For me, Christmas and horror go hand in hand. There’s so much about Christmas that lends itself to creepiness! Snow! Isolation! Some random guy, coming down your chimney and judging your level of goodness throughout the year. And Elves? Creepy. Just creepy. When I see a new horror Christmas release, I delight. Imagine my excitement when I first heard about Slay Belles. Not only is it a Christmas horror film, but it stars a group of awesome ladies. Win and win.
Slay Belles, written by Spooky Dan Walker, is a bright, funny and delightfully bloody film, perfect for celebrating the Christmas season. Kristina Klebe, Susan Slaughter and Hannah Wagner star as the Adventure Girls. They go to weird and wonderful places, break in, and explore, recording it all for their YouTube channel. While illegally visiting Santa Land, an abandoned Christmas Fun Park, they come face to face with a monstrous Krampus. After being rescued by St. Nick Himself (played with irreverent abandon by the legendary Barry Bostwick channeling your stoned Grandpa at a Grateful Dead concert), they join forces to try and defeat the murderous Krampus from continuing his bloody and brutal spree. Not to dissimilar from Christmas with my extended family.
It would be easy to write Slay Belles off from the premise, but you would be doing yourself a disservice. Slay Belles knows exactly what sort of film it wants to be and embraces it. The humor is quick and sharp, often silly, and the gore is plentiful without being gratuitous. There’s something special about hearing the man in red grumble, “I’m the real fucking deal Santa.” Slay Belles is a glorious ridiculous ride that should not be missed.
The design uses color to its advantage, and the Adventure Girls cosplay is fun and flashy. However, watching young women try and defeat Krampus in short skirts and tight tops shows me that my decision to not cosplay remains a sound one. It all feels a little bit like a cartoon come to life in the best possible way.
The women all give entertaining performances and have a nice chemistry together as a group. Despite a first impression of possibly being flaky and flighty, you learn quickly to not fuck with the Adventure Girls. Barry Bostwick’s Santa may be the winner of the film, however, his grizzled appearance crafting a different kind of Santa. Maybe not so cuddly and child friendly, but the one you want to have on your side if your tracking a homicidal monster.
Slay Belles could have easily devolved into your typical slasher fare, but the strong performances and commitment to the style make for a fun holiday horror film that will not disappoint.
Slay Belles is available VOD starting December 4th.