The idea of an anthology of holiday horror films that would act as a sort of an advent calendar of horror is a fantastic idea. I sat in theater 4 at Screenland Armour during Panic Fest with this knowledge in my head and excitement in my holiday horror-loving heart. That’s the thing about expectations though, they can make you disappointed really quickly and that’s what happened to me during my screening of DEATHCEMBER

DEATHCEMBER advertises that it is 24 horror films by 24 directors, each acting as a day on the advent calendar. However, the film cut off after 12 films without giving us information as to why. While I appreciate and respect how difficult it is to make a film, I wish we were given more information about the film going in. The confusion among the crowd was palpable as the credits rolled after day 12 and no one knew if we were done or not. It wasn’t until I researched the Kickstarter that I saw the calendar. 

For the most part, the short films were pretty interesting. My favorite was Getting Away from it All directed by Pollyanna McIntosh. It followed a guy that just wants to get away from the commercialism of Christmas. It was so simple and funny and I related to his distaste. Another amazing one was All Sales Fatal which was directed by Michael Varrati. It showcased the importance of bringing your receipt when trying to return a present to the store. As someone who has worked retail during the holidays, this made me belly laugh. The last of my favorites was Villancicos directed by Isaac Ezban. This followed a family whose little boy was dying but his heart would start beating when he heard the Christmas carolers. Guess they just have to stay around caroling…forever. 

On the opposite side of the coin, there was a short film that was so disturbing that it made the entire film unenjoyable. It was called Crappy Christmas: Operation Christmas Child directed by Juergen Kling. It was about a child who gets kidnapped by a pedophiliac clergyman who rapes him repeatedly. The film thinks that because it is in Gumby-like claymation that it will soften the blow but seeing a claymation rape of a child isn’t something I am interested in seeing in any medium. What is unfortunate is that this short film was so unnecessary that viewers leave the film only thinking of this instead of the other, more enjoyable films. There was nothing Christmas-y about the film and it was included just for the reaction and that just isn’t intelligent horror in my opinion. 

In between each film, the camera swooped through a CGI room filled with items and opened like a door to an advent calendar. While I appreciate the idea, I wasn’t a fan of how it was done because there was just too much movement. I would have rather seen the door open as they did in Christmas Vacation: an actual calendar that someone is physically opening the door to. It would give it a vintage feel and would have been more impactful than the CGI camera movements. 

I wish I had more positive things to say about DEATHCEMBER. There was very little that screamed the holidays and the few that did were completely overshadowed by one short film that shouldn’t have been included at all. If I wanted to watch graphic and disgusting acts, I’d watch A Serbian Film (which I have never seen and never intend to). What I wanted to see was 24 funny and scary holiday films and what I got was 3 really good holiday shorts, 8 moderately interesting ones and 1 film that should never have been made in the first place. 

Movie Reviews

6 thoughts on “[Panic Fest Review] DEATHCEMBER

  1. unfortunaltely some wrong infos in this review:

    1. there are actually 27 Shorts in Deathcember. ALL are finished
    Panicfest just decided to only show VOL 1. of Deathcember. Before you spread any misleading content in a review that might hurt filmmakers – do your homework please.

    2. the Film about the receipt is not called “Ring my bell” but “all sales fatal” and was directed by Michael Varati.

    3. Deathcember Vol1. features 14 Shorts not only 12. As an extra it features a mid credit and a after credits short.

    1. Hi Jimbo,

      Thank you so much for reaching out. I wanted to go over your concerns here so that you have a better understanding of where our writer was coming from.

      1. I’ll make sure to add in that there are 27 shorts and ALL are finished. That said, during the screening at Panic Fest there wasn’t a lot of information given and D.D. was going based off the information given. That said, even on the website for Panic Fest, if you search DEATHCEMBER it doesn’t say that there are 27 shorts and ALL are finished. On the official DEATHCEMBER website it actually states that there are 24 shorts so the filmmakers may want to update that for more information so that there isn’t confusion.

      2. I’ve spoken to D.D. who realizes she made a mistake with the title of the short and we will have that fixed ASAP.

      3. We didn’t have the information presented to us that stated there were 14 shorts. Again, I’ve been on both the Panic Fest website as well as the official DEATHCEMBER one (http://www.deathcembermovie.com/) and that information isn’t given.

