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Recap / Inside No 9 S 3 E 1 The Devil Of Christmas

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Retired director Dennis Fulcher is interviewed about The Devil of Christmas; a low-budget horror movie he made in the 1970s. The movie is played as Dennis gives commentary.

The story is based around Julian and his family staying in an Austrian ski chalet at Christmas. Klaus, a local man, warns them about the demonic Krampus which preys on naughty children. After two nights of mysterious events, it appears that the Krampus is targeting Julian's young son Toby and pregnant wife Kathy. While Julian is convinced of a rational explanation, his mother Celia believes that Kathy is jealous of Toby (who is the son of Julian's late first wife) and wants him out of the way in favour of her own child. Kathy fears that, as per the legend, the Krampus will return a third time and kill her and Toby. The family books flights so that Celia and Toby can return to England.

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Julian notices mysterious injuries on Kathy's body - part of the Krampus legend. A terrified Kathy believes the Krampus is coming for her unborn child. She confesses that her baby isn't Julian's, just as the Krampus breaks into the house. Julian collapses from the shock. Krampus unmasks himself as Klaus in a disguise; he is really Simon, with whom Kathy is having an affair. She had thrown out Julian's heart medication and staged the scene in order to kill him. Julian dies from a heart attack. Throughout the movie, Dennis discusses its production, commenting on matters such as continuity errors and the casting.

At this stage, the footage captures the point where Julian's actor left for another job; whilst Penny, who played Kathy, stayed for a final scene with Simon's actor, Ralph. On the film, the younger Dennis comes onto the set. The movie ends as Kathy agrees for Simon to tie her up in bed, only for him to reveal he really is the Krampus, and turn into a monster. After the scene ends, Ralph leaves, but the cameras keep rolling, and Penny is confused since her script didn't go any further than this. She screams in terror as stage hands slide a plastic sheet under her and gag her. Young Dennis puts on the Krampus costume, then advances on her with a machete. At the interviewer's request, Dennis switches off the footage. He claims in his defence that it was one of the "better" snuff films made at the time. It is revealed that he has been speaking to a police officer; who terminates the interview here.

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This episode contains examples of:

  • Bad "Bad Acting": The acting in The Devil of Christmas is intentionally like this, since it's supposed to replicate a low-budget 70s movie.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Celia's actress, who Dennis claims was too vain to wear her glasses on camera.
  • Bound and Gagged: Penny towards the end is chained to the bed by Krampus. When the next scene is set up she is gagged before she finds out what they are really filming.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: A double-dose: one for Kathy, (though she arguably deserved it) and then one for her actress, Penny (who certainly didn't).
  • Foreshadowing: Dennis mentions at one point that casting Toby was difficult due to the subject matter of the film.
  • The Krampus: The episode is based around a family being targeted by the Krampus during a Christmas holiday in the Alps.
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  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Which just make the twist ending of the episode all the more tragic.
  • Mood Whiplash: The film itself could be looked as a parody of classic christmas horror films but the real horror comes right when the twist ending is revealed.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Kathy and her boyfriend conspire to give Julian a fatal heart attack so they can be together.
  • No Name Given: Toby's actor (Dennis can't remember it).
  • Only in It for the Money: Both Dennis (who took the job of director because he lost out on a slot in Worzel Gummidge) and Julian's actor (who leaves early to go to another job.)
  • Only Sane Man: Celia.
  • Proscenium Reveal: "The Devil of Christmas" is presented as the actual episode at first, but when the director points out a continuity error, we discover it's just an old movie and the real story is him giving an interview about its production.
  • Retraux: The episode is deliberately filmed on older cameras to give the episode a feeling of a 70's Christmas movie.
  • Snuff Film: The entire set up.
  • Spoiled Brat: Toby
  • Tomato Surprise: What seems to be Derek being interviewed for a DVD commentary is in fact him being interviewed by the police as a suspect for making a Snuff Film. Of course, he and the policeman knew this all along.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Averted by having them show footage from the movie only and present it as a straight story about the Krampus.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Kathy, who's clearly prepared to harm Toby to get what she wants.
  • Wham Line:
    • ->Dennis [Commentary] Always a strange moment when you see them realize whats going on. You see, there's no "acting" here. That's "genuine" fear. I don't think i want to watch the ending...

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