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The Independent Critic

Drew Marvick, Felissa Rose, Morrigan Thompson, Jonathan May, Dolly Leigh, Chris Ruppert, Jessa Flux, Mariana Garcia, Joe Hammerstone, Kaity Navi McAllister, Shaun Scott, Newt Wallen, Lindsay Washburn, Niv Aranea, Madilynn Paige, Joey Mann, and Kyle Shute
James Dean
James Dean, Louis Otero
NR (Equiv. to "R")
72 Mins.

 Movie Review: XXX-Mas 
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If you've been following my reviews for any length of time, you likely already know I'm not exactly a Christmas person. In fact, my only real tried and true holiday tradition is my Christmas morning viewing of a holiday-themed horror film. 

So, you can imagine my delight when James Dean's XXX-Mas came across my desk just in time for Santa's arrival. In this case, however, Santa's arrival may not be quite the wonderful thing. XXX-Mas is a delightfully gory indie horror about a blood-thirsty Santa who wreaks havoc on the set of an eccentric adult film director's latest flick. The film stars Drew Marvick as the aforementioned Santa, a cookie-loving bada** with a hottie Mrs. Claus (Lindsay Washburn) whose peaceful existence suddenly takes a detour for reasons we'll eventually get to know. 

After an initial massacre to set the film's tone, our slayin' Santa sets his eyes on Johnny D's  (Chris Ruppert) Christmas porn with the likes of Kristy Kreme (Morrigan Thompson), Black Mamba (Jonathan May), Julie Treats (Dolly Leigh) and a host of others for a night of mayhem, murder, and Merry Christmas. 

Heck, even indie horror icon Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp) shows up later in the film just to make sure that XXX-Mas has all the horror cred in the world. 

XXX-Mas often carries with it a retro-slasher vibe with kills galore, ample amounts of sex (it is a porn set, after all), and an awful lot of fun. Somewhat surprisingly, the script by Dean and Louis Otero actually makes us care about this crew and there's an abundance of humanity amidst the impalings, stabbings, shootings, chokings, and candy cane kill-offs. I giggled more than once, closed my eyes a time or two, and absolutely had a blast. The only thing I really wished was that I could have held this one off to make it my Christmas morning horror flick. 

Alas, I'll have to look elsewhere. 

The entire ensemble cast is rock solid here with Morrigan Thompson an absolute gem and Jonathan May by far the most empathetic one to be found here. Dolly Leigh is absolutely wonderful and, of course, Felissa Rose always shows up with her A-game. Joe Hammerstone is an absolute hoot as Armando the Elf and, well, you get my point. This is a terrific ensemble. 

Daniel Garza's lensing for the film is effective throughout and far exceeds what you'd expect from a low-budget indie. The film's special effects and makeup are all quite impressive. 

An always popular sub-category of the indie horror scene, Christmas horror is alive and well in the hands of James Dean and his cast and crew for XXX-Mas. While this may not be a film for everyone, for those connoisseurs of the holiday horror scene this is one not to be missed. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic