Doctor Gash’s Tip of the Scalpel – The Krampus

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Well Dreaddies, it’s that time again. Time to reflect on the year that’s passed and look ahead to the future. It’s time for the final Tip of the Scalpel for 2012. Today we celebrate a certain guy that comes and visits kids this time of the year… but not the big, jolly one you’re thinking of.

If you’re reading this, I’m assuming we all made it through the diabolical 12/21/12 scare. I certainly hope that’s the case. As I’m writing this a few days before the impending date, I can’t help but think what a waste of time this might be as I could be spending these precious few moments of safety hoarding canned goods or setting up a contraption in my backyard to trap rainwater for drinking. But let’s hope for the best… back to The Scalpel!

Doctor Gash's Tip of the Scalpel - The Krampus

During 2012 the Scalpel honored such people as George Romero, John Carpenter, Debbie Rochon, Doug Jones and, most recently, Adam Green. We also took a look back at some hall of fame horror films like The Exorcist, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and The Howling, but keeping in the holiday spirit, this Scalpel is in honor of the one holiday figure that you don’t want to have visiting your house this Christmas. This Doctor Gash Tip of the Scalpel goes to… Krampus.

For those unfamiliar with the legend of Krampus, let me break it down for you. In Alpine countries it is believed that Krampus is kind of like Saint Nicholas’ running buddy. Or perhaps co-worker would be a more appropriate term to describe their relationship. As Saint Nicholas arrives on Christmas Eve to give gifts to all the good boys and girls, the bad ones have to deal with Krampus. Legend has it that Krampus snatches up the particularly naughty children, throws them into a sack or a washtub and takes them back to his lair, where who-knows-what happens. We don’t care to speculate, but rumor has it he eats them, drowns them or transports them to Hell. None of these options sound overly pleasant.

And, as celebratory traditions go, those whooping it up in honor of Krampus seem to have a real leg up in the fun department. On the night of December 5, also referred to Krampusnacht, fans of Krampus dress up in elaborate costumes emulating him. They then flood the streets in a march that’s called a Krampuslauf. It is customary to offer Krampus schnapps… and you can imagine what a street full of guys dressed like the beast, loaded up with booze would be like. If you can’t picture it, check out the video below. We ran it last year, but it was so good I wanted to share it again.

As you can see, Krampus is a pretty heinous looking dude. He usually comes in a demonic form, but there are also more toned down versions in which he as almost a humanistic look. Think Uncle Si from “Duck Dynasty,” and you’ve got the idea.

But, traditionally, Krampus is seen with shaggy fur, those wicked horns and a big ol’ tongue lolling from his gob. If that’s not enough to scare kids into being good, I don’t know what is. And we haven’t even mentioned Krampus’ trusty ruten–that is a bundle of birch branches he totes around and uses for whuppin’ up on the bad children. Alpine babysitter must be the easiest job on Earth. Kids get out of line, just mention Krampus and his bundle of beating sticks, and I’m sure the kids fall right in line. And don’t we need a character to help kids on the straight and narrow during these trying times? The boogeyman obviously isn’t carrying his weight anymore so we can certainly use Krampus’ iron fist.

As nasty as he sounds, Krampus has actually become quite the marketable character. He has his own greeting card tradition that’s been around since the early 1800’s. Gruss vom Krampus (Greetings from the Krampus) cards have long been a big hit among Europeans and often feature Krampus in humorous situations or chasing buxom women. Ah, that crazy kid! He’s also had his own Nike sneaker and is the inspiration for a very tasty beer from the Southern Tier Brewing Company. Krampus is a goldmine.

So let’s review. Krampus is here to weed out all the really evil kids and help keep the ones on the fence between naughty and nice from falling off the wagon. He loves schnapps and babes and can open up a can of whoop ass on just about anyone with his bundle of switches. Sounds like the ultimate party guest if you ask me. And it’s for his centuries of bad-assitude that we honor Krampus with this Tip of the Scalpel. Happy holidays, everyone!

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Scott Hallam

We all go a little mad sometimes...haven't you?

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  • Hakk Wylde

    LOVE Krampus!
    Pope Benedict looks just like him! Bwahaha

  • justkillingtime

    Let The Right One In is a movie from Sweden. Krampuslaufs are held in Austria and Switzerland, indeed, The Alps. The Alps and Sweden are, literally, a 1000 miles apart. You know, just sayin’. 😉

    • The Woman In Black

      Excellent point – I edited the story for the good doctor to remove the reference. Thanks!

    • Doctor Gash

      Dammit justkillingtime, I’m a doctor, not a navigator! 🙂

      Thanks for the heads up. And thanks to you for the edit WiB!

  • Terminal

    Great stuff. Happy new year.

    • Doctor Gash

      Thanks Terminal! Plenty of new Scalpel ideas rolling around in my head for 2013…can’t wait to share some of these nightmares with you!

  • The Woman In Black

    Great choice! Way to send out the year in style, Doctor G!

    • Doctor Gash

      🙂 Glad you likey, WiB! Was looking for something a little different this holiday season and Krampus was a perfect fit.