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Film / Krampus

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"Saint Nicholas is not coming this year..."

Krampus is a 2015 horror comedy film co-written and directed by Michael Dougherty as a Spiritual Successor to his 2007 Cult Classic, Trick 'r Treat. The plot centers around the titular Krampus who searches and punishes people for their various misdeeds. His latest targets are a Dysfunctional Family whose spats cause the youngest son Max to lose faith in Christmas. Krampus, noticing Max’s disillusionment, unleashes demonic holiday icons on the family who must fight to survive.

The film was released on December 4th, 2015. Shortly before that a tie-in comic called Krampus: The Shadow of St. Nicholas was released. An extended Re-Cut known as the "Naughty Cut" was released by the Shout! Factory branch Scream Factory in 4K on December 7, 2021.

Tropes present in this movie:

  • Acrofatic: Krampus is a hulking mass. Though he walks slowly, he can also leap buildings in a single bound.
  • Adaptational Badass: The original legends mostly portray Krampus as a demon enslaved to St. Nicholas. Here, he is portrayed as his own separate entity who takes malicious glee in terrorizing the naughty.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In most of the original stories, terrifying as he is, Krampus is simply doing his duty — dealing with naughty children. Depending on the version, his partnership with Santa is either their own friendship or Teeth-Clenched Teamwork, with Santa having enslaved Krampus. This version of the character is a sadistic, cruel and demonic figure, with no acknowledged connections to Santa... maybe. See Ambiguously Evil.
  • Adorable Evil Minions: The gingerbread men.
  • Aesop Collateral Damage: The Krampus seems to be terrorizing the entire neighborhood, which some viewers have interpreted as this trope. Actually an aversion, since the opening scene makes it very clear that the main family are not the only ones who have lost the Christmas spirit.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Several of Krampus' minions crawl about the vents of the Engel household.
  • The Alcoholic: Dorothy.
  • All There in the Manual: In the prequel tie-in comic Krampus: Shadow of Saint Nicholas, it is revealed that those whom Krampus spares will be watched over through their respective snow globes in his workshop.
  • Ambiguous Ending: In the film's final scene, we see Max waking up on Christmas morning, the bulk of the movie apparently All Just a Dream and none of the other characters having any apparent memory of their torment by the Krampus. However, one of the presents Max receives is the Krampus' bell from earlier in the film, and he realizes that it wasn't a dream. As the rest of his family see the bell, their faces drop, as if they, too, are suddenly remembering what has happened. Finally, we pull back to a view of the Engels' house inside a snow globe in the Krampus' lair, which is full of similar snow globes. Was the Krampus simply trying to Scare 'Em Straight (as in A Christmas Carol or It's a Wonderful Life), and is using the globe as a kind of crystal ball, showing that he is, much like Santa, always watching? Or did he indeed drag them off to an Ironic Hell where they have to spend Christmas together forever, while simultaneously granting the cruelest possible interpretation of Max's final wish for "things to be like they used to"? Both are valid readings.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Krampus himself, depending on your interpretation of the ending. See Ambiguous Ending above.
  • Antagonist Title: Well, the Big Bad is Krampus.
  • Anyone Can Die: Played horrifyingly straight... possibly.
  • Arc Words:
    • "Shepherd's gotta protect his flock."
    • "Keep the fire hot."
  • Art Shift: Omi's story of her own encounter with Krampus is presented with stop motion puppetry.
  • An Ass-Kicking Christmas: Unlike most horror movies, the victims in this one fight back.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Krampus intends to make this out of Max's family due to them disrespecting the Christmas spirit. However, as things go from bad to worse, some of the more unpleasant members of the Engel family (Howard and Linda) at least prove to have a few redeeming qualities after all.
    • Played with Omi's parents, who were neglectful towards her when she was young, but it's because they lost faith in the magic of Christmas due to the hardships they faced. Omi at least felt they did not completely deserve to be taken by Krampus.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Whether you accept the ending that Krampus has trapped them in the snow globe forever or put them through it all to teach them a lesson and is keeping an eye on them, the Trope applies.
  • Bad Santa:
    • The mall Santa with whom the family takes a photo is seen in the picture clearly checking out Beth's ass. Note that this may or may not be the same drunken, Shell-Shocked Veteran mall Santa from the comic tie-in.
    • The Krampus itself takes on the appearance of one, especially its face, though Word of God says it's a mask.
