Horror Movie Podcast Ep. 136: Christmas Horror (2017 Edition) – With Director Chris Peckover

Christmas-Horror-2017Merry Christmas and welcome to HO, HO, HORROR MOVIE PODCAST! It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Episode 136 is our fifth annual CHRISTMAS HORROR extravaganza. Feature Reviews include new-releases Once Upon a Time at Christmas (2017), Red Christmas (2017) and Better Watch Out (2017). You’ll also get an extensive interview with Better Watch Out writer/director Chris Pecker and a ton of Christmas present giveaways including HMP t-shirts and stocking stuffers from awesome sponsors like Fright Rags, Ghoulish Gary Pullin, POV Horror and Printed in Blood!

Coming up next time: We’re bringing you Horror Movie Podcast’s Top 10 Horror Movies of 2017 as well as the Top 10 horror movies of the HMP community! Make sure you e-mail your Top 10 picks to horrormoviepodcast@gmail.com before December 27, 2017. Please use our HMP Top 10 Horror of 2017 to make your lists. You won’t want to miss this episode!

Horror Movie Podcast is typically a bi-weekly show that’s released every other Friday. If you’d like to support our show, please subscribe to our podcast free in iTunes, and leave us a review! Leave voicemails with your recommendations and comments at: (801) 382-8789 You can also follow HMP on TwitterInstagram or Facebook (kind of). Thank you for listening to Horror Movie Podcast, where we’re Dead Serious About Horror Movies!


I. Introduction
— Jay will join us later
— Thanks to Kagan for Christmas-itizing the HMP intro theme
— Thank you to our sponsors and listener Juan

[ 0:05:45 ] II. Feature Review: ONCE UPON A TIME AT CHRISTMAS (2017)
Dr. Shock: 4.5 ( Low-Priority Rental )
Wolfman Josh: 6 ( Rent it )


Once Upon a Time at Christmas

[ 0:34:54 ] III. Feature Review: RED CHRISTMAS (2017)
Wolfman Josh: 4 ( Avoid at All Cost! )
Dr. Shock: 6.5 ( Rent it )
Jay of the Dead: 7.5 ( Rent it )


Dee Wallace Red Christmas

[ 1:23:36 ] IV. Feature Review: BETTER WATCH OUT (2017)
Jay of the Dead: 8.5 ( Buy it! )
Dr. Shock : 9 ( Buy it! )
Wolfman Josh: 9 ( Buy it! )


Better Watch Out Production Still

[ 2:13:41 ] V. Filmmaker Interview: Writer / Director Chris Peckover
Undocumented, Better Watch Out

—Check out the YouTube video of Quartet Macabre performing Kagan’s arrangement of some music from Better Watch Out

[ 3:15:40 ] VI. Segment: Collector’s Crypt
— Josh and Dave review The Thing: Artbook from printedinblood.com

The Thing Artbook Printed in Blood

[ 3:24:46 ] VII. Christmas Present Giveaway
— HMP Christmas Presents – Gifts provided by your loving HMP hosts, listener Juan, Ghoulish Gary Pullin, Fright Rags, Printed in Blood, and POV Horror.

VIII. Wrap-Up / Plugs / Ending
— Kagan Breitenbach’s full Better Watch Out cover after the credits

JOIN US NEXT WEEK ON HMP: Episode 137: The Top 10 Horror Movies of 2017!

NOTE FOR NEWCOMERS: If you love this podcast, you can find all of our previous episode here on the website, with direct links to our themed episodes and franchise reviews on the sidebar. There are also 36 episodes of two other great podcasts that precede this one. Just scroll back through our archives, or use the links in the sidebar.


— Use our HMP Top 10 Horror of 2017 to make your lists and send them to us for the HMP community tally.
— Check out the YouTube video of Kagan’s Quartet Macabre performing Better Watch Out music
— Buy The Thing: Artbook at printedinblood.com
— Buy Ghoulish: the Art of Gary Pullin on Amazon
— Get the coolest horror t-shirts around at Fright Rags
— Get the Hell House LLC – Director’s Cut at hellhousellc.com
— Listener-designed HMP t-shirts are available at teespring.com/stores/horrormoviecast
— Check out our new HMP Episode Archive

Special thanks goes out to singer-songwriter Frederick Ingram for the use of his music for the original Horror Movie Podcast theme and composer Kagan Breitenbach for the use of his Christmasy arrangement of Fred’s song for our updated theme.

