Slay Belles is the latest in a surprisingly long line of Christmas themed horror movies. For me, this type of faux rebelliousness, ‘aren’t we cute making the most innocent holiday into a horror movie’ nonsense wore out its welcome with the Silent Night Deadly Night franchise. Somehow though, filmmakers continue to fool themselves into cashing in on the novelty of Christmas related blood and guts. The latest failed effort at this novelty is streaming now and called Slay Belles.
Slay Belles stars Kristina Klebe as Alexi, the stick in the mud of a trio of friends who refuses to steal when they go shopping. Alexi’s friends are Dahlia (Susan Slaughter) and Sadie (Hannah Wagner), a pair of cosplay loving, minor YouTube celebrities. Dahlia and Sadie host a YouTube series they call Adventure Girls in which they travel to abandoned locations and strut around in odd costumes while preening for the camera.
This time, Dahlia and Sadie have dragged Alexi along for the show and they have a wacky new location, a former Santa’s Village that has gone out of business. What they don’t know and are about to find out, is that Santa Claus is real, here played by Barry Bostwick of Spin City and Rocky Horror Picture Show and now desperately slumming it. Santa is in the midst of a pitched battle with The Krampus, a monster that is somehow physically connected to Santa and is murdering most of a small town just before Christmas.
The girls must team up with Kris Kringle and a local forest ranger, Sean (Stephen Ford of MTV’s Teen Wolf), to battle The Krampus and stop him before he begins murdering children around the world. I will give the movie one bit of credit, The Krampus costume that they made or purchased or whatever, looks pretty great. Yes, it probably resembles more of a werewolf but, then again, what the heck is a Krampus anyway. The monster looks appropriately monster-like and that’s all that matters.
Unfortunately, the rest of Slay Belles is far less inspired. The performances are insipid, the direction is all over the place stylistically, with a camera bouncing around in every scene, and Barry Bostwick appears to be in some sort of stupor. The veteran actor limps through scene after scene with just enough energy to just avoid yawning over his own lines. Bostwick never really clicked in the mainstream on the big screen but even he seems to be above the nonsense of Slay Belles.
I referred to Slay Belles as a Christmas themed horror movie but the aim appears to be ‘horror comedy’ and not merely blood and guts scares. I add the caveat ‘appears to be’ because despite what seems like a light tone, I didn’t find a single laugh in the entire movie. I did almost give a small laugh at the expense of how tired Barry Bostwick appears to be in Slay Belles but I don’t believe that laugh was what the filmmakers were going for.
Slay Belles is rated R for Language and brief nudity. The film is streaming now on Amazon and will soon be on the shelves at what remains of video stores across the country.