All Through The House (2016) Directed by Todd Nunes. Starring Ashley Mary Nunes, Jessica Cameron, and Jennifer Wenger. A surprisingly competent and bloody low-budget slasher film about a killer dressed as Santa Claus who terrorizes a small town.
This review contains minor spoilers and, like the film itself, is definitely not family friendly.
A young woman returns to her small town after years away and contends with her insane neighbor as a serial killer dressed like Krampus slaughters the neighborhood decks the halls with blood and terror.
You want me to sell you on this entertaining low-budget slasher romp? Okay. During a key fight scene, a woman dressed up as an erotic version of Alice In Wonderland is beaten over the head with a tin of Christmas cookies by an old lady, and then defeats her elderly attacker by bludgeoning her with a mannequin arm. This movie is nuts. It is flat-out absurd, and I ate up every second.
Three young hooligans throw a rock at a super creepy blackened Krampus dummy, knocking its unappealing bearded mask off. As the boys scatter, a staggering man in hospital clothing approaches and scoops up the mask and a pair of gardening shears. Meanwhile, a mom sleeping in her bed with her young son wakes up and finds missing. The front door is wide open, her son is asleep on the couch under blankets.
“What to do now?” she asks herself. “How about a late night shower?”
As she strips in the bathroom, we see the masked killer watching her. Under the spray, her husband then shows up and she tells him to go to the bedroom and get ready for some hot loving. He leaves and begins furiously masturbating while having an encouraging chat with his penis about giving him a good performance. Finished with her midnight cleaning, his wife pulls back the shower curtain to reveal the killer, who stabs her viciously through the breasts and then rams the open shears into both of her eyes, killing her.
In the bedroom, the husband is swiftly castrated and bleeds to death.
So begins “All Through The House,” a surprisingly competent and bloody low-budget slasher film that shows its seriousness with great practical blood and gore effects from the first kill on. When the gardening shears actually appeared to enter the victim’s eyes, I started paying attention. Each gruesome murder showcases some really badass special effects.
Plus, if you love Christmas decorations, have I got a 90 minute paradise for you! During another shower scene, the interior of the stall has garland! That’s hardcore Christmas love right there. Seriously, this flick is DRIPPING with awesome decorations.
Oh yeah, the plot. Sorry.
Rachael Kimmel is back in town to visit her hard-drinking wheelchair bound grandmother at Christmas time. Her mother Laura vanished years ago, along with weird neighborhood girl Jamie Garret, and Rachael has made it a Yuletide tradition to put presents for Laura under the tree.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Garret, mother of the missing Jamie, is busy erecting disturbing eyeless Santa mannequins on her lawn. She asks for Rachael’s help in bringing down more decorations from the attic later that night because Garret has a date, and the girl agrees. Mrs. Garret also extends her sympathies regarding the missing Laura, saying that although she never knew the woman, she feels terrible about it.
In town, Rachael reconnects with best buds Gia and Sara, who in turn surprise her by bringing along her ex-boyfriend Cody. She left town without giving him a heads up, and he wants answers.
In private, Mrs. Garret verbally abuses her collection of 6-foot-tall Santa dolls. One in particular, slightly handsomer than the rest, gets the worst of the tongue lashing. Garret also fawns over a life-size mannequin of her daughter Jamie in a beautiful red sequin gown.
Just your average Friday night in Psychoville.
As punishment for the ex-boyfriend trap, Rachael drags Sarah and Gia to Mrs. Garret’s house to help decorate. But how much assistance could Garret really require in this department, as even her kitchen microwave has its own holiday wreath on it?
Every surface screams Christmas, except the eyeless Santa mannequins. They just scream.
As the girls head to the Garret place, you can’t help but notice that the inside of Rachael’s car has garland and Christmas lights.
Sheesh, people. All this festive spirit is exhausting.
