I love the holidays, I really do. I'm the kind of person that loves to sit around and watch holiday specials, especially for Christmas and Halloween. My love of the former tends to get me craving some Christmas themed horror every now and then, which sadly, if you're looking for quality, we're kind of lacking. I do love Gremlins, and must confess that I found Jack Frost hilarious, but it's not very often I find a horror film that is Christmas related that isn't at least so bad it's good. That's where tonight's film comes in: Rare Exports. I'd originally passed on the film after being told about it because, judging by the wiki and imdb entry, it was just a light hearted fantasy film from Finland. Then I saw the trailer. The trailer suggested to me that it was more of a horror film, and so I felt that meant that I had to try it.
We start off with some dirty miner guy midstory emptying out a tube of sawdust. Obviously this is going to be a evil about sawdust demons. Instead we get a history lesson about people using sawdust to store ice. A creepy guy that looks kinda like the guy that played Ash in Alien and Bilbo in the LotR movies tells the miner to dig deeper to find out what the sawdust could have been storing. The one ring of power? Are we unearthing a frozen Balrog? "But the Swedish dug too greedily and too deep." They're up in some snowy mountains with some serious drilling equipment, which is giving me some Lovecraft vibes, like they're going to accidentally unearth some angry tentacled mass, all while a couple of random kids watch. Random kids that don't speak English, unlike Bilbo and Dirty Miner. One looks kinda like Eddie Munster, and for some reason starts talking about Santa and asking if Santa is dead, and the other just kinda looks like trailer trash.
After the credits we get some badass bearded man setting up a trap hole like he's fucking Rambo or something, as I'd imagine most scandinavians do. Minecraft taught me that they punch down trees with their bare hands, after all. It turns out he's the father of Eddie Munster, and a butcher. For some reason the kid remains pantsless for awhile, in the fucking snow. Running around n his underwear. Is he not cold or something? Who the fuck runs around in the snow in their underwear? They're all awaiting reindeer for them to trap, kill, and eat, but for some reason only two show up. Judging by the ominous music, the mountain that's being mined is to blame. But no, they go off on their snowmobiles and find hundreds of mutilated reindeer bodies out in the snow. This is too clean of work to have been done by a mountain. Obviously this was done by "Wolves", as they claim. Russian wolves, even. Or apparently, the people working on the mountain, so the butchers group together and decide to take on the miners! Bracing for the best musical ever. When you're a miner, you're a miner all the way...
Once at the mining camp they find the place to be abandoned, which is never a bad sign, ever. The butchers find a gigantic hole they've dug through the mountain that is so deep that maybe I was right to make that Moria crack earlier. But, instead of further checking things out, they just toss a torch down and head home. Eddie Munster crafts himself some armor out of various paddings and a hockey helmet, because he believes this is all the work of Santa, even showing off some drawings of just how evil Santa is. That is, Santa is apparently a hair, demonic looking thing that tortures and eats children. Awesome.
It turns out the mining operation didn't get abandoned. English speaking people are attempting to escape, because something horrible is going on. We don't get to find out what, but it looks like four miners just got decapitated by something, and they've apparently dug up something with a "pulse." Back at home we find out Eddie Munster's a complete psychopath who has littered traps around the place for Santa, nearly killing his dad with a bear trap. However, it turns out he had some reason to be afraid, as something did go for the meat off one of his traps. Possibly a human, all we actually see is some guy's hand in the tiger pit trap his dad made earlier. Come on, tell us things, movie! Well, eventually they show us that it's some bald, bearded guy from America, probably one of the miners. There's something funny about a man in sunglasses and a Santus suit examining a dead body. The kid also finds some creepy whicker dollhead thing, which is honestly spookier than the corpse they found. ...that is, until the corpse starts breathing.
Eddie Munster catches his dad getting ready to dismember the body, runs off with a cop, and his dad follows to make sure the kid doesn't talk, leaving Elvis Santa alone to keep an eye on the horribly wounded guy. They stumble upon a potato farmer/merchant guy who's been robbed... of potato sacks. Turns out he's the dad of the trailer trash kid, who is missing. In his bed, there's only the creepy whicker kid doll thing, though nobody seems to really care. We briefly cut back to Elvis Santa trying to talk to the old guy, who seems to wake up at the smell of gingerbread, and then bites off a chunk of the guy's ear before the butcher and his kid return. While they're poking the old guy with a stick, Eddie's calling up the family of all his friends to see if any of them have been seen, and it turns out they're all missing too. Anyway, after chaining the guy up, they deduce that the thing is Santa Claus and that he's responsible for the missing children. ...so they dress him up as Santa and take him to the American miners.
They meet up with Bilbo Baggins, who informs them that what they have is actually one of Satan's Little Helpers, all of which have the camp surrounded. Before he can explain further, one of the helpers shoves a pickaxe through his head, and the rest swarm the butchers as they pile into a warehouse. Inside the warehouse, there's a giant ball of ice with giant horns sticking out of it, surounded by all sorts of heating appliances, and children in bags, all to appease and awaken their master: Santa. I've never thought of Santa as a Lovecraftian thing, but I'm liking this idea. The butchers stack up the stoves etc. in front of the warehouse door and start letting the kids out of the bags in order to keep Santa from defrosting, before the kid suggests they just blow him up with all the dynamite they've got stored there. That's the obvious solution to everything: Blow it all up.
Elvis Santa sneaks out using gingerbread cookies to distract the elves, gets in the chopper, and airlifts all the kids out, including Eddie Munster, leaving the remaining two adults behind to take out Santa. The elves, which are now conspicuously CG, follow the helicopter, attracted by the smell of children being swung above them. The kid decides to sacrifice himself to open up the deer pen in order to trap all the elves. Considering that, the fact that he can run around in freezing temps in his underwear, and the fact he was just clinging to that net the entire time proves this kid is a badass like his dad. The adults steal Santa's horns, then blow him and the warehouse up. This ends up making the elves stop in their tracks, preventing Eddie Munster from getting eaten, and giving us a happy ending.
As the sun rises, the butchers decide that they're going to sell off the elves for $85,000 each. Who the hell is going to pay that much for elves? If you weren't disturbed enough, this cuts to them bathing the elves, and then putting them through training as, I guess, mall Santas. They crate them up (the crates give us our title, Rare Exports), and they're loaded up in the same warehouse where "top men" are busy analyzing the ark of the covenant. Who the hell is going to buy these? Isn't this slavery? What the fuck?
Overall, this wasn't a bad film. It's certainly an odd one, but I enjoyed it. It's interesting, at least. It's also only about an hour and ten minutes long, so it's not like you'll be wasting time giving it a try. If you don't mind subtitles, I'd recommend giving it a viewing. At the least it's the best Santa related horror film I've ever seen. In your face Don't Open Till Christmas, Silent Night Deadly Night, and Santa's Slay.
I've also got a request to put out there to my readers. If there's any crappy, low-budget horror films you want to see me do, just name 'em in the comments. The more obscure the better. I'm the kind of guy that digs through bargain bids for horror films, so don't be afraid to list even something from the 80's that never got a DVD release. As you'll note, that describes Cellar Dweller, and I already tackled that.
The worse the film, the better. I love watching awful movies.