Christmas movies have their time and place in our cultural cannon, but with the count down on sometimes I find there is nothing better than taking a minute to sit back and relax for a good old fashioned movie based holiday themed scare. With that in mind I took a little inspiration from Man Down (S1, E7) and thought I would put together a baker’s dozen list of movies and television episodes that always seem to find their way back into my rotation, and my heart, around this time of year. Some of these are genuinely good and some are preposterously bad… but in my humble opinion that’s just part of their charm.
- The Shining – Although there is no mention of Christmas in it, there is snow which is probably why I usually end up watching it around Christmas time. Close enough. Whatever the reason this is one of my all time favourite movies and I cannot recommend it enough.
- Black Christmas – Looking for a ridiculous holiday themed slasher take on the whodunit set in a sorority? Well look no further because this classic slice of 1974 B-movie horror films is probably what you had in mind. It is kind of a slasher film though so be prepared for some fake blood and screaming. There are christmas decorations though.
- Krampus – Is it perfect? No. Is it fun? Yes. Just enjoy the ride. It kind of feels like a longform Supernatural episode without Sam and Dean, but with killer toys, Toni Collette and Adam Scott.
- Alien – Another of my very loose interpretations of the words,”Christmas Movie” Really, has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas it’s just a great movie that I just always seem to watch it around the holidays.
- Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale – A Finnish movie that tells a tale that is darkly imaginative with a smattering of humor. It’s hard to not say too much without giving away the good stuff, suffice it to say I saw this for the first time a few years ago on Hulu and have sought it out ever since.
- Supernatural “A Very Supernatural Christmas” S3 E8 – The Anti-Claus is clearly really hot right now. Although not a movie, but an episode this came out a few seasons ago so at least it was at the start of the curve. Supernatural is a great show and this is probably one of my fav episodes.
- X-Files “How the Ghosts Stole Christmas” S6 E6 – The X-Files is on my list of all time favourite shows. It was only made better this time around with the inclusion of Lily Tomlin and Ed Asner in the cast to round out the humor infused holiday horror.
- Gremlins – This really speaks for itself. I keep waiting for someone to announce the release of “A Very Gremlin Christmas” but I have no knowledge of it ever being produced, much less released.
- The Nightmare Before Christmas – Not really that scary, just kind of fun and I really dig the animation. Probably the closest thing to a kids movie on here. Should your kid watch it? I don’t know. Depends on your kid. There are definitely moments which some kids might find scary, while others might not.
- John Carpenter’s The Thing – Definitely no mention of Christmas in here either, but it still always gets a viewing right around the holidays and it is always enjoyed.
- Saint (Sint) – Crazy tale from The Netherlands of an anti-Claus who rides around with his posse of living dead every once in a Christmas full moon to make sure the holiday is truly horrible for everyone. Definitely not the best movie on this list, but it also has a classic Dario Argento feel to it, which I liked.
- Jack Frost: If you were looking for a movie based on the premise of a genetically mutated sentient snowman possessed by the spirit of a serial killer, then you are in luck. This is not to be confused with the movie with the same title and Michael Keaton. Presumably if you are watching this then you haven’t set the bar too high, and will therefore probably not be disappointed.
- Scrooged: …And one for good measure seems like the safest way to go. Other than the crazy shit Bill Murray’s character says there is probably only one actually scary moment in this movie, but the rest is pure gold.
As a final thought on this movie list. There is a lot I haven’t seen and a lot I left out. Some of these movies are actually still screened in cinemas. If you are interested in catching one or more check your local listings, art house theaters, universities, and second run cinemas you might be able to catch something on the big screen.