Krampus is a 2015 New Zealandian horredy film, inspired by the eponymous character from Germanic folklore, directed by Michael Dougherty and written by Todd Casey, Dougherty and Zach Shields, originally released on December 4, 2015. It was dedicated to the memory of Dougherty's daughter Ramona Grace Dougherty, who passed away over three years before the production began. It was presented by Universal Pictures International and Legendary Entertainment, the latter company also producing it, in association with Dentsu and the Fuji Television Network.
The opening credits displays a montage of crazed customers storming into a store for their Christmas shopping, trampling over the store's employees before maniacally grabbing every hot item they can get their hands on, all to the tune of "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas". In the mall, we see two parents, Tom & Sarah Engel, run to their son Max as he is fighting with another child who badmouthed Santa Claus to the other children. Max's sister Beth gleefully films everything on her phone.
The family returns home where Max's German grandmother, Omi, is baking, while watching Scrooge. Sarah continues working in the kitchen in anticipation of her sister and her family arriving. She is anxious, as is everyone else, but Sarah tries to keep the Christmas spirit alive in the house. She hangs up a picture of her family posing with Santa, but it's ruined by everyone looking uninterested and Santa checking out Beth's butt.
Sarah's sister Linda arrives with her husband Howard and their kids - Howie Jr., Stevie, Jordan, and Baby Chrissy, along with the family dog Rosie. Also joining them, to Sarah's extreme displeasure, is their Aunt Dorothy, whom Sarah considers to be a nightmare. The family gathers for dinner, where Howard takes the time to boast about his use of guns, despite Linda telling him not to bring that up. Dorothy insults Sarah's cooking, so Sarah goes to get the dessert in the kitchen, where Dorothy follows her to make more complaints until Sarah shuts her up. Stevie and Jordan mock Max for still writing a letter to Santa. They swiped it off of him and start reading off Max's wishes. He wants his parents to be in love again, for him and Beth to spend time like they used to, and for things to go better between Linda and Howard. Stevie gets angry when she reads that Max wrote that Howard wishes she and Jordan were boys. Max loses it and fights Stevie to get the letter back. He yells at the whole family and says he wishes Christmas was like it used to be, but now he hates the holiday and his dysfunctional family before running back upstairs.
Tom goes upstairs to comfort his son and remind him that this is the time of year where they have to deal with family members like this. After Tom leaves, Max puts his Santa letter into an envelope, but he is too angry to go through with it and he tears up the letter. He throws the pieces out the window, which are then blown up high into the sky. A dark cloud then forms over the whole neighborhood, followed by a strong gust of wind that takes out the power.
The next morning, the whole family is struggling without heat and electricity as a snowstorm blows through the area. Max looks out the window and notices a creepy snowman having been built in front of the house. Someone knocks on the door and Linda answers it to find a delivery guy bringing some boxes. Next to him is a sack of gifts, but he claims it didn't come from him. Beth suggests that she walk a few blocks to her boyfriend Derek's house to see if he has power (and also so she won't be stuck with the family). Although Sarah is hesitant, she and Tom allow Beth to go out for an hour.
Outside, Beth sees a large horned creature perched on top of a roof. The sky becomes darker, and the creature appears to follow Beth. She runs away as the creature pounces across rooftops. Beth finds the delivery guy literally frozen in fear. She hides underneath his truck as the creature lands on the ground, where Beth sees its hooves. To her side, she sees a jack-in-the-box playing a tune. It opens and a smaller creature emerges slowly before attacking Beth.
As it gets darker, Tom and Sarah become concerned when Beth doesn't return. Howard agrees to go out with Tom in his Hummer to find her, and Howard gives Tom a gun to carry just in case. They go to Derek's house and find it unoccupied and wrecked. The two see large hoofprints in the snow. They go back outside and Tom hears Beth screaming. He runs to find her, only for something burrowing underneath the snow to grab Howard. It nearly drags him beneath the snow until Tom shoots at the creature and sends it fleeing. They find the Hummer has been destroyed and they run home. The ladies tend to Howard's leg, which appears to have a bite mark on it. Omi is seen looking nervous by the fireplace. Tom says they need to board up the house and look for Beth in the morning.
The adults decide to take turns keeping watch for anything suspicious. Howard volunteers to stay awake while Tom rests with his family. Howard also apologizes to Tom for thinking he was always a "spineless dick". Eventually, everyone falls asleep and the fire goes out. A hook descends from the chimney with a gingerbread man cookie tied to it. This awakens Howie Jr. He goes over to the cookie and takes a bite out of its head, only for the gingerbread man to come to life and frighten Howie. The hook wraps around Howie and starts pulling him up the tree. Sarah wakes up and runs to grab the boy, with the rest of the adults grabbing her for help. Sarah accidentally kicks a hot log toward the Christmas tree, igniting the presents and then the whole tree. Max runs to get the fire extinguisher and puts out the fire, but Sarah gets freaked out by the cookie, causing her to let go of Howie, and he is taken up the chimney.
Now convinced that something unnatural is occurring, Omi speaks English for the first time to tell the family that she knows who is doing this, and that this is all their fault. She says she experienced the same thing as a child. Through an animated sequence, we see Omi as a little girl in her old poverty-stricken village. She was holding a toy Santa and a loaf of bread, but the other villagers snatched the bread from her and fought each other for it. When Omi returned home, her parents didn't help matters through their own bad behavior, and her mother ripped the Santa doll. Omi lost her holiday spirit and threw the doll in the fireplace after wishing that her parents would go away. This wish would summon Krampus, an ancient spirit who, along with multiple helpers, arrives to punish anyone who disrespected the Christmas spirit. Omi watched as Krampus and his helpers dragged her parents to their underworld, with Krampus leaving her with nothing but a bauble with his name on it as a reminder of what she's done. Omi shows the family the bauble, and to this day, she has regretted making that wish. Howard remains unconvinced that this is the work of some supernatural entity, and he grabs his shotgun to go out and find Howie. As he opens the door, he discovers a snowman with a close resemblance to Howie on the front porch. Several demonic creatures lurk behind the snowmen, and Sarah pulls Howard back inside the house.
