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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

We'll know soon enough if the House and Senate can iron out their differences. But if you think the prospect of a tax hike for the holidays is scary, our movie critic Bob Mondello says, you haven't seen anything yet. For his latest home video recommendation, Bob is talking up a Scandinavian horror comedy about a truly sinister Santa. It's called "Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale."

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Somehow, I missed "Rare Exports" when it came out last year. But in my defense, so did everyone else. It took in less than $250,000 in this country. Here's the setup. It's 24 days before Christmas and a mining operation in Finland has hit something strange. Sawdust. The mining supervisor is suddenly alarmed and hands his foreman an odd list of rules for a mining site, including no cursing.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: (as Character) What are these?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: (as Character) It's the new secret instructions.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: (as Character) Push behind the ears? This is funny (beep).

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: (as Character) Watch your mouth.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: (as Character) It's Christmastime, so let's act like it.

MONDELLO: Shortly, the supervisor is urging his men to dig faster, not knowing that two small boys are nearby listening in.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: (as Character) Roll up. Let's leave. Prepare the dynamite. Do what you do best.

OMNI TOMMILA: (as Pietari Kontio) (Unintelligible).

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: (as Character) You have (unintelligible).

MONDELLO: This speech triggers something in eight-year-old Pietari, who has been eagerly awaiting Christmas, and begins researching Santa. Not the jolly department store kind, the horned Santa of Scandinavian legend. When local kids start disappearing and naked, wrinkled elves begin showing up in the woods, little Pietari grabs his hockey helmet and his hunting rifle. He knows what the mining supervisor was so excited about, even if the adults don't, to their peril.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS TALE")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: (as Character) ...leaves the cargo away.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: (as Character) Cargo? Don't you understand? It still has a (unintelligible).

MONDELLO: "Rare Exports" is a hoot and a half for horror fans, wittily directed with wonderfully gnarly old elves. DVD extras include the seven-minute Christmas prank that inspired the film, a couple of side-by-side comparisons that let you see how they did the special effects and a full list of safety rules for dealing with Father Christmases, which the film regards as the most precious, free roaming wild beasts of the northern wilderness.

"Rare Exports" could be an ideal stocking stuffer for the Grinch lovers on your list with one proviso. It's a definite no-no for smaller kids, at least if you ever wanted another picture of them posing on Santa's lap.

I'm Bob Mondello.

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SIEGEL: This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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