The first trailer for Krampus is loaded with holiday horror

You’ll want to make sure you’re on the “nice” list after watching the debut trailer for Krampus, the upcoming holiday-themed horror movie from Trick ‘r Treat director Michael Dougherty.

Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures released the first trailer for the film this week, and it would be easy to mistake it for your typical holiday comedy from the first 30 seconds or so of the preview. Things quickly take a sinister turn, though, and the film ends up looking more like a creepy monster movie by the end of the trailer — complete with a late, fang-filled jump-scare for effect.

Written and directed by Daugherty, the film stars Parks and Recreation actor Adam Scott, United States of Tara actress Toni Collette, and Anchorman actor David Koechner, as well as Allison Tolman (Fargo), Conchata Ferrell (Two and a Half Men), Stefania Lavie Owen (The Lovely Bones), and Emjay Anthony (Chef).

Based on Austrian folktales about a terrifying counterpart to Saint Nicholas who punished mean children during the Christmas season, Krampus chronicles a dysfunctional family’s struggle for survival against a demonic entity unleashed by their complete lack of holiday spirit. Fighting against twisted versions of holiday characters and the ancient evil controlling them, the family must find a way to survive Christmas.

The film is particularly notable for featuring the work of Lord of the Rings and King Kong studios Weta Workshop and Weta Digital in bringing Krampus and his minions to life on the screen.

While Dougherty’s 2007 horror film Trick ‘r Treat received quite a bit of positive buzz, he’s probably best known for his work as a screenwriter on 2003’s X2: X-Men United and 2006’s Superman Returns. He’s also a co-writer on the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse, and is a frequent collaborator with director Bryan Singer.

Krampus is scheduled to come down the chimney Dec. 4 — just in time to make it a nightmare-filled Christmas.

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