Sure, we’ve covered Krampus before, but we wanted to see him in ACTION with the 2015 film Krampus. A family finds out the dark true meaning of Christmas, and learns about the sacrifice of giving, while getting terrorized by Christmas accoutrement. This episode also ends with Amanda yelling, “That’s the true snowglobe!” so you know it’s gonna be good.
This week, Amanda recommends Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston.
Content Warning: This episode contains conversations about gun violence, death, child endangerment, and animal death.
- Skillshare is an online learning community where you can learn—and teach—just about anything. Visit skillshare.com/spirits2 to get two months of Skillshare Premium for free! This week Amanda recommends “Productivity with Evernote” with Lindsey C. Holmes.
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Amanda: Welcome to Spirits Podcast, a boozy dive into mythology, legends, and folklore. Every week we pour a drink and learn about a new story from around the world. I'm Amanda.
Julia: And I'm Julia.
Amanda: And this is Episode 135: Myth Movie Night - Krampus.
Julia: Yeah. I know we've done Krampus before as a regular episode, but the Krampus movie is so interesting and bizarrely good in ways I can't really describe that I felt like it was such a good choice to do, and also Christmas in July.
Amanda: Yeah, which is a great drink that I talk about in the episode, and I actually really enjoyed it. So, we spent the first little bit of the episode talking about the movie itself, and the plot, and how it moves along, and then getting into the mythology of it. I felt like it was a great refresher on my Krampus mythology, and just a really enjoyable time. I definitely recommend it for a dissonant beach night. It'll feel like you're having Australian Christmas where it's hot outside.
Julia: I like it. I'm into it. I like summer Christmas. I'm a big fan because sparkly lights, but also palm trees.
Amanda: Yeah. It's the best.
Julia: What's not to love?
Amanda: Do you know who I would invite to our sparkly light palm tree cocktail hour?
Julia: I believe it would be our new patrons.
Amanda: Our new patrons Sarah, Rica, Amy, and Sarah G.
Julia: Yes. Thank you guys so much. We're so excited for you to join in for our little team.
Amanda: And with unlimited drink tickets at all of the Spirits Happy Hours, our supporting producer-level patrons Philip, Eeyore, Skyla, Christie, Mercedes, Samantha, Danica, Marissa, Sammy, Josie, Neal, Jessica, and Phil Fresh. Our legend-level patrons, Julia, don't even need to order their own drinks. They're just brought to them. Cody, Mr. Folk, Haley, James, Sarah, Sandra, Audra, and Jack Marie.
Julia: Yeah. They just kind of get behind the bar, and start making their own cocktails, and the bartender is like, "Damn. Those are some skills."
Amanda: It's like in a TV show or movie where the bartender just inexplicably gives the bottle to the patron, which I'm pretty sure is completely illegal. It's like that.
Julia: No. You could have bottle service I think, and stuff like that at clubs. I don't know. We'll see.
Amanda: I don't know. I'm thinking like in Lost Girl where they just roll up to the bar and they give the bartender a blaggard wave, and then he just puts the bottle in front of them and a shot glass. How do you keep track of how many drinks they drink?
Julia: I mean, I guess if they pay for the whole bottle, I don't know. This is redundant.
Amanda: In any case, Julia, remind us what we were drinking during this episode.
Julia: So, we had some really, really nice beer sent to us from the fine folks at Harmony Brewing. One of the first ones, I think we pre-gamed with the Gritty In Pink, which was a Berliner Weisse with it had like blueberry and hibiscus. It was really light and refreshing, but also tart at the same time. Then during the episode, we rocked out to the Smarty Pants, which is their traditional Gose, which also had an added punch of strawberry to it. So, thank you Jackson. You're the bomb.com. We really, really enjoyed the beer.
Amanda: Yeah. Thank you so much. It was absolutely delicious. Oh, and Julia, that reminds me. The sort of beautiful reddish-pink color of that Smarty Pants with strawberry reminded me of the cover of the book that I'm recommending this week.
Julia: Tell me about it. Tell me about it.
Amanda: It is Red, White & Royal Blue. Now, the internet knows about this book. Do you know anything about it?
Julia: I know nothing about it. Please tell me more.
Amanda: So, you probably will recognize it from Book Twitter if you're in Book Twitter, but it is a lovely almost YA-feeling book, by which I mean it's lovely. It's about people's emotions. It's not about angst and affairs. It's just about a pure story of two boys falling in love, but it's like an adult fiction book, and it's about the first son of the United States and a Prince Harry-type of England.
Amanda: I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this book. I devoured it in like 12 hours. I'm not even joking. I wish this author had more out, but yeah. This is by Casey McQuiston, and I wish she had written like 4,000 books because I would read them all, but it's Red, White & Royal Blue. I bet your library has a bunch of copies. It was absolutely fucking delightful.
Julia: That sounds so incredible. I need to buy that right now.
Amanda: Also, Casey McQuiston's bio that I'm reading right now on Goodreads says, "Casey grew up in the swamps of Southern Louisiana," great start, "where she cultivated an abiding love for honey butter biscuits and stories with big, beating hearts."
Julia: Oh my god. Casey. My favorite person now.
Amanda: Yeah. So, this is Casey's only book so far that I can see, and I would just love to respectfully request that she write 14 more.
Julia: That's absolutely fair and valid, and as much as we are gushing over Casey's work, why don't you gush about Spirits to some of your family members and friends? Spread the word at beach trips, family barbecues, maybe the weekend by the lake, whatever you've got planned for this summer. Tell some people about Spirits.
Amanda: Absolutely. We don't pay to advertise the show. This is the way that we grow, and it would mean so much to us to have more conspirators on board as we reach episode 150 and beyond.
Amanda: So, listen. Text a friend. Open up their Spotify or if they listen to podcasts, their podcast app, and show them how to listen. Pick out an episode for them to start with. It's really lovely to recommend a show to somebody. Not just the show in general, but an episode that you think they would enjoy.
Julia: Yeah. Please do. I know that there's people out there that love things that are creepy and also cool.
