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Published on December 14th, 2017 | by Randy Weeks

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The View From the Balcony: The Oxford Film Festival Christmas Nightmare

Last Saturday night was another cold one. The good thing about it was that I had no trouble claiming my corner on The Balcony. The bad thing was that I got sleepy extremely quickly. I nodded off and had a nightmare to end all nightmares.

I found myself walking into the Oxford Commons Theater for the Oxford Film Festival. It seemed a bit strange since it was during the holiday season and not in February when the festival usually is held. The place was packed, but I could sense that there was something eerily amiss. Everyone’s back was turned toward me. Slowly and purposely they all turned to face me. I was aghast and horrified! Hollow-eyed and grey of skin, the festival-goers were ghosts and ghouls and banshees and such. The ghost of Melanie Addington, executive director of the Oxford Film Festival, welcomed me with a chilling hug and a kiss that reeked of death. She handed me the festival program, threw back her head and cackled, “Enjoyyyy, Randy! Enjoyyyy.”

I opened my program to find the most frightening of frights. It was Halloween meets Christmas. I had come to see films like It’s a Wonderful Life, White Christmas, and A Christmas Story, but they were not to be shown. Here’s what I found instead…

Elf Zombies – Hoards of elf zombies spread tidings of great fear to impish children around the world while singing “Oh, you better watch out, you better not cry, better not pout, I’m telling you why. Elf Zombies are coming to town!”

Santa’s Claws – Santa’s fingernails grow to elongated, razor-sharp blades used to randomly rip parents who are up late putting out Christmas gifts, all to the sound of a child singing, “I saw Santa slashing Mom and Dad underneath the mistletoe last night.”

North Poled: Mrs. Claus Gets a New Ornament for Her Tree – Santa’s old lady catches him in a strip club the night before Christmas Eve and takes her revenge, singing, “Santa Got Run Over by a Chainsaw.”

Ho, Ho, Ho! – Monty Python reunites for this bizarre retelling of the first Christmas. The wise men get whacked on their way to Bethlehem and are replaced by their killers—three prostitutes, singing Paul McCartney’s Christmas song, “We’re simply having a wonderful Christmastime. Simply having a wonderful Christmastime.”

Frosty the Ax Murderer – A serial killer takes on the persona of one of the most beloved Christmas characters of the modern era, leaving a grizzly trail of human carnage behind him before mysteriously disappearing, leaving a terrifying message: “I’ll be back again someday.”

He Sees You When You’re Sleeping – Santa stalks the neighborhoods looking for naughtiness in the dead of night, singing merrily as he goes along, “I’m stalking in a winter wonderland. I’m stalking in a winter wonderland.”

All I Want for Christmas: Toothless in Oxford Town – (local entry) An insane dentist (Dr. Steve Wooten) goes on a rampage, pulling the front teeth of anyone he can catch and threatening them with a slow, agonizing death by tooth drill if they can’t whistle “Carol of the Bells.”

Santa’s Baby: The Revenge of Lily Clause – Santa had a fling or two before settling down. A daughter he didn’t know about shows up, and boy is she ever pissed! A highlight is when Santa sings the theme song, “What Child is This?”

I Saw Mommy Cooking Santa Claus – Nothing says Christmas dinner like Santa steak. St. Nick finds himself skewered. Theme song: “Santa’s Roasting on an Open Fire.”

Screwged: How St. Nick Got His Jollies – (Docudrama) Santa is forced to resign after 87 elves and 43 reindeer reveal how he sexually harassed them. Theme song: “No Way in a Manger.”

A Whip That Cracks – The untold story of how Santa’s elves are able to produce so many toys so fast. (Warning: Not for union workers)

Dashing Through the Blow – How does Santa get so high and travel so fast to deliver so many toys to so many children? It ain’t snow, baby! Theme song: “White Christmas.”

I awoke with a start—heart racing and drenched in sweat. “Thank God it was only a dream,” I whispered. I needed a drink, so I went inside. The place was packed. Everyone had their backs turned to me. I asked my #2 son, one of the Knight’s of the Long Table, for a stout greyhound. He and every other person in the bar turned to face me. They were hollow-eyed and grey of skin. “Here’s our specialty drink for tonight, Daddy-O: Spirits of Christmas Past.”

With an expression from Edvard Munch’s The Scream, I escaped to The Balcony, where I could still hear the echo of the music from inside—a scratched recording of The Eagles singing “Hotel California.” “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave, never leave, never leave, never leave.” Merry Christmas everybody!

And that’s the view from The Balcony. The Local Voice Ligature

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