“Anything beats being alone on Christmas Eve.” Rebekah McKendry, one of my absolute female heroes has written and directed this new Christmas anthology with her wonderful husband David Ian McKendry. Rebekah is incredible - she was a co-host of Killer POV and is a host for Shock Waves, she works for Fangoria, she was the Editor-in-Chief for Blumhouse.com, she is a professor AND has a freakin’ PHD. I ADORE HER. Her husband is just as incredible, David has spent the last few years directing horror-comedy shorts and also DM’s the D&D game Fear Initiative which is an incredible podcast you should all be listening to.
So, basically, I want to be adopted by the McKendrys.
Anyway, back to the reason we’re here - on Christmas Eve I finally had a chance to sit down and watch All the Creatures Were Stirring. And wow did I have SO much fun! It’s a Christmas anthology with 5 stories and a wrap around.
The wraparound is two people who meet for a Christmas Eve date. They’re going to see a play called All the Creatures Were Stirring. When they enter it’s instantly creepy and as they sit down in this tiny theater, there’s basically no one there. A woman comes out on the stage and changes the title card to, “The Stockings Were Hung”. Three actors enter and we cut to the first story.
The Stockings Were Hung
An office Christmas party. Can be super depressing or super fun, depending on the office. This one is depressing. It’s poorly lit, there’s a bunch of wrapped gifts, some Christmas lights and some food. Only one woman is super into it, the rest of the employees are miserable to be there. One man opens one of the gifts and is instantly shot in the head by a triggered bullet inside the box. Everyone panics as the phone rings. The group must open every gift and only one will survive.
It’s very Saw meets The Belko Experiment. I had a couple of chuckles watching this, I think they showed the depressing office environment perfectly. This was one of those shorts where I almost wish it was a full movie, because I love the workplace concept. Not enough horror movies are set in the workplace!
I really enjoyed how this one was shot too with all the duel frames showing the different reactions. Very comic book like.
“What the hell was that?”
Dash Away All
Our next short was my absolute favorite. And another one I’d want to see a whole movie of. A husband is out shopping for gifts late, and manages to get everything he needs before the store closes. As he’s putting everything in his car, he manages to lock himself out of the car with his keys and phone inside. There’s no one left at the store and the parking lot is empty, except for a mysterious van.
Inside the van are two women who take a sudden interest in him. They let him use their phone to call for help and call his wife. He thanks them and heads back to his vehicle to wait. But they follow and keep him company. Suddenly, he sees something in the back of the van and the night takes a turn for the worse.
I love, love, LOVED this concept. The idea of a terrifying demon being tied to you is scary enough, but not being able to be more than 20 ft from the van it lives in at all times...ugh, anxiety inducing. I loved that it’s only someone born on Christmas Day that can be tied to the demon, like a perverse Jesus Christ.
The monster itself was super creepy, those fingers alone….guuuuh.
All Through the House
This one was my least favorite, but only because the guy was SUCH a douchebag. Which is sort of the point. So, it absolutely worked. It’s basically a short horror story take on the Christmas Carol. He’s our scrooge. He’s clearly sex obsessed, does cocaine, hates Christmas, is a dick to his neighbor etc etc. He’s visited by three ghosts who are just terrifying dark shadows with red and green eyes. They show him how he’ll die alone.
Then it’s intermission time in our wraparound story. The couple split apart as the guy goes to the bathroom and the girl is left to deal with the creepy theater workers. There’s also a particularly creepy old guy that just loooooves staring at her. When the couple sit back down for the second half of the play, there’s only a few people left in the audience. Most of them have left.
Arose Such a Clatter
This one cracked me up! A guy is driving home to meet with a saucy lady. But on the way he hits a deer. When he pulls over he sees the deer is still alive and so takes a rock and bashes his head in. Then we realize he’s just killed Blitzen. And Rudolf saw the murder.
So, Rudolf stalks this guy back to his house and brutally murders him and his lady friend.
It’s so ridiculous and over the top that I just had to love it. When it goes to Rudolf’s POV everything is in red. And there’s lots of very dramatic shots of Blitzen’s bloody collar on the ground.
It was great!
In a Twinkling
This is the final short and it gives me super Twilight Zone vibes. It also totally screws with your head. A guy arrives home on Christmas Eve with a bag of chains and a gun. His friend calls and says he needs to come out and party for Christmas Eve but he says he can’t. Just as he’s getting settled for the night by wrapping these chains around himself, the doorbell rings. It’s all his friends who have shown up to surprise him. One of his friends is outside having a cigarette when she sees three lights come from the sky. She enters the house to find her friends sitting around the dinner table but something’s wrong. They’re acting very strangely.
Basically, it’s aliens. ALIENS. God damn I love a good alien story and this one was so good. I only wished for more explanation. But that’s what you get with a short.
As the play finishes, the man on the date is acting strangely, clearly having some sort of digestive issue. He gets up and goes to the lobby. The woman is left alone in the theater with the creepy old guy. Slowly she realizes that the actors on the stage are acting out her night and show her that her date is not who he seems.
He wants to eat her!
Overall, I really had a lot of fun with this flick. The actors did an incredible job in each short - there’s too many to mention but damn is this an all star cast! Each short felt completely different and you could tell it was filmed with love and was probably a lot of fun to film. Each story is a refreshing tale for the horror Christmas season and I can’t wait to watch it every Christmas Eve to fill me with Christmas evil.