Amanda: So, thank you everybody who has recommended us so far, and if you're going on a trip this long weekend, we hope you enjoy and bring Spirits along with you. Without further ado, enjoy Episode 135: Myth Movie Night - Krampus.
Julia: Amanda, we've gotten through one whole big can. How big are these cans?
Amanda: A Crowler.
Amanda: It's like 32 ounces, I think.
Julia: 32 ounces.
Amanda: That's like half a gallon.
Julia: Yeah. Wow. We drank half a gallon of beer so far-
Amanda: We have.
Julia: ... from Harmony Brewing Company. Thank you again. We really appreciate what you sent over. We're currently drinking the Pretty In Pink. What was the other one that we had before?
Amanda: We had a strawberry something.
Julia: Strawberry Gose, I think?
Julia: I don't know. It was delicious. We drank it all, but now we're drinking the Pretty In Pink, and we're going to talk about a movie that we watched.
Amanda: Yeah. Thank you so much Jackson for sending us the beer. That was really lovely of you.
Julia: Yes. It was wonderful, and it's very refreshing. It doesn't quite fit our movie choice for this week.
Amanda: Well, it does, Julia, because Christmas is red and green, and today we are drinking a beer that's a lovely pink because it's like Christmas, but different because it's July.
Amanda: And much like Saint Nicholas, but different, is the scary, scary figure of Krampus. It's what we're going to discuss today.
Julia: Yeah. I picked Krampus because I like the idea of Christmas in July. It appeals to me quite a bit.
Amanda: Yeah, and I was going to make us Christmas in July, which is Eric Silver's favorite drink of lemonade with whiskey and maple syrup. It's freaking delicious.
Julia: That sounds delightful.
Amanda: But instead we had beer from a listener, so we had to prioritize that.
Julia: But I will make a Christmas in July recipe card for our patrons later on. So Amanda, the first thing I wanted to say was when I searched for Krampus, two other movies came up, which was Krampus Unleashed-
Amanda: Oh no.
Julia: ... and also Mother Krampus.
Amanda: What's that one about?
Julia: I don't know. I just looked at it. It was a scary old crone with some horns, and I was into it, but I had to press on, and we did the 2015 Krampus instead.
Amanda: Yes. It feels like moments ago and also so, so far away.
Julia: Yeah, God. It's been so long.
Amanda: I was relieved to see that this movie is a tight 90. It's a tight 90 minutes.
Julia: Your favorite thing?
Amanda: My favorite thing. I greatly appreciate it. I did also notice that it's much more fun not at Christmas to watch Christmas movies.
Julia: Yes it is.
Amanda: I have never been a non-seasonal Christmas movie watcher, but it was nice and like, "Oh, yeah. Remember that time?" Instead of being constantly around you at all times because this movie opens up with a really lovely slow-mo montage of I guess just a mall Christmas activity.
Julia: Just the horror of shopping during Christmastime.
Amanda: Yeah. It's horrible. It's horrifying. It was really excellent, and I was like, "Wait. Is this going to be a good movie maybe?"
Julia: Surprise. It is that montage over It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, which I love slow horrifying montages over very cheerful songs. It's one of my favorite things in the world.
Amanda: Yeah. It was incredibly evocative and really set up this idea of being a bad holiday.
Julia: At a bad time.
Amanda: A bad family time.
Julia: Yes, and the montage ties directly into the children fighting at the Christmas pageant, which introduces our family characters.
Amanda: It sure does.
Julia: Family of characters. That's what I meant to say. This beer is very good. So, we cut to a old movie version of the Christmas Carol where they're talking about how they're going to be visited by spirits in the night.
Amanda: Yeah, and what a good referential Christmas movie thing.
Julia: And then we also see our old German grandma Omi making cookies in the kitchen.
Amanda: Yes. I was like, "Oh, excellent. Here is the Krampus angle. We have grandma prophecies. She speaks only in German. She has some kind of either rivalry or miscommunication with her daughter-in-law. This is excellent. We're really setting up for a lot of plot here."
Julia: Toni Collette plays the daughter-in-law and the mother in this, and oh, God. She is so fantastic. She's so good in horror movies-
Amanda: Yeah. She really is.
Julia: ... and to look at this performance and then know that she did Hereditary four years later or three years later is wild. Absolutely wild, but basically we get the gist that the family is not into the quote/unquote, "true meaning of Christmas," which I love that being a plot point in all Christmas movies, even though we don't talk about Jesus at all. We barely talk about Jesus in this film, but it is what it is, and the only people who know the true meaning of Christmas are the younger son Max and the grandma Omi.
Amanda: I'm here for the Max/Omi friendship. It's very pure.
Julia: Yes, and so Max and Omi have a conversation about whether or not he still believes, which he does, and he asks his grandmother if she believes, and she says, "I believe Saint Nicholas is what you make of him." Then she talks about giving, and sacrifice, and the sacrifice of giving. I'm like, "Oh, boy. Here we go."
Amanda: Extreme. It's very good.
Julia: Getting real dark. I like it. I also appreciate that most of the family members either understand German or speak German to the grandma.
Julia: That is really, really nice, and I like the idea of families perpetuating their culture and stuff like that.
Amanda: There was a lot of grandma speaking and then the kids responding back in English, which I know is often how it happens, but I was also like, "Oh, yeah. These poor kids didn't want to memorize a ton of lines in German."
Julia: Yeah. I understand. I get it. You don't want to teach small children German. I understand.
Amanda: Yeah, and we spend a lot of time from there on the family dynamic as it unfolds as the mom's sister and her family come to visit. A bunch of really good performances here. They are really enacting the horrible extended family here for the holidays who you don't really actually care about, as Adam Scott says like, "We're related. We have to deal with it. That's kind of how it is."
Julia: Yeah, basically. The daughter is upstairs Skyping her boyfriend, who is like, "I'm going to smoke some weed for Christmas." I'm like, "Oh, you're going to die then. Sorry. That's just how it works. You can't smoke weed in a horror movie and not die."
Amanda: I guess.
Julia: I mean, it's fucked up, but it is what it is. So, like you said, the relatives alive. Classically, everyone hates everyone. There is mentions of guns, which of course that means Chekhov's guns. Those guns have to be used at some point in the film.