Tom devises a plan to get to the snowplow with the family and head to the mall for shelter. Meanwhile, Stevie and Jordan think they hear what sounds like Beth's voice coming from upstairs. They walk up to investigate, but then the adults hear the girls screaming. Tom, Sarah, and Linda run up to the attic and notice that the kids' presents had something burst out of them. They then come across an enormous, worm-like Jack-in-the-Box in the process of swallowing Jordan whole. Tom shoots it, causing it to escape into the vents. The adults then get attacked by demonic toys. Sarah faces her mother's angel ornament that nearly hangs her with Christmas lights, Linda is jumped by an evil teddy bear, and Tom is attacked by a robot toy. Downstairs, Howard gets shot with a nail gun by three gingerbread men. Linda sees Stevie in the next room, driving her to grab an icicle and stab the teddy in the eye. She grabs a hatchet and swings at the angel and robot before running to Stevie. Sarah gets Howard's gun and shoots the robot to pieces. Howard shoots a lantern that burns the cookies, only for one to survive and pounce toward him, but Rosie eats it.
The family goes downstairs to the living room where Max sends Rosie into the ventilation shaft to combat the clown, but the dog is consume by it off-screen. The Jack-in-the-Box clown suddenly crashes through the ceiling into the living room. Before Howard can kill it, the teddy and cherub leap down from the hole in the ceiling to attack once more. Dorothy takes the shotgun and kills the teddy and angel, but before she can finish off the clown, a group of dark elves break into the house. They take Dorothy and Chrissy, while Howard is lost when he grabs onto the clown's tail as it is sucked out through the hole in the wall. A loud thumping is heard on the roof, signifying the arrival of Krampus and causing the elves to flee. Omi stays behind while Tom, Sarah, Linda, Max, and Stevie escape. Omi then comes face-to-face with Krampus, who looks like a demonic Santa Claus with a long tongue. He opens his sack in front of Omi, and a gruesome-looking nutcracker soldier grabs her and pulls her inside.
The family heads toward the snowplow, only for the creature in the snow to attack again. It first takes Tom before also getting Linda and Sarah. Max and Stevie get into the snowplow. Max tries to start it, but the elves attack and take Stevie. Max runs after her and he is faced by Krampus. He hands Max his torn-up letter that is wrapped around a bauble similar to what he gave Omi. This leads Max to realize that it's his fault that Krampus arrived. He follows the demons to a spot where they are preparing to take Stevie. Max calls to Krampus and throws the bauble back toward him. It sinks in the snow and opens up a massive hole in the earth that leads to the underworld. The elves hold Stevie over it until Max tells Krampus that he knows it's his fault that Krampus is there, and he offers to take Stevie's place. Krampus wipes Max's tear with his claw, but he and the elves start laughing as they throw Stevie into the hole. Krampus grabs Max and drops him into the hole as Max says he only wishes Christmas could be like it used to be.
Now trapped in the snowglobe by Krampus, along with hundreds of others in his collection as prisoners for all eternity, Max wakes up and finds himself in his room, and it's now Christmas Day. He goes downstairs and sees the whole family together, looking more happy and peaceful than they did a few days ago. They start to open presents, and Max hugs his parents, thinking the whole ordeal was just a bad dream. He then opens his gift to find the Krampus bauble, and suddenly everyone has an ominous look on their faces as their memories of the horrific events slowly come back to them. After the camera pans out, his evil companions appear for one last jump scare.
The score was composed by Douglas Pipes, who also arranged and, with Peter J. Wilhousky, wrote the lyrics for "Krampus Karol of the Bells" for the closing credits. The score was performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Marc Taddei, and the Tudor Consort Choristers of Wellington Cathedral, conducted by Michael Stewart.
|"It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas"||Bing Crosby|
|"O Come All Ye Faithful"||Metropolitan Quartlet|
|"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"||Brenda Lee|
|"O Christmas Tree"||John Wood|
|"Auld Lang Syne"||Jon Kull|
|"Up on the House Top (Ho! Ho! Ho!)"||Gene Autry|
|"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"||Bright Eyes|
|"Santa Claus is Coming to Town"||Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters|
|"Krampus Karol of the Bells"||Brea Olinda High School Singers|
Dave Willert (conductor)
Home media releases
|Conchata Ferrell||Aunt Dorothy|
|Maverick Flack||Howie, Jr.|
|Sage Hunefeld||Baby Chrissy|
|Curtis Vowell||DHL man|
Gideon Emery (voice [uncredited])
|Seth Green (voice)||Lumpy|
|Breehn Burns (voice)||Dumpy|
|Justin Roiland (voice)||Clumpy|
|Brett Beattie||Der Klown|
|Kelly Lily Marie||Giljagaur|
|Ivy George (voice)||Perchta the Cherub|
|Teddy Klaue||Teddy Klaue|
|Collin Dean (voice)||Ruprecht the Elf|
|The Yule Goats|
|Adam McArthur (voice)||Dark Elves|
|Byron Schepen (voice)||Additional voices|
|Jon Bailey (voice)
David W. Collins (voice)
Eric Lopez (voice)
Alexander Polinsky (voice)
|Sophie Fulton||Screaming kid|
|Chi Jiajia Lim||Extra|
|Chong Sin Lim||Security guard (Opening credits)|