Reviews

CHRISTMAS HORROR: a book & a film! [The Lights & A Christmas Horror Story]

December 10, 2018

As many of you know, I am a big lover of holiday horror, especially horror revolving around the winter holidays like Christmas!

Today, I wanted to share with you a book review as well as my first movie review ever, so keep reading! ♥

(If you all like this post, maybe I’ll add in one or two film reviews per month in the future!)

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TITLE: The Lights
AUTHOR: Carrie Pack
RELEASES: December 11th, 2018
GENRE: Horror
AGE RANGE: YA

SYNOPSIS:
Christmas is an especially big deal in Molly’s town, where the citizens decorate extravagantly each year—including the tremendous amount of sparkling lights that go up each year. Something is different about the lights this year, and they’re having a terrifying effect on the children in town.

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I’m a total sucker for Christmas horror stories, so I would have added this to my TBR based on the synopsis alone, but when I learned it also featured an f/f romance? Well, count me in!

Before the horror that was my darkest Christmas, the lights were a welcome sight.

First, the plot of this story? Genuinely a little terrifying. Kids can be creepy to begin with, and the idea of these children being turned into raging murderers just by staring at a few strings of Christmas lights is unsettling. Likewise, the gore put on display during the murders is surprisingly dark for YA horror, which was a nice change of pace from what I expected. There’s a line that describes a man’s entrails being wrapped around the tree like garland, and my gore-loving little self couldn’t help but cackle a little over that.

For the characters, the relationship between Molly and her girlfriend Chelsea feels like an actual teen relationship with some tender moments mixed in with a bit of bickering that ups the reality factor. There’s also a nonbinary/ace side character who was honestly the star of the show for me

The only notable flaw in the story for me was the ending and explanation of events. While it wasn’t bad, I think the bulk of the story was so well-done that I expected more and was a little surprised by how vague and up in the air the last little bit felt to me. That said, if you’re looking for a fun, short holiday horror read with some diversity thrown in, definitely grab a copy of The Lights. I had a ton of fun reading this and would very happily pick up future horror releases from this author!

Content warnings for gore, murder, child death

All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to the author for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

4stars


A Christmas Horror Story (2015)

TITLE: A Christmas Horror Story
RELEASED: 2015
GENRE: Horror
STREAMING ON: Shudder
STARS: William Shatner, George Buza, Michelle Nolden
CREATED BY: Grant Harvey, Steven Hoban

SYNOPSIS:
Interwoven stories that take place on Christmas Eve, as told by one festive radio host: A family brings home more than a Christmas tree, a student documentary becomes a living nightmare, a Christmas spirit terrorizes, Santa slays evil.

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A Christmas Horror Story is a cross between an anthology and one cohesive story; while it tells multiple tales all set on Christmas Eve, it alternates scenes between the plots, and the stories tie together in small ways. One path follows a couple whose son is acting strangely after hunting Christmas trees, another follows a trio of high schoolers exploring the forbidden level of their school where a murder took place, another tracks a family who’s being hunted by Krampus, and the fourth showcases the North Pole as a terrible infection has struck the elves in Santa’s workshop.

This was my second time watching A Christmas Horror Story, and I think I enjoyed it even more than I did last holiday season. It’s such an underrated film that I rarely hear anyone discuss, but it’s a great mix of gore, suspense, and campy humor. I laughed out loud so many times while rewatching this film, but I also love how gorgeous the character design for Krampus is, and how badass Santa becomes when he has to start fighting off his newly infected elves.

My favorite thing about the film is how genuinely holiday-themed it feels. A lot of Christmas horror is really just a horror story that happens to take place around the holidays, but A Christmas Horror Story is crammed full of holiday themes, whether it’s visiting estranged family, decorating the tree, or Santa preparing to deliver his gifts. It’s perfect for the season.

As this is a somewhat satirical horror film, it’s not going to fit everyone’s taste, but if you enjoy a little bit of camp-y humor in your horror, I strongly recommend giving it a try. I would say that the humor feels befitting for fans of films like Tucker and Dale vs. Evil or The Cabin in the Woods, as it isn’t over-the-top and super cheesy, but it definitely plays on some of those classic horror tropes we all know so well.

5stars


This was my first ever film review, and my first time doing a book+film combo review as well, so please let me know in the comments what you thought! Even if you aren’t a horror fan, let me know if you would be interested in more themed book+film review combos like this one, including other genres and topics.

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15 Comments

  • Reply beccaleighanne December 10, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    I am ALWAYS here for a good ol’ horror movie review. <3
    + I'm definitely adding that book to my TBR!

  • Reply Elysa December 10, 2018 at 5:21 pm

    I love film reviews!

  • Reply Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum December 10, 2018 at 11:51 pm

    Haha, the movie looks awesome!

  • Reply Shalini December 11, 2018 at 12:58 am

    Ooooh I loved the sound if that movie… Nicely done.. Yp I would like book a n d movie reviews. I don’t watch many movies so would like to read the reviews to know what I would like to watch

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries December 11, 2018 at 1:54 am

      Thank you! That makes me feel so happy that you enjoy the idea of the combo reviews 🙂

  • Reply Laura Beth December 11, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    I loved this combo review! More, please!

  • Reply Sarah December 13, 2018 at 9:11 am

    Do more movie reviews!!!!! Also, I SUPER gotta watch this movie.

  • Reply Kaleena @ Reader Voracious December 16, 2018 at 9:30 pm

    I love this and demand more content like this from you in the future. And possibly watching that movie tonight.

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries December 17, 2018 at 3:31 pm

      Hahaha thank you lovely!! Oh please do watch it and report back. Even if you hate it.

  • Reply December Wrap: Closing the Year with a BANG! – howling libraries January 2, 2019 at 9:04 am

    […] The Lights — Carrie Pack 🦄🌈✨ […]

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