Jay of the Dead’s links:
Follow Jay of the Dead and Horror Movie Podcast Official Twitter
Horror Movie Podcast Official Facebook
Jay of the Dead covers new releases in theaters on Movie Podcast Weekly
And if you’d like to e-mail Jay of the Dead with a good Beastly Freaks recommendation: BeastlyFreaks@gmail.com

Wolfman Josh’s links:
Follow Josh on TwitterInstagram and Facebook @IcarusArts
Horror Movie Podcast Official Instagram @HorrorMovieCast
Josh covers the Universal Monsters, new and classic, on UniversalMonstersCast.com
Follow @MonstersCast on Twitter
Josh covers streaming online movies on MovieStreamCast.com
Follow @MovieStreamCast on Twitter 
Like MSC on Facebook

Dr. Shock’s links:
Dave writes daily movie review on DVDinfatuation.com
Follow Dave on Twitter @DVDinfatuation
Like Dave’s DVD Infatuation, now on Facebook
Dave covers the Universal Monsters, new and classic, on UniversalMonstersCast.com
Follow @MonstersCast on Twitter
Dave covers Western movies on the We Deal in Lead podcast
Dave appears on another horror podcast: Land of the Creeps

Dr. Walking Dead’s links:
Order Kyle’s new book! The Written Dead: Essays on the Literary Zombie
Order Kyle’s previous books American Zombie GothicHow Zombies Conquered Popular Culture, and Triumph of The Walking Dead
Follow Kyle on Twitter @DrWalkingDead

You can always contact us by e-mailing HorrorMoviePodcast@gmail.com. Or you can call and leave us a voice mail at: (801) 382-8789. And you can leave us a comment in the show notes for this episode.

If you like Horror Movie Podcast, please subscribe and leave us a review in iTunes. It really helps our visibility.

If you want to support the show even more, you can do so by becoming a patron of Movie Podcast Network and subscribing to our “Special Features” episodes by paying a small fee to get at least one bonus release each month through our official Movie Podcast Network Patreon page! Please not: these Movie Podcast Network episodes are bonus podcasts for our financial supporters. MPN does not replace Horror Movie Podcast and, further, HMP will always remain free.

Thanks for listening, and join us again Friday after next for HORROR MOVIE PODCAST!

30 thoughts on “Horror Movie Podcast Ep. 136: Christmas Horror (2017 Edition) – With Director Chris Peckover

  1. Merry Christmas to all, both fellow listeners and those involved in creating HMP. I hope everyone has an enjoyable and safe next few days. I recently watched Once Upon A Time At Christmas and have to say it was a pleasant surprise. While it is obviously low budgeted, and the acting job of the “FBI” agents was awful, I thought the movie had a certain charm that grew on me as the movie went on. I thought the acting of Barry Kennedy as the sheriff was not too bad and I enjoyed the performance of Simon Phillips as Santa. I can still hear Santa’s laugh ringing in my ear. Was it a masterpiece- no, far from it but if you are in the mood for a B film with decent acting and a light-hearted nature, give it a check. I gave it a 6 and well worth a rental.

    • Glad you liked it, Bill. That was my take on the film (and rating and recommendation) as well, but it sounds like I was harder on the Sheriff as a performer than you were. I was really hard for me to pinpoint the issue with some of these performances. I couldn’t figure out if if was the script, acting or cinematography that was throwing them off. I rewatched the film after our review and I liked it better the second time, but I also noticed that *I think* a large portion of the film is looped (or dubbed) in post. If I’m correct, that alone may account for a couple of the performances feeling unnatural.

  2. Excellent! It has become a Christmas Eve tradition for me to put a season appropriate episode of HMP on while wrapping presents and maybe having a sneaky glass of port.

    Hope all the hosts and the HMP community at large have a beautiful holiday. And to all the people who’ve had a really tough time this year; I hope with all my heart that things improve. Always amazed by how supportive and sincere this community is and it’s a good place to come if you ever need a bit of faith-in-humanity restoration.

