As far as Jill and I are concerned, there’s only so much Christmas cheer we can put up with. We’ve done well to include two saccharin sweet numbers so far this month honestly. So when she wisely suggested some Christmas horror, I was delighted. I mean, like I ever need an excuse to take things to a darker place.
There aren’t nearly enough good Christmas movies it turns out but we’ve done alright this week I think with this twisted Christmas fairy tale.
Rare Exports (2010)
In the depths of the Korvatunturi mountains, 486 meters deep, lies the closest ever guarded secret of Christmas. The time has come to dig it up. This Christmas everyone will believe in Santa Claus.
Pietari (Onni Tommila) and his pal Juuso (Ilmari Järvenpää) are fannying about being kids on a mountain in Lapland when they stumble across an American research team, seemingly drilling for samples. On the mountain – Korvatunturi (Ear Fell) – they overhear big wig Riley (Per Christian Ellefsen) shouting at his minions about their amazing discovery, which they have just 24 days to unearth – and the boys work out that he might just be talking about one Santa H. Claus.
The big man in this tale however, and according to ancient lore, is the Joulupukki, a sinister figure that helped shape modern day versions of Santa Claus. And reader, he’s no jolly sweetheart granting wishes in the mall. Instead, our Santa is a massive horned beast who kidnaps and boils naughty children alive with a little help from his creepy AF elves. Shaken by their discovery, the boys return to their respective homes where Pietari does some research of his own about Santa.
Roll up your sleeves, prepare the dynamite. Do what you do best. You have a grave to rob. ~ Riley
Meanwhile, Pietari’s father Rauno (Jorma Tommila) is desperately trying to keep his reindeer slaughtering business afloat. Pickings have been slim in recent times and things are further challenged when Rauno and his crew head to a nearby glacier at the base of the Fell to find a massive quantity of their livestock has been eaten by wolves. Wolves driven down from the mountain by the excavation exploits of our friends at the top. Pietari isn’t convinced it’s wolves responsible actually but he’s devastated that whatever has done this has gotten through a hole in the fence created by him and Juuso.
Juuso implores him not to tell his dad that last bit given that it’s the final nail in the coffin for his butchering business. Rauno decides to confront the Subzero team but when he gets to the top of the Fell, there’s nobody there but a massive empty hole.
Back at home, Rauno seems increasingly pissed off with his son and grounds him for playing a trick. There’s not much time for bollocking though as odd things are happening all around the small village. The local policeman reveals that potato sacks, heaters and hairdryers have gone missing from various homes. Piiparinen (Rauno Juvonen), one of Rauno’s mates is also Juuso’s dad and he reveals that his son has also disappeared, a straw effigy left in his place.
When Pietari makes a couple of calls he learns that all his friends are missing and he’s the only one left. At the same time, Piiparinen rocks up with an old man in a sack, apparently dead. The spindly man is very fucking far from deceased however, and manages to bite off Piiparinen’s ear when he taunts him with gingerbread. Pietari convinces the men that this is in fact Santa Claus and the gang decide to negotiate a lucrative deal before returning him to Riley.
You didn’t think it would be that easy, did you boys?
How do you like the land of the Northern Lights? ~ Aimo
Well SIKE because there’s more. Riley, on examining the hostage reveals that he is in fact merely one of Santa’s many minions. He’s forced to hold the rest of that thought permanently as the rest of Daddy’s helpers rock up. In a hangar, Pietari and friends stumble across the real deal, who has been solidly frozen in ice for a very long time. The heaters and appliances are working overtime to thaw him out.
They also find all the children, including Juuso, who are frightened but otherwise unhurt. Can they stop the elves and the threat of Santa before it’s too late? Friends, maybe they can if they trust each other and keep the Christmas faith.
The real Santa was totally different. The Coca-Cola Santa is just a hoax. ~ Pietari Kontio
I adore this movie. I mean, it’s sort of slow in places and there are too many children but I love the sinister folklore surrounding such an iconic character. I also totally respect that the movie doesn’t play its hand too soon. In fact we never actually see Bad Santa for ourselves. Instead all the menace is placed in the hands of a band of naked geriatric white men and it’s pretty effective. Just like the UK government, amirite?
The elves turn out to be pretty useful in the end when Rauno spies an opportunity and trains them up to become elite mall Santas – to be sent out into the world to spread happiness, rather than terror.
Pietari, in fairness, is not so bad. He kicks major butt in the end by taking control of the situation and luring Santa’s helpers away from the hangar. He’s also fully prepared to sacrifice his own life to save his friends and family for the greater good and that’s pretty dope for a young ‘un.
The movie has a slight feel of The Thing for me which is certainly down to its setting but it is a very good looking movie with a pleasing tone. I’m in.