Amanda: True, true.
Julia: Actually, much sooner than I thought they were.
Amanda: Yeah. I was fixated on the weird sociopolitical indications that are happening. The mom's sister is mad that they are richer, but there is a lot of, yeah, a lot of resentment and fighting that's set up this early in the film. Actually, a ton of that doesn't really come to pass. We don't get a ton of closure on a lot of these open loops, but we're setting up that this is a conflict-filled holiday, and poor Max just wants it to be like it used to be.
Julia: Yes. That is the key. Max really wants it to be like it used to be, and he asks Santa for it.
Julia: At the dinner table, one of the cousins steals his letter to Santa, and reads it aloud, and embarrasses him, and they get into a fight. Meanwhile, Toni Collette is angrily brûléeing, which is such a mood in the kitchen.
Amanda: It's extremely good.
Julia: I was just like, "Wow. Yeah. That's right. That's so right."
Amanda: Yeah, and her auntie comes, who is very much like a ... What is her name in Harry Potter? The aunt who comes to visit? Vernon's sister?
Julia: Oh, Aunt Marge.
Amanda: Aunt Marge. A very Aunt Marge type of figure.
Julia: Yeah. The actress who plays her has been in a lot of Adam Sandler movies and stuff like that. I'm trying to remember. Mr. Deeds, I think, was the one that she was in, and-
Amanda: -and me were in high school.
Julia: ... very, very good movie.
Julia: Good movie in the fact that it's an Adam Sandler movie, and you know what you're getting with that. So, Max is extremely upset. He's crying and locks himself into his room, and he ends up tearing his letter to Santa, and tossing it out the window. I go, "Oh, no. Max, that's how you summon him."
Amanda: I said, "Don't litter, but also summon Krampus."
Julia: Summon Krampus, but-
Amanda: Because we see the letters get on ... The little pieces go on the wind and they get moved away, and then it starts to snow. It starts to really, really snow. Suddenly the next morning, Max opens his eyes and it's like blanketed, a blizzard outside, and there is an extremely scary random snowman-
Julia: Very creepy.
Amanda: ... in the yard.
Julia: And he tries to point it out to the adults, and they're just like, "It's a snowman, dude. All right. Whatever."
Amanda: I know, but it's in the yard where no one else should have made a snowman, and clearly evil is afoot.
Julia: Yeah. Also, the power has gone out in the house and I made a comment where I was like, "Toni Collette, good thing you have so many candles."
Amanda: So many candles. I thought that too. I was thinking, "How many do I have on hand? How many hours could I make it?"
Julia: Yes, but her house looks like it's out of Better Homes and Gardens.
Amanda: It really does. I also have a lantern with batteries, so you know.
Julia: Well, see, you're smart. Toni Collette just bought those because they look nice and probably smell nice, and once they had to light them all, it probably smelled crazy in there.
Amanda: Like a cacophony of scents.
Julia: Your allergies would have been a mess.
Amanda: Oh, very bad. Also, there was a dog there unexpectedly, which-
Julia: There was. The relatives brought their dog, which is kind of a plot point later, a little bit.
Amanda: Rosie? Yeah.
Julia: Yeah, which is Jake's old dog's name, which I was like, "Oh, no. Poor babe."
Amanda: Which I was actually surprised a little bit. As the movie takes a darker turn here and we start to talk about it, I was really not expecting how ... What is the level of violence we're going to get? Are there going to be deaths? Are there going to be on-screen violence? Because I didn't have a good sense of the genre of the movie. In a way, that was nice because it kept me guessing. I will say straight up, I had a good time watching this movie. I wouldn't necessarily call it a good movie, but I did have a good time.
Julia: It's not a fantastic horror movie, but it is entertaining to say the least.
Amanda: It is.
Julia: So, there's a delivery man who brings some packages.
Amanda: DHL product placement, baby.
Julia: Very good, and so he delivers some packages, and they notice, oh. There's a big red bag on the-
Amanda: Sack of stuff.
Julia: Sack of stuff. Let's just drag it inside-
Julia: ... and wrap them like regular presents, or they were already-wrapped presents. Either way, doesn't matter.
Amanda: It's suspicious.
Amanda: Also, no one investigates it.
Julia: Yeah, no. The sister-in-law signs for it, and she just assumes it's like, "Oh, look. They got more packages right before Christmas."
Amanda: Yeah. There's some economic drama happening in this family.
Julia: The daughter leaves to go check on her boyfriend because-
Julia: ... he only lives four blocks away.
Julia: Don't let your daughter leave in the middle of a blizzard.
Amanda: Don't let her. It's a blizzard.
Julia: It's bad.
Amanda: Don't do it.
Julia: Omi in the background has been by the fireplace, and Toni Collette yells at Max and is like, "Hey. Go check on Omi to make sure she doesn't burn herself." But then Omi turns around. She's made hot chocolate for everyone because hot chocolate makes everything better. She's Remus Lupin.
Amanda: That's very good. It was an extremely dramatic shot, as if we're going to see her turn around with a fire poker in her hand, but it was hot chocolate, and it made me laugh, but then it breaks bad.
Julia: It breaks bad because the daughter walking out, it gets very, very dark in the blizzard, and all of a sudden she sees Krampus on the rooftops. She runs for it, but Krampus follows her. She dives under the DHL delivery truck, which is spun out, and she sees the guy frozen in his seat.
Amanda: Yeah. What's the deal here? Was he scared to death? Did he get frozen to death?
Julia: I think he was frozen to death, but also very scared.
Amanda: Yeah. He was open-eyed, mouth agape in horror.
Julia: Yes, like he was petrified.
Amanda: I know.
Julia: The daughter hides under the truck. She sees Krampus's hooves. There's also you can hear the jingling of bells, but it's because he has chains wrapped around his body that also have bells on them, which is accurate to the mythology. We'll talk about it at the end how accurate this version of Krampus is, but has the chains with the bells. Daughter is attacked by a creepy Jack in the Box after Krampus leaves, and-
Amanda: Oh. I was looking for that word because I was like, "Wow. He left a creepy music box behind? Oh, no. The music box opened. What could this be?"
