To give this movie it’s full title, Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is one of the most original yuletide films you’re ever likely to see. Although keep the younglings away from this one, whilst Santa plays a pivotal part it’s not quite the Santa Claus you’d expect.
Deep in the Korvatunturi mountains hides the best-kept and darkest Christmas secret, Santa Claus is real. Those expecting to see Tim Allen in a fat suit having hilarious adventures in the North Pole are in for a bit of a shock, actually it may change your opinion on Santa forever.
After Santa is dug up in an archaeological find, children in the local area start to go missing. A young boy and his father capture the renegade Santa, and with the help of some hunters they plan to sell their catch back to the scientists that dug him up in the first place.
Their plan would be all the simpler if Santa wasn’t a raving psycho, and his army of deranged elves who will stop at nothing to free him.
Rare Exports isn’t a particular gory or bloodthirsty movie, I mean come on it is Christmas after all. That said, it creates an uneasy atmosphere and remains genuinely creepy throughout.
Director Jalmari Helander previously explored this concept in his short film Rare Exports Inc back in 2003. He expanded that idea 2 years later for another short, The Official Rare Exports Inc. Safety Instructions; so this feature film has been a labour of love for the Finnish filmmaker.
If I had seen this movie as a young teenager or stumbled upon it late one night on TV, I would have been scared to death of Santa and would of armed myself accordingly.
The world of Christmas horror movies is a troubled and messy sub genre at best, but Rare Exports manages the near impossible and is a well-made and unnerving seasonal tale of horror. It’s by far the most inventive horror film I’ve seen in years.
Here’s the original short film in all its glory.