Twelve Nights of Krampus
Genre: Folklore, Fantasy, Horror Anthology
Publisher: World Weaver Press
Publication date: 11.11.2014
For bad children, a lump of coal from Santa is positively light punishment when Krampus is ready and waiting to beat them with a stick, wrap them in chains, and drag them down to hell - all with St. Nick's encouragement and approval. Krampusnacht holds within its pages twelve tales of Krampus triumphant, usurped, befriended, and much more. From evil children (and adults) who get their due, to those who pull one over on the ancient "Christmas Devil." From historic Europe, to the North Pole, to present day American suburbia, these all new stories embark on a revitalization of the Krampus tradition. Whether you choose to read Krampusnacht over twelve dark and scary nights or devour it in one nacht of joy and terror, these stories are sure to add chills and magic to any winter's reading.
With new stories from Cheresse Burke, Guy Burtenshaw, Jill Corddry, Elise Forier Edie, Patrick Evans, Scott Farrell, Caren Gussoff, Mark Mills, Jeff Provine, Colleen H. Robbins, Lissa Sloan, and Elizabeth Twist.
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The Gal: What about the Krampus myth inspired you?
Scott Farrell: I love the complete contrast the Krampus provides with the American tradition of Christmas. We think of Christmas time as a gentle, peaceful time - and along comes Krampus, roaring and gnashing its teeth, and smashes that expectation with a stick. I like it because it returns Christmas to that "Old World" tradition of a raucous party.
Elizabeth Twist: I was inspired by the Krampuses (Krampi?) of late nineteenth and early twentieth century postcard art. Many of the postcards depict a pretty standard Krampus, tongue lolling, birch switch at the ready, basket stuffed full of weeping children. However, some of the postcard artists took it upon themselves to imagine Krampus in other situations. A favorite topic seems to be Krampus wooing cute women, as in this postcard from Monte Beauchamp's The Devil in Design (Fantagraphics, 2004):
These images made me want to explore Krampus's inner life. What is it like to have needs and wants and romantic intentions, but also have this somewhat brutal occupation? What would Krapus find romantically intriguing?
The Gal: Why do you think Krampus is of increasing interest outside of Germany nowadays?
Scott: I think Krampus (and many other regional, traditional midwinter holiday folklores) are sparking interest because they have a depth and complexity you can't get from the sanitized, commercial image that Christmas has evolved into. Krampus is silly, scary, and irreverent - but it comes from a time when every village and hamlet had it's own version of the Christmas celebration. I think it's a tradition that pulls the rug out from under the oppressive weight of all the expectations that have been placed onto the notion of the "perfect" family Christmas.
Elizabeth: I think the main thing is exposure. Once you see an image of someone dressed in a Krampus costume, or a piece of Krampus art, it's hard to forget. Thanks to the internet, it's much easier to access these images now. On a deeper level, Krampus runs so contrary to the experience of Christmas that I grew up with: sparkling lights and magic and fun and presents and too much sugar. A Christmas devil! That's a breath of fresh air in the midst of a holiday that's become entirely saccharin.
The Gal: What was the most challenging aspect of writing your story?
Scott: The most difficult thing about writing "A Krampus Carol" was to prevent the story from becoming either purely horror, or from straying into sappy sentiment. Krampusnacht (Krampus night) falls half way between Halloween and Christmas - I felt that a story that would do Krampus justice should include elements of both holidays, a little "scare" and a little "sweet."
Elizabeth: "Prodigious" was so much fun to write. I had a blast injecting the dark mojo of Krampus into the humdrum world of a big box toy store employee. Initially I struggled with the idea of Krampus's moral imperative. This is a dude who knows when you've been naughty, and punishes you accordingly. A rigid moral structure is generally speaking something you want to get away from in comedy, which is so often about relaxing rules and boundaries. My big challenge was showing how sometimes it's handy and even necessary to be able to tell good from bad.