See the film at the bottom of the post.
You’d better watch out, you’d better not cry. Because if you do, you might get a visit from Krampus, the cloven-hooved child-licking demon that beats bratty boys and girls with rusty chains and birch switches. Santa’s evil foil is a holiday legend still celebrated in parts of Austria, Italy and Germany with parades and copious amounts of liquor. But when Anthony Bourdain created an animated story of the “Krampus Carol”, as he calls it, the story film about naughty children being abducted by a horned beast was pulled from “No Reservations”.
In Bourdain’s Krampus Carol, little Gunther and Ingrid learn that the penalties of stealing and disobeying their parents include being licked with the demon’s giant Gene Simmons tongue, whipped and dragged off in Krampus’s sack as they make one last desperate grab for their Christmas presents. According to Gawker, the Travel Channel pulled the cartoon because of “sensitivities regarding the Penn State Scandal,” though the site adds that the portrait of the Pope (at 1:43 in the video) probably didn’t help either.
However, Bourdain may have actually let Gunther and Ingrid off easily. The real myth of Krampus was far more sadistic. Robert Lanham writes at the Awl that Krampus was said to make children perform a song or a dance — but if they failed to impress, he would stuff them in his bag and toss them into a fire pit. He’d also barge into strangers’ homes and demand liquor. Krampus was certainly a better deterrent for kids’ bad behavior than the threat of a lump of coal in their stocking.
Krampusnacht, the Night of Krampus, is still celebrated in central Europe on Dec. 5. It’s the real nightmare before Christmas: Men dress as Krampus, horns and all, and march through the streets, drunkenly terrorizing anyone who comes in their way.
Krampus has even inspired his own bizarre holiday carol: