First published back in December of 2012, ‘Christmas Is Cancelled’ was a limited edition chapbook published by Jack Bantry’s Splatterpunk Zine, containing US author Dan Henk’s darkly-festive short story ‘Christmas Is Cancelled’.  The chapbook was limited to just 300 hand-numbered copies, and contains three black and white pen & ink illustrations, along with a gloriously gory full-colour cover painting, all by Henk.

DLS Synopsis:
Santa had been doing the job for years.  Blindly obeying the will of the old ones.  Each year going out on his aging sleigh; travelling across the furthest corners of the world, delivering presents to all the good children.  He’d been doing the job so long he could no longer remember why he did it.  The purpose.  The reasoning for it.

This Christmas Eve hadn’t gone to plan.  He’d not long left his grotto and headed out into the darkened, snow-filled sky, when a series of glowing lights had startled his faithful reindeer.  Before he knew what was going on, he was hurtling downwards, thumping hard onto the blanket of snow-covered earth below.

It was some time before he came to.  When he did, it took him just as long to work out what the hell had happened.  His reindeer were there around him.  Shaken but alive.  All except his beloved Prancer, whose head was bent at an awkward angle.

Santa knew he had to find his sleigh if he was to have any chance of getting out of this mess. But as the hours slipped by, hunger crept into him.   A deep seated hunger that gnawed at his bones. He needed to eat if he was going to survive this cold Christmas night.

Luckily there was food out there.  Tasty, succulent, protein-rich meat.  With his sleigh back in action he could get back into the night sky and start visiting the homes of all those good young children.  Squeezing down their chimneys or in through their unlocked doors.

Once inside, he knew what he had to do.

All those quietly sleeping children were in for one hell of a surprise.  He was Santa.  And Santa had to eat…

DLS Review:
Ho-ho-holy shit is this some dark and twisted festive horror fun.  Santa losing his way, losing all sense of purpose, losing his mind and going on a cannibalistic children eating rampage.  This my horror-loving friends is one hell of a grisly Christmas treat.

For its page count, it’s initially a bit of a slow burner.  The first third or so of the dark tale sees Santa coming into trouble, then wandering around a seemingly barren, snow-covered wilderness with a deep-rooted hunger driving our once-jolly present-giving anti-hero onwards.

The story then jumps to Young Timothy who’s waiting in his family home, hoping to catch a glimpse of Santa.  And he can’t believe his eyes when the big man comes scrambling down his chimney.  But the Santa that emerges is far from the one Timothy has been brought up to love.  This Santa is wild, drooling and his beard is encrusted with gristle and splatterings of blood.  He’s hungry and after more meat to fill his aching gut.

It's from this moment, when we meet Timothy and his younger sister Wendy, that the tale really cranks up the horror gears.  All of a sudden the story has twisted into some grisly-as-sin pulp horror.  Sure enough, what follows is a good fifteen-or-so pages of high-adrenaline horror, akin to a nightmare sequence that seems to see no end.

Furthermore, if you’re thinking there’ll be a seasonal joy-inspiring ending then you’re sadly mistaken.  Oh no, there’s no light at the end of this hellish tunnel.  Poor old Timothy and his blubbering sister aren’t going to have much of a Christmas this year.  In fact, no one is.  You see, Santa’s hungry.  And when Santa’s hungry, he won’t stop until his big fat belly’s full.

From start to finish this short fucked-up Christmas tale was nothing but a horrific blast.  Utterly entertaining, full of the very blackest comedy, and about as sinister as they come.

The chapbook runs for a total of 30 pages.

© DLS Reviews



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