Julia: It's a Jack in the Box.
Amanda: Yeah. Yep. There it is.
Julia: Then they cut after her being attacked to another creepy snowman in the yard.
Amanda: Yes. Oh, no.
Julia: Who could it be? What could it be?
Amanda: Well, she's fully attacked. It seems like it ate her. It extremely, extremely broke bad, and I was very surprised. I yelped out loud in my living room.
Julia: Yeah, no. It was very scary, and we see the Jack in the box appear later, too.
Amanda: That's true.
Julia: Omi gives kind of a cryptic message to them being like, "Don't let the fire go out," which is very important. Listen to your elders when they warn you about things, even if they're super cryptic.
Amanda: Also, don't let the fire go out.
Julia: Just don't do that.
Amanda: First rule of Survivor.
Julia: The men of the house decide to go out in the Hummer. Oh, God. Who has Hummers anymore?
Amanda: Yeah, and with that, it must have been a Hummer product placement, right?
Amanda: Even in 2015, Hummers were passé.
Julia: Yeah, no. They're bad. So, they run into a snowplow that's blocking the road, but nothing's inside but presents, and they see that the window has been broke in instead of the guy-
Amanda: Yeah, from the outside.
Julia: Yeah, instead of the guy flying out because he wasn't wearing a seatbelt or something like that. Back at the house, there are these creepy pattering footsteps upstairs and a big bang. Omi looks super worried as hell. Toni Collette says, "Oh, it's probably just squirrels."
Amanda: Knowing what Omi has been through, as we do later in the film, why wasn't she more frightened? Clearly she knows what's about to happen.
Julia: I don't know. I think she was hoping that maybe she could avoid it.
Amanda: Accept her fate. Yeah.
Julia: Maybe if she kept the fire lit, she could help protect the family.
Amanda: Well, maybe she could have.
Julia: Yeah. Oh, Omi. I'm sorry. They go into the boyfriend's house because they-
Julia: ... figure maybe our daughter is in there.
Amanda: I mean, maybe by this horror movie logic, the fact that she wanted to go have sex at her boyfriend's house means that she has to die.
Julia: Yeah. That's probably true. They also, they go in and there's a bunch of ... They find a gingerbread man stabbed on the fridge, and at this point I'm just like, "Just be wary of all Christmas things. At this point, just do it. Please. I beg of you."
Amanda: Christmas? Scary. Sacks of gifts? Scary. Gingerbread men? Scary.
Julia: The whole scene in the boyfriend's house reminded me of the scene in The Thing where they go to a Norwegian ... Have you seen The Thing?
Julia: Okay. So, basically it's this idea that this alien can look like other people. At the beginning of the film, it's in the shape of a dog that's being chased down by these Norwegian people. The Norwegians die, and so they go to investigate the Norwegian hub, the science hub that they came from, and it's just a hot mess. You realize afterwards what all the things happened, it's foreshadowing for all of the things that would happen to them, and that's what this felt like with the stabbed gingerbread man and the fireplace that's all messed up.
Amanda: Yeah. Very much. It's like a glimpse into 24 hours in the future.
Julia: As they're heading back from the boyfriend's house, Howard is the brother-in-law, he gets attacked by something in the snow, but Adam Scott shoots at it. They head back to the Hummer, but the Hummer has been destroyed.
Julia: Just completely fucked up.
Julia: There's no way they're going to be able to drive it at all. So, they get back to the house. Tommy, Adam Scott, tells them to stay quiet. He doesn't want everyone to be in a panic. He makes some comment to be like, "Oh, my leg must have gotten caught in a bear trap underneath the snow." Max is like, "There's no bears around here. What the fuck?"
Amanda: Also, I don't know where it is. I figured it was LA, just making an assumption, but it is extreme snowy, so it's probably not.
Julia: No. It's extremely snowing.
Amanda: I'd say Chicago.
Julia: Yeah. Chicago suburbs maybe, or New York Westchester or something like that.
Amanda: I don't know.
Julia: It feels right. Hudson Valley.
Amanda: Maybe so. Maybe so. I just watched Blockers and I was like, "Oh, it's all the LA people in their LA homes." Then, oh. Nope. It's just in Chicago for some reason.
Julia: Blockers was really good.
Amanda: Yeah. I enjoyed that.
Julia: I really liked that movie. John Cena, a surprisingly good actor sometimes.
Amanda: It was a perfect Netflix movie, which is how I watched it.
Julia: It was very good. Tommy makes a comment about how Omi always gets a little weird around Christmastime, but we find out why later.
Julia: I appreciate it. It's really just setting all of the building blocks to Omi's mysterious backstory. The family decides that they're going to take shifts and go to sleep. No one pays attention to the fireplace. The fireplace-
Amanda: It went out, Julia.
Julia: The fireplace goes out.
Julia: And from the fireplace, a hook drops down with a gingerbread man attached to it.
Amanda: Horrible. Horrifying.
Julia: It's really bad.
Amanda: I hate it.
Julia: And of course, one of the children, not any of the main family's children but the cousins, one of the cousins wakes up, notices it, grabs the gingerbread man, bites it. The gingerbread man comes to life, wraps him in the chains, and pulls him up the chimney, knocking a log into the tree and lighting it on fire in the process. Toni Collette grabs the child's legs and tries to keep him there, and they're all getting pulled up the fire. It's a hot mess.
Amanda: Yeah. It's also extremely scary. This kid is getting kidnapped. Oh my god.
Julia: Yeah, yeah. It's very bad.
Amanda: And you hear the daughter's voice in snatches, so I was thinking, okay. Maybe she is alive.
Amanda: Maybe she's around. They heard it when they were in the house of the boyfriend, but it seems like things are extremely going badly.
Julia: It is very bad.
Amanda: I was thinking, oh my god. The property damage to this home. What's going to happen? How are they going to recover? Where is our happy ending going to be?
Julia: There are more important things at stake.
Amanda: There sure are.
Julia: I'm sure they have insurance for Krampus. It'll be fine. It's all good.
