Directed By: Spooky Dan Walker
Written By: Jessica Luhrssen, Spooky Dan Walker
Starring: Barry Bostwick, Kristina Klebe, Susan Slaughter
Color/77 Minutes/Not Rated
Release Date: December 4, 2018
On Christmas Eve a trio of girls who dress in sexy getups and do a bit of urban exploration for their Youtube channel decide it's the perfect time to visit Santa Land, an abandoned Christmas theme park in the California desert. Upon arriving they find they're not alone and are being hunted by some sort of beast that just so happens to the the Christmas Devil Krampus.
SLAY BELLES has a leading trio of beautiful ladies that are fun to watch romp around old decaying properties which give it a good start right out of the gate. It also features a good looking Krampus monster and a cool twist with the monster bringing in bloody body parts that eventually turn into little chomping hairball monsters that remind me of a cheap version of Critters and a much better version of The Langoliers. Unfortunately these little ankle biters come and go in the blink of an eye and I thought they could have been a very cool and integral part of the movie that up the carnage.
Barry Bostwick stars as a drunk, biker Santa who lives in Santa Land and has been in a decades long battle with Krampus and seems to have had a fun time making this movie and it shows. He's entertaining and likable in the role of jolly Saint Nick and there's a fun twist with his wife that makes for a memorable moment during the climax of the film. SLAY BELLES doesn't feature the cookie baking, hot cocoa making Mrs. Claus we all know and love but unfortunately many of these entertaining moments are cobbled together and come across like ideas that weren't fully hashed out. So we're left with fleeting moments of interesting and entertaining ideas that come and go and had me feeling robbed of what could have been.
But for all of that there's one thing that SLAY BELLES just does wrong (besides the obnoxious dubstep soundtrack) and that is setting a Christmas movie in the California desert. The idea of setting a Christmas horror movie in Santa Land sounds better on paper than it translates to reality. Even with all of the holiday themed hats and set dressing that this derelict park offered up it simply never felt like Christmas to me. It felt like an imposter and in a movie based around the biggest good and evil that Christmas has to offer it really hurt the impact of it all. SLAY BELLES isn't the best Christmas horror movie in recent years but it is far from the worse.
The Audio & Video
SLAY BELLES hits Blu-ray from the Dread Central Presents line from Epic Pictures just in time for the holiday season and it looks very good. The 16x9 anamorphic widescreen transfer has a strong color palette that makes the colorful costumes worn by the girls and the tacky decorations and Christmas lights pop. Skin tones look wonderful with a healthy flesh tone and no waxiness. Detail level is high among surfaces and textures. The audio comes through crisp and clear with no background noise or distortion. The mix between dialogue and music is nicely done as well.
-Audio Commentary with writer and director
-The Making Of SLAY BELLES
-"Cookies and Conversations" Featurette
-Hannah Minx Tours The Set
-Hannah Minx Makeup Tutorial
-SpookyDan short film "Bad Ass Russian In Istanbul"
-SLAY BELLES Trailer
The Bottom Line
I liked a lot of the elements in SLAY BELLES but it never elevated itself above an average affair that too easily and quickly brushed over its best scenes and ideas.
SLAY BELLES is available HERE