Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

directed by Jalmari Helander

starring Onni Tommila, Jorma Tommila, Ilmari Jarvenpaa, and Per Christian Ellefsen

Oscilloscope Films

Who knew that Santa’s little helpers were a bunch of older, overweight creeps running around buck-ass naked like drunken bikers at Sturgis? This exceptionally odd retelling of a Christmas story (certainly not THE Christmas story) takes us to the wilds of Lapland, where a mysterious corporation is digging a dreadfully deep mine on top of a mountain. Under it lies a frozen 60-foot high Santa monster with horns bigger than anything Spinal Tap ever staged and a blood thirst Gwar couldn’t satisfy. Along with this iced-up monster are 198 butt-ugly, buck naked, smaller Santa monsters who eat all the reindeer and terrorize little Pietari (Onni Tommila) and his widowed dad Rauno (Jorma Tommila). They rally the rest of the village and cross the border to the mine, which is oddly abandoned. Looks like the little Santa demons ate the miners and then stole every oven, heating pad, and hair drier in town to thaw out the big guy. They also captured all the local children and put them in burlap bags. Finland, Florida, it’s all the same on some level. While the adults are stumped, precocious Pietari goes all 8-year-old Rambo, commandeers a helicopter, rescues the children, captures the 198 mini Clauses, and would have died except his dad set a few hundred sticks of dynamite into big Santa and blew him all the way to next Hanukkah. As kids’ movies go, this is one I wouldn’t show to an actual child under 18 without heavy sedation.

I’m not sure what to make of this. We start out with a decently creepy horror show — mysterious disappearances, Blair Witch-like iconography, and a setting north of the Arctic Circle that is mysteriously well-lit at the winter solstice. Acting is excellent, all the adults (none of whom I could keep straight with their Finnish names) feel real, desperate, and mystified beyond words. Pietari and his buddy Juuso (Ilmari Jarvenpaa) seem like normal kids, except they are carrying Columbine-sized fire power, which, given the population of wolves in the neighborhood, seems like a reasonable idea. The horror set up is excellent — Pietari finds old books (under the floor boards, I assume) that discuss the curse of ur-Santa and drive him to staple shut the last window on his Advent calendar. The particular demon he meets (Ellefsen) is creepy and filthy and more Skanky Gollum than Jolly Old Elf, and when Pietari flies off with his playmates, I’m ready for the splatter to start flying. But after the pickaxe-to-the-head scene (evil Corporate Drilling Guy gets it just at his pinnacle of exposition), the movie shifts to one of those preteen “Kid saves the day when the adults can’t.” Yeah, I suspended my disbelief, but it was way up high where I could barely see it and then we got all happy ending-ish. The blood-thirsty naked elves with their ethylene glycol infused bodily fluids get a holiday makeover, they learn proper mall Santa lessons like “don’t bite the children,” and Pietari’s dad ships them off to places like Tanzania. I smell an international blood-soaked sequel; we all know you can’t train a wolf to replace a Pekingese.

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale: www.oscilloscope.net/films/film/41/Rare-Exports-A-Christmas-Tale

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • The Reading Room
    The Reading Room

    Today’s episode features author Anna-Marie O’Brien talking about her book Adventures of a Metalhead Librarian: A Rock N’ Roll Memoir with Ink 19’s Rose Petralia.

  • Bush Tetras
    Bush Tetras

    Rhythm and Paranoia (Wharf Cat). Review by Scott Adams.

  • Tom Tom Club
    Tom Tom Club

    The Good The Bad and the Funky (Nacional). Review by Julius C. Lacking.

  • Barnes & Barnes
    Barnes & Barnes

    Pancake Dream (Demented Punk Records). Review by Carl F. Gauze.

  • Jeremiah Lockwood
    Jeremiah Lockwood

    A Great Miracle: Jeremiah Lockwood’s Guitar Soli Chanukah Album (Reboot). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Metallica: The $24.95 Book
    Metallica: The $24.95 Book

    From an underground band that pioneered the thrash metal sound, to arguably the biggest rock act in the new millennium, Metallica has had a long and tumultuous history. Ben Apatoff scours a myriad of sources to catalog this history in his new book.

  • Araceli Lemos
    Araceli Lemos

    Shortly after AFI Fest 2021 wrapped, Generoso spoke at length with director, Araceli Lemos about her award-winning and potent feature debut, Holy Emy. Lemos’s film uses elements of body horror in her story about the exoticization of two Filipina sisters living in Greece and how that exploitation creates a distance between them.

  • Southern Accents 55
    Southern Accents 55

    A woofin’ good time with cuts from Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, Delta Moon and more from KMRD 96.9, Madrid, New Mexico!

  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

    Absurdism with a healthy dose of air conditioning.

  • Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist
    Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist

    Like pre-teens throwing every liquid into the kitchen blender and daring each other to drink the results, Woody and Jeremy fuse all manner of sounds legitimate and profane into some murky concoction that tastes surprisingly good.

From the Archives