Krampus: the Christmas horror ending, explained


Krampus is a 2015 movie about a Christmas gone bad. A joyous time overshadowed by terror, let’s see what the ending is.

Spoilers Ahead!

The unhappy spirit of Christmas at Max’s home

Max Engel is a young boy eagerly waiting for Christmas. At his home, preparations are going on for the arrival of his maternal relatives and cousins. The family is already apprehensive of their visit but wants to invite them in good spirit.

The incoming relatives are a peculiar and chaotic bunch. Aunt and uncle with their 4 kids and a dog. On top of that, him mom Sarah’s aunt also happens to join them. Things get out of hand when taunts and bitter truths are spoken during dinner. Especially when Max’s letter to Santa, for Christmas to be like it used to is read aloud by his cousins which he tears and throws out.

The start of inauspiciousness

The torn letter flies up and dark clouds cover the area. By morning, a strong blizzard has hit the town with their surroundings buried under snow. No electricity, heat or hot water. Max’s sister, Beth, goes out to check on her boyfriend but sees something horrifying on the roofs somewhere away.

She screams and runs from the huge horned creature but it catches up on her. At home, everyone is worried. Max sees creepy looking snowman outside his home. His dad Tom and Uncle Howard go out in Beth’s search and find her boyfriend’s house ruined. Upon encountering more creepy creatures who injure Howard, they come home and board it up.

At night, Howard Jr. wakes up to a gingerbread dangling from the chimney. But as he bites it, he is restrained in chains and pulled up. Sarah holds him and everyone pulls but the boy is mysteriously taken away.

The mystery revealed by Omi, Max’s grandma

Omi tells that behind all this is Krampus, an ancient demonic spirit who punishes those who stop believing in Christmas and miracles, just like she did. Due to a war, there were struggles and eventually she asked for her parents to be taken away- which is what Krampus did, and left a bauble with his name behind.

Many do and don’t believe in this tale. By then, evil Christmas toys invaded their house. They attack and abduct kids. At the end, Tom takes those left to flee using a snow-truck. Omi stays back to confront Krampus who attacks her with toys.

But not everyone reaches the snow-truck as Tom, Sarah and Aunt Linda are pulled under the snow. Only Max and his cousin Stevie get in it. But they get attacked too and she is taken away. Krampus comes to Max and leaves him a similar bauble.

Max confronts the Krampus himself

Max finds Krampus and his evil toys partying nearby. He calls him out and says he takes his wish away and that he wants his family back. At this, Krampus opens up a hell-hole and orders for Stevie to be thrown in.

Max begs him to release her and to take him instead, and it even looks hopeful, but at a menacing laugh, they throw her in. Max is held over the hole and even after saying sorry, gets thrown in.

Do they all die in the end?

Suddenly the scene cuts to Christmas morning where Max wakes up terrified. It was all a nightmare, he thinks, as he goes downstairs and sees everyone happy. They exchange gifts and Max feels thankful. But his gift is the bauble of Krampus.

As soon as he touches it, the voices of the previous days resound and moods turn sad. He hears his grandma saying that Krampus doesn’t come to give, but take.

We see the camera zoning out from their house which seems to be locked inside a snow-globe which Krampus’s hands are touching. Zoning further, we see a number of similar snow-globes around a darkly lit room.

Till the end, we are made to believe that there is still hope but it’s just a true horror film with no happy ending- a shock to the system.

Talking to Den of Geek, director Michael Dougherty said, “We sort of wanted to give Krampus almost sort of this biblical wrath of God feel that he’s sort of looking down from above and really looking at us collectively… That he will descend upon this entire town because they’ve lost their way.”