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Kevin Smith Gets ‘Krampus’ Competition From ‘Trick ‘r Treat’ Director Michael Dougherty

MIchael Dougherty on Superman Returns Set

Warner Bros.

Good news for people who like being tied up and thrown in a big sack: there’s a Krampus movie in the works. Different from that other Krampus movie in the works. A new one, this time from director Michael Dougherty of the horror cult classic Trick ‘r Treat. This second project about everyone’s favorite child-abducting goat man is titled Krampus and will be produced by Legendary Pictures. Dougherty, who is directing, will also share screenwriting duties with Todd Casey and Zach Shields.

The Krampus, just in case you don’t know (or didn’t Google him when the last Krampus movie was announced) is a European folk legend that goes hand in hand with Santa Claus. You’re a good little boy or girl? You get a treat. You’re a bad little boy or girl? You get the Krampus, a horrible half-man half-goat abomination that abducts children and beats them with rusty chains. According to Deadline, Krampus will be a “twisted horror comedy set around the Christmas holiday” (as opposed to the many horror comedies that poke fun at graphically violent and terrifying situations, but are not even a little bit twisted).

Here’s where things get awkward. Last month, when Kevin Smith was talking about his Krampus movie, now titled The Anti-Claus, he mentioned that part of his drive in making it is that there are no good Krampus movies here in the States (he even pushed back the filming of Clerks III to get to Anti-Claus first). In his words: “I wanna see THAT [Krampus-related] Christmas movie. So rather than wait for it, we’ll make it instead.”

Turns out he wouldn’t have had to wait that long in the first place.

So now, to fulfill his goal of bringing rusty chain-beatings to American children, Smith’s got a little competition. And right now, Michael Dougherty is a much bigger name in horror than Kevin Smith. The closest thing Smith has to a straight-ahead horror movie is Red State, which has as many action sequences and long-winded rants about Smith’s political beliefs as it does actual horror movie stuff. His next film, Tusk, comes out this fall and promises authentic walrus horror. Until we get a good look at that (and, hopefully, a reaction to walruses that isn’t a giggle at their mustaches), it’s hard to tell how The Anti-Claus might fare.

Dougherty’s horror chops are not so untested. He’s made exactly one movie, but that movie was Trick ‘r Treat, which amassed heaps of critical praise and a hearty cult following. It’s that same cult following that started screaming en masse when the sequel was announced.

Now, for some educated guesswork. Dougherty’s one finished film (Trick ‘r Treat) and his one currently-being-worked-on film (Trick ‘r Treat 2) are both horror anthologies. So it’s entirely possible Krampus might also be a horror anthology. Which would really suck for The Anti-Claus, because that too is a Krampus horror anthology. But Trick ‘r Treat 2 is Dougherty’s current timesink, so it stands to reason that The Anti-Claus might beat it to the multiplex by a fair margin, potentially winning the Great Krampus War far in advance.

This can mean only one thing: Dougherty has got to step up his game. Because the only thing better than one Krampus movie is two Krampus movies. And the only thing better than two Krampus movies is two Krampus movies racing each other Fast and Furious-style, only with the cars swapped out for a pair of horrible Christmas hobgoblins.

Adam Bellotto is a freelancer writer from Virginia who moved to California because movies are super neat. His work can also be read at Perihelion Science Fiction and Starpulse, among other places.

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