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‘Twas the night of Twisted Christmas
with the Frida decorated and dressed,
every horrid creature was stirring
and screams were not suppressed.
Dismembered limbs hung from
the theater walls without care,
in hopes to ward away the minions
of Santa with a jolly good scare!
On the night of December 17th, crowds of folks eager for a good scare and a holiday-themed experience they would never forget filed into the lobby and theaters of The Frida Cinema as our friends over at Dark Alley Productions brought their unique event, Twisted Christmas, to the historic downtown area.
Entering the dimly-lit lobby, out of the cold air that surrounded the stretching line of those ready for some Christmas scares, guests were greeted with an ornately dressed lobby of Christmas lights and decorations. Spooky iterations of classic holiday tunes oozed from the speakers as crowds of actors in makeup and costume, all dressed as demonic elves and Santa’s minions, did their mischievous bidding as they tormented and startled the guests as they entered.
Inside one of our two theaters was the Dark Marketplace, which housed a handful of vendors who peddled their horror-inspired wares to the unsuspecting crowd. Many bought art prints, customized glassware, stickers, pins, and all sorts of merchandise perfect for gifting. On the stage sat the jolly man in charge himself, the filthy axe-wielding Santa Clause, who had many victims sit on his lap before gifting them with wrapped presents humorously containing anything from rubber ducks to unsharpened pencils to old bars of soap. The decorations were extensive and filled the room with a dreadful cheer, and I found myself spooked at the shrieks of Santa’s minions as I waltzed through the haze and laser lights.
Once everyone was able to purchase their ghoulish last minute goods, they filled the rows of the opposite theater for the horror movie marathon. Trevor Dillon, the Frida’s Programming Director, hopped in front of the crowd to introduce the event, which he stated has been his favorite event that has been put on at the theater, and then the masterminds behind it: Dark Alley Productions. Rick Navarro of Dark Alley then spoke to the crowd, giving his thanks for the audience attendance as well as to his hard-working crew for making the event run smoothly. They then introduced the blood-curdling double feature of Christmas-themed horror movies that was about to unfold, which kicked off with Lewis Jackson’s 1980 slasher Christmas Evil and ended with the anthology film A Christmas Horror Story.
Throughout both films, the minions sent from the crooked North Pole didn’t let up and they unleashed their havoc on the audience in the darkened theater. Whether yelling jokes and jumping in front of the screen, throwing snowballs and wrapped gifts into the crowd, sneaking up behind unsuspecting audience members to spook them, or walking through the rows as they improvised bits to torment the audience who both screamed and laughed along. While enjoying the havoc on screen, I found myself approached by the killer Santa Claus who got quite close before asking “Why are you scared little boy? Have you been naughty?” and then dropping a neatly wrapped gift into my lap. Although it turned out to be a single number two pencil, I can say that I was visited by the ultimate gift giver (and life taker) himself.
Like a demented and interactive episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (while also being very much akin to our monthly Rocky Horror Picture Show events) the movie marathon viewing experience was enhanced tenfold as the folks behind Dark Alley maintained the spirit and energy through the night.
All in all, Twisted Christmas was one of the most unique and worthwhile holiday experiences I’ve had and would highly recommend that you attend whenever the Christmas-themed chaos crops up again in the future. Make sure to follow the hard working team on Instagram @darkalleyproductions in order to keep an eye out for any more eerie events and announcements. Also be sure to follow the pages and digital storefronts for the extremely talented vendors (@cherrynoirvintage, @whichcraft_ca, @theartofsketch, @lucky_hellcat, @urksdesign, and @randohmink) and get in that last bit of holiday gift shopping before the season is over!