Amanda: So, tell me about this gingerbread man devil. Is there any backing about gingerbread men coming to life, or is this a Christmas movie situation?
Julia: I think it's a Christmas movie situation because a lot of this movie has to talk about the, I don't want to say gentrification of Christmas, but-
Julia: ... the commercialization of Christmas.
Julia: And going away from the sacrifice of giving, like Omi says. She makes a comment later on that Krampus is a much darker, older version of Saint Nicholas. So, the fact that this kind of story predates our understanding of what commercial Christmas is, but I think that the Krampus story adapts in order to lure people in. I like the interpretation of that, for sure, but as I understand it, there are no evil manipulative gingerbread man in the original Krampus story.
Amanda: Well, we're about to learn a whole lot about Krampus, and his backstory, and why the hell Omi knows so much about him, but first, Jules, I am going to need a refill.
Julia: Sounds good. Let's go.
Amanda: Jules, we are sponsored this week by Skillshare, and you know that we love Skillshare. We love learning new things, but did you know it could also teach you stuff about things that you already thought you were an expert in?
Julia: No. Tell me more about that.
Amanda: Yeah. Well, I had been using Evernote, which is sort of like web bookmarking, and clipping, and just a saving service. You can save recipes or just notes of stuff that you would write down during the day. You can save whole webpages. I save whole fics to Evernote, so I can read the text of them later. This week on Skillshare, I took a class called Productivity with Evernote with Lindsey C. Holmes, who is a business and productivity consultant. I learned so many things that I have not been doing in Evernote. Again, I've been a user for like 10 years, and I didn't know some of the tricks that she had to teach me. It was awesome.
Julia: That sounds incredible. I mean, learning something new about the thing you already knew a bunch about, that is awesome.
Amanda: Absolutely, and that is what Skillshare is all about. They're an online learning community for creators with over 25,000 classes on things that'll fuel your curiosity, your creativity, and your career, and you can get two free months of Skillshare Premium, which gives you access to all of the classes that they have on the site at Skillshare.com/Spirits2. That's Spirits and the number two. Skillshare.com/Spirits2 for two free months of Skillshare Premium.
Julia: Amanda, how have you been sleeping lately?
Amanda: Not bad, except when I was visiting Long Island over the weekend for your bridal shower, which was completely lovely, and stayed with my brother in a lovely apartment that they have under their house that their roommate has, and then he was away for the weekend, so he let us stay there. There were just so many noises of birds. There were so many birds. It was like I was in an aviary at a zoo, and I did not know-
Amanda: ... that many birds could descend on one place at one time. So, apart from that, I've been sleeping okay because, and this is true, I use Calm.
Julia: Yeah, and you know what? One in three US adults doesn't get enough sleep, and the best part about Calm is they are here as the number one app for sleep. If you need help sleeping, Calm is the app to get for it. Sleep deficiency, as we all know, can cause some serious damage. It can mess with your brain. It could also mess with your body. You're more prone to accidents. You're more prone to depression and stuff like that when you just don't get enough sleep.
So, with Calm you'll discover a whole library of programs designed to help you get the sleep that your brain and your body needs. So, soundscapes and hundreds of sleep stories narrated by soothing voices like Stephen Fry. We always talk about that Stephen Fry lavender story. It's so good, and it probably would have helped you, Amanda, knock out those sweet, sweet bird sounds that were keeping you awake.
Amanda: It's true, but I lost my phone charger, and I couldn't use Calm. If I did, I bet I would have gotten to sleep a little bit sooner. Listeners right now can get 25% off of Calm Premium subscription, which both of us pay for with our human dollars because we love it so much, at Calm.com/Spirits.
Julia: Yep. Again, that's C-A-L-M.com/Spirits. 40 million people have downloaded Calm. Find out why today at Calm.com/Spirits.
Amanda: Finally, Jules, we are sponsored this week by someone new, by Simple Contacts. I recently had to go through the experience of renewing my glasses prescription, and my antibiotic, and my mental health medication in the same week, and spent so much time on the phone, and I hate it so much. I had to visit like three different pharmacies.
It's the worst, but Simple Contacts was designed to avoid this problem in particular for people who wear contacts. They are a website where you can go to take a self-guided vision test to just confirm that your prescription is still accurate and make sure you're still seeing 20/20 with the prescription that you're given.
Julia: Yeah. This isn't to replace your periodic full eye health exam. Keep going to those.
Amanda: Exactly, but to renew your prescription and get more contacts, it is super simple. It doesn't require a phone, a doctor. It's just your internet connection and five minutes of your time. They have all kinds of brands and types of lenses if you use something special. They have a five-star experience. They are rated five stars in the app store over 5,000 times, and I know that I always read reviews before trying a new thing, and it's also really reliable. It's designed by ophthalmologists, and a licensed doctor reviews every single test that users take, so you can skip the office visit, but not the care.
Julia: Yeah. I know I don't personally use contacts, but Jake does, and I have seen him spend hours on the phone trying to get his contacts renewed. It seems like such a pain.
Amanda: So, the good news is that listeners can get $20 off your contacts at SimpleContacts.com/Spirits20, or just enter the code Spirits20 at checkout.
Julia: Again, that is SimpleContacts.com/Spirits20, or the promo code Spirits20 at checkout.
Amanda: Thank you Simple Contacts. Now let's get back to the show.
Julia: So, Omi stops and tells them all, "It's all our faults," because that's not menacing at all. Thanks, Omi. Really encouraging. So, there is a cool animated flashback.
Amanda: Animated expository flashback sequence.
Julia: It was very good.
Amanda: Very Deathly Hallows.
Julia: It's basically Omi lived in some sort of ... It's implied German, maybe like East German.
Amanda: I figured it was like East West Germany, East West Berlin type thing.
Julia: That's what I figured as well, and she talks about how the people of her town had forgotten the spirit of Christmas and the sacrifice of giving. Again, we're hitting those same notes over and over again.
Amanda: I don't know what that means.
Julia: It's the-
Amanda: Like repentance?
Julia: No. I think it's the idea ... What's the dumb thing where it's like, "I cut my hair to buy you this thing"?
Amanda: A Gift of the Magi.
