“You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen / Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen / but do you recall / the most famous reindeer of all?”
El Diablo. Yes, that’s right, the Devil. Ok, so he’s not exactly a reindeer, but in my Christmas Creature Feature (double feature, to be precise), he resembles Santa’s cloven-hoofed companions.
Lucifer makes his second appearance on my Ambiguous Christmas list in:
The Day of the Beast (1995) – Dir. Álex de la Iglesia
In this Spanish film a Basque priest discovers that the anti-Christ is going to be born on Christmas Day in Madrid. The priest must invoke the Devil himself, so he can learn where the child will be born and destroy it. But, in order to do so, he must commit as much sin as possible, to show that he is “in league” with the Devil.
On his quest through Spain, as the priest robs, beats, maims, kidnaps, tortures, kills and listens to some pretty awesome thrash metal, all for the greater good, he gets help from a metalhead and a skeptical TV psychic. Throw in an exorcism, a black mass, and a priest selling his soul to the goat-like incarnation of the devil, that sure seems like the most wonderful time of year to me.
Well, that’s the first story, but if the stirring in your house this holiday season seems to be of a more mechanical nature, “if your air conditioner goes on the fritz or your washing machine blows up or your video recorder conks out; before you call the repairman turn on all the lights, check all the closets and cupboards, look under all the beds, ’cause you never can tell there just might be a gremlin in your house.”
It’s a classic. It’s a Christmas movie. It’s a Christmas classic. Seriously, who doesn’t love Gremlins? (Besides Mr. Futterman.) You’ve got a white Christmas in an idyllic small town, a sort of Rockwellian slice of Americana, with a real It’s a Wonderful Life vibe (at one point Gizmo is even watching the movie), throw in mischievous green monsters, Phoebe Cates telling one of the saddest Christmas stories ever, and Corey Feldman dressed as a Christmas Tree. And I always wanted a mogwai for Christmas.