Krampus Night 2015: The Year That Krampus Invaded North America!

The evening of December 5th, lock your doors and bolt your windows, Krampus has arrived on our own American shores and no naughty child is safe from his icy claws!

Merry Christmas, Louisville, it’s your very own Ghost of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come, The Phantom of the Ville, with my annual ghoul tidings of discomfort and joy. For the last four years, on the occasion of the 5th of December, I would compose a few paragraphs introducing Saint Nicholas’ unsavory partner in Christmas crime, the devilish Krampus, and relating the thousands of years of folklore surrounding his appearance on the eve of Saint Nicholas Day.

But you already know who and what Krampus is, don’t you? After nearly two and a half centuries of almost complete obscurity in North America, Krampus is making himself known to America in the year of 2015 in a big way. Saturday night, December 5th is Krampusnacht all over the world!

For those just coming in—

The legend of Krampus has its roots in Germanic folklore going back as far as the Pre-Christian era. The more sinister companion of Saint Nicholas, he is often depicted as a hairy, horned beast with a long, forked tongue that walks upright on cloven hooves. He carries a ponderous chain full of bells, thought to represent his binding by the Christian Church, with which he makes a terrible racket to instill fear in the hearts of naughty children. While Nicholas rewards the good children, Krampus punishes the bad ones.

The tradition of Krampus Night is still celebrated across the Alpine countries in Austria, Romania, Southern Bavaria, South Tyrol, Northern Friuli, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia. There are many regional variations of the tradition, but most involve a parade of hairy, horned beasts marching through the center of town, clanging their chains and scaring the locals.

For everyone else—

Krampus Night is upon us. The Christmas devil has wormed his way into American popular culture in many glorious and insidious ways. Let’s look at some of them!

Krampus” (2015): A major motion picture from Legendary Pictures and “Trick ‘r Treat” (2007) director, Michael Dougherty, opens this Friday, Dec. 4. Dougherty promises to do the same thing for Christmas that he did for Halloween in his amazing anthology film, “Trick ‘r Treat.” If Dougherty’s Krampus turns out to be half as iconic as Sam has become in that other modern holiday classic, we might have a new cinematic monsterpiece on our hands.

A Christmas Horror Story” (2015): Just released on DVD and Blu-ray, this seasonal horror anthology, which features a wraparound story staring William Shatner, attempts to copy the interweaving story-lines and characters seen in both “Trick ‘r Treat” and “Pulp Fiction” with mixed results. The town of Baily Downs appears to be the central vortex off all weirdness during the Christmas season as the film follows several groups of characters dealing with supernatural evil during the holiday season. Krampus shows up to do battle with the world’s most ass kicking Santa Claus. I mostly enjoyed this modestly budgeted romp until an attempt to be a little too clever in the home stretch pulls the rug out from under the audience in a way that perfectly resolves one story thread while leaving all the others out in the cold. It’s nearly the equivalent of the dreaded “It was all just a dream” ending. Not every campy horror movie needs a twist ending, and not every low budget director is M. Night Shyamalan.

Krampus: The Christmas Devil” (2013) and “Krampus: The Reckoning” (2013) are two low budget, bottom-of-the-discount-bin horror movies made to cash in on the Krampus craze, but you’d be much better off sticking to one of bigger releases mentioned above if you want to avoid a lump of coal in your DVD player.

American Dad”: Krampus showed up in an episode of the popular animated comedy series called “Minstrel Krampus,” the eighth episode of the 2013 Ninth Season of the show. Krampus kidnaps a bratty Steve, and Stan and Roger must travel to the North Pole to save him.

Don’t Cuddle the Krampus retro 80’s toy line: Warpo Toys caused a wave of excitement across the Internet when it introduced the Kickstarter page for this colorful Krampus doll based loosely on the “My Pet Monster” toy line from the 1980’s. Other 80’s toy influences cited are Madballs and Barnyard Commandos. Check out their Kickstarter page at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/warpo/dont-cuddle-the-krampus-retro-80s-toy-line.

Krampus in Louisville Haunts: You can meet Krampus in person, along with a rogues’ gallery of other Christmas villains, next weekend on Dec. 11th and 12th at “A Very Scary Christmas” inside The 7th Street Haunt. Check out the Phantom Gazette on the Louisville Halloween website for more info!

Krampus made his Louisville haunt debut in 2013 at The Haunted Hotel’sBloody X-Mas” event before moving into permanent residence inside The Devil’s Attic in 2014. SEE PHOTOS above.

I think it’s safe to say that Krampus has arrived on our shores and he’s likely here to stay. So you better be good for goodness sake! Happy Krampus Night!

The Phantom of The Ville

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