Julia: Yeah, A Gift of the Magi style.
Amanda: I see. I don't think that's good, though.
Julia: People like to talk about that. I don't know. I don't have very strong feelings about it either way.
Amanda: I know. I'm just like, I understand if this is at its core religious, but I guess they needed to find a secular reason to have some kind of heart of Christmas that we're getting away from, which is just sort of invented. It's supposed to be about, I guess, generosity, and kindness to family, and things like that, but I was just like, "I don't know what you're supposed to be sacrificing or repenting for." But the idea is that, yeah, exactly like you were saying. Krampus is here. There were just so many choice quotes. Do you want me to share some for you?
Julia: Just establishing Omi accidentally summoned Krampus when she was a small child, and I have a quote, "Much darker, more ancient spirit." Love it.
Amanda: Exactly, "He's the shadow of Saint Nicholas. He came not to reward, but to punish. Not to give, but to take. He and his helpers."
Julia: And so, we clearly are setting up to find out about more helpers.
Julia: Which I appreciate all that.
Amanda: And he fully dragged her family into the underworld. Omi became an orphan because she was like, "Hi. I need help."
Julia: That's kind of fucked up.
Amanda: It's super fucked up.
Julia: She probably grew up in an orphanage. That's so sad. I don't like that.
Amanda: Yeah. Her one doll was cast into the flames.
Julia: That's true, but she did cast it herself into the flames.
Amanda: Yeah, yeah.
Julia: They tore it and then she's like, "Fuck you."
Julia: Then her parents got stolen. That's bad. That sucks.
Amanda: It super sucks.
Julia: She also reveals the mysterious creepy bell that has Krampus's name on it. Howard doesn't believe any of it, of course, because why would he?
Amanda: Yeah. Howard is just here to shoot his gun and be manly.
Julia: Seth Green played one of the fucking gingerbread men.
Amanda: That's funny.
Julia: This is really funny. Sorry. I'm just looking at the cast list because I had a thing coming up, and I was like, "What?"
Amanda: And Omi is a German movie star, but nothing that I have seen.
Julia: Go Omi. You fucking crushed it. She was a great actor.
Amanda: She was.
Julia: I really liked it.
Julia: Creepy bell is revealed. Creepy creatures running around and more scary snowmen outside. The next day is Christmas Eve.
Amanda: Yeah, and this is full action horror movie time now where they're just fending off attackers from within and without.
Julia: Yeah. So, we start with the sister, Toni Collette's sister is looking through presents and hears-
Amanda: Who I love, that woman from ... She was in Fargo.
Julia: Yes. Yes, she was. I forgot what she was in, but she's excellent. So, she is looking through presents up in the attic and hears something creepy, but is called downstairs to plan the escape that they're going to make.
Amanda: Yeah. Allison Tolman. She is so good.
Julia: There is a creepy voice that is coming from upstairs, and I'm just like, "Oh my god, please do not follow the creepy voice, no matter how much it sounds like your relatives. Don't do it."
Amanda: I mean, they do, obviously. I was like, "Don't go into the creepy attic." Oh, it's so bad, and I didn't get ... Do you think it was very cold and frost-covered? Was it dusty? I didn't really understand. I guess just frosty because it's cold in the house?
Julia: Yeah. It's anywhere not near the fire just gets very cold because we see their breath fog up when the fire goes out the night before.
Amanda: But it's the most ominous attic maybe I have seen on film.
Julia: It's very bad.
Amanda: Yeah. It's all lit in blue, and we're really going full put a blue filter over the camera because it is that kind of horror movie now.
Julia: Yeah. So, the twins are attacked by the Jack in the Box, which is so creepy. It was very, very good. Good practical effects. It was excellent. In the kitchen, Howard is attacked by gingerbread men from earlier, the same one that came down on the thing plus two other ones. Like I said before, Seth Green plays one of them. Very weird. Not a fan, and then the sister, Toni Collette, and Adam Scott all head to the attic to try and find the twins.
Amanda: Scary and bad.
Julia: Toni Collette is attacked by a cherub angel kind of thing.
Amanda: A creepy owl doll monster.
Julia: Yeah. Really interestingly, I'm looking at the cast list, and they list the cherub as Perchta the Cherub, which we talked about Perchta in the episode with Michelle Nickolaisen.
Amanda: Oh, yeah. The German god.
Julia: Interesting, right?
Julia: I don't know what the connection is necessarily there, but I think it's a really interesting choice that they made to name the character that. It's not like they say the name, but still.
Amanda: I mean, maybe it was a subplot that ended up getting cut for time-
Julia: Oh, yeah. Maybe, because the-
Amanda: ... to get that tight 90.
Julia: Tight 90, because it does come back a couple of times, but they're also attacked by a evil stuffed bear, and a evil stabby robot, which all seem to have burst out Alien-like from the presents that she was wrapping earlier.
Amanda: Yeah. It's extremely scary and bad.
Julia: One of the twins is shockingly not dead, even though we see the Jack and the Box swallow them. I think in order to get into the vents, I'm not entirely sure about this, but in order to get into the vents of the house, I don't trust central air anymore, it seemed as though it regurgitated one of the twins in order to fit.
Amanda: I don't know. That guy Jonah and the Whale-ed her or something.
Julia: Yeah. Something like that. Because they know that the Jack in the Box is in the central AC vents, they send the dog in there.
Julia: Why would you do that? It's so dumb.
Amanda: Don't. No. She's so sweet and wore a hat.
Julia: Oh, man. Just don't kill the dog. That's the whole point of the movie.
Amanda: But shit is dark, Julia. The dog dies, and then the parents very soon get swallowed by just the firmament outside.
Julia: Yes. Well, we'll get to that in a moment, and that's when the elves arrive. I really liked the elves because they're just no-nonsense, just creepy guys in masks.
Amanda: Yeah. That's true.
Julia: They put out the fire with some weird sparkler thing. I don't know how and why. They steal the baby.
Amanda: They do.
