There are a ton of Christmas horror movies, but most of them seem to cluster around slashers or monsters, from Gremlins to Krampus to Black Christmas. But zombie Christmas horror? Slim pickin’s … except for Anna and the Apocalypse. And we could do way worse. It has to be our pick for the best zombie Christmas movie out there.
It’s actually more that that: it’s a zombie outbreak flick that’s both a Christmas movie and a musical. Not the only musical horror movie in sight, of course. You’ve got a couple of classics like Little Shop of Horrors and Rocky Horror Picture Show, but really, it stands up relatively well even compared to those classics.
Aofna is certainly the newest and least known of the horror musicals, but it’s charming in its own quirky way. You’ve got the typical musical comedy small town, a passel of cute high school kids with a tendency to burst into song… and the additional element: an outbreak tropes: your flesh-eating corpses that won’t stay dead.
The plot is achingly familiar: Typically fast zoms like the ones you’ve seen plenty of times before; kids that have to get back to their high school to see if their friends and family have survived The Rising (spoiler alert: most haven’t or won’t) … but this time they’re happy to stop along the way for the occasional, increasingly bizarre song-and-dance number. Like this opening number, offering up a danceerrific romp with more than a touch of Shawn of the Dead.
It shouldn’t work. At all. And yet… it does, at least for those among us who have a nearly equal love for the shamblers as we do the chorus line. It can be rented or purchased on Amazon, and if you go into it with no expectations, you just might find yourself unexpectedly delighted.
Ella Hunt, the surprisingly British lead, has gone on to do interesting work in the Dickinson TV series, a racism/horror movie called Master, the newest version of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and even some truly remarkable music videos of her own on YouTube. She will also featured in Kevin Costner’s next historical magnum opus, Horizon: An American Saga, coming up in the Spring of ’24. Meanwhile, the director is working on a Lady Macbeth musical (!).
So where does the Christmas tie-in occur? Well, it’s not much evident in that first number, there are Christmas decorations in abundance during the balance of the film, including a sad ballad filled with Christmas decorations and ugly sweaters, and an almost iconic final battle sequence in the hideously decorated high school gym, where Anna uses a huge artificial candy cane as a highly efficient weapon of mass destruction. The big ending is almost worth the price of admission all by itself.
Anna and the Apocalypse is easy to find; you can stream it for a couple of bucks on Amazon Prime and buy it for just a few bucks more. And yes, it’s odd to find yourself smiling and getting misty-eyed at a damn zombie movie… but hey, it’s Anna. Enjoy!