  • Badass Family: Be it through physical strength or strength of will, all the adults are shown to be capable of combating all the horror Krampus has in store this season. Before they eventually get battered enough that defeat is the only option...
  • Bag of Kidnapping: Used by Krampus to grab Omi.
  • Bear Trap: Howard theorizes that the thing that grabbed him in the snow was a hidden bear trap. This is actually just to avoid panicking everyone.
  • Bears Are Bad News: The film features a demonic teddy bear.
  • Beast with a Human Face: Invoked with the Krampus himself, who wears a human mask over a distinctly caprine body.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Max realizes this as Krampus gives him the bauble and it becomes clear that his despair and curses are the reason Krampus came.
    • Omi reveals that when she lost her faith in the Christmas Spirit after seeing the people of her village, including her parents, turn on each other, she wished for her parents to disappear. That night, Krampus appeared and granted her wish by taking her parents to the underworld.
      Omi: And for the first time, I didn't wish for a miracle; I wished for them to go away. A wish I would come to regret.
  • Big Eater: Howie Jr. isn't interested in much else. During the argument at dinner, he focuses only on his food and doesn't notice the fight. A gingerbread cookie is suspiciously dangling from a chain in the fireplace and his first instinct is to go over and take a bite out of it.
  • Big Red Devil: Krampus has all the features. His skin isn't red, but he does wear a red Santa-like robe.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: There's a lot of this, as Omi speaks almost entirely in German; but her family understands her fine, and she understands their English just as well.
  • Black Comedy: The film opens with crazed customers storming into a store for their holiday shopping, trampling over employees while Bing Crosby's "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" plays.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: The Movie. Pretty much all the petty grievances among the family are valid, but they're unable to put then aside for Christmas.
  • Bourgeois Bohemian: Implied on the part of the Engels, especially in comparison to Howard and Linda's family. The cultural and political divide between them forms a big part of their conflict, culminating in a fight at dinner where Linda and Dorothy make fun of the weird, foreign-sounding food that Sarah serves.
  • Cassandra Truth: Howard is the only one unfazed when Omi relates her own experience with Krampus.
  • Chaos of the Bells: A version plays during the fight with the killer toys in the attic, and we get a full choral version (with new Krampus-specific lyrics!) during the film's Closing Credits after Krampus has captured everyone, to invoke a lingering sense of dread.
  • Child Eater: Der Klown, the Jack-in-the-Box.
  • Child Hater: Aunt Dorothy, who says that she has never been able to stand kids, even when she was one. Her idea of keeping the kids occupied is to show them how to make peppermint schnapps, and let them have some. However, when the chips are down, she does show some protective instincts towards the children.
  • Chimney Entry: Unsurprisingly, Krampus' army of 'helpers' gains access to Max's house by coming down the chimney.
  • Companion Cube: Howard is devastated over the destruction of his Hummer, Lucinda. It was probably his biggest source of self-esteem apart from his kids.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: Implied on the part of Howard and Linda, who drive a Hummer and live a lifestyle reminiscent of the Robertsons from Duck Dynasty yet are shown to be short on money and jealous of the Engels' financial stability.
  • Crappy Holidays: The plot is triggered by one of these. Asshole relatives, a creepy mall Santa, a fight breaking out at the school pageant, and a consumerist riot breaking out at the shopping mall... basically every reason people dread the holidays is here somewhere. And that's before the supernatural stuff starts happening, of course.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The credits for the cast are shown as images in an advent calendar with creepy imagery. The remainder of the credits scroll alongside both awkward Christmas family photos and old artwork depicting Krampus.
  • Creepy Doll: The movie feature a killer teddy bear (Teddy), a killer jack-in-the-box (Der Klown), a killer demonic angel doll (Perchta), and a killer toy robot.
  • Creepy Long Fingers: The scene of Krampus caressing the face of Omi seems to be devoted to showing off his long fingers.
  • Dark Is Evil: Krampus is here portrayed as a Satan-esque demon. A notable contrast from his traditional literary counterpart.
  • Dark Reprise: The end credits are accompanied by a darker sounding "Carol of the Bells" with some rewriting of the lyrics.
  • Dead Hat Shot: When Howie, Jr. is yanked up the chimney by the Krampus, a single sneaker falls back down to his shocked family.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Tom, Howard and last but not least, Aunt Dorothy.
  • Death of a Child: The film sets out its stall early on by having the teenage girl get killed first out of everyone, and eventually all of the kids die, including the baby. Granted, we don't actually see any of the main characters die, it's only implied. At the end, however, everyone comes back to life - maybe. See Ambiguous Ending above.
