Holiday horror is a niche area of the genre that either goes well or it doesn’t. The truth is that the films that come into it swinging for the holly jolly fences are the ones that succeed. Mainstays like Krampus, A Christmas Horror Story, and Rare Exports lean into the holiday and take their narratives to an absurd extreme. By showcasing the holiday and the horror tropes we know and love good holiday horror can lift your Christmas spirits and A Creepshow Holiday Special does just that.
A Shudder Exclusive, A Creepshow Holiday Special is written and directed by Creepshow showrunner Greg Nicotero and is based on Last Call, a short story by J.A. Konrath. In this hour-long holiday-themed episode titled “Shapeshifters Anonymous” we get the b-horror humor and effects that have made Creepshow a standout series – and of course one of the best anthology films. The special stars Adam Pally, Anna Camp, Pete Burris, and Tom Glynn. In it, Weston (Adam Pally) fears that he is a murderer. An anxious man, he realizes that his diet may coincide with certain killings happening in the town. In an attempt to search for answers he heads to the titular Shapeshifters Annonymous, an AA-like group for people with “unique conditions.” Those conditions just so happen to be transforming into animals.
Now, we held this review for a little bit, just because discussing its plot and its best moments go a little too far into spoiler territory. But, now that it’s Christmas Eve, we feel the need to warn all the shapeshifters in the audience that the lore around Santa Claus seem to leave out that Ol’ Saint Nick is a shapeshifter hunter. A Creepshow Holiday Special is filled to the brim with holly jolly community moments about accepting yourself and finding people who accept you, but it really shines because of its murderous Santas.
A Creepshow Holiday Special is what Creepshow as a franchise is all about. The way that Nicotero balances humor and horror, using both their strengths. The absurd kills, premise, and special effects come together to make a perfect holiday treat. While a lot of this is pushed by the phenomenal story of hilarious turns that make no sense but at the time make perfect sense, it’s the cast that really makes this Holiday special sing.
Comedy works well when the people executing the jokey dialogue can play off of the people around them. The chemistry of the cast lends to every joke and the riff on an AA meeting just works. From folks sharing their stories and looking for acceptance to being besieged in a church by murderous Santas, it just all works. Additionally, the design of the ultimate big bad in A Creepshow Holiday Special is outrageous and hilarious and the way he’s finally done-in is unexpected and hilarious.
Overall, A Creepshow Holiday Special should be added into any horror fan’s holiday rotation right next to Krampus. It’s vibrant, hilarious, bloody, and just too good to pass up as you celebrate the holiday.
A Creepshow Holiday Special is available, exclusively on Shudder.