  3. Your Better Watch Out review justifies why I believe this is the Best Damn Horror Podcast, Period. You guys get it. So many other podcast reviews rated it low because “the kid couldn’t possibly have been that smart” or “didn’t like the kid, he was annoying.” You weren’t supposed to like him. He is a psychopath. He actually reminded me of Billy Loomis, who also just snapped and manipulated his sidekick best friend to help him get what he wants. Couldn’t even finish Bloody Good Horror’s podcast because of how snarky they were and how much smarter they thought they were than Better Watch Out. Anyways, the whole Christmas Horror episode was awesome and actually got me to stop the podcast and watch Red Christmas before going into your ratings. Have to say, I agree more with Jay. The movie is incredibly offensive, but I believe that actually adds to the horror. The kills were outlandish, but also very brutal. I was genuinely upset when most of the characters got killed. The umbrella scene made me feel more upset than i should have been to see a character get killed in a cartoon fashion. I also don’t believe that they were saying that the killer’s trait is what made him a monster, instead it was his extremist upbringing by the guy that bombed the abortion clinic to begin with. The confliction of Jerry was also a great scene and I don’t think he was willing to go to Cletus lengths, he was just emotional and wanted answers. That being said, I hated the lighting. It was very annoying having the constant color changes and having everything be very dimly lit. I don’t feel this movie was very Christmas feeling and could have been set at any time and been the same movie. Hell, they should have had it set at Thanksgiving to give us another movie for that holiday. Anyways, keep up the awesome work. I’m a long time listener but hardly ever comment on anything besides some Tweets here and there. Like I said, Horror Movie Podcast is the best horror podcast out there. I’ve recently began commuting to work and have found myself looking for more horror podcasts, so i have listened to quite a few lately. Most of the others annoy me because of how smart they think they are. This is the only one that can keep me coming back every episode. Any chance I can get you guys to just go all in and do dailies for me? Just kidding. Take care and Merry Christmas. ‬

    • I agree completely with everything you wrote BlackHeartDereck, except for the part about the lighting in Red Christmas. I thought the bizarre red and green lighting just added to the whole twisted Christmas aspect of the film. I almost compared it to the lighting in Suspiria, but I don’t dare make the comparison. But I agree with you that it was a bit dark at times.

      Coincidentally I spent one Christmas in Australia a few years back and having grown up in New England it was a surreal experience. There was a christmas tree and presents were exchanged but it was sunny and warm and there was an outdoor barbecue. Josh mentioned something similar in the podcast about the film feeling not quite Christmasy enough, which is exactly how i felt being in Australis for Christmas. The film kind of brought me back to that time, so I feel like they might have captured the feeling of an Aussie Christmas… minus Cletus and all the killing.
      Merry Christmas!

  4. I realized I failed to mention that I also watched 2017’s The Elf. there is 90 minutes I will never get back again!! It was in my 5 worst movies that I saw in 2017. It was Chrisstmas’s version of Leprechaun without the writing, acting and humour (hoe often do you hold Leprechaun in high esteem). It is about a couple that buys an antique toy elf and brings it to a family Christmas gathering, and all hell ensues. Bad aacting, poor writing, and crappy effects make this a pass. 2/10 from me, and that was being generous.

    • I’d say I’m glad we skipped it, but we were thinking of doing it next year as a double feature with ELVES (1989). Maybe I’ll take a hit for the team and do them as mini-reviews.

      • I agree Bill, The Elf was pretty hard to get through. The opening scene was promising and then it took a wrong turn. I did watch Elves (1989) this year and enjoyed it a lot more! I wouldn’t mind hearing you guys cover that film. It’s pretty ridiculous, but fun.

  5. I have a question…Do you consider Hounds of Love which coincidently is a Christmas movie…a horror movie or more a thriller or drama?…because if it’s horror then it’s its my 2nd favorite horror pick of the year.

  6. Merry Christmas everyone, be safe and revel in the majesty of creation. I’ve had a great year listening to the show. I’ve paused the latest episode, and am hunkering down to wait for Santa with Better Watch Out. It’s rare for me to see a film before hearing your reviews, so this is my little holiday treat to myself. Thank you for your passion and perseverance, and may there be many Christmas Horror episodes to come!

  7. Merry Christmas to the Horror Movie Podcast community!
    I was very intrigued after listening to the review of Red Christmas so I stopped the podcast right before the spoiler at 1:21 and watched the film. I loved the way you guys “danced around” the spoilers in the review previous to that point, and it was interesting because I had no idea what you were talking about for about 10 minutes. This isn’t at all a criticism. I appreciate the way you guys are able to talk about the films without spoiling them. I went into Red Christmas with a very vague idea of what it was about, but nothing was spoiled for me. I even went back and listened again after watching, giving me two different perspectives on, or experiences of listening to the same review. Awesome stuff.
    I’m a big slasher fan, a fan of christmas horror, Aussie horror, films that are willing to go dark… I am still on the fence about the name choice of Cletus.. but 8/10 for me

  8. OH MY GOD MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ME!! Just heard I won one of the DVDs! Yayayay! Thank you sooooo much you guys! The real gift tho is this podcast, one of THE BEST podcasts out there. I’ve listened to you guys since day one, have never missed A SINGLE episode. You were one of the first podcasts I ever listened to, got me interested in podcasting, and now I’m a host(ess) on a podcast of my own. Sadly not a horror podcast, as my heart truly belongs to HORROR! I live for your Frankensteinian episodes, but love them all. Your podcast makes me feel like I’m having a horror discussion with a bunch of my good friends who aren’t afraid to say what that really think. Sorry this it’s turning into kind of a sappy love letter to HMP, but I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for the MANY hours of excellent entertainment and discussion over the years. Here’s to many more successful years for HMP!