  • The Diaper Change: Happens offscreen after Howard brings his daughter in and hands her off to his wife, complaining that she pooped.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Cause a relative to lose their faith in Christmas? Everyone involved, aside from that relative, gets dragged into the underworld by the Krampus - even the baby and the dog. This can be especially unfair in the case of Omi's family. Omi lost her faith in Christmas as a child because her family was poor and suffering the aftermath of a terrible war, which neither she nor her parents could control. Even then, Omi's parents were still taken by the Krampus anyway. One can only hope that the end means that Krampus is just keeping an eye on them to make sure they never lose their Christmas spirit again.
    • If one believes the theory that the snowmen are the posed corpses of the neighbors, especially taking into consideration the destroyed, empty houses, then he went after completely innocent families who had nothing to do with the main characters.
  • The Dragon: Der Klown is the first Krampus helper to be unleashed and is by far the deadliest. Especially if you believe its serpent-like movements mean it is the creature slithering through the snow.
  • Dysfunctional Family: What Max's family start out as.
  • Eaten Alive: Jordan is swallowed whole by Der Klown. It can be surmised that Beth is as well, assuming the Jack-in-the-Boxes are one and the same. It may or may not also have happened to the dog Rosie.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Der Klown hugging one of the dark elves when they storm the house.
  • Evil Evolves: Implied. Along with versions of "classic" toys like a teddy bear, a jack in the box, and an angel doll, Krampus's helpers also include a modern-looking, electronic Killer Robot.
  • Eye Scream: The demonic bear Teddy gets stabbed in the eye with an icicle.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Omi stoically stares down Krampus once he emerges from the chimney. Tom and Sarah also have similiar moments while trying to get the kids to the snowplow.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: Aunt Dorothy gives a resigned See You in Hell just before being dragged off.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Howard, when tasked with keeping watch.
  • The Fair Folk: The Elves are reminiscent of many interpretations of such.
  • Fallen Angel / Angelic Abomination: Invoked by Perchta the Cherub, the demonic angel doll that attacks Sarah. She's not a real angel, though, but a toy (or possibly a living creature disguised as a toy?) that simply resembles one.
  • Fat Bastard: Der Klown is rather plump once he swallows Jordan whole. Aunt Dorothy also comes off as a female example at first, but she gets better.
  • Feathered Fiend: The film features a killer demonic angel doll named Perchta.
  • Filming for Easy Dub: The one time Tom speaks German, he's out of focus, suggesting his line was probably added in ADR. Presumably, the filmmakers thought that it made sense for the character to have a pretty good handle on the language, and wanted to give Adam Scott the chance to practice the pronunciation a bit more. It's not especially distracting, but if you look for it it's definitely there.
  • Fingore: Not in the movie itself, but a demonic nutcracker does bite off a man's fingers in the graphic novel tie-in.
  • Flower Mouth: Der Klown the jack-in-the-box has a bottom jaw that splits into two, in one of the nastier visuals of the film. Underneath the porcelain plating, it's clearly not a robot, but some type of hideous grub-like creature.
  • For the Evulz:
    • Krampus pretending (or maybe not) to be moved by Max's plea to Take Me Instead, only to laugh and throw him into Hell too seems to serve no purpose other than his own amusement.
    • Stevie and Jordan reading Max's letter out loud when it turns out all's he asking Santa is for his family to be happy while mocking Max about it.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: In the final scene of the movie, Krampus' dark elves and toys leap out towards the screen, screaming at the audience.
  • Gainax Ending: It initially seems like the events were All Just a Dream, only for it to turn out to be a reality when one of Krampus' baubles is discovered and everyone starts to slowly remember what happened. And then it turns out Krampus is watching them through a snowglobe, but it's unclear whether they're trapped in there to continuously be tormented or are merely being spied on.
    • The tie-in comic presents a similar happy ending, without the ambiguity. This makes it likely that Dougherty intended the more positive interpretation. Canonically Krampus is watching the family. They learned the lesson Krampus was sent to teach so he's obliged to let them off the hook for the lack of Christmas spirit and put everything back to the way it was. But should they slip up again the mercy they earned this time will not save them.
  • Genre Throwback: To '80s Amblin movies such as Poltergeist and Gremlins. There's also a bit of the feeling of older Christmas movies like It's a Wonderful Life and especially Scrooge (1951) (which even appears on TV in an early scene), with the scary supernatural presences working to frighten the characters into better appreciating Christmas.
