Michael Dougherty relishes the naughty in his new film Krampus

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Dec 1, 2015, 6:02 PM EST (Updated)

Michael Dougherty is ready to give the Christmas devil his due. In the new movie Krampus, opening this Friday, the director also behind modern cult favorite Trick ‘r Treat delivers a horror-comedy tale about the folkloric anti-Claus of the holiday.

Starring Adam Scott, David Koechner and Toni Collette, Krampus focuses on the story of a family coming together at Christmas to celebrate – and argue and complain. But, based on the trailer, it would appear that the family bickering leads one child to tear up his letter to Santa and instead summon the demonic Krampus and his hordes of evil helpers. For the unitiated, Krampus -- the Batman to Santa's Superman, as Dougherty calls him -- comes from pre-Christian Germanic folklore, as a creature who punishes the naughty, and his night is still celebrated in rowdy fashion (typically on Dec. 5).

This past October, I caught up with Dougherty at the Scarehouse haunted attraction in Pittsburgh, where Krampus was brought to life as a haunted zone – which served to tease more about the movie, and was an excellent bit of marketing. 

During our talk, Doughtery discussed why he wanted to put the spotlight on the nastier side of Christmas, and how his parents used to hold Santa over his head to ensure good behavior. He also talks a little about other Christmas monsters of folklore, as well as his own monstrous creation, Sam from Trick ‘r Treat (who he said exists in the same universe as Krampus, so keep an eye out for easter eggs).

Check out the video below before Krampus opens Dec. 4. Also, if you want to delve further into the movie's mythology, pick up the graphic novel, Krampus: Shadow of Saint Nicholas, which features "three deliciously twisted morality tales that will leave you praying you are not on the naughty list."