Did you hear about the kerfuffle this weekend over the Travel Channel's decision not to air an animated short penned by Anthony Bourdain about Saint Nick's BFF, the child-eating demon Krampus?
Who is Krampus, you ask? Remember when you were a kid and your parents told you you'd be getting coal for the holidays instead of gifts if you were naughty. Well, Krampus is kind of like that, only way, way more terrifying.
In parts of Northern Europe, especially the Nordic countries, where the holiday traditions celebrate the real Saint Nicholas, many families also celebrate Krampusnacht during the first week of December. While Saint Nick gives gifts to the good kids, the demon Krampus hunts down the bad ones, stuffs them in a barrel and devours them for dinner. Remember, this is the same region that gave us stories like Hansel and Gretel.
The Bourdain cartoon, which harkens back to old Claymation Christmas classics like Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer, was pulled from the Travel Channel just before No Reservations aired by network execs who found it a little too...vulgar. It's not that bad until about 1:45, when it gets oddly violent. See for yourself.
And you thought Santa was all elves and cuddly flying reindeer. Nope. Krampus has been haunting the sugarplum dreams of Alpine children for decades. In fact, most Krampus imagery comes from vintage postcards and trick photos. Here are five haunting images of the nightmare before Christmas. Why do you think Santa is an anagram for Satan, hmmm?
Notice how many of the naughty "kids" in these images are girls or women?
In Austria, people throw Krampus parties complete with creepy masks and costumes to remind kids to be good all year long. I would NOT want to see this after stumbling out of a bar at night.
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This is some odd Japanese amalgam of Santa and Krampus combined, I guess?
And one more, a bonus video. Sweet dreams!