In the German-speaking countries, December 5, the night before the Feast of St Nicholas, is not a good time for a naughty girl to be out of doors – because it’s Krampusnacht!
We’re all used to the idea that Santa not only rewards the nice but punishes the naughty, as happened in the grand finale of Amsterdam’s 2005 Sinterklaas Gala:
But in many European countries, that side of the Santa-ing job commonly gets delegated to a sidekick, ranging from Black Peter in the Netherlands to ‘Pere Fouettard’ (Father Flogger) in France. The Krampus is the scariest of them all: a grotesque devil figure with the kind of lolling tongue that would inspire profound jealousy in Miley Cyrus. He accompanies Santa in Austria and Southern Germany, often armed with a birch rod and always on the lookout for bad girls.
What he has in store for them is better implied in this painting by the Massachusetts-based artist Amos Madruga:
And if you still can’t guess…
… here are some German postcards that make it completely explicit:
You’ll have noticed that the Krampus and his raison d’etre has been thoroughly assimilated by the pin-up genre; there are other fine examples to be seen in the artwork of Paige Pumphrey and the photography of Autumn Luciano. Here’s another example of Autumn’s work, from a Krampus shoot she did in November 2015:
Here’s a somewhat stronger picture in the Japanese Hentai style:
And another by US artist Derek Tall:
And in the distinctive style of the French artist Marie Meier:
And another that’s equally, but differently, stylized:
And in a US nightclub photobooth:
So the Krampus, originally a denizen of dark Alpine folklore, has become an internationally recognizable figure!
In a moment we’ll encounter him in another, very different genre, but first we must go back to the character’s cultural roots in central Europe, in order to understand Krampusnacht itself. It’s a traditional festival, now often used as an excuse for a party or themed disco, like this one at Purgstall, Austria, in 2010:
It was advertised with this little German poem:
Wer weiterhin gut sitzen will,
ist lieber brav, ist lieber still.
Sonst schwingt der Krampus die Rute – kräftig;
und der Hosenboden schmerzt dann – heftig!
‘Whoever wants to be able to sit down, had better be quiet and well-behaved. If not, the Krampus swings the rod hard, and then the seat of her panties gets very sore!’
Discos are for dancing, not spanking, though the Krampus has also been known to make an appearance at US burlesque shows, such as Coney Island’s 2014 Christmas in July extravaganza, which was bad news for Lucy Left:
But the real Krampusnacht action takes place out of doors, as normally harmless members of the public dress up in often elaborate and usually alarming Krampus outfits and wander the streets applying their birches to the bottoms of passing young women who, to be fair, surely can’t be entirely unsuspecting.
(At least, if they didn’t want to take part, you’d hope they would have the sense to stay inside that night.)
And Krampusnacht is the setting for the 2007 Austrian slasher movie, Tag der Teufel (Day of the Devil), whose premise is that, among all the enthusiastic Krampuses at large, there is a serial killer. The odds are that a girl might only get her bottom spanked… but she might get her throat cut too.
Here’s a trailer:
What you see there is just tiny fraction of the movie’s plenitude of random bottom whacking, and what’s even better, there are two proper spankings. Both involve the central character, the young reporter Penelope Jones, played by Christine Dune. First she’s dragged out of her boyfriend’s car by two Krampuses, one of whom proceeds to put her across his knee and spank her with his birch:
The boyfriend, Cody (played by Thomas Weissengruber), finds this a great laugh, as do a pair of passing girls, and there’s a lot of gloaty spanking talk before they run into some Krampuses of their own and get a taste of the birch themselves. And in a later scene, Penelope meets Cody during the day. Unluckily for her, he’s now in Krampus costume too…
Most remarkably of all, the DVD extras include an 8-minute collection of footage which is nothing more nor less than a series of spankings for the principal female characters. First Penelope:
Then Angie, played by Monica Baci:
And then one of the girls who enjoyed watching Penelope get spanked at the start of the film… but doesn’t enjoy this quite so much!
This kind of thing would be a welcome addition to virtually any DVD you can think of! But, wishful thinking aside, there is a good reason for it to be on this particular DVD. It’s all to do with the next film the directors and production company made, which was called Spanking Devils, and used the same Krampus costumes from Tag der Teufel and some of the same cast. In particular, it sees a second outing for the character of Penelope Jones, again played by Christine Dune:
The film is hard to come by – I’ve never seen it in its entirety – but apparently one thing it doesn’t have in common with Tag der Teufel is any pretence at a plot.
It seems instead to be one long succession of spanking scenes, and so is evidently aimed at a slightly more specialized market.
But it would make ideal viewing for one of those Krampusnacht parties!
(For more of the Krampus, go here.)