Adam Scott, Toni Collette lead ‘Krampus’ cast

Talented actors Adam Scott (“Black Mass,” TV’s “Parks & Recreation”) and Toni Collette (“Little Miss Sunshine”) are joined by child sensation Emjay Anthony (Disney’s upcoming “The Jungle Book”) in Universal Pictures’ horror-comedy “Krampus.”

When selecting the actors who would perform in “Krampus,” it was important to director Michael Dougherty to ensure that the cast felt exactly like a family attempting to get through Christmas. Says the director: “Our premise was, ‘What if we made that struggle more difficult by adding a heavy dose of supernatural fun to it?’ That meant casting people that you would believe in a family dramedy and finding actors who had strengths in drama and comedy…but who weren’t primarily known for horror films.” In Dougherty’s signature style, he muses, “I think it’s fun to take actors who you love and find endearing and then just do terrible things to them.”

Krampus-AScott

Like many of the cast and crew who worked on the project, Adam Scott grew up on a steady diet of ’80s horror films, and was thrilled to discover his director’s predilection for using practical effects whenever possible. The actor discusses that his first meeting with Dougherty sealed his interest in joining the project: “Michael explained that he wanted to make a film that harkened back to the Amblin movies of the ’80s, ones with a mix of horror and dramedy—grounded stories with a real sense of danger and high personal stakes for all the characters.”

Scott describes his character, Tom Engel, as harboring a lot of guilt for working a great deal and being away from his family so often: “He feels a bit on the outside of the structure at home, and things with his wife are strained. But over the course of the movie, he gets to step up and protect his family.” Adding to his interest, the actor admits that he was “beyond thrilled” at being cast beside on-screen wife Toni Collette. “Toni is one of the great actresses we have; she upped everyone’s game.”

Krampus-TCollette

For her part, the Oscar®-nominated actress relished portraying Sarah on screen. Although Collette has appeared in several thrillers during her career, most significantly in “The Sixth Sense,” she has long been lauded for both her work in drama and comedy. Reflecting on playing the stressed-out mother of two, she notes: “Many people can relate to the stress in the Engel family during the holidays. We’ve gotten to the point that Christmas has become so commercialized, such a period of self-induced mania. I responded to the fact that this family has lost its way, and they’re forced into a situation that only by working together will they overcome what’s befallen them.”

As did Scott, Collette relished the idea of playing a role on such a physical set. She laughs: “When we weren’t being chased outside by evil elves or hauled up a chimney by psychotic gingerbread men, Michael had us running through the house causing all sorts of mayhem. And although we were all exhausted by the end of the shoot, I think I can speak for the rest of the cast when I say that we adored playing in his world.”

Krampus-EAnthony

Max, the glue that holds the fraying Engel family together, is portrayed by young movie veteran Emjay Anthony, whose 12-year-old enthusiasm infused the entire period of principal photography. “It was awesome,” exclaims the co-star of “Chef” and “Insurgent” about working on “Krampus.” As he seamlessly slipped in and out of character with each take, Anthony exuded the ease of a child actor with a lot of on-set experience. At the same time, the self-professed trickster took great delight in pranking cast and crew throughout the shoot. He particularly enjoyed when Dougherty colluded with him.

The young performer describes Max as “a kid who is just trying to keep his family together.” Sharing a set with demented puppets was a first for Anthony, as well as something he is keen to do again. He cringes when he recalls the creatures: “They are disgusting, especially that angel with the crazy tongue.”

Legendary Pictures’ “Krampus,” the darkly festive tale of this yuletide ghoul, reveals an irreverently twisted side to the holiday. When his dysfunctional family clashes over the holidays, sensitive and thoughtful young Max Engel grows disillusioned and turns his back on Christmas. Little does he know, this lack of festive spirit has unleashed the wrath of Krampus: a demonic force of ancient retribution intent on punishing non-believers.

All hell breaks loose as twisted doppelgangers of beloved holiday icons—from frost-bitten snowmen and demonic cherubs to feral teddy bears and wickedly delicious gingerbread men—take on a monstrous life of their own, laying siege to the fractured family’s home and forcing them to fight for each other if they hope to survive.

