Holidays (2016)

Some people love holidays and decorate their homes based on them. Others, well, they pretty much hate the idea of celebrations that bring people together. My wife would be the former, I’d be the latter, but we both agreed that we didn’t enjoy this.

In the first story, Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer (who made the wonderful Starry Eyes and the not-so-wonderful Pet Sematary as a team) tell what feels like an unfinished story about Valentine’s Day, specifically one young lady’s love for her coach and hate of those that bully her. My major issue — well, one of many major issues, including an over-reliance on gore, a lack of a connective story and too many short films that should be on their own and not part of an overall portmanteau — with modern anthologies shows up here: this story could not exist on its own. Maybe so much of my love of these stories remains rooted in the EC Comics structure: someone is hurt, revenge occurs and the close is poetic justice (which is not just the name of a story in Amicus’ EC Comics masterwork Tales from the Crypt).

Gary Shore, who made Dracula Untold, directed the St. Patrick’s Day story, which is a pretty basic tale: girl gets strange gift from student, student’s dad has sex with knocked out girl, girl gives birth to a snake and loves it as if it were a human child. As the stories go in this movie, this is probably as good as it gets.

Nicholas McCarthy, the director of The Prodigy, made Easter, in which a young girl catches the bunny of said holiday, who ends up being a horrific crucified Christ figure. There’s not really anywhere else the story can go after that. If you’re into shocking visuals without much substance, by all means, enjoy.

Sarah Adina Smith made Mother’s Day, which has nearly every witches trying to get a woman pregnant cliche there is. Again, I’m sorry to be a broken record, but nearly every story in this has left me beyond cold.

Anthony Scott Burns made the film Come True recently and his Father’ Day segment gets close to what I demand from anthology horror: a story with a beginning, middle and end that doesn’t forget that it should build some tension and not just be all about gross out scenes or being transgressive (which trust me, has its place). Plus, Michael Gross is always great and Jocelin Donahue has been a favorite — and will always remain there — after The House of the Devil.

Kevin Smith made Mother’s Day and it has all the hallmarks of his oeuvre: female empowerment, offensive humor and strange situations. It is, however, not good at all. Would you cast your daughter in a story where a man is given a knife and told to make his penis into a vagina? If the answer is yes, thank you for reading our site, Mr. Smith. Chasing Amy should not be in the Criterion collection, but you seem like a nice enough fellow.

Scott Stewart directed Priest and Legion before making the Seth Green-starring Christmas segment, in which a father struggles to get his son virtual glasses that show what is really inside someone. A cute idea, somewhat well told.

Kölsch and Widmyer wrote the final New Year’s Eve segment, which was directed by Adam Egypt Mortimer (Daniel Isn’t Real). It’s a meet cute about two serial killers finding one another and only one surviving their first date.

Do yourself a favor and just watch the Father’s Day segment and don’t subject yourself to the rest. Life is short and if you’re just living for the next holiday — or to watch this — you’re wasting your time.

4 thoughts on “Holidays (2016)

    • To paraphrase the review for Spinal Tap’s “Shark Sandwich”: Deer Shit Sandwich?

      As far as anthologies go: I just watched — after many years — House of the Dead, aka Alien Zone (1978). Awful as I remembered it from the VHS days. And I only did that because the lead slasher in Wheeler, aka Psycho from Texas, which I also watched this weekend, was in one of the segments.

      Liked by 1 person

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