Saturday, December 18, 2010

Review - Rare Exports (2010)

When you think of Christmas horror movies you’ll most likely think about killers dressed up as Santa Claus going on a killing spree or maybe just a deranged lunatic murdering during the season. With the exception of that atrocity that is Santa’s Slay, what other evil Santa movie is there? What other movie redefined the Santa myth and made him to be a monster and not a saint? The answer is Rare Exports. Yes, it’s a jolly tale filled with yuletide fun and stuffed with holly-jolly happiness… that is if you disobey any of the rules. The film is about two kids that stumble upon an excavation site near their hometown. Little do they know that this site, located atop a mountain, was the resting place of the real Santa Claus and he wasn’t the joyful saint he was made out to be. Well, the kid’s fathers ban together to confront the excavation team (after they supposedly caused the death of all their livestock) but what they found was an abandoned dig site. Than, a creepy naked old man shows up in their town. Could this old man who has smells little kids and cookies be Santa Claus or is the real Santa bigger and meaner? You’ll have to find out.

What this film accomplishes that Santa’s Slay did not was it redefined the myth behind Santa and it did it quite well. As corny as it was, there was an entire montage of books showing drawings of Santa boiling kids, wearing cow skulls as masks, with giant horns and eating children. It took the myth and somehow still made it religions but in a demonic, Satanist sense. To do this takes a very clever and imaginative writer and I have to applaud them for this. I feel as though the directors wanted to play off of the foundation that was previously set up in Santa’s Slay but they took it one step farther. I saw this with the Chicago Horror Society and I couldn’t help but joke around that this would be the new origins of Santa. Tell your kids this story and tell them to not misbehave and they won’t even think about eating a cookie before suppertime.

But perhaps the greatest part of this film is how the writer and director incorporated certain holiday motifs into the film. At the very beginning of the film the excavation site manager gives the foreman a list of things not to do. One of these things is ‘no cavorting.’ The old man that escaped the shipping yard looks like a skinny Santa and when he smells Christmas cookies or children he goes apeshit. It plays on the fact that Santa enjoys cookies, milk and children. The best motif satirizes those wooden houses where you open each window or door to reveal the month day and what to do on that month. In Rare Exports, this door is taken to a new level when the main character realizes that behind the 24th door lies the true Santa Claus. Even the elves are… a little twisted but still retain their elfish nature like protecting Santa and detecting who has been good or bad. Much like the new Santa myth, these motifs take lots of creativity.

Rare Exports is also a movie that makes well with dark humor. What other movie has a hoard of naked old men running in one direction; junk flapping in the breeze and bears swaying back across their necks? One of my favorite points of dark humor comes when the old man they capture attacks one of the fathers after smelling cookies on him… so they wrap him up in a sack and hang him from a chain. The next shot shows this seemingly poor old man wrapped up in chains hanging from the ceiling, legs dangling, watching the people below him eat Christmas cookies. I guess where most of the humor comes from is how the director managed to turn typical Christmas things into grim situations.

Personally this film is one of the greatest Christmas horror movies made but that’s just it… I have a hard time classifying this as a horror. There isn’t that many scary moments in the film, hardly any gore, maybe a few moody scenes but the rest seems like a drama but it’s too bizarre for a drama. I can’t classify this movie as anything. The film does a miraculous job with the absurd plot and I think that’s its strongest point… it makes something so dark and funny ant tries to make it serious. I don’t think Rare Exports will get the recognition that it deserves quite yet but give it time and it will be on everybody’s holiday horror list. Now on the question of whether or not it’s a horror movie… well, I’ll leave that up to you to decide. If you get a chance to see this movie, go see it and I promise you that you won’t be let down.


HorrO said...

I saw the preview to this movie, and it looked interesting. Another friend that saw it also said that it isn't exactly a horror movie. I thought it was when I saw the preview, but I guess not. Just a twisted Christmas movie I guess.

Rare Exports Online said...

I saw this film without any expectation. It was FANTASTIC SURPRISE for me. I enjoyed it from beginning to end. It is very enjoyable movie. Next day I bought the DVD for it.

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