Opening across the Philippines on December 2, 2015 “Krampus” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

— PRESS STATEMENT FROM UNITED INTERNATIONAL PICTURES

‘Krampus’ director paints the holidays with fright

Krampus writer-director Michael Dougherty has long taken an interest in the delightfully dark and subversive.  From his breakout feature, 2007’s “Trick ’r Treat,” which began as a small release and has grown to attract a rabid cult following, to his unexpected research into the origins of the winter solstice, the filmmaker has discovered that the dark side of pop culture and folklore is often much more fascinating than the humdrum stories we’ve been told.

Dougherty explains that it was about 15 years ago that he was introduced to the dark side of December’s beloved holiday: “The same way that Americans send out Christmas cards, Europeans have this rich tradition of sending out Krampus cards.  I was shown these beautiful illustrations of this creature called Krampus, who stole children, and images of people cowering in fear.  Still, they had such a fun, mischievous quality, similar to our Halloween.  I found that appealing because it made Christmas more enjoyable to know that there was this dark, mischievous side to the holiday that Americans didn’t have yet.  It was lurking in the shadows waiting to be rediscovered.”

The more he explored, the more Dougherty realized how intricate the cloven-hooved demon’s history actually is.  He states: “One theory is that Krampus goes back to the roots of the holiday itself, which go all the way back to pagan history.  Before it was Christmas, it was the winter solstice.  It was closer in tone and style to Halloween, in that it was more debaucherous and more of an outlet for our pent-up frustrations.  When Christians rolled in and took over, they saw how much people liked the solstice celebration, and so they co-opted it and parked Christmas on top of it.”  He pauses.  “There are theories that Santa Claus was even created as an antidote to Krampus.”

For the filmmaker, Santa’s dark shadow seemed to stay top of mind.  “He just kept coming into my consciousness,” says Dougherty.  “In the past few years, they discussed Krampus on `The League’ and `American Dad.’  He showed up on `The Colbert Report.’  It was like this indie band that people were passing around, and it just felt like the right time.  So I worked with a couple friends, Todd Casey and Zach Shields, on the script for quite a while.  We fine-tuned it until it felt just right, and the timing now feels very fortuitous.”

Producer Alex Garcia, who has worked with Dougherty since their days together on “X-Men 2” and “Trick ’r Treat,” was in love with the universe that the writing partners imagined.  He says: “Todd, Zach and Michael created this incredibly genuine and fun backdrop for Krampus’ coming-out party for modern audiences.  They set the story in a seemingly everyday world with very real and relatable characters.  Max’s family has come to represent everything that’s wrong with how we celebrate Christmas: the over-commercialization, the inordinate pressure for perfection, and the holiday’s stressed and frenetic nature.  When they break the last straw and nearly stamp out Max’s belief, they bring forth the wrath of Krampus, and all comic hell breaks loose.”

With the support of his fellow producers, Dougherty aims for a balance of comedy with thrills in his movies.  “If you look at the Krampus myth and the history of the character, there is something quite loveable and likeable about him,” he reflects.  “Therefore, it wouldn’t feel right to make a film that was overly intense, gory or extreme.  There’s the comedy aspect of our story, the horror, obviously—and it’s full of monsters and scares and suspense—but there is also a very heavy dose of dark fairytale and fantasy to it.  My whole career, I’ve been trying to bring that mischievous quality to movies, the kind I missed from the ’80s.  I hope we’ve achieved that with Krampus.”

Opening across the Philippines on December 2, 2015, Krampus is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

— PRESS STATEMENT FROM UNITED INTERNATIONAL PICTURES

‘Krampus’ featurette sheds light on Christmas demon

As the opening of its new horror thriller Krampus nears, Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures have released a new featurette which clues viewers in on the many variations of Krampus throughout the years and how writer/director Michael Dougherty plans to bring his vision to life in the new film.

Learn about the legend and lore of Krampus with the new featurette below.

Legendary Pictures’ “Krampus,” a darkly festive tale of a yuletide ghoul, reveals an irreverently twisted side to the holiday.

When his dysfunctional family clashes over the holidays, young Max (Emjay Anthony) is disillusioned and turns his back on Christmas. Little does he know, this lack of festive spirit has unleashed the wrath of Krampus: a demonic force of ancient evil intent on punishing non-believers.

