DISMEMBERCEMBER: Christmas Bloody Christmas (2022)

I have to confess, I was pretty excited about the idea of this movie: a robotic Santa let loose on a small town on Christmas Eve, directed by Joe Begos (VFWBliss).

But man, I feel like when I unwrapped this gift, it was filled with coal.

We start with a RoboCop-style series of TV ads for holiday products and a news report that claims that a robotic Santa that’s been recalled because it was originally a military robot and it goes back to its programming because of a glitch.

Great, I’m on board.

But then we have half an hour of record store owner Tori Tooms (Riley Dandy, who has also been in the holiday movies A Hollywood ChristmasA California Christmas: City Lights and A Kiss On Candy Cane Lane) and her employee Robbie Reynolds (Sam Delich) arguing over her Tinder date, getting drunk, arguing about the multiple versions of Black Christmas, getting drunk, arguing about the Unsolved Mysteries soundtrack, getting high, arguing about Pet Sematary 2, getting drunk, swearing every other word (the movie has 487 uses of the word fuck), getting drunk some more, visiting their friends Lahna (Dora Madison) and Jay (Jonah Ray from the new Mystery Science Theater 3000) before they all do coke together and that couple has sex in the toy store where they work and get killed by the robotic Santa, argue about bands and oh yeah, end up having sex.

Abraham Benrubi, who plays the evil Santa, was once the monstrous Kubiac on Parker Lewis Can’t Lose and Jerry on ER. He has holiday experience as well, as he played the role of Santa — a nicer one — in A Country Christmas.

This all ends up feeling like someone making a cover version of a Rob Zombie movie, a fact helped by the fact that no one talks like anyone else in this movie in real life, that Jeff Daniel Phillips shows up and that everything feels covered with neon filth. And that’s fine if that’s your thing, but just because you throw a bunch of Vinegar Syndrome posters into your movie and shoot it on 16mm doesn’t mean I have to like it.

In fact, it gets so Terminator at one point that the soundtrack realizes it and starts sounding like it came from that movie.

I guess I wanted too much out of this movie, expecting a movie that skewered holiday films while bringing back the feeling of holiday horror movies that I love. Instead, I was forced to be the third wheel on a date between two people who barely know their references — Lemmy didn’t do “Run Rudolph Run” with the Foo Fighters, he did it with Dave Grohl and Billy Gibbons — and are annoying as they bray on and on about their barely coherent pop culture signifying lives and unconcerned that everyone around them is forced to hear just how annoying they are, as if they’re in a contest to see who I can dislike more.

This is also the kind of film that will get breathlessly hyped on Twitter as something new and fresh and 16mm, dude. Don’t follow — make your own opinions. In fact, you might just love this. I don’t know why or how, but you do you.

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