Julia: They drag Dorothy, which is the Aunt Marge aunt, and the Jack in the Box, and Howard away. Interestingly, the elves are wearing these masks that kind of resemble the classic Krampus look. So, the demon-esque faces, the long lolling tongue, and the horns. I was like, "I appreciate that, because they're trying to emulate their master, which is cool. I'm into it."
Amanda: Yeah, no. It is, and we also don't get a great look at Krampus's face until the scene at the very end, so it's nice to see some of that imagery.
Julia: We see it when he faces down Omi in a moment.
Amanda: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's what I'm saying is apart from that one moment, and then Max with him later, we don't really see a ton about his features.
Julia: Yeah. So, Krampus arrives. The family tries to flee to the snowplow. Omi stays behind to sacrifice herself and to face Krampus one last time.
Amanda: So dark.
Julia: Krampus appears out of the fireplace. He has the big old tongue. It's very long. It licks Omi's face.
Amanda: Big old butterfly tongue. Yep.
Julia: He opens the bag that he has with him, and Omi is attacked by toys, and we are immediately cut to the next scene.
Amanda: Yeah. I thought for sure there was going to be a tender moment and he was going to give her her doll back from the fire back then in the flashback. Nope. None of that. He just straight up consumes her and it is extremely dark.
Julia: Yep. It's fucked up. The family nearly makes it to the truck, but is attacked by the snow beast that attacked Howard earlier. Tommy sends the family ahead and sacrifices himself to the snow beast. All the adults are taken while the kids get into the snowplow, which won't start, of course. There's-
Amanda: Yeah, and ripped away from them. It is so dark, Julia.
Julia: As they're trying to turn the key and get the snowplow to start, it's really funny. Max says something along the lines of, "I don't know how to drive stick. We have a hybrid."
Amanda: Oh, man.
Julia: It's just like, oh. That's so fucking dumb. I love it.
Amanda: I know, and the poor babe is eventually left alone as the other two kids are ripped from either side of him.
Julia: Yeah. The elves attack and he's left to himself, and Krampus faces Max, reveals the letter that summoned him, basically implies that Max is the example like Omi, but Max is like, "Nah. That doesn't sound good. I don't want to be an orphan like Omi was."
Julia: So, he goes after his family and tries to save them.
Amanda: Just fully go into the underworld now.
Julia: Yeah. He tries to, quote, "Take back his wish." He then throws the bell, which opens the portal to hell or the underworld.
Amanda: Yeah, something like that.
Amanda: We also get the good look at Krampus here, and he looks very much like a Pirates of the Caribbean 3 character, like very much add some barnacles and he could definitely be ... They made it mapped on the same CGI, like beard tentacles, because there was a lot of similarity there.
Julia: Did you see his good, good creepy goat eyes?
Julia: Oh, yeah. They had the weird slits that goats do.
Amanda: Oh, no. Oh, no.
Julia: I loved it. It was great.
Amanda: I don't. The one thing I don't like about goats. Thanks for finding it.
Julia: You're welcome. Max tells Krampus to take him instead, but Krampus just, after a pause, laughs, and then throws Stevie into the underworld, and then Max as well.
Julia: We then cut to Max in his room and it's Christmas day.
Amanda: It sure is, Jules.
Amanda: It's all of a sudden very dewy. The camera, like you over-
Julia: It's warm.
Amanda: ... or that one Snapchat filter. It's very warmly lit, and very dewy, and everyone's like, it's snowy outside, but there are people there.
Julia: Yeah. Downstairs, everyone is opening up gifts, and everyone is okay, and back to normal. Max says, "It was all just a bad dream."
Amanda: Yeah. I was like, "Oh, yeah. Classic nightmare. Love it. Love it." Also, Dorothy has a classic line here that I fucking love, which is, "I haven't felt this hungover since the pope died." Julia, this whole movie was worth it just for that line.
Julia: It's a very good line. It's very good.
Amanda: We're getting an okay sign from Brandon in the back, our studio engineer.
Julia: It's very, very good.
Amanda: Thank you, Brandon. People's favorite character, by the way, of Multitude now is Brandon in the background of other podcasts. It's great.
Julia: So, it was all just a bad dream, except Max opens a gift and it's the Krampus bell. Everyone seems to kind of remember what happened, but no one says anything.
Amanda: I know.
Julia: Then the house is revealed to be in a snow globe along with a bunch of other houses-
Amanda: Oh my god. Julia, it's so fucked up.
Julia: ... in Krampus's workshop or something like that.
Amanda: Yes. We pan back. A, I thought it was very well done when they all looked at each other. Max took the bell out. Everyone turned to look at it, and then slowly they were all having that realization at the same time, and it was legitimately horrifying. Then it pans backward and backward through the living room window to the house.
We pan back and I'm like, "Oh, no. Are they in a snow globe or in a bubble? This is horrifying. This is horrifying." Then it's even worse because they're in a whole rack workshop of many other worlds like that, bubble worlds, snow globe worlds, kids trying and daring to wish for a more harmonious home life. What the fuck? I hate it. I hate it.
Julia: I love it.
Amanda: I hate it.
Julia: It's very good.
Amanda: No. It's very bad. I hate it.
Julia: And then there's a jump scare at the end of all the toys and stuff attacking, but it would have been so much better if they just cut to black there, honestly, in my opinion, but-
Amanda: I felt extremely much like I had taken mushrooms or had an extremely bad trip accidentally of some kind.
Julia: Cool. I like that. I appreciate it.
Amanda: So, please. I thought this was, again, a very entertaining movie. The ending was horrible, and I would love to watch someone who doesn't know it, and watch it for the first time.
Amanda: Speaking of the gingerbread men, and elves, and the various assistants, what in the lore does Krampus ... Who is his posse? Who does he travel with?
Julia: Interestingly, Krampus is usually listed as a companion to Saint Nicholas. So, the fact that Saint Nicholas, one, has his own squad, and then Krampus also has a squad, I think is a really cool parallel because Krampus is supposed to predate Saint Nicholas in this version of the canon, which I think is really cool. So, I would assume that, much like Saint Nicholas has these companions that help him out and do things, Krampus also has them and they reflected that with the elves and the strange versions of toys that we see.