All hell breaks loose as beloved holiday icons take on a monstrous life of their own, laying siege to the fractured family’s home and forcing them to fight for each other if they hope to survive.

The horror-comedy also stars Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner, Allison Tolman, Conchata Ferrell, Stefania Lavie Owen and Krista Stadler.

Krampus and his mischievous underlings have been created by the combined efforts of Weta Workshop and Weta Digital, both renowned for their epic work on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies and King Kong, among many others.

Written and directed by Michael Dougherty (Trick ’r Treat), Krampus is co-written by Zach Shields and Todd Casey and produced by Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni, Alex Garcia and Dougherty.

Opening across the Philippines on December 2, 2015, Krampus is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

— PRESS STATEMENT FROM UNITED INTERNATIONAL PICTURES

LOOK: Scary creature intrudes in new ‘Krampus’ poster

Home invasion gets a “monstrous” twist as dark creature Krampus prepares to crash an unsuspecting house in the newly released poster for Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ Krampus.

A darkly festive tale of a yuletide ghoul, revealing an irreverently twisted side to the Christmas holiday, “Krampus” is directed by Michael Dougherty, and stars Adam Scott, Toni Collette, Emjay Anthony, Allison Tollman, David Koechner, Conchata Ferrell, Stefania Owen and Krista Stadler.

When his dysfunctional family clashes over the holidays, young Max (Emjay Anthony) is disillusioned and turns his back on Christmas. Little does he know, this lack of festive spirit has unleashed the wrath of Krampus: a demonic force of ancient evil intent on punishing non-believers.

All hell breaks loose as beloved holiday icons take on a monstrous life of their own, laying siege to the fractured family’s home and forcing them to fight for each other if they hope to survive.

Opening across the Philippines on December 2, 2015, Krampus is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

— PRESS STATEMENT FROM UNITED INTERNTAITONAL PICTURES

Krampus-Poster2

WATCH: ‘Krampus’ unleashes holiday havoc in new trailer

Krampus, the dark counterpart of Santa Claus, gets unleashed in a new trailer from the Christmas-themed horror thriller. Watch the trailer below.

Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ “Krampus,” a darkly festive tale of a yuletide ghoul, reveals an irreverently twisted side to the Christmas holiday.

Directed by Michael Dougherty, “Krampus” stars Adam Scott, Toni Collette, Emjay Anthony, Allison Tollman, David Koechner, Conchata Ferrell, Stefania Owen and Krista Stadler.

Krampus-03

When his dysfunctional family clashes over the holidays, young Max (Emjay Anthony) is disillusioned and turns his back on Christmas. Little does he know, this lack of festive spirit has unleashed the wrath of Krampus: a demonic force of ancient evil intent on punishing non-believers.

All hell breaks loose as beloved holiday icons take on a monstrous life of their own, laying siege to the fractured family’s home and forcing them to fight for each other if they hope to survive.

Opening across the Philippines on December 2, 2015, Krampus is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

— PRESS STATEMENT FROM UNITED INTERNATIONAL PICTURES

‘Krampus’ is coming to town in December

“He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake…” goes the classic Christmas carol, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” But what if the lyrics were about something even more terrifying than a large bearded man with a sack of gifts?

That’s the basis of new film which will more likely fill you with festive fear than cheer. Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ Krampus, a darkly festive tale of a yuletide ghoul, reveals an irreverently twisted side to the Christmas holiday.

Directed by Michael Dougherty, “Krampus” stars Adam Scott, Toni Collette, Emjay Anthony, Allison Tollman, David Koechner, Conchata Ferrell, Stefania Owen and Krista Stadler.

When his dysfunctional family clashes over the holidays, young Max (Emjay Anthony) is disillusioned and turns his back on Christmas. Little does he know, this lack of festive spirit has unleashed the wrath of Krampus: a demonic force of ancient evil intent on punishing non-believers.

All hell breaks loose as beloved holiday icons take on a monstrous life of their own, laying siege to the fractured family’s home and forcing them to fight for each other if they hope to survive.

Opening across the Philippines on December 2, 2015, Krampus is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Krampus-USPoster