It’s still a month until Christmas, but at the Trump White House, it’s never too early to start inducing flashbacks to phantasmal nightmares from our shared cultural memory.
To be fair, the hallway of arterial-red stalagmites — which we are told are actually berry-covered trees — look less sinister in an artist’s rendering, which is how they first appear in the video first lady Melania Trump released Monday, as the White House unveiled its holiday decorations.
But in the very next scene, Trump walks through the crimson forest in a dark overcoat, unfortunately recalling Aunt Lydia’s inspection of red-robed slaves in the dystopian TV show, “A Handmaid’s Tale.”
And that was hardly the only horror trope that Twitter would project upon the 2018 White House Christmas.
The Red Wedding massacre from “Game of Thrones” was certainly mentioned several times, as was the surrealist nightmare at the end of “Twin Peaks.”
Personally, we see a resemblance between Trump’s final scene in the video — if reversed and sped up just so — and the well scene in “The Ring.”
More classically minded critics compared the East Colonnade decorations to Dante’s “Inferno.”
Or as Elle put it: “Little Red Riding Hood told from the wolf’s point-of-view.”
And Karen Beninato was inspired to write her own dark little poem:
Moving into nonfiction horror, The Washington Post’s Rick Noack reports that there’s a real “red forest” around the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. That one was caused by lethal radioactivity, rather than festive berries.
Red is also the color of Danish Christmas trees infected by a mysterious disease, Noack writes.
If this imagery has failed to put you in the holiday mood, take heart that the White House holiday display includes many rooms and decorations that do not resemble blood-tipped teeth.
Like this cheery wreath made out of “Be Best” pencils:
Oops. That was the Great Pit of Carkoon from Star Wars. Here’s the wreath:
More Christmas stories to chill the bone: