Review: ‘Red Christmas’ Provides Important Conversation With Gore
By: J. Carlos Menjivar
Discussions on the moral implications of abortion continue to be a hot water issue in the public and political sphere. Red Christmas, under the guise of Christmas cheer, attempts to tackle the volatile subject amid holiday decor and familial gatherings.
Dee Wallace stars as Diane, the matriarch of a big and discordant family. Her four children come down to the family home to keep her company for the yuletide holiday. However, an unwanted visitor clad in a robe, and bandaged up real bad, makes an appearance, and given the generosity normally associated with Christmas, the family lets the strange fellow in. His name is Cletus (Sam Campbell) and he speaks in an innocent cadence elaborating on his search for his mother. Despite his good intentions some of the family is put-off by his strange and eerie simplicity.
Towards the end of the visitor’s quasi-poetic speech it triggers something in Diane. She goes ballistic and at this point it becomes obvious to the audience why Cletus is here. In the film’s opening, a pro-lifer bombs an abortion clinic, and, inexplicably, an aborted fetus survives the bombing and is taken in and raised by the bomber. Diane’s forgotten child is not here for any nefarious reason (initially), but to finally be loved and love the mother he never knew, almost 20 years after the abortion.
It’s hard for everyone, including Diane, to accept a man that claims to be Diane’s aborted child, and one who resembles John Hurt in The Elephant Man— a hideous figure obfuscated by robes and hoods. Things turn sour when he’s banished from the holiday cheer. What was supposed to be a wholesome family reunion takes a bloody turn for the worst.
Red Christmas, beside being a gorefest with some impressive and imaginative kills scattered throughout, may in fact inspire and drive a conversation about abortion. It’s not entirely lucid how writer and director Craig Anderson feels about abortion, but it’s clear that the film is meant to offend and inspire conversation on both ends of the spectrum, and perhaps the director is merely trying to stir the pot. The film is an Artsploitation Films release, a distributor with the tendency of releasing thought provoking and “out-there” films, and Red Christmas is no exception; this film is not the fun and cheery holiday flick that audiences have come to expect from the sub-genre of Christmas Horror, it is much more darker and heavier probing and traversing through themes of religion and morality. This is definitely not for the faint of heart nor the easily offended.
Red Christmas releases on Bluray/DVD October 17, 2017. Features include director’s commentary, interviews with star Dee Wallace and Gerald Odwyer (about 30 minutes total), a blooper reel, and a deleted scene. Check out the film’s trailer below.
Keep the Fear Alive!