Episode 138: A Christmas Story Christmas

Merry Christmas, Creepazoids!

This year we bring you an episode all about A Christmas Story Christmas! Yet another attempt at an ‘official’ sequel to Bob Clark’s holiday classic, this one finds Peter Billingsley returning as a middle-aged Ralphie, now tasked with giving his family the fabled Perfect Christmas. 

Is this a brazen attempt to cash in on our nostalgia? Or is it a genuine, warm-hearted plea to…er…cash in on our nostalgia? You may be surprised to hear where we land on this one! We’ll dig into the original Jean Shepard stories, the nostalgia of assorted casseroles, and a whole lot more!

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“25 Days of Christmas” By The Numbers – 2022 Edition

The holidays are officially here, and along with them comes Freeform’s “25 Days of Christmas” programming block! Last year we tallied up every movie ever shown during the month of December since 2018, and the frequency of each. Now it’s time to add this year’s block to the data pool and see how things look.

Just like last year’s chart (available here), the big perennial favorites get more play this month than the others, but a couple of surprises emerged. Also, we’re only counting the films or specials that air in primetime (roughly 5pm to midnight).

Here’s this year’s schedule for reference. And now here’s what the chart looks like:

Click for full size!

STRAY OBSERVATIONS:

  • With The Grinch out of the picture, the Home Alone and Santa Clause franchises have picked up the slack in a BIG way. Both Home Alone and Home Alone 2 garnered eight showings apiece, up from their previous peak of 6 in 2018. Meanwhile the Santa Clause movies took a big leap forward, with a grand total of seven showings each, all billed as “The Santa Clause Trilogy”.
  • The jump in popularity for The Santa Clause is no doubt a marketing move from Disney, looking to advertise their new The Santa Clauses series on Disney Plus. Early reactions to the series have been rough, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the marketing blitz on this thing turns out to be fierce.
  • For reasons known only to God and Bob Iger, Jingle All The Way 2 returns to the rotation this year. This is especially baffling as, to the best of my knowledge, the original has never appeared in any Freeform holiday block whatsoever.
  • Making their 25 Days debut (Day-but?) are an eclectic mix of features: Frozen, Frozen II, the Frozen spin-off cartoon Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, the comically morbid rom-com Last Christmas, the Bill Murray classic Scrooged, and the film that once made our podcast literally explode: Unaccompanied Minors.
  • Curiously, though, Frozen II and Olaf’s Frozen Adventure are the only two of those that are listed on the schedule as “Freeform Premieres”. The others have never appeared in any schedule I’ve seen before, but again I’m only looking at primetime data here.

Overall, not too many surprises this year. It’s still curious to me that Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas only ever seems to get played once per season, though as I’ve said before, maybe the Halloween crowd has finally staked its claim over that one.

What do you think? Any interesting data that I might have missed? What movies do you always look forward to revisiting every holiday season? Am I crazy for even obsessing over this? Maybe! Leave a comment below!

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Episode 137: Santa Jaws

Home for the Horrordays enters extra innings this week as we finally tackle a little film called SANTA JAWS!

You see, it’s Jaws, but the shark wears a fun little Santa hat. Not surprisingly, this comes from the Syfy Channel stable of original movies, but somewhat surprisingly, this actually looks and feels like a real movie. Granted, that’s not much to hang our hats on, but we’ll take what we can get!

Come join us as we discuss gross Mountain Dew flavors, how Santa Jaws stacks up to Regular Jaws, the shenanigans going on over at Twitter, and more!

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Episode 136: Blood Beat

Home for the Horrordays continues with one of the more bizarre films we’ve ever covered: Blood Beat!

A family hunting trip in the Wisconsin wilderness is interrupted by the vengeful spirit of a dead samurai, and it’s up to the two psychic women of the house to stop him. Or at least, that’s what we think is going on here… Blood Beat is a bunch of loosely interpreted ends in search of a movie, and it’s our job to twist those ends into something vaguely coherent. Wish us luck.