      I’m not sure who you are Jimbo, but if you are a filmmaker or actor and you are upset, please reach out to me personally at shannon@nightmarishconjurings.com. Throwing shade at a writer who wasn’t given all the information nor could easily find the information is not the best way to go about this. Thank you.

      1. Hi Shannon,
        thanks for the fast reply, I´d prefer a fast correction though.
        I´m also not sure who you are, you´re not the writer as it seems.

        I´m not throwing shade at a writer. I´m correcting a few facts from a review that throws shade onto filmmakers by simply publishing wrong and misleading info. With 5 minutes research it would have been clear that there are at least 24 finished Films.

        1. it doesn´t matter if the 3 Bonus Films are not officially announced. that does not change a bit about you claiming there are only 12 !
        QUOTE
        “However, the film cut off after 12 films because only 12 had been raised during the Kickstarter.”
        could you please publish your source for this Info ?
        It pure asumption ! No research involved.
        If you review, Rate and share infos about other peoples work it would be good to either collect the necessary info or just simply not publish things based purely an assumption.
        You´re right, Panicfest screwed this up, they statet 24 films would be shown. So the first thing to do would be to question where this difference of 50% comes from – and maybe even ask for a return !
        while you were even present at the screening this would have taken 2 minutes and you would have known that the info text is faulty.
        But instead of doing so you spread the info that only 50% of the shorts were produced due to a lack of kickstarter funding.
        when you click on the panicfest programm schedule- the Film is anounced as Vol.1 , when you click on this link you get the text about 24 films- which is wrong.
        3.
        If you watched Deathcember Vol.1 til the end (which is always good when writing up a review) you would have noticed there are even 14 Films.
        No need to get this info supplied from other sources.

        As a professional writer one should fact check first then publish, especially when you rate other artists Work and give them thumbs down. Now this nonsense is multiplied several times all over the web.
        With several shares on FB.

        With the bad research shown in this article I wonder what to think about all the others on your site…

        1. Hi Jimbo,

          I’m the founder and EIC of the site, nice to meet you. I did research, five minutes it would seem, and I still couldn’t find all the information for the film. Kickstarter actually talks about how the production was funded and if that’s not the case then it’s confusing lingo for anyone looking to get research on the film. I’ve spoken to my writer who did say she made a mistake on the title of the short which we have changed. At the time of the screening, she was only shown 12 shorts. There was no information given that there were 3 additional ones that weren’t shown. She was reporting on what she saw and I’m not going to have some person get mad at her because she saw 12 shorts and that’s what she talked about.

          That said, I’ll make a change in the review so that people know that it wasn’t just 12 that had been raised during the Kickstarter. If you are going to have a movie shown might I suggest that when it’s presented all the information is there so that people aren’t confused about what they are actually seeing? You can be upset all you want but if you aren’t giving Panic Fest the right information that is on your team. So instead of causing a scene on here because, as you mentioned, “Panic Fest screwed this up” maybe have a little chat with Panic Fest.

          I’m willing to work with you but if you are going to be condescending towards my writers because of a human error that they made about the short, the sporadic information that is online about DEATHCEMBER, and Panic Fest making a mistake, might I suggest pointing your anger elsewhere? Also, my writer did watch DEATHCEMBER till the end but was so disgusted by the claymation that she had to leave when the credits rolled cause she was upset.

          As a professional “whatever you are” might I suggest having your information more readily available so that people can find the CORRECT information easily? After doing some research on your email, it’s come to our attention that you were involved in the claymation aspect which goes to show you are angry that she didn’t like your short. I won’t be responding to your condescending attitude going forward. I will make the change to the number of shorts but that’s it. I won’t let you disrespect my writer and/or my team who works tirelessly to do the best that they can. Honestly, your opinion about my other writers is unfounded because of one person’s mistake. It’s called human error, might I suggest you look it up and do your own research? Have a nice day.

          Best,
          Shannon

  2. Oh and BTW the Movie was not Crowdfunded !
    there was a crowdfunding campaing for the CGI animation to frame the shorts together.
    That´s it. if the Crowdfunding goal would not have been hit – the film would have been released anyways.

    1. To respond to this, I looked into this and there is a Kickstarter and from what I gather it mentions that principal production was funded and they were asking for additional money for the CGI animation.

      Best,
      Shannon

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