Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Three Ghosts of Christmas

Tonight, the night before Christmas Eve I want to talk about one of the greatest ghost stories of the last hundred plus years. I’m talking about Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol.” It has been adapted into several TV shoes, films and short movies and has been retold over and over and in my opinion, there are only a couple of films that really captures the dark, grittiness of the original story. I think one of the best adaptations of this story was in 1988 in a film called Scrooged. Although, that was more of a modern version of it… there rarely was a good, dark version or at least there hasn’t been one in a while. That was until Robert Zemeckis followed up his movie Polar Express with A Christmas Carol.

Well, a few weeks ago I went and saw A Christmas Carol and I went in with mixed feelings considering I am a little bias towards computer animation other than Pixar but I came out loving the movie. It was fun, thrilling, heartwarming, funny and fucking terrifying. Yes, this movie had some of the most terrifying images I saw in a kids Christmas story in a long time. I want to take some time to talk about some of the horrifying scenes in this movie and why I would consider this movie… part horror. WARNING: There may be some spoilers.

The Ghost of Christmas Past

Now, most people will say that this is one of the cuter ghosts that visit and he looks like a little floating candle with a flame for a hid and a face within the flame. Occasionally, he’ll twitch his head back and forth when the flam sparks but I found him especially disturbing because he smiles so sinisterly and he talks with an echo. It’s cute in a very unsettling way. The Ghost of Christmas Past is the very mellow of all the ghosts and compared to the rest… he’s actually pretty heartwarming to most kids.

The Ghost of Christmas Present.
Here is a very deceiving, lovable, ghost. At first, he is a holly jolly fat Irish man that looks like a younger version of Santa himself. What I loved about him was his laugh and that he could have fun but also get down to business. What’s frightening is how he introduces the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. He takes Scrooge and shrinks him and throws him into a clock platform, then opens up his robe to reveal two deformed troll like children known as Ignorance and Want. They are snarling and they attack him viciously and this scene looks like it came directly out of a horror movie. The Ghost then proceeds to laugh as the children mock Scrooge. As he is laughing, his face forms a horrifying harlequin smile and his whole body turns into skeleton and he falls over dead, skeletonized, eyes wide open and smiling.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

Note: I do not have a picture for him from the movie, but I did find an older rendition that’s close to the movie version.
This ghosts manifests himself as a shadow of Scrooge and looks very similar to that of the Grim Reaper and rightfully so. His whole scenes of a future filled with green, pestering, death, rottenness and pure ugly hatred is very frightening and if that’s not enough… Scrooge is then chased by a, literally, faceless man with a shadowy horse and buggy with red-eyed horses breathing fire. It’s very operatic and extremely terrifying. And, if that’s not enough, when Scrooge gets to the cemetery and the Ghost shows him his grave… the Ghost grows to an enormous size as a vortex of wind and snow form around him and Scrooge is then dropped into the grave. He hangs on to a tree root that turns into the Ghost’s hand and then he falls down a deep red hole into his grave. It’s surprisingly dark and very haunting.

With the especially dreadful haunting of Jacob Marley, this version of A Christmas Carol does true justice to the book and I think it really puts the haunting in a new perspective. Though this film is getting some mixed reviews, it is a real ghost story and I do consider it part horror because of its subject matter. If anybody sees this movie or any other good version of the book… it really makes you sharpen up for Christmas. The last thing you need is for three ghosts and a dead friend to haunt you before Christmas Day.


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