We also spend some time discussing apple picking, mellowcrème candies for old people, waterbeds, the films of Jim Wynorski and James Cameron, and so much more!

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INTRO/OUTRO: “Carol of the Bells” by Bards Bizarre. Check em out on Bandcamp today!

Questions? Complaints? Requests? Hit us up at XmasCreeps@gmail.com!

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Episode 135: Night of the Comet

Grab your pumpkins and pour your ciders, kids, because the most wonderful time of the year is finally upon us: HOME FOR THE HORRORDAYS!

Home For The Horrordays is our annual tradition of watching Christmas-themed horror flicks. There are more of them than you’d imagine, and this year we’ve picked some real oddballs! On this episode, we dig into the 1984 cult classic Night of the Comet!

It’s 11 days until Christmas and a passing comet has vaporized most of Los Angeles. Survivors Regina and Sam find themselves besieged by mutant stockboys, nefarious scientists, and zombified cops. Will they escape with their lives? Can they find a way to save Christmas? There’s only one way to find out…

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“31 Nights of Halloween” By The Numbers – 2022 Edition

Greetings spooky pals! Home For The Horrordays is just around the corner, which means it’s also time for all things creepy, kooky and altogether spooky. (Or however that goes…) That includes the return of Freeform’s 31 Nights of Halloween!

Last year we ran a full breakdown of their programming block and how it’s changed over the past few years. We’ll refer you back to that post if you’d like to read up on how it all got started. The short version is that Hocus Pocus has grown exponentially in popularity in the past decade, and the good folks at Disney and Freeform has been more than happy to build an entire month-long TV block dedicated to shoving it down your throats.

Anyway, we’re back to add this year’s lineup to the chart and compare this year’s block with years past!

Here’s the official 2022 schedule for reference. And here’s our updated chart:

Click for full-size!

THE HOCUS POCUS-SHAPED ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

It’s no secret that there’s a new Hocus Pocus sequel premiering on Disney+ this week. With that in mind, one has to wonder how much of this year’s 31 Nights block will be dedicated to advertising it.

The original Hocus Pocus has seen a precipitous drop in its presence on the schedule, from 30 showings at its peak in 2019 to a mere 10 showings this year. This is likely due both to the wide array of features on offer this year, as well as a desire to not oversaturate the market with all things Hocus Pocus. Freeform is showing remarkable restraint in only airing the original three times in the first week alone.

One also has to wonder how long before Hocus Pocus 2 appears in the 31 Nights rotation. Five years? Never? Both seem equally plausible.

THE CREEPY AND THE KOOKY

The Addams Family (1991) and its sequel, Addams Family Values, were once staples of the 31 Nights rotation. This year, they’re nowhere to be found!

Licensing probably has something to do with this, as we not only now have two animated Addams films from Sony, but an entire new Netflix series from Tim Burton competing for cultural space. It’s a shame to see the Sonnenfeld films disappear, but from a business standpoint it makes sense. It’s probably a smart move to give those films a year or two off. I’m sure they’ll return.

And speaking of Tim Burton, Beetlejuice reappears on this year’s schedule. In 2020, the film aired twelve times, then disappeared completely in 2021. This year we’re getting only four showings, so I don’t know that I’d call his return triumphant.

Still, Burton is hands down the most well represented filmmaker in the 31 Nights lineup. This year, Burton’s films make up 14% of the total schedule (eight films out of the month’s 57 timeslots). This is up from 5% in 2021, though the record so far is 2020, when Burton’s films accounted for nearly one-fifth of the entire schedule!

