Don't you love revisiting holiday movies you watched as a kid, as an adult? You finally get that adult joke you just mindlessly repeated when you were young. During the holidays, when I was a funny looking kid living in Pomona, CA, all I had were movies to pass the boring times during winter break. My family didn't do much in terms of Holiday revelry except, on the day of Christmas. So, along with NATIONAL LAMPOON'S CHRISTMAS VACATION, SCROOGED was my adult-humored, childhood favorite. Because that makes sense.
Unlike, CHRISTMAS VACATION however, SCROOGED offered sprinkles of horror. Sure it has tons of snarky jokes, some obvious and some hidden and Bill Murray's portrayal of Frank Cross is such a dick! The shit that guy said never ceases to surprise me. But, it was the horror elements, the scenes that were actually frightening that bring me back to this 80's holiday classic over-and-over. I am actually surprised I don't hear the horror community talk about it more. Why hasn't @cavitycolors made an entire line of SCROOGED apparel yet?! And, isn't Danny Elfman basically a horror-ish composer?
You've all seen this movie right? SCROOGED is a"modern-day" adaption of Charles Dickens classic book "A Christmas Carol". I don't mind admitting that "A Christmas Carol" the book and, every other movie adaption is boring as all shit. There, I said it. Perhaps that's because A Christmas Carol has never been labeled for what it truly is. A ghost story! Ghost story's are horror, duh! SCROOGED makes the famous story fun, scary and it has all the things about 80's horror we love. Practical effects!
Frank Cross (Bill Murray), a sardonic TV executive is a mean and selfish bastard. Uncaring who he hurts in order to thrive in his one-man world, the people who have helped him build his career are abused daily and no-one is safe from his misanthropic tongue as the TV station prepares for a live action adaption of "Charles Dickens Immortal Classic Scrooge." After he fires his assistant , just for fun, Frank spirals into a sick power trip. His selfishness and harsh persona manifests the ghost of his now seven-year dead mentor, Lew Hayward (John Forsythe). Lew has a familiar yule-tide warning for Frank and informs the doubtful executive that he will be visited by three ghosts to help him see the error of his ways and, hopefully be healed by the spirits of Christmas and, use his privilege, wealth and power. Frank is emotionally and physically abused and, shown his own potential death if he doesn't change his evil ways thanks to three, eccentric ghosts. SCROOGED is a wild ride filled with laughs, scares and, pure silliness, all leading to a cheerful climax.
So, how can we label SCROOGED a horror movie? Well, I like to think of it as a horror-comedy. From the beginning, there's violence where Santa's workshop is being attacked, elves are killed. Santa is even packing! A dark beginning, yes?
The ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future had their quirks, and I loved how they all tortured Frank. Dude was hit with a toaster and had his ass handed to him by the Fairy Ghost Of Christmas Present (Carol Kane). But, it was the Ghost of Lew Hayward, played by the late John Forsythe, who is my favorite. He was the "lead-in" for the other ghosts. Lew Hayward makes quite a violent entrance and, you can almost smell the "flesh-dust" as he comes into focus. The fucking practical effects! Theres bone and, dry skin peeling off of Lew. He's dusty and man, his eyes are decayed shut. Oh, and that scene when when Frank pulls the flesh off of Lew's arm off when Lew has him hanging out of the skyscraper window! Looks like chicken to me. Thats horror gore my dear readers!
We all know the Ghost of Christmas Future symbolizes death. But, when Death comes for Frank, it's nothing short of HORROR. The Ghost of Christmas Future towers over Frank and shows him his potential future by actually taking him down an elevator. Frank braves a peek into his Escort's cloak to find tortured souls caged in the ghost's ribcage. Nothing frightening about that right?
Now, I have to confess that I wasn't sure if I was going to write this review on SCROOGED until I woke up to a tweet from fellow horror enthusiast @bobbytorrez.
Finally! Someone who sees Eye to "Eyeball". See what I did there? Fan's of SCROOGED will get it. Here is what Bobby had to say when I asked him why he believes SCROOGED is a horror film.
"I always deemed SCROOGED a horror film ever since I was a kid. It’s not just cause Frank is absolute trash and against anything and everything Christmas but the darkness that surrounds him. The ghost. The first ghost Lew, that visits Frank to let him know that he’ll be visited by 3 Ghost is absolutely horrific he’s a walking talking corpse that has a mouse pushing a golf ball out from the back of his head!!! Through out the film Frank is learning lessons from Christmas Past, Present, and Future and each of these ghost show him things that are very dark, scary and may I say even depressing. The last ghost (The Reaper with demonic beings under his robe) shows Frank the after effects of his own death and actually shows him in the casket being burnt ALIVE!! Terrifying! SCROOGED is a complete is a comedy but also complete horror story to me."
Thank you for the nudge Bobby!
There is another horror-esque scene in the film I haven't heard anyone catch before. This could be completely unintentional but, let me have this moment. Remember when Frank found frozen Herman? Herman, the homeless friend at the Shelter Claire (Frank's love interest played by Karen Allen) volunteers with. Did anyone else get frozen Jack Torrance vibes?
This holiday season, more than ever, it's very important to indulge into some laughs and, things you love in general. Take it back old school with SCROOGED . And, if you've been a particular selfish, capitalist whore-bag who shit's on others for fun and profit, beware; ghosts are real.