The award-winning short horror film, A Christmas Nightmare, from our very own Craig Fisher releases today. After making its way round the festival circuit, playing at The Bloody Flicks Awards, HorrorHound Film Festival, The Dead Of Night Film Festival and The Horror Movie Awards Showcase, the film is now available to watch via MadScienceFilms YouTube Channel.
As well as overcoming family drama at Christmas, Emyr, finding solace and liberation through disco music, will come face-to-face with a monster that is hellbent on punishing “naughty little boys and girls”.
Poster art by BlakeToons
A Christmas Nightmare is set in the Welsh Valleys during the 1980’s. Written by Michael O. Lewis and myself, it is very autobiographical in how we were as children, and how our parents were, during the early stages of our blossoming sexuality. Mix this strange feeling of anxiety and nostalgia with fictional horror, juxtaposed with the joyous backdrop of Christmas and you have A Christmas Nightmare. And what makes this film so special, is the fact that amongst the horror and frightening atmosphere, there is an important message about being true to yourself, and respecting and loving others, as well as the trauma of seeking acceptance from our parents. So, even with the dark ending, this film has a powerful beating heart. - Craig Fisher (Writer-Director)
If you're a fan of Creepshow, I've got a feeling you're going to love this horror fans! Of course as most of you who follow Hooked On Horror will know how big a fan of Creepshow Craig is, and this acts as a love letter of sorts to it.
I'm not going to go into too much detail as I don't want to ruin any scares or surprises but what Craig and the rest of the team have managed to do here is create a great homage to Creepshow with some wonderful performances, quirky animation, great special effects, a creepy (and well executed) interpretation of a folklore monster and a very strong and heartfelt message.
Of course they've done all that whilst capturing a lot of that 80s horror aesthetic we've all come to love over the years. I gotta admit I've got a soft spot for Jolly Jim, but I find myself longing to see more live-action from him (like in The Midnight Jester). Hopefully something that can be done for future projects. I especially loved the effects of the parents death and the creature design and look, something I would have loved to have seen more of. But I suppose that's part of what makes a film good (horror especially)- it not only adds to the enigma and scares more but it leaves the audience wanting more. I mean my God the main talking point of Jaws is the shark...yet he has only 4 minutes of screen-time. Likewise for Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs who boasted less than 20 minutes screen-time in a 138-minute horror.
And for you avid and eagle eyed horror fans keep an eye out for nods to other films throughout and of course one fantastic easter egg in there for those diehard Creepshow fans...the attention to detail on this one is mad! Be sure to be on the look out for the infamous Creepshow ashtray that featured throughout the 1982 film and more recent series from Shudder.
All in all a lot went into making this, and it shows. Even more impressively, as explained by director and co-writer Craig Fisher, this was filmed in 2 days with zero budget.
The script was written by myself and close friend Michael O Lewis. We spent a year or so trying in many places to attain some kind of funding, but to no avail. We decided to move forward and make the film anyway, on a zero budget. Something I have had to do on each of my shorts. We teamed up with Mad Science Films to Produce and we began our journey. It was around this time that I began to tweak the script. Creepshow is one of my all time favourite anthology's, and A Christmas Nightmare was definitely the kind of twisted morality tale that can be found on Creepshow or Tales From the Crypt or any EC Comic story, so I decided to shift the tone of the film into a homage, with added animation that wasn't a part of the original script!
Michael was friends with 3 of the cast members, Nathan, Joanna and Lynn - all quite successful tv stars, and when he approached them with our script, they loved it so much they were willing to come on board to play the characters, despite no budget. Something like that doesn't happen often, so we felt very lucky. And I had met and worked with Matthew on my short You've Been Bad. He was such a pleasure to work with, and so professional despite having very little on set experience, so I knew I absolutely wanted him to come on board my new project.
Behind the scenes of A Christmas Nightmare
Due to no budget, and not having the freedom we really wanted, we had 2 days to film A Christmas Nightmare. I personally would have wanted more so we could have created a bigger and more gruesome ending, but I'm still super happy and proud with what we were able to achieve within that time.
And of course it rightly picked up 4 Gold Tier awards at The Horror Movie Awards winning for Short Film Performances, Best Films, Scariest Monsters and Top Artistic Achievements. So pour yourself a large glass of Baileys (it ain't really Christmas without Baileys!) and get in the festive mood with the fantastic short horror- A Christmas Nightmare.