Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Ho, Ho, Ho: Slay Belles

Alas, Santa Land was another victim of the War on Christmas. Sure, they say a handful of kids died on the theme park’s rides, but that was probably no great loss. The truth is most people just stopped caring about Santa, but not “The Adventure Girls.” That hardy band of YouTube urban explorers has come to Santa Land, but they find it is not as abandoned as they expected in Spooky Dan Walker’s Slay Belles (trailer here), which releases today on VOD.

According to the local forest ranger, some kind of wild animal has been attacking children and families, but that will not deter the intrepid Adventure Girls. Usually, it is just Dahlia and Sadie, but their friend Alexi joins them on this expedition. At first, the tacky remnants of Santa Land look perfect for them, until the feral monster attacks. Fortunately, the real Santa saves them just in the nick of time. Of course, crusty Kris is familiar with the beast out there. It is his old nemesis, Krampus.

Did we mention the Adventure Girls do their exploring in tight-fitting cos-play outfits, or does that go without saying? Regardless, you have to give Hannah Wagner, Kristina Klebe, and Susan Slaughter credit for being good sports on a number of counts, starting with wardrobe. They also keep the energy level cranked way up, dashing about, causing all kinds of mayhem. This might be a cornball horndog movie, but they rattle off their dialogue with a rat-a-tat briskness that would please Howard Hawks.

Of course, Barry Bostwick is perfectly cast as the spaced-out hermit Santa. Every time he exclaims “Krampus!,” it brings to mind the “Best Brains” logo stinger that used to end each episode of MST3K. That is a compliment, believe it, or not. Regardless, he is quite droll playing off the ladies. As an added bonus, Richard Moll from Night Court and Sean Cunningham’s House pops up as one of the confused local cops.

Obviously, Slay Belles is a larky meathead movie, but the three protags are so upbeat and earnest, it is impossible to dislike it. It only runs a mere 77-minutes, but Spooky Dan Walker’s warp-speed pacing makes it feel even quicker. Compared to other Christmas horror films, it really is an endearingly silly treat that should go down nice and smooth with a glass of eggnog. Highly recommended for fans of goofy horror comedies, Slay Belles releases today (12/4) on-demand.