Amanda: Yeah, and it makes sense. It's like the upside-down world version of Saint Nicholas, and his good elves, and reindeer, and whatnot.
Julia: Exactly. Precisely. In terms of appearance, the Krampus is pretty accurate, all things considered. Usually he's hairier, I guess is a good way to describe it. Usually he's covered in fur or hair, and it's either brown or black. So, it's more goat-like, but I really liked this version of Krampus where it was human, but twisted in a lot of ways. It's very much more the traditional version of Satan or Lucifer that we see, except more Nordic, I guess.
Amanda: Yeah. Humanoid, in a big robe, with big scary antler horns.
Julia: Yeah. They also got the bells and chains down really well, too, which I really liked that.
Amanda: Yeah. Remind me what those have to do with actual Krampus. He just uses chains to chain up bad kids?
Julia: Yeah, basically. He puts them in the sack, which we saw before.
Amanda: Sure did.
Julia: The versions depend on the region and stuff like that. So, either he drowns them, just beats them with birch sticks in the sack, or steals them to the underworld.
Julia: So, one of those things.
Amanda: Listen, my dad drives around with rope in his pickup truck, which I guess could seem very suspicious, in case he has to move some furniture, or you find a nice table on the side of the road, and you want to tie it to the bed of the pickup, and take it home. So, I guess Krampus is just prepared all the time.
Julia: Very Harry and the Hendersons style. I appreciate it. He also will sometimes eat them. We didn't get to see that so much. I mean, we saw it with the Jack in the Box, not Krampus specifically.
Amanda: I mean, no one leaves cookies for Krampus.
Amanda: Maybe that's our problem.
Julia: That's why he got to eat children.
Amanda: Cookies for Krampus sounds like a high school fundraiser.
Julia: Yes, it does.
Amanda: It really does.
Julia: God damn. Yeah. Overall, pretty accurate portrayals of Krampus. Some liberties taken with the gingerbread men, and the creepy toys, and whatnot, but I think overall, definitely gets the point across, definitely has the terrifying versions of Krampus that people who grew up with this tradition know and love, and Toni Collette and Adam Scott did a great job.
Amanda: Yeah. That's very true, and I liked as we went along, this idea that the spirit and malice of Krampus can animate anything that it touches where I didn't know actually when they were in the attic if those malevolent toy assistants had come in with Krampus, or if they were just toys lying around that got animated. I liked that because the idea is he sweeps in like a bad wind and just makes everything around him weaponized and evil.
Julia: Yeah, no. I think the implication was when they brought in that sack of presents, those were incubating.
Amanda: Right, right. Also, don't sign for packages that aren't yours, my dude.
Julia: Well, they didn't sign for it. It was already there. He made a reference. He was like-
Amanda: Oh, that's true.
Julia: ... "Oh, that must have been the guys in brown."
Amanda: A little DHL product placement. Yeah. We got DHL. We got Hummer. We have a whole bunch of other ones.
Julia: I don't know if that's good product placement, though, because he dies.
Amanda: You know, I have a friend who works on movies and tells me that when companies are going to be, for example, in the background of a street scene, like they're going to be a sign in a window, they just don't want a murder to happen in front of their sign. Otherwise, everything else is okay. This, I don't know. DHL guy dies.
Julia: There's literally a murder.
Amanda: Yeah. Don't know. Don't know.
Julia: Maybe it was just like, "This guy worked real hard."
Amanda: I was also wondering throughout this whole movie, who ... This is the best that a lot of people could do, and I just don't know who championed this script. Who was like, "This. This is the one. This is what had to happen"?
Julia: I want to see who directed it now.
Amanda: Because every movie about the commercialization of Christmas is ultimately commercializing Christmas.
Julia: Yes. It's true.
Amanda: That's the true snow globe. That's the true long pan back.
Julia: Yeah. That's true.
Amanda: We're all in it, Julia. All of us.
Julia: It was Michael Dougherty who did, oh my god. He wrote X2, the second X-Men movie. Also Superman Returns. He did, however, write and direct Trick 'r Treat, which is my favorite horror movie anthology. It's very, very good. It also features Anna Paquin as a werewolf who is going to do her first kill, but it's done all in the metaphor of, "Oh, you have to pick a guy to bring to this party. Oh, it's going to be your first time," but it's her first time doing a murder.
Amanda: I love it.
Julia: It's very, very good. Oh, he also just did Godzilla: King of Monsters, the one that just came out this year.
Julia: Interesting. Good for you, bud. I'm proud of you. Brandon thought that was funny, and I appreciate it.
Amanda: Hometown boy made good.
Julia: Yeah. So, final thoughts on the movie Krampus?
Amanda: I enjoyed the opportunity to revisit the Christmas season, not when it is being foisted upon me, but when I can dip in for a tight 90, and then go and enjoy my Christmas in July outside in the sun.
Julia: I didn't tell you the story of the first time I saw this movie.
Amanda: Oh, no.
Julia: So, we first saw this movie because Jake, for his town, would often do the town haunted house. He would help run it, and organize it, and put it together, and stuff like that. The guy who was in charge of it who worked for his town really, really loved horror movie stuff, and really was excited for this movie Krampus that was coming out. So, he ended up renting an entire theater-
Amanda: Oh, my.
Julia: ... and everyone who was involved in the haunted house that year, he bought tickets for, and we all went and saw it then.
Amanda: Okay. I mean, with a haunted house crew, that's pretty good.
Julia: It was fun. Honestly, I was like, "This movie isn't the best horror movie I've ever seen, but it's not terrible-"
Amanda: It's fun.
Julia: "... and I got to see it for free."
Amanda: Aw. I bet renting out a movie theater, it's not as cost-prohibitive as we thought it was when we were kids.
Julia: Probably not. It's probably somewhat cheaper. Probably because you're doing bulk, you get discounted tickets or something like that. I imagine. I don't know.
Amanda: Discounts. The true spirit of Christmas.
Julia: Discounts are the true spirit of Christmas. Also, sacrifice of giving.
Amanda: Yeah. So, listen to your Omi. Remember, never let the fire go out, and above all else-
Julia: Stay creepy.
Amanda: Stay cool.