Krampus, “The Christmas Devil,” (or “The Anti-Claus,” as we like to call him), has become as much a part of the Holiday season as Santa Claus – especially among the horror community. Saint Nick’s “bad cop” sidekick has been brought to life in multiple films since the character entered popular culture… but few screen incarnations can match the towering, behemoth created for SpookyDan Walker’s Slay Belles.
Special Makeup Effects wizard Vincent Guastini and his talented team created Krampus via multiple practical effects – combining a massive monster suit designed by Josh Wasylink with a fully articulated, snarling, slime-drooling head designed by sculptor Mikey Rotella, and internal animatronics built and operated by Guastini and crew.
Inside the Krampus suit is actor Joel Hebner (who also plays Officer Anderson in the film), wearing stilts to achieve the demon’s imposing height… which presented some interesting challenges when it came to running through the woods. But Guastini spared Joel additional suffering by avoiding a full-body rubber cast.
“The suit is made out of a stocking sort of material, so he could breathe,” Guastini told Dread Central. “The only sculpted pieces were the head, hands and chest.”
The head design and mechanics are partly inspired by Rob Bottin’s work on The Howling, and Guastini’s Krampus concept has many elements in common with the tall, bipedal werewolves in that film. Like Bottin, Vincent was also greatly inspired by the horror classic Curse of the Demon – the title monster of which has been a source of nightmares for generations.
“Back then, Curse stood out, because it was a very unique design,” Guastini noted. “There was nothing else that looked like that. It really grabbed people, and it definitely influenced the [Krampus] design. It’s powerful enough that it stands out in your mind, no matter how briefly you see it.”
In Slay Belles, the creature gets a lot more time in the (literal) spot
“What’s great about this film is you actually get to see our monster,” Guastini points out, comparing it to Universal’s 2015 release Krampus, where the title beast was mainly kept to the shadows. “and you also get to see most of the characters interacting with it.” It’s also worth noting that Vincent’s team had conceived the Krampus design before the Universal film was released.
The video montage above is just a taste – but the Blu-ray extras for Slay Belles contain tons more behind-the-scenes footage. Be sure to pick up your copy here if you want to stay off Krampus’s naughty list this year!