|“||I knew Saint Nicholas was not c coming this year. Instead, it was a much darker, more ancient spirit. The Shadow of Saint Nicholas. It was Krampus. As he had for thousands of years, Krampus came not to reward, but to punish. not to give, but to take. He and his Helpers.||„|
|~ Omi about her nightmarish childhood encounter with Krampus and his Helpers.|
Krampus is the titular main antagonist of the 2015 horror-comedy film of the same name, and he is based off the same similar mythological creature of the same name.
He is an evil version of Santa Claus who punishes children who have been very naughty on Christmas. Not just children, but their parents if they have been naughty like the children too. He has done so for thousands of years, according to Omi in the film.
Along with the vast supernatural powers he holds, Krampus is aided by various demonic creatures including his unholy masked Elves that are referred to as his "Helpers".
He is portrayed physically by Luke Hawker, while his vocals were done by Gideon Emery.
Krampus appears as a monstrous, horned creature with cloven hooves and hook chains bearing baubles with his name on each of them. Krampus wears a screaming human-like mask with long gray hair and a long gray beard. He has long claw-like hands with a couple of gold rings on each on them. He has dark, magenta or crimson red eyes and wears a patchwork robe trimmed with dirty fur.
He is the wicked version of Santa Claus. Krampus' only concern is to punish children and/or parents who have been very naughty on Christmas Day or have lost all their Christmas spirit. If the people he torments cannot repent, they will be sent to the Underworld (Hell).
When the dysfunctional Engel family's clashes cause young Max Engel to become disillusioned with Christmas, his lack of belief and his angry shredding of his note to Santa wishing for his whole family to be together incurs the wrath of Krampus, who arrives in the neighborhood with his "Helpers".
Krampus first brings about a powerful snowstorm surrounding the neighborhood the family lives in (most of their neighbors are gone for Christmas, and are thus spared, but anyone else in town is attacked or frozen to death), cutting off all power, including heat. After this happens, Max notices a scary looking snowman on his front lawn, and the family gets a mysterious bag of Toys dumped on the porch.
Max's sister Beth leaves for her boyfriend Derek's house to see if he is alright, but on the way she encounters Krampus. She hides underneath a delivery truck, which Krampus circles before apparently leaving. However, he drops a jack-in-the-box, which releases a creature that attacks and captures Beth.
When Beth's father Tom and Uncle Howard go looking for her, one of Krampus' minions (one that can "swim" through snow like a shark) attacks them, injuring and nearly capturing Howard before Tom shoots it (non-fatally), causing it to flee. Meanwhile, the rest of the family hears Krampus on the roof, but play it off as big squirrels fighting over nuts.
Upon arriving home, Tom and Howard try to calm the family, saying they will board up the doors and windows and have a camp out in the living room. Tom's Austrian mother, Omi, warns Tom to keep the fire in the fireplace going. However, Howard falls asleep while he is keeping watch, and the fire goes out.
Krampus lowers a hook with one of his minions, a living gingerbread man, which captures Howie Jr., despite the rest of the family trying to save them. During this, they accidentally light their Christmas tree on fire. Following this, Omi tells the rest of the family her knowledge on Krampus:
As a little girl within a poor Austrian village in the aftermath of WWII, Omi tried to use Christmas and Santa to keep her spirits up, but the townspeople's cruelty (knocking her down and taking her loaf of bread, which they all fight over), as well as her parents' constant arguing (during which her mother rips her Santa doll), causes her to lose all her Christmas spirit and abandoned all hope and faith. That Christmas Eve, Krampus came and attacked her entire town, dragging everyone to the underworld except Omi, who he left behind as a reminder to never lose her Christmas spirit. He also gave her a bauble (Christmas ornament) with his name on it. Following this, everyone except Howard is shocked silent.
Howard, not believing the story, tries to go out and rescue his son and niece, but stops when he sees more evil-looking snowmen all over the front yard. Behind them, he sees creatures running around, before Tom and their wives pull him back in and lock the door.
The family tries to stay calm, with Aunt Dorothy watching the kids, Howard's wife Linda trying to salvage the presents, and Tom and his wife Sarah trying to come up with a plan. Eventually, they decide Tom will make a run for an abandoned snowplow he and Howard spotted while looking for Beth, then will return and pave way for the rest of the family, who will follow in the car until they find someone who can help.
However, when Max's cousins Stevie and Jordan (whose cruelty was the direct cause of Max's anger) go upstairs to use the bathroom, they hear Beth's voice coming from the attic, and go to investigate. They are attacked, and their screams cause Tom, Sarah, and Linda to run up and investigate, while Howard stays downstairs because of his injured leg.
When the trio get to the attic, they discover a demon who has taken the form of a human sized jack-in-the-box swallowing Jordan whole. They try to fight it, but other holiday-themed monsters attack, distracting them long enough for the jack-in-the-box to escape through the vents, though they are able to rescue Stevie.
Meanwhile, Howard hears laughing coming from the kitchen, and goes to investigate, where he is attacked by a trio of living gingerbread men using a nail gun as a weapon. After they run out of ammo, Howard manages to set them on fire, with two dying and his dog Rosie eating the third.
Rosie is then sent into the vents, where she fights the jack-in-the-box, forcing it through the ceiling into the living room. The other monsters then appear and attack the family, though Aunt Dorothy manages to kill most of them with Howard's shotgun. Before she can shoot the jack-in-the-box, however, Krampus' dark elves break into the house, kidnapping Dorothy, Howard, and Howard's baby girl.
The rest of the family flees the house, but Omi stays behind to confront Krampus and give the others time to escape. Krampus toys with Omi, obviously remembering her, before opening a bag of evil toys that attack her.
The family almost makes it to the snowplow, but Tom sacrifices himself to fight the "snow swimmer", which manages to capture him, Linda, and Sarah. Max and Stevie manage to get into the snowplow, only to find it is dead. Stevie is then captures by dark elves, while Krampus confronts Max, giving him a bauble, just like he gave to Omi. Krampus then leaves for his sleigh, and Max knows he alone has to save his family.Max confronts Krampus right before take off as he opens the ground to reveal a pit-like portal to the netherworld, giving back the bauble and offering himself up for the safety of his family. Krampus ponders this, but then has his elvish minions shove Stevie into the lava doorway, before he picks Max up and drops him in. Before he falls, Max apologizes for losing his Christmas spirit.
Max then wakes up in his bed. After looking outside and seeing the town back to normal, he goes downstairs and sees his family getting ready to open presents. Believing the whole experience to be a dream, Max tells his family he loves them, before everyone exchanges presents. However, Max's first present is the Krampus bauble, and the whole family goes silent when they see it, implying they all remember the Krampus encounter.
The house is then revealed to be in a snow globe on Krampus' desk, among many others, giving 2 possible implications:
1) The family has been physically shrunk down and trapped in the snow globe and will have to celebrate Christmas for all eternity as a twisted version of Hell.
2) Krampus believes the family has learned their lesson, the snow globe is only showing surveillance of the house instead of containing it, and he is merely spying on them, to make sure that they do not ever lose their Christmas spirit again. (This hypothesis is seemingly backed up by the prequel comic "Krampus: Shadow of Saint Nicholas".)
- Krampus' real face is never shown in the film, only the mask-like feature on his face, however both his eyes and mouth could be seen.
- One of Krampus' dark elves named "Lumpy" was portrayed by Seth Green who is best known for his portrayal as Scott Evil of Austin Powers fame and Chris Griffin of the Family Guy franchise.