  • Giggling Villain: All of the creatures except for Krampus.
  • Gingerbread House: The Forward Operating Base of the evil gingerbread men.
  • Ghost Town: The storm that Krampus and his helpers bring with them turns the neighborhood into one.
  • Gruesome Goat: A few of these pull Krampus' sleigh. They're based on the Yule Goat, a Scandinavian mythical creature associated with the holiday. Krampus himself is also implied to be some kind of humanoid goat, although we never get a good look at him under all those robes.
  • Gun Nut: Howard and Linda both bring guns along to Christmas dinner. This turns out to be a very wise move on their part, as they prove to be deadly weapons against the Krampus's minions.
  • Gutted Like a Fish: Intended for Der Klown; at least, until Krampus's elves show up to save him.
  • A Handful for an Eye: During the fight at the Christmas recital, Max presses a handful of artificial snow into his opponent's eyes.
  • Heroic BSoD: Max's causes the Krampus to attack the family.
  • Heroic Dog: Howard's bulldog Rosie, at first, cowers at the strange goings on in the house. Then as the movie progresses and her family is slowly picked off she plays this trope straight.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Both Omi and Tom do this. After all is said and done, Max's final act against Krampus is to be asked to be taken to the Underworld in exchange for his family. Though that case is an Averted Trope despite the intent.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The sounds made by Der Klown, as well as the Krampus' own ominous baying.
  • Hidden Depths: Much of the family that seem either scared, annoying, spineless or useless get a lot of moments to kick butt... Not that it matters. Even the dog.
  • Hooks and Crooks: Krampus using a gingerbread impaled on the hook to lure Howie Jr. into the fireplace. Krampus is also shown to be utterly covered in all kinds of chains and hooks.
  • Hope Spot: Several near the end of the movie:
    • First, the family kills most of Krampus' monster minions, but before they can finish off Der Klown, the elves attack.
    • Then it appears that Max's plea to Take Me Instead has won Krampus over, only for him and his elves to start laughing, revealing they were just messing with him.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: The story takes place on Christmas, and considering Krampus is associated with that holiday it makes sense.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Krampus is described as a several thousand-year-old demonic entity who delights in punishing and killing the naughty.
  • Hummer Dinger: Howard drives the trope namer itself, complete with a gun rack in the back. Given his money problems, it's a sign that he and his family are living well beyond their means.
  • I Call It "Vera": Howard's beloved Hummer is named 'Lucinda'.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: One of Krampus' animated gingerbread men is impaled on a freezer door with a kitchen knife.
  • In a Single Bound: Krampus easily leaps from the roof of one house to another across the street from a standing start.
  • Infernal Retaliation: Happens when Howard lights the three psychopathic gingerbread men on fire. They still try to attack him, one of them almost killing him with a sharpened candy cane before Rosie noms it down.
  • Jerkass Realization: Jordan and Stevie gleefully read Max's letter to Santa out loud until they come to the part where he asks Santa to help out their family as they seem to be having financial trouble. But that only lasts until they see him asking that their father stop wanting them to be boys.
  • Jump Scare: While the movie generally avoids them, they indulge one big one two seconds before the credits roll.
  • Kick the Dog: A literal one happens when Der Klown kills the dog Rosie offscreen.
    • Krampus himself does this quite a bit:
      • First when he freezes the post delivery man for no apparent reason other than to get him out of the way.
      • Terrorizes Beth and leaves, after depositing a Jack-in-the-Box under the car to eat her.
      • It's revealed in the flashbacks that he stole Omi's family from her after they lost faith in Christmas during WWII, a truly dark time for pretty much everyone.
      • Before he sends Max to the underworld, he pretends to give in to his terms, and then makes an Evil Laugh as he tosses Max in the pit.
  • Lighter and Softer: It's PG-13. Compared with its spiritual predecessor, there's little gore or sexuality, and it has what can be interpreted as a happy ending.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Krampus may be imposingly large, but he can run and jump across rooftops with the speed and agility of a gazelle.
  • Living Toys: A teddy bear, a cherub doll, a Jack-in-the-Box, and a toy robot all come to life.
  • Logo Joke: The Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures logos are covered in ice and have snow falling over them.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: The "elves."
