A Christmas Carol is a weird fucking story. It’s about ghosts, death, rich assholes, sad poor people, and, eventually, the spirit of Christmas. It has been told an almost uncountable number of times, one of the easiest ways to make a special Christmas episode of anything. But somehow, it all clicks into place every time: Ebenezer Scrooge gets through the gauntlet of darkness and buys hams for the whole city, and you walk away full of Christmas cheer.
YouTuber Heath Waterman has celebrated those many, many iterations of Charles Dickens’ classic by editing 400 of them together into a single, coherent narrative. Questions asked in one rendition are answered by characters in another; one actor’s portrayal of Scrooge might fall from the sky, but a different one will land. Since the beats of the story are so consistent, everything unfolds cleanly.
There’s an unending parade of pop culture figures in here: Oscar The Grouch, Mr. T, Aqua Teen’s Ghost Of Christmas Past From The Future, Sanford And Son, Montgomery Burns, countless audio versions and raunchy parodies, weird old Masterpiece Theater stuff, Lawrence Olivier, Howdy Doody, the Cryptkeeper, a couple of porns, Mickey Mouse, Matlock, Xena, and so on. Ayn Rand shows up. The film ends with a full index of the clips used, going back to 1843, though 300 of them come after the 1980s, and a full 100 are from the past couple of years. As the index scrolls past, a five-minute montage of various actors saying, “Bah, humbug” plays. It is all the Christmas cheer and Scrooge-like antipathy one can reasonably take in a single sitting.