Dangerous Minds calls the new Krampus folklore book by KLA’s Al Ridenour, a “must have” and “the definitive work on Krampus,” and “really can’t recommend this highly enough.”
EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT THE KRAMPUS BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK
Last year here at Dangerous Minds we declared that Krampus had hit the American mainstream, and just a couple of weeks ago we told you “fuck the elf on the shelf, here’s Krampus in the corner.” As we begin to see the department stores trot out their Christmas wares, we are reminded that Krampustime will soon be upon us.
If you’re looking for a Krampusnacht gift for someone special, we have a suggestion:
Feral House has just published the definitive work on Krampus and assorted other dark pagan Yuletide terrors. The exhaustively-researched The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas: Roots and Rebirth of the Folkloric Devil by Al Ridenour explores the origins of the Krampus myth, its recent popularization in the United States, the various celebrations and traditions associated with the creature, as well as similar European Christmas beasts.
Krampus, for anyone out of the loop, is a horned, anthropomorphic, demon-like creature who, according to Alpine folklore, is a companion to Saint Nicholas. He acts as the yin to Santa’s yang—punishing the naughty children while Saint Nicholas rewards the good. Krampus provides the dark balance to Saint Nicholas’ light. Traditionally, Krampus is thought to beat naughty children with sticks. Children that have been extra bad are treated more severely: they are stuffed into bags and thrown into the river. It’s really quite a brilliant legend: if your kids are misbehaving, scare the shit out of themwith the threat of being flogged and tortured by the Christmas devil!
The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas: Roots and Rebirth of the Folkloric Devil is jam-packed with information on the history and meaning of the Krampus as well as scads of photos and art prints. The dozens of photos of celebrants of myriad regional-variant Yuletide festivals in bizarre and terrifying costumes is worth the price of admission alone. Award-winning designer Sean Tejaratchi has laid everything out gorgeously, augmenting Ridenour’s thoughtful analysis. I really can’t recommend this highly enough. If you have any interest in the subject, this book is simply a must-have.
Bookgasm calls the new book by KLA’S Al Ridenour “a veritable visual feast.” And given all the feasting, thankfully, they also remark that the text is “easy to digest.”
It only took several hundred years, but that anti-Santa demon known as the Krampus finally has become an American celebrity, thanks to movies like A Christmas Horror Story, Night of the Krampus, Krampus: The Reckoning, Krampus: The Christmas Devil and just plain ol’ Krampus. Exactly from where did this unconventional leading man come? That’s the global-spanning goal — cleared! — of performance artist Al Ridenour in The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas: Roots and Rebirth of the Folkloric Devil. Using the baby-consuming creature’s recent cinematic surge as a launching pad, Ridenour explores the horrific goat-man’s European origins, town-to-town traditions (Buttnmandl, anyone?), stage appearances and more, all pithy and neatly arranged under subheads for easy-to-digest reading. Personally, I would have preferred more focus on the aspect of pure pop culture. One of the most appealing chapters introduces readers to the Krampus’ monstrous relatives, such as Pinecone Man. As is the modus operandi of outré publisher Feral House (whose recent volumes on Grand Guignol theater, sleazy sex novels of the 1960s and men’s adventure pulp magazines are all incredible), this trade paperback is a veritable visual feast of maps, photos and possbily insane vintage illustrations. So visual is The Krampus that it’s quite possible that functionally illiterate could spend time leafing through its pages and emerge satisfied, but why? They’d miss out on half the fun. —Rod Lott
Get them at Amazon.
Krampus Los Angeles will be offering sign-ups for our mask-making workshop, information on our events, and art & craft inspired by your favorite Yuletide devil at Pagan Day Fest in Burbank this Saturday and Sunday, September 10-11.
Pagan Day Fest is a FREE event with speakers, rituals, an art show, altar competition, and a hall crammed with vendors. Besides all the free attractions, there are also some ticketed events including the Dark Woods Masquerade and Wicked Costume Ball hosted by BatCave.
Krampus LA will have a booth there where we’ll be taking sign-ups for our mask-making workshops, and offer Krampus-themed merchandise by Krampus LA director Al Ridenour and Church, including the items pictured below and similar merchandise, which can be browsed in Al’s Etsy store, Gingerbread Casket, and Lauren’s store, Churchyard. In-person discounts on merchandise will be available at the festival.
Al Ridenour ambassador of Krampus at the Krampus LA booth at Midsummer Scream.
Fans of the grisly and macabre and made friendly acquaint LA’s indigenous Krampus troupe at the Halloween and horror convention Midsummer Scream held over the last weekend at the Long Beach Convention Center. Thanks to convention organizer, David Markland, (aka “Creepy Dave” for inviting us!)
Coming October 11, 2016, the first English-language book-length exploration of Krampus folklore and history by Krampus Los Angeles director, Al Ridenour, The Krampus and the Old, Dark Christmas.
The Krampus, a folkloric devil associated with St. Nicholas in Alpine Austria and Germany, has been embraced by the American counterculture and is lately skewing mainstream. While shockingly out of place with the modern Christmas, the old world from which he comes feared this season and its nights haunted by ghosts, witches, devilish horsemen, and even murderous incarnations of Catholic saints. Central to this folklore are the Perchten, Alpine demons on which the Krampus is based. In Austria, these creatures were connected to Frau Perchta, a witch-like being who threatened naughty children with disemboweling. In Germany, her peer was Frau Holle, ruler of a fabulous realm hidden beneath a mountain deep within the Thuringian Forest. Even the Church once celebrated the season with plays depicting the Devil, Antichrist, and Herod’s gory Massacre of the Innocents. Together, these dark traditions gave birth to a figure now more popular than ever, the Krampus.