The nostalgia-fueled, neon-soaked mashup of ‘Silent Night Deadly Night’ and ‘The Terminator’ hits Shudder on Friday!

Christmas Bloody Christmas is the latest from Jeff Begos (VFW), and it hits Shudder just in time for the holidays. The nostalgia-fueled, neon-soaked mashup of Silent Night Deadly Night and The Terminator stars Riley Dandy as Tori, the no-nonsense, pop culture-savvy owner of an indie record store who decides to spend Christmas Eve partying with her employee Robbie (Sam Delich) after ditching a previously planned holiday hookup. This just happens to be the same night that a recalled military-grade robot Santa at the local toy store goes haywire, killing everyone in his path.

While this may seem like a weak setup to some, given the obscene price paid for authentic-looking mall Santas, it made a surprising amount of sense to me—given the robot’s high stress military background, the holidays would also be a perfect fit. Problem is, just as the film starts, we get an exposition-heavy newscast detailing the robot and the recall, which starts the countdown of when Chekov’s killer robotic Santa will go off. The beginning of the film appears very conservative in its scale, but when it lets loose, you’re a bit taken aback by the carnage. The practical effects here work with the synth score and lighting to really zero in on that nostalgic look, without losing itself too much in the process.

Christmas Bloody Christmas is as much a love letter to the holiday slasher as it is to the decade that birthed some of the nastiest entries to grace video store shelves—the ‘80s. Aside from the overall look of this film, the other thing that really stood out to me were the performances. A lot of casts wouldn’t be up to the task of delivering pop culture-centric dialogue in a natural fashion and wouldn’t come off like they know what they’re saying. Here, both Dandy and Delich not only keep the verbal sparring match going about things like their favorite bands and the greatness that is Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, but they make it feel organic and infused with fanboy passion. As a final girl, Dandy is fantastic here, and handles herself in a way that imbues her character with as much Linda Hamilton as it does Jason Lee in Mallrats.

Christmas Bloody Christmas is a bloody good time, and when it goes big in the third act, it surprisingly has the production value and performances to pull it off. The only negative I could come up with is how derivative it can feel at times; there’s a way to make this film not quite as cliché, but maybe I have just seen too many of these kinds of slasher films. So get a cup of hot cocoa, log into Shudder, and enjoy another great holiday bloodbath that makes this Christmas just a little bit more bearable for horror fans who are still missing Halloween.

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