by Dionisio “Don” Traverso Jr.

I don’t like Xmas.

It’s not hatred. I’m not a Scrooge, because my past elicits such terror of the holiday any visit of Xmas spirits will actually push me into such hatred. I’m more of a Grinch, who can warm up to the holiday, albeit in a dark fashion. I love the movie A Christmas Story, but hate Miracle On 34th Street. The Nightmare Before Christmas is my jam, even though it’s a musical. I’ll take Die Hard over Elf any day.

One Xmas movie shines over them all for me: Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale.

In Finland, a boy named Pietari and his buddy spies on a mysterious archeological dig by mysterious Americans taking place on mountain range by their village. They’ve started excavating using explosives lately, which causes some concern among the people living around there. Pietari’s father makes a living hunting reindeer, and needs a good harvest to carry the family through the season. Unfortunately whole flocks of reindeer have been found dead and almost chewed down to the bone by what is presumed to be wolves. Eventually they set traps for the wolves, but instead catch…Santa? A naked Santa at that. Meanwhile, kids are disappearing and being replaced by straw effegies, and Pietari, after reading a book about Christmas legends, believes something bigger and darker is happening. Now if only someone will listen to him….

This movie is fucking magical. It lets you get to know all the people involved so you care what happens to them. The story keeps you intrigued, bringing new wonders and terrors as each layer is peeled back. Pietari is the boy hero I wished to be when I was a kid. He’s smart enough to figure out what is going on, and brave enough to face it when the Xmas shit hits the fan. I literally laughed, cried, gasped, and cheered through this film. It’s a perfect Xmas horror adventure comedy family drama fantasy etc. film.

100 out of five cheese curds. I may be a bit biased, though.

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