Tolo Montana stars as Carlitos, a man looking to make a fresh start and life with his young son. Unfortunately, when he’s talked into “one last job,” Carlitos soon finds himself embroiled in a situation far beyond anything he’d bargained for.
I came across this one quite a few years back. I believe it was under the “Fangoria Films” movie label at the time, but I can’t recall entirely. It’s cover while cheesy was still interesting enough to want to investigate further. The strange beasts calling my name sported all in a neat little row …..I finally got my chance as of late. I hate to say it but in this case I went in really not expecting much. Though when I saw the filming was professionally done, the camera shots were decent and the builds were adequate, my tune began to change pretty fast.
Like in the original Hellraiser where Doug Bradley and such are in search of ancient antiquities that promise magic and supernatural circumstances, “One Hell of a Christmas” begins in similar fashion. Abraham a pretty well to do kind of guy is in mid purchase of such an antiquity that his seller friend he calls Englishman has brought to him for purchase. $15K later and Abraham is the proud owner of this “object”. What is it and what it does remains a mystery but it’s a “got to have it” kind of situation.
This set up also somewhat reminded me of the “Wish Master” though without the glorious hell retribution follow up. As we assume to fast forward in the future we have Carlitos who has just been released from prison. He is trying to lead the straight and narrow now and anxious to see his son. When best friend Mikey starts coming around the tables begin to tilt into the old ways. Mikey who happened to acquire the magic talon after just escaping a blood fest has brought more than he anticipated as it’s original owner is out to retrieve what is his. It just so happens that this owner is evil incarnate.
I swear I still get a kick out of seeing a reclusive film that puts a smile on my face. For a film that’s mostly un-rentable, hard to find and makes an occasional appearance in a cut out bin, I have to say I “really” loved this film! For starters, it echoes much of the old school practical effects work that makes films fun. Creepy, monsters and demons popping up left and right are the stuff of greatness. Now for the life of me can’t’ understand why this film didn’t “hit” the market better. I’m assuming some sort of financial fiasco with the label Fangoria films maybe? whatever the case may be…I don’t care but if you get a chance check out this film as it deserves some attention.
A few of there releases were hit or miss, but in essence there was some good material. One Hell of a Christmas is a bit of an enigma to me. I checked out some of its reviews and generally folks hated this film. Well you can believe everything that’s posted or you can take a chance. My impression was that the filmmakers were heavily influenced from the “Evil Dead” and “Night of The Demons” style of film making.
Both 2 films I adore. One Hell of a Christmas is not those films, however it offers some cool creepfest fun. The DVD cover received some kudos, but as a marketer I have to say it probably hurt it than did more good. As the production was quite good on this one and the cover cheapens the effect to a degree.
What was rewarding? I dig films that don’t give everything at once and build on a point of tension. In this case, the tension was the original owner of the magic claw used. Long before we meet him we get a good dose of his evil ways and power he can inflict. The first confrontation and meeting reminded me of Deniro’s appearance in Angel heart. Dynamic, brooding and confident. The confrontation of demon spawns was the funniest party of the film and worked rather well in my opinion. I would have loved to have seen more and seen that aspect taken further. Another film that has a bit of that esscence if a movie by the name of “Funny Man” (check that one out too)
Ok, so there you have it, even if I’m the only fan of this movie in the world, I know there’s others who will appreciate it. Those who aren’t may be too tightly wound for these type of films. Great stuff!
One Hell of a Christmas (2002)