Krampus

Yes, it is only mid-October, but I figure that’s giving you approximately 2.5 months to get your shit together or come the evening of December 24th, you’ll be forced  deal with……

KRAMPUS!!!!!!!!!

To be more specific, this menacing looking dude:

IMG_0293

Krampus was new to me until a campy movie of the same name was released two years ago.    I watched it for the first time this morning in a fit of boredom.   It’s a somewhat Interesting flick, in that it’s very dark,  with dark humor that had me entertained just enough to keep the remote out of my hand for an hour and 38 minutes.     When I first learned of the movie, I thought the title by virtue of the spelling , is Latin in nature, but it isn’t.

It’s comes to us from legends that swirl around  Europe….from as far west as Germany and Northern Italy, and eastward to Croatia.    Krampus IS the ultimate cautionary tale for kids…..adults, too.   As the story goes, he’ll incur his evil wrath on December 24th  to anyone who loses their Christmas spirit, especially the months right before the holiday.   The Christmas spirit is easily defined:  it’s giving more than taking, it’s believing in the inherent good in people and a belief in the prospect of miracles, even under the gloomiest and most dire circumstances.

Folklore tells us that Krampus is a tall, horned  figure that perpetually keeps his mouth open to show his scary, gnarly fangs.    He’s an imposing looking thing that’s half-goat, half-demon with cloven hooves and wrapped in chains, thought to symbolize the perpetual connection to the Devil.

IMG_0294

Sometimes Krampus appears with a black sack or a basket or cage strapped to his back.  Legend says he uses this to snatch bad children from their homes in order to drown them, eat them or deliver them non-stop to the closet portal to Hell.

Lovely.

Krampus, as you might have deduced by now, is at the opposite end of the spectrum where the kindly, jolly, old St. Nicholas dwells.    St. Nick gave birth to the story of Santa Claus and all the variations there in.   For example, he’s called Father Christmas in the U.K.,  Père Noël in France and kids in Athens call him Άγιος Βασίλης, but that’s completely Greek to me.

The origin of the figure is unclear; some folklorists and anthropologists postulate its pre-Christian origin.    So, obviously, Krampus” roots have nothing to do with Christmas. Instead, they date back to pre-Germanic paganism in the region. His name originates with the German word  krampen, which means “claw,”.   Donecsay its traditions can be traced back to Norse mythology.     He’s the son of the Norse god of the underworld, Hel.    However, Wikipedia failed to tell me how it locked horns with Christmas and spread throughout Europe.     I would imagine the diaspora of the tale was spread through desperate parents who needed  an affective con job that could turn unruly children into little saints.

Well, there you go.    You now have a B.A. In all things Krampus.

So, come Thanksgiving when radio stations, Sirius satellite and the Hallmark channel go full on with Christmas programming 24/7, keep the movie Krampus in mind.     After the cartoons tell your kids that Rudolph Saves Christmas, that Santa Claus Is Coming To Town or when Bing Crosby croons that he’s dreaming of a White Christmas, go to Netflix and rent Krampus and make the kiddos watch it;   especially the unruly ones who defy the classic Santa Claus song by pouting, crying  and refusing to watch out despite telling them why.     And add to the experience, by making  them watch it late at night….in the dark, preferably during a storm.

Make them watch it twice if you have to.    And maybe, just maybe, the next day, you just might find that little Bethany and Ferguson have become the reincarnations of Mother Theresa or Albert Schweitzer.

At least until December 26th.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 comments

  1. Hi, Laurie. Saw your 2010 post about “Project Terror”, Playland (still empty), Kiddie Park (still a going concern).

    Do you remember other weekend horror showcases on the other stations? “Project Terror” was 10:30p Fridays on KENS, “FRIGHT!” (I think) was Saturday afternoons (pretty sure) on WOAI (I think), and “SCHLOCK!” (I think) was 10:30P Saturdays (I think) on KTSA (I think).

    “FRIGHT!”, if that was what it’s called, ran classic Lugosi/Cushing/Rathbone horror and “SCHLOCK!” (?) 60s/70s sci-fi (“Moon Zero-Two” comes to mind). I’ve searched online and come up empty on other than “Project Terror” and it’s driving me nuts.

    I wish I could have taken my daughter to Playland (as a Toddler she hated Kiddie Park) but at least there’s still the Zoo and the Witte and some of the old places on the Riverwalk. Cheers, Patrick A. Thomas, Frisco, TX.

  2. Hi Patrick…..the show that came on Saturday afternoons (Channel 5/KENS-TV) was called 5-Star Shock and its host who dressed as an undertaker was Joe Alston (I might be wrong on the name) but he was the same man who portrayed Captain Gus, a daily, after school kiddie show, with cartoons, the Keystone Cops, Thor, Captain America, SuperCar, etc. The show was sponsored by legendary toy store, Kiddie City. Never got to go there as a kid….that was on my sand pale list. But alas, wasn’t meant to be but there’s something incomplete in my life as a result.

    When 5-Star Shock went tits up, it was replaced by fanfare free movies….
    Charlie Chan (with Sydney Tolar & Warner Olan in the starring in competitive roles) plus Sherlock Holmes flicks and they’d even intersperse Shirley Temple movies in the mix.

    I remember All Star wrestling came on KSAT (SA’s ABC affiliate) on KSAT on Friday and Saturday nights at 10:30. Project Terror died in the late 60’s ….I think.

    Then next thing I knew, I turned 16 and Saturday Night Live premiered and I was really into their mocking of the zeitgeist of the time.

And now, you may opine your ass off...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s