The horror genre’s fascination with holidays extends beyond mere scares; it’s a reflection of cultural significance, symbolism and the inherent themes ripe for exploration within each celebration.

Halloween, with its association with the supernatural and fear, stands as the undisputed champion, inspiring numerous iconic franchises and standalone films. Christmas follows suit, offering a stark contrast between the warmth of family gatherings and the chilling darkness of winter nights, providing fertile ground for tales of terror. While holidays like Valentine’s Day and Thanksgiving have also been sporadically explored, their representation within the genre remains comparatively sparse, despite the unique narratives they offer. Yet, some holidays remain largely untouched by horror filmmakers, either due to their lack of inherently fear-inducing elements or their lesser cultural prominence.

Nonetheless, the genre continually evolves, occasionally resurrecting overlooked holidays and discovering fresh avenues to instill dread in audiences’ hearts.

This week, we delve into an often-overlooked holiday with Easter Bloody Easter. Produced by and starring Diane Foster in her directorial debut, the film unfolds in Walburg, TX, where a string of brutal murders leaves the locals gripped by fear. Despite the ominous atmosphere, Mayor Lou (Adam Slemon) and the self-righteous head of the church committee, Mary Lou (Allison Lobel), refuse to cancel the upcoming Easter-palooza celebration.

When Jeanie’s (played by Foster) husband vanishes, she joins forces with her loyal friend, Carol (Kelly Grant), and Megan (Zuri Starks), a seasoned bunny slayer, to unravel the mystery. As they dig deeper, they unearth the chilling truth behind an ancient legend — the Jackalope, a shapeshifting terror that plagued the town 150 years ago, and its legion of demonic bunnies now set their sights on Walburg.

If there’s one word that perfectly encapsulates Easter Bloody Easter, it’s “campy.” Director Diane Foster aptly remarked that the film “doesn’t just dwell in the realm of holiday horror; it boldly carves its own path.” I wholeheartedly concur with her assessment.

The movie oscillates between moments of genuine laughter and sudden bloody murders, creating a striking juxtaposition. While this could potentially make the film feel uneven, it stops just shy of being jarring, akin to the cult classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Instead, it’s a skillful blend that ultimately works wonders in favor of the movie’s overall impact.

If there was an award for the best actor in Easter Bloody Easter, it would be undeniably bestowed upon Allison Lobel for her exceptional portrayal of Mary Lou. While characters like Jeanie, Carol and others embody typical horror movie archetypes, Marylou stands out distinctly. She’s the character you love to loathe, with a holier-than-thou demeanor that contradicts her role as a religious figure in the town.

Throughout the movie, she delivers cutting remarks aimed at Jeanie, Carol and others, behaving as a bully toward many of her closest acquaintances, including her husband, Eugene (Miles Cooper). However, as the story unfolds, Mary Lou undergoes a transformation, shedding her condescension to become a heroic figure who joins forces with the girls to confront the bunny hordes. Allison executes the role with precision, crafting the most unforgettable character in the film.

Easter Bloody Easter earns a solid three out of five stars. It confidently embraces its identity as a horror comedy without attempting to be anything else. The seamless integration of campy humor and gruesome kills strikes a satisfying balance. In her directorial debut, Diane Foster has crafted a film that holds the potential to join the ranks of cult classics within the holiday horror genre. Allison Lobel’s performance shines brightly, elevating Mary Lou’s status as the film’s most unforgettable member.

Without a doubt, Easter Bloody Easter deserves a spot on your holiday horror playlist.