Saint Nicholas, the model for our American Santa Claus, is said to deliver gifts to children in Europe on December the 6th. While Santa deals with the good and the bad accordingly, giving each child their appropriate comeuppance, Nicholas leaves the dirty work to another, namely Krampus. On the eve of St. Nicholas Day, known as Krampusnacht ("Krampus Night"), Krampus goes about scaring children (and sometimes women), flogging with rusty chains and whipping with a birch switch those who are naughty, and carrying off the worst in a basket to never be seen again. Krampus is traditionally depicted as a monstrous devil or beast of sorts, covered in shaggy fur, cloven hooves, clawed fingers, horns, and a long, red tongue lolling out of his mouth.
I'm a little ashamed to admit that I hadn't even heard of Krampus until this very month, and by way of Stephen Colbert on his television show 'The Colbert Report', no less. (No disrespect towards him, as I thoroughly enjoy his program.) As Colbert himself said, we need to bring Krampus to America. As far as I can tell, the closest we have to a figure like Krampus in our Christmas culture is Dr. Seuss' children's book character, the Grinch. And by all accounts, I wouldn't be surprised if Krampus was the original inspiration for the furry, green fellow.
Krampus by MissMonster -- She's currently selling
Krampus postcards and t-shirts, but for a limited time,
so if you're interested take a look.
Fortunately, others have seen the need to rectify this situation. There appears to be a horror film underway that will cast Krampus, the movie's namesake, as its subject theme. I'll try to post more on that when it draws nearer to release. But until then, there's more Christmastime horror to come here at the Darkley Niche. Speilberg's 'Gremlins' and Burton's 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' are next on the Niche's viewing agenda, so stay tuned for special features on these two holiday classics.
Dr. Seuss' 'How The Grinch Stole Christmas!', directed by
Chuck Jones -- A similar resemblence to Krampus, wouldn't you agree?
Also voiced by horror film legend Boris Karloff ('Frankenstein', 1931).