Welcome to week 2 of the anti-Christmas movie. This week I chose one of Amazon Prime’s finest B-movie offerings. Not only does is center around three internet famous cosplayers – both Krampus and Santa get their moment in the Christmas lights and you can’t say fairer than that.
It’s nice to forgo the sugar sweet sentimentality of your average Christmas rom-com every so often in favour of arse-kicking women and a semi-hot cane-wielding Santa eager to push back against his traditional image.
Slay Belles (2018)
It’s Christmas Eve, and three cosplaying women come across the malevolent Christmas demon Krampus. The girls must team up with Santa Claus himself to battle the creature and save the world.
Slay Belles is also the name of RuPaul’s second Christmas album, Fact Fans. I’m not sure which of the two is technically best, however I did think this movie was fun at least*.
Busty pals Sadie and Dahlia are internet sensations The Adventure Girls. As far as I can make out, they dress up saucy and visit locations they shouldn’t, where they film themselves doing things they also shouldn’t. As it’s Christmas, they’ve roped in their slightly less ballsy friend Alexi to join them on an expedish to abandoned Santa Land.
Santa Land is a Techicolor acid trip of once-loved candy cane buildings and giant mushrooms – yet, despite its cartoon exterior something is definitely rotten in Denmark. Factor in the fact the local police are working overtime to keep up with a spate of missing and murdered children… Well, there isn’t a connection, is there?
When it becomes clear there’s a very dangerous beast prowling around the former theme park, the girls are shooketh. Luckily, help is at hand in the form of biker looking dude Chris Cringle, the former owner and manager of Santa Land. He’s a bit testy generally (I feel that hermit life tbh) but even more aggrieved when the girls don’t immediately believe he’s the real Santa. Furthermore, the anti-Chewbacca stalking them is in fact Krampus – and he’s the one chewing on children’s bones like they’re candy canes going out of date.
Luckily, the feisty Adventure Girls are game for anything and happily team up with Chris to battle Krampus and save the world (no pressure then). Unfortunately, Santa and Krampy are more soul-connected that anyone could anticipate.
Will good out as is traditional, or has evil got this one in the bag?
I mean there’s no danger of Slay Belles ever finding itself in the Best Picture category (anywhere) and honestly, that’s the beauty of independent movies sometimes. There’s freedom in being able to do what they want. It was also Crowdfunded which fills me with joy – the team really believed in their vision and here it is.
The acting is very shaky and despite the magnitude of the protagonists’ endgame, is a little light on plot too. However, it leans heavily on female empowerment – the girls of course and then a very pleasing appearance from Santa’s ex, who got sick of hanging around being his plus-one and turned to the dark side. It’s genius and let me tell you, all Mrs Claus’ bits are the best.
There are lots of boobs on display which is a little less feminist (and male-gazy) but in the end it’s down to the intellect and bravery of our YouTube sweethearts that the job gets done and into it.