    Much love,
    The Taminator (on my podcast)
    or, Necromomicon as Jay has called me in the past

    • We always love a sappy love letter. Thanks for reaching out, Tammy. Remember to email me with your mailing address so that I can send you your presents! And thanks for listening all this time. That’s awesome!

  9. Brilliant episode. The Red Christmas review has compelled me to make it a must-watch for my roommates and I next December. It sounds like the kind of movie that will be a trip to experience for the first time in a group of college kids. It seems like a long time to wait, but the October before last we were on a scarecrow kick and weren’t able to nab Dark Night of the Scarecrow — watching it on Halloween night this year for the first time made for a great watch. I’m excited to disagree with Jay.

    Loved the Better Watch Out discussion and interview. Your guys’ questions and comments were all thoughtful and Chris’s answers were fascinating. The conversation had the perfect warmth to it, great for a cold yet comfortable winter night like this one. It reminded me of the ecstacy and, hell, euphoria I felt after catching it in the theatre with my best friend opening night. I walked with him an extra two hours away from my house just so we could keep talking about it and the first movie I made my parents watch with me when I visited them for the holidays was Better Watch Out on VOD. After reflecting for a couple hours after that first watch, I knew how smart the movie was, but watching it again was a gratifying experience all the same.

    Hopefully Chris can be back on the show again. It’d be great to hear from him again in a year or two when his next film is further along. If I knew it were coming out in 2018, it would be on my most anticipated list, for sure.

    Kagan’s composition was incredible. Thanks for including the full thing at the end of the episode, I absolutely loved it.

    And thank you to all the generous sponsors of the episode, and to Doctor Nightmare for that review. You and everyone else in the HMP community are the reason this is my favourite thing on the internet. And there are a lot of things on the internet.

    Happy holidays, everyone.

    All that being said, gloves are coming off for the top 10 discussions, let’s do it.

  10. The thought of a remake of Once Upon a Time At Christmas got me to thinking (this can be dangerous). Let’s play “Recast The Movie”. To start, I would keep Simon Phillips as Santa Claus and Jeff Ellenberger as the deputy. I might suggest Juliette Lewis as Mrs. Claus. The Sheriff should be played by a veteran character actor the audience both loves and thinks may be over his head, perhaps John Goodman or James Woods might be a nice touch. James Spader perhaps for the mayor if they want him a bit older. Johnny Knoxville could play him equally well. Let Sophia Lillis from It play the daughter. Dee Wallace would be great as the mom (isn’t she great as any horror mom?). Anyone else have any ideas?

    • I think you pretty much nailed it. Although, I might go Michael Biehn for the Sheriff and Jeff Fahey for the Mayor. I love Juliette Lewis as Mrs. Claus. I was also thinking Lucy Punch (Hot Fuzz) for Mrs. Claus because that’s actually who I thought it was at first.

  11. I finally got around to watching Blood Rage. I found that if you go in with tempered expectations, it is a fun watch. While I applaud the use of practical effects, the were bad, especially the first kill in the office. Lots of nice nubile young ladies and Louise Lasser seemed to want to let everyone know she had boobs without showing them all, lol. Lasser was overly dramatic, but some interesting kills, and the music for the last chase scene was totally 80’s awesome. I agree a call to the cops could have really helped the situation, but then who needs logic in a film like this. 6/10 for me.

  12. I really liked Red Christmas and I agree with a lot of what you guys said. I’m not sure the film had a message because it seemed to be all over the place. The characters were fun and I too noticed their realistic reaction after the first kill. That was great! 5/10

    I just couldn’t get into Once Upon a Time at Christmas. I felt like it was supposed to be funny but wasn’t and some of the CGI kills were pretty rough. I’m not really into police procedurals and thought this one was especially flat. Plus, Santa and Mrs. Claus put a lot of effort into planning the murders for the 12 days of Christmas but the 12 days of Christmas don’t even start until December 25. Maybe I’ll watch it again next year and have a different opinion but for now it’s a 3.5/10. Still better than The Elf.

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