A Christmas Carol-When Christmas Was Scary


This is an expanded version of an entry that I posted three years ago at Halloween. I’m watching various Christmas specials today, and my wanderings have taken me back to a subject that I find myself writing about every couple of years-A Christmas Carol.

I feel that there is one movie that gets completely overlooked at Halloween, due to how entrenched it is in another holiday.

A Christmas Carol.

Think about it. There are at least four main ghosts in the story. One of them glows like a candlestick and gets snuffed out, one is essentially death, and another walks around with pestilence under his clothes.

The basic premise is creepy as well: let us show you how you are destroying your life. Just because he’s redeemed at the end doesn’t make it less creepy. If anything, his redemption makes what happens before so weird and otherworldly. This is the point of the story, to show how intensely his life changes, and the depth to which it needs to change-but at the same time, in a world full of horror imagery and over a hundred years’ exposure to this story, we’re left with some truly creepy ghosts wandering about London.

Scrooge’s overwhelming displeasure at the world just adds a depth to the whole thing- his anger is almost another character in and of itself. His complete self-assurance and the extreme arrogance, the intensity of his greed-I’m not saying that I want to say that the story at the heart of Carol starts taking on new life when the term ‘1%’ has a new and exciting semiotic life in the United States, but perhaps part of the reason that this movie still resounds with viewers -is- because we’re watching this story play out on the meta.

Not that this is anything new-one of my favorite versions is Scrooged, set in the heyday of the power 80s and revolving around stapling antlers to door mice and attempting to cater to the feline demographic. I, personally, am not necessarily against wealth-I am against wealth as an insulator to the rest of the world. That is a deep seated theme running through this story, and a deliberate one. Nothing is truly new in this world, and we just keep running in the same circles.

The story was written specifically as a Christmas ghost story, which was a common practice at the time Dickens was writing. The most amazing part of it is short of versions aimed at truly young children, every single version of this story filmed is bizarre and macabre.

I’m not saying that we should switch the holiday this story is associated with. but maybe…just expand its season a little.


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