NEW ARRIVALS TO THE ROTATION:
A Quiet Place
Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992)
Get Out
Halloween (2018)
Happy Death Day
Happy Death Day 2 U

GONE FROM THE SCHEDULE (RIP):
The Addams Family (1991)
Addams Family Values
Casper (1995)
The Goonies
Matilda
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

RANDOM OBSERVATIONS:

No doubt the addition of more adult horror films is an attempt to lure in older viewers, or maybe simply catering to the changing tastes of current ones. Halloween (2018) seems like a pretty big get, what with Halloween Ends coming out soon and all. Either way, it’s nice to see Freeform branching out into actual horror movies.

For reasons known only to God and the programming director at Freeform, HalloweenTown II will see twice as many showings as the original this year. Last year saw the original get four showings, and none for the sequel. Is there a reason for this? Who’s to say?

Not seen since 2018, Maleficent roars back to the schedule with five showings, while the sequel Maleficent: Mistress of Evil gets a single showing on October 8th.

For the first time ever, Ghostbusters (2016) will get more showings than the two originals. If I were a betting man, I’d say next year will see the premiere of Ghostbusters Afterlife and I’m gonna guess with a grand total of four showings. It’s just as likely that the two original Ghostbusters films will go the way of The Addams Family, leaving the spooky rotation to make room for more modern tastes.

Finally, with the loss of Addams Family, Willy Wonka and Toy Story of Terror, only three films have appeared every year since 2018: Hocus Pocus, Nightmare Before Christmas, and Monsters, Inc. The first two probably aren’t going anywhere, but the way things are going, Monsters might not be long for this schedule…

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What do you think of 31 Nights of Halloween? Any trends you find curious? Let us know in the comments!

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Stocking Stuffer #28: The Christmas Gift of Light

For years, internet sleuths have tried to identify a cartoon based on nothing but an old family Christmas photo. In an amazing turn of events, not only was the cartoon identified, but it turned out to be an obscure Christmas special titled The Christmas Gift of Light. So you know we had to watch that thing ASAP!

And watch it we did. On this Stocking Stuffer, Joe and Johnny-5 break down this odd little relic, spending entirely too long looking into the IMDb profiles of most of the voice cast, pondering the cartoon’s purpose, and asking the big questions like “Why did we even want to watch this in the first place?”

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Episode 134: A Mom For Christmas

There’s a reason we don’t often go to the made-for-TV well, and it’s because we fear falling into that abyss never to be seen again. But sometimes a project intrigues you so much that you can’t help but gaze into it anyway.

This week we discuss the 1990 made-for-TV Disney film A Mom For Christmas! Directed by George Miller—”Zeus & Roxanne” George Miller, not “Happy Feet” George Miller—this film frequently verges on becoming a weird bit of body horror involving mannequins, alive and otherwise.

We weren’t sure what to expect here, but we wound up talking about soup for breakfast, mannequins on film, speculation on the forthcoming Christmas Story sequel, and a whole lot more!

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Stocking Stuffer #27: Love Death & Robots, “All Through The House”

This edition of Stocking Stuffers is unique, in that the episode of TV we’re covering is only about 7 minutes long. “All Through The House” is the lone Christmas episode of Netflix’s animated anthology series Love Death & Robots. It’s also a perfect fit for our show’s often macabre and off-kilter grasp of the holidays.

But since the episode is so short, Joe and Bradford take it as an opportunity to discuss a wide array of subjects. Bradford’s experiments with DIY salsa, Brach’s latest attempt to ruin candy corn forever, and the recent news of HBO Max’s impending demise. We cover a lot of ground on this episode, and we hope you’re okay with that!

(The actual show discussion begins at 17:00)

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What TV episodes would you like us to cover? Hit us up at XmasCreeps@gmail.com!

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Episode 133: Money Train

Happy Christmas in July! On this episode, we’re still knee deep in summer action season as we take a look at the Wesley Snipes/Woody Harrelson buddy cop flick Money Train!

They’re two cops who also happen to be brothers, or is it two brothers who also happen to be cops? Either way, it’s Christmastime in the Big Apple and Charlie owes a large gambling debt to a local mobster. What’s a transit cop in need of cash to do? Why rob the money train, of course!

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