  • Mama Bear: Linda gets her moment in the attic. Up until that point, she had been reasonably frightened and is struggling with the killer teddy bear. There seems to be no way out, but the sight of her daughter unconscious on the floor gives her the nerve to overpower the bear by stabbing it in the eye. She quickly grabs the axe and uses it to free Tom and Sarah from their tormentors, and makes a dash for the jack-in-the-box. She is sadly too late to catch it, but the fighting spirit is still there.
  • Mind Screw: The ending can be interpreted in several different ways... none of which are really pleasant. The best-case scenario is that everyone is restored alive and well and the damage caused by Krampus and his minions was undone... but he'll still be keeping an eye on them in case they slip up again.
  • Monster Clown: Der Klown, a monstrous jester with a split-open bottom jaw.
  • My Car Hates Me: Max and Stevie find that the abandoned snowplow won't start as they make their escape.
  • Mythology Gag: Quite a few to Trick 'r Treat.
    • Howie Jr. looks almost identical to Charlie.
    • Max mentions wanting to watch Charlie Brown, while Billy Wilkins memorably didn't want to.
    • The robes and masks that the dark elves wear look more than a little like the undead children from the school bus.
    • In a deleted scene, Max tries to comfort his cousins by offering them candy from his Halloween stash, most of which appears to be recycled props from Trick 'r Treat, including a very familiar jack-o'-lantern lollipop.
    • Another deleted scene has a weather report mention the town of Warren Valley, Ohio, where Trick R Treat was set.
  • Nail 'Em: Three animate gingerbread men use a nail gun as a weapon.
  • Noodle Incident: Max's involvement in one is directly referenced, probably as a Shout-Out to Calvin and Hobbes
  • Nothing Is Scarier: We never do see what it is that drags people beneath the snow.
    • No characters are killed onscreen. Most of them are merely dragged into the blizzard screaming. The DHL delivery man is seen apparently frozen to death, but even there we don't actually see it happening.
  • Ominous Fog: More like ominous blizzard.
  • Ominous Music Box Tune: Signals the appearance of the Jack-in-the-Box Krampus left for Beth while she was hiding under the delivery man's truck.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Whenever Omi switches to English, it's to make a serious point. Justified, since she wants everyone present to understand her, and not just those of her immediate family (apparently only Tom and Max) who understand German.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: Max wakes up, and, upon seeing none of his family seem to remember the incident, thinks it must've been a nightmare. Then, he receives the Krampus bell as a Christmas gift, and then slowly, the family seems to start remembering, shattering any ambiguity.
  • Overly-Long Tongue: Krampus has one, seen disturbingly unfurling from his Santa mask to lick Max when he is grabbed in the snow.
  • Practical Effects: For most of the creatures in the film.
  • Precision F-Strike: Dorothy translating Omi in one scene. "She said we're fucked."
  • Rage Breaking Point: Max reaches his during the family's dinner, motivated by his older relatives constantly snipping at each other and his younger cousins reading his letter to Santa out loud. It leads to him screaming that he hates Christmas and everyone else.
  • Real After All: The ending starts off seeming like the movie was All Just a Dream, until Max gets an ornament from Krampus.
  • Retraux: The film is produced with this in mind, such as favoring practical effects over CG. The poster helps convey this feel.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Omi refers to the Krampus as being thousands of years old, and older than St. Nicholas, but most folklorists agree that the myth dates back to about the 1700s.
  • Scare 'Em Straight: This seems to be Krampus's modus operandi. He goes to families who have lost the Christmas spirit and subjects them to an onslaught of Christmas-themed monsters to get them to regain their Christmas spirit. Should this not work, everyone gets to whisked to the underworld. Should the family regain the Christmas spirit, Krampus spares them, but gives the family an ornament as a reminder that he will always be watching them from his workshop.
  • Scary Jack-in-the-Box: The Jack inside is a worm-like monstrosity named Der Klown that swallows children whole.
  • See You in Hell: Aunt Dorothy says this right before Krampus' elves drag her off.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Omi, for having Krampus take away her family and nearly Max, until the ending.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Howard possesses one and Aunt Dorothy takes out the teddy bear and the cherub with it. Later, Tom uses it against the underground snow beast.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Max has Gypsy Danger and Leatherback toys on his desk, and has posters with Rick and Robot Chicken on the walls of his room.
    • The scene of the demonic toys breaking out of their presents is very similar to the discarded cocoons found in Gremlins. The overall film is a throwback to Joe Dante's works.
    • Tom and Howard finding the house of Beth's boyfriend devastated and snowy with the remains of the Krampus' passage is a reference to the ruined Norwegian base scene from The Thing (1982).
