even heard them! — as well as her younger brother, who, along with his awesome pajama fashion sense, has an unhealthy obsession with his sister’s nudity (of which there’s slightly more than I’m accustomed to in a typical holiday film). There’s more than one instance of her 7-year-old brother screaming about her “fucking big tits”, so…that’s where we are with this movie (yes. That is an actual line a child says in this film).
Merry Christmas everybody!
“Having a plot” seems to be a foreign concept to this movie, and WE DON’T NEED NO FOREIGNERS HERE!..so this movie is content with hinting at a larger story, while just having the bare minimum of background and development for everyone involved to stumble from one scene to the next. Dan Haggerty (of Grizzly Adams fame) plays alcoholic ex-cop (is there any other kind?!) Mike McGavin, looking to make some extra scratch by working as Santa in a department store (and also looking to save on rent by living in the back store room). He drunkenly stumbles into the Nazi plot while returning home to his store room to discover Kirsten and her friends have sneaked into the department store, waiting on some boys to meet with them…but the only thing waiting for THEM is Nazis! And also a single evil elf.
“So the puppet will look scary when it’s complete, right?”
There’s a rushed sense of incompetence to this movie, and C-grade acting from everyone involved. Julie Austin looks like she was woken up midway through every take, and Dan Haggerty looks bewildered in every scene, like he is constantly remembering that he was the star of a show at one point. Keep in mind his character lives in a store room, with the police outline of the previous store Santa, blood and all, still sketched on the ground from when the elf FUCKING KILLED THAT GUY BY STABBING HIM IN THE DICK.
“Man…Grizzly Adams was a long time ago. Welp, back to breakfast, which is also my pay for this movie!”
And the elf…look, I know that building things is hard. That’s why my bed is currently just a pile of clothes and some soft, comfortable fir tree branches. But if your elf looks like THAT, maybe don’t light it so brightly, don’t hold shots of it for so long, maybe don’t frame it the way you do, and don’t let it do this:
Also, why does it know what a hat is?
With glacial pacing and frozen acting, maybe this really IS the best Christmas horror movie (go to hell, Silent Night, Deadly Night!), and by the time it is over, you’ll be thankful for the wonderful Christmas gift of drunkenly passing out. I’m not one to be overly sentimental, but I’m always in the Christmas spirit when characters blithely do things like this:
“Tee hee! We’re in public!”
So with that, if you have less than two hours to kill, lots of eggnog to get through, and want to know what drunken Christmas depression looks like while filtered through shitty VHS-quality photography, Elves is the only movie you need.
And from me to you, fellow geeks, Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and don’t get involved with Christmas Nazi rituals.
All the best, from Rapey Claus!
Elves can be purchased here, or seen on Youtube here. But why would you really want to do that to yourself?