4.4/10
390
18 user 24 critic

Holiday Hell (2019)

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1:46 | Trailer
A mysterious shopkeeper narrates four horror tales, each set during a different holiday.
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Cast

Credited cast:
Jeffrey Arrington ... Robert
Mandy Baker ... Donaldson's Secretary
Thomas Brophy ... Guy at bar
Scott C. Brown ... Ned
Forrest Campbell ... Kevin
Maeve Campbell ... Crissy
Lisa Carswell ... Lavinia
James Chrosniak James Chrosniak ... Paul
Jeffrey Combs ... The Shopkeeper
Lisa Coronado ... Janet
Jeff Bryan Davis ... Tom
Charnie Dondrea ... Chyna
Natasha Duvall ... Mandy
Connor Fogarty ... Kenny
Meagan Karimi-Naser ... Amelia
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Storyline

A mysterious shopkeeper narrates four horror tales, each set during a different holiday.

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Genres:

Horror | Mystery

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Did You Know?

Goofs

The U.S. flag in the shop is displayed incorrectly. As per section 175 of the U.S. Code: "When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left." See more »

User Reviews

 
A reasonably entertaining festive horror anthology.
15 December 2020 | by BA_HarrisonSee all my reviews

Holiday Hell is like a sack of presents on Christmas morning: some stories are as entertaining as a new Commodore 64 computer game (yes, I'm old); others are the equivalent of a jumper hand-knitted by an auntie (multiple colours, slightly too large with uneven arms). It's a mixed bag, for sure, but with a fun performance by horror icon Jeffery Combs, and some gore and nudity, it's still worth delving into.

Combs plays the proprietor of a curiosity shop, who tries to help last-minute customer Amelia (Meaghan Karimi-Naser) to choose a gift for her sister. As Amelia deliberates over several potential gifts, the shopkeeper tells her the story behind each of them.

In the first story, a mysterious killer wearing a doll-mask murders a group of youngsters partying in an abandoned house. It's a really uninspired way to kick things off, with very little to offer beyond its trite premise, but fortunately things get better with the next tale...

A young Jewish boy, Kevin (Forrest Campbell), is given an old, one-of-a-kind rabbi doll by his parents, who leave their son in the care of babysitter Lisa (Amber Stonebraker) while they spend the weekend in Germany. Not long after his parents have gone, Kevin overhears Lisa talking to her boyfriend Trey on the phone: the pair are planning to empty Kevin's home of its valuables. When Lisa catches Kevin listening, she locks him in his room, but Kevin's doll comes to the rescue when the boy reads from an old scroll hidden in the toy's box. Springing to life, the creepy wooden rabbi ensures that Lisa and Trey get their just desserts. A murderous living doll might not be all that original, but this is a well-handled story with a decent pace and a smattering of gore.

Talking of gore, there's more in the third story, which centres around a blood-stained Santa suit. Owner of the initially pristine costume is down-trodden pharmaceutical company office-worker Chris (Joel Murray), who is overlooked for promotion and then sees his wife Susan (Ailsa Marshall) cheating on him at the Christmas office party with his work rival Tom (Jeff Bryan Davis). Hitting the bottle at a nearby bar, and hoovering up some of his company's experimental tablets, Chris turns homicidal, visiting a local hardware store before returning to the party. Gratuitous nudity, drug-taking, and a nail-gun to the crotch: sophisticated it isn't, but it sure is fun.

The final tale sees a young woman, Anna (the lovely McKenna Ralston), renting a room at a farmhouse, and finding work in the nearby town, only to discover that the locals are murderous moon worshippers. It's a fairly blood-free story, but benefits from an eerie atmosphere and solid performances, and ends in a shocking manner that successfully segues back into the wraparound story, where Combs' shopkeeper turns out to be far less amiable than he seems.

With such an uneven movie, rating it as a whole isn't easy. I'd give the doll-face story 2/10, the rabbi doll 6/10, the killer Santa 6/10, the moon worshippers 5/10, and the book-ends 4/10. That's a total of 23, averaging out at 4.6/10, which I'll round up to 5 for naming Chris's tablets Black Sunshine, which I assume is a reference to Jeff Lieberman's Blue Sunshine (1977).


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 September 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Holiday Hell See more »

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Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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