Written by: Matt Molgaard
Kat Richardson delivers one damn entertaining spin on Christmas terror. Richardson tosses a werewolf in this mix, and the beast not only comes face-to-face with the one and only Santa Claus, he actually lends assistant to the bearer of gifts. See, the setup to this creative short is just shy of brilliant, as we meet our lycanthropic buddy moments after devouring a reindeer. But this isn’t just any old reindeer that’s been made a meal: it’s the most famous reindeer of all, Rudolph. Yes, the one with the glowing nose, that guides Santa’s sleigh through the thick fog that hovers above towns across the globe.
So, what is Santa to do after a pivotal character in his lineup has been chomped on? How about recruit Matthias, the werewolf responsible for the slaughtering, to replace Rudolph (much to the chagrin of the remaining lineup of reindeer). Sounds like a glorious plan to me, and Richardson makes it work, really, really well.
A multi-layered tale with subtle humor, plenty of tension and a few twists that should sate the appetite of horror fans as well as holiday freaks, The Werewolf Before Christmas plays on folklore and fairy tales that have been recited for too many years to count. However, make no mistake this is a fresh, enticing tale that demands readers pay close attention. Really, there’s no reason not to find ones self completely embedded in this short, it’s about as infectious as the holiday bug floating in the air.
Kat’s sly sense of humor keeps the mood light and the constant nods to holiday traditions make for a legitimately fun read. Very few holiday tales incorporate the oft-forgotten Black Pete, but Richardson actually tosses ole Pete in a very focal position here, in fact this character plays a pretty profound role in the latter portions of the story, and the climax relies heavily on Pete’s presence and motives.
I’ve got to pull the plug there before I ruin a stellar short. However, I’ll tell you this: The Werewolf Before Christmas stands as one of the finest installments you’ll catch in the extremely memorable anthology, Wolfsbane and Mistletoe. If you seek a clever, cohesive Christmas tale of darkness, it’s hard to go wrong with this one. Furthermore, I’m not entirely convinced a story featuring both Santa Claus and a werewolf could have been told any better.
Fast moving, cohesive with a completely fluid narrative, this is a top notch seasonal tale!