As the film progresses, random folks around town are butchered by the Krampus killer; two lesbian lovers; a bondage enthusiast and his girlfriend; a lady walking her dog; an old woman; a cat that wanders into a murder scene and gets its neck broken.
Over at the Garret residence, dinner with the mannequin guests is wrapping up. Mrs. Garret has her Jamie mannequin, her Handsome Man Santa and a freaky looking stuffed animal, and each has a plate piled high with actual food. As Rachael, Gia and Sara arrive, Garret puts all her madness away. She tells them that extra decorations are in the attic, and pushes her special eggnog on them before leaving for her date.
After her departure, Sara realizes that the windows are nailed shut. And all the presents under the tree are for Jamie.
In Mrs. Garret’s bedroom, the girls find the nude Handsome Santa mannequin in bed and covered in lipstick stains all over the smooth mound where his male genitalia would be.
Staring down at this, Sara and Gia are horrified. Rachael shrugs and goes:
“Well, she never was much of a people person.”
Huh? THAT’S your reaction in a house loaded with creepy mannequins?
Back at the Kimmel residence, Granny gets a very unfriendly visit from the killer, resulting in one of the funniest death scenes I’ve seen in awhile. The masked psycho also snuffs out Granny’s cat, which is inexplicably listening to voicemails when it gets iced.
Rachael discovers that years ago her mother worked with Garret at a hospital, after finding a photo of them together. So they DID know each other. Why would Garret lie? And how come Rachael feels so funny after sampling Garret’s eggnog?
There are padlocked children-sized doors in Garret’s bedroom, too, with no keys lying around conveniently. Sara gets bored with all this Nancy Drew investigating and runs out to the local liquor store, while Gia pulls the red dress from the Jamie mannequin and puts it on. Upon Sara’s return, she is promptly accosted by the Krampus killer. Gia finds the bottle of wine Sara bought on the front step and thinks nothing of it as her friend is being butchered just outside.
Rachael visits her now dead Granny’s house, and then comes across the keys to the little doors in Mrs. Garret’s bedroom. They lead to a super weird basement that features mannequins in dog cages, Rachael’s murdered Granny strung up in Christmas lights, and the completely insane Mrs. Garret, just chilling.
She tells Rachael the awful truth about her mother and father, and why the killings are happening all over town. Then Cody shows up to save the day and gets his ass kicked by Krampus.
After Rachael is forced to wear an Alice In Wonderland dress with white thigh-high stockings and heels, the final fight begins! And man, is it crazy!
“All Through The House” would make for some fine Halloween party viewing this year. Just make sure the kids are in bed. Besides the gruesome, blood-soaked murders, there’s quite a bit of nudity, badly timed showers, sexual situations and a huge bag full of severed penises.
The body count speaks for itself:
- A woman is stabbed through the breast with gardening shears, and then through the eyes.
- A man has his penis sliced off with gardening shears.
- A woman is stabbed in the neck with a machete, then through the top of her head with shears.
- A woman has gardening shears rammed through her chin and out the top of her head.
- A man is castrated with gardening shears.
- A woman is pulled under a bed and killed off-screen.
- A woman is stabbed in the lower back through a door. As she slides to the floor,
her killer rams the blade through the door again into the back of her head and out her mouth.
- A woman is tied up with Christmas lights and thrown off a cliff in a wheelchair.
- A woman has her fingers cut off and is then repeatedly stabbed in torso.
- A woman has her neck caught in open shears. Her throat is cut.
- A woman is strangled to death.
I recently watched the slasher “Most Likely To Die,” a bland and utterly lifeless waste of time– “All Through The House” is the exact opposite. It’s brimming with personality and spirit! The murders are graphic and bloody and all practical, and although the back story borrows from “Sleepaway Camp” and the 1980s Santa slasher “To All A Good Night,” so what? It’s all in good fun. And Melynda Kiring turns in a committed performance as the crazed Mrs. Garret. She’s fantastic.