    • For fans of Full Moon Features there is an interesting observation that the Krampus' killer toys have analog to each of the four original Demonic Toys. Both containing a clown jack-in-the-box, a teddy bear with teeth, a killer robot, and some doll that appears cute and girly but is really deadly (in this movie it's a Christmas angel and in Demonic Toys it's a baby doll).
    • Along with the aforementioned Noodle Incident reference to Calvin and Hobbes, the myriad of creepy snowmen that steadily begins growing outside is reminiscent of Calvin's Killer Monster Snow Goons.
    • The monster that lurks in the snow and grabs its victims pulling them down could be a nod to the Graboids from Tremors.
    • Max getting into a fight onstage during a Christmas pageant at the beginning invokes a similiar moment from Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, another nostalgic Christmas film.
    • The digital backlot neighbourhood where the Engels family live is full of recreations of other classic movie houses, including the Amityville house, the Bueller residence, and the Myers residence. Additionally, one of the snow globes in the final scene contains the Bates Motel.
  • Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: Many moments involving adorable instruments of destruction. Some of the deaths are (initially) played for laughs.
  • Snow Globe Of Innocence: Used ambiguously at the end. Max wishes his family back, and it appears the Krampus has undone his deeds and now a family can happily celebrate Christmas together, until they find the Krampus' bell. It's revealed that the Krampus has myriads of snow globes in his lair, all holding little houses. As "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" plays in the background of the scene, it can be interpreted that the Krampus has given Max's family a second chance, but only a second chance. He'll always be watching.
  • Something We Forgot: Howard and Linda are in the Engels' house for several minutes before Tommy points out that they appear to be a child short, and they realise they have left their baby daughter in the truck.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" plays over a montage of aggressive shoppers and fighting children.
    • Despite the power being out, the radio comes alive to play "Up On The Housetop" as Krampus finally comes down the chimney.
  • Space Whale Aesop: Keep believing in Christmas or everybody dies.
  • The Speechless: Howie Jr. doesn't speak, though a reason isn't given why.
  • Spiritual Successor:
  • Stop Faux-tion: Omi's story of the titular creature coming to her village and taking everyone but her is shown in a CG segment made to mimic multiple styles of stop-motion. Omi herself is animated in a style similar to the characters in Laika's films, the other characters are shadow puppets, and the effects are done in a paper-cutout style.
  • Swallowed Whole: Jordan is swallowed whole by Der Klown. The adults arrive in the attic in time to see her boots disappearing into Der Klown's mouth. It's implied that this was the fate of Beth too, given the presence of the Jack-in-the Box there.
  • Tactful Translation: Inverted.
    Omi: (German sentence)
    Jordan: What's she saying?
    Max: I'm not sure.
    Aunt Dorthy: She says we're fucked.
    Omi: (Shrugs) Eh.
  • Take Me Instead: In the climax, Max pleads with Krampus to spare his family and take him; Krampus doesn't listen... or maybe he did.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Howie Jr. tends to stare awkwardly at everybody.
  • Tomboy: Jordan and Stevie, Howard's twin daughters
  • Too Dumb to Live: Howie Jr. getting pulled into the fireplace, who obviously did not think seeing a gingerbread man on a large hook dangling from a dark chimney might be a bad thing.
  • Toyota Tripwire: Max slams one of the elves with the door of the snowplow as he and Stevie escape.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: In this case, it's the poster used for the page image, which shows the snow globe with Max's house inside it, one of the very last scenes in the film. A downplayed example, however, since outside the context of that scene, the image doesn't mean much on its own.
  • Translation: "Yes": When Max asks Omi if they're going to be all right, she responds with a reasonably long phrase in unsubtitled German, which Max doesn't understand. When he asks her to explain, Aunt Dorothy helpfully condenses it to "She said we're fucked", to which Omi merely shrugs in agreement.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Tom spends too much time at work, and his relationship with Sarah (and his entire family) is suffering for it.
  • Worm Sign: The unseen snow monster leaves behind a trail of raised snow behind it.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: During the climax, the family attempts to escape in a snowplow... which has been abandoned with the lights on and the keys in the ignition for three days in a blizzard. When they try to start the engine, the battery is, of course, stone dead.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Tom's reaction to seeing Der Klown.
    "Oh, come on."
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Tom does this; standing in the middle of the road with a shotgun to hold off the thing under snow long enough for his family to make it to the snowplow.



The Krampus has come to take Max's family after he has lost faith in the holidays.

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