Deadly Movies Favourite Christmas Horror / Alternative Films

From Deadly Movies’ Personal Collection:

There’s something so satisfying about seasonal horror. If you like horror then whether you like to admit it or not you like gimmicks, and do movies get any more gimmicky than Christmas Horror? No they don’t. Here’s a look at what I have in my own personal festive collection, it’s a few short of being definitive but they do, each in their own unique way, bring a jingle to my bells:

8: Santa Claws (1996). One of the horror’s greatest assets is it’s ability to support the most ludicrous of narratives. Only sci-fi can compete with horror when it comes to Hollywood’s most ludicrous products. Whether this is a good thing or not is of course personal taste. Santa Claws is cheap and nasty (and I mean Britney Spears nasty not The Texas Chainsaw Massacre nasty), not particularly clever, and looks a lot like a Days of our Lives episode. All of that aside it has one thing going for it.., It’s ridiculously entertaining plot involving a deranged over acting idiot who believes he is Santa Claus and hunts down promiscuous adult movie stars

7: Scrooged (1988). The Bill Murray comedy may not immediately spring to mind when thinking of horror but it does have it’s share of (all be it mild) scares. as well as some adult themes. It also happens to be one of the best cinematic incarnations of the Dickens work, which of course (lest we forget amongst its over familiarity and cultural repetition), is a ghost story.

6: Batman Returns (1992). If this wasn’t a Batman film it would be regarded as a twisted gothic horror fantasy, loaded with sexual tension and connotations, oozing bodily fluids, murder, and gothic imagery. It is at times the closest Burton has got to a live action German Expressionist film. And let us not forget that this seasonal tale hinges on plot point that involves killing first born children! Scratch under the comic book surface and there is some very dark stuff at work here.

5: Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984). Like virtually all of the 80’s and 90’s Christmas slashers this again features someone dressing up as Santa Claus to enact some kind of Christmas themed revenge killing(s). It’s a very standard 80’s slasher that abides by all of the conventions, only the seasonal theme gives it any kind of thumbprint. Saying that, for genre fans, it is a must if only for the absolute uproar it caused back in ’84 when the US Parent-Teacher Association lobbied for it’s removal from theatres, Roger Ebert condemned it on television, and it failed to get UK distribution. All of which of course only meant higher ticket sales, free publicity, and notoriety that the film doesn’t really merit. Oh and if you really want to get you teeth into this one it has a massive four sequels.

4: Chrsitmas Evil (1980). This is often the number one in many Christmas horror film charts, and it is highly entertaining and without doubt the best of the killer Santa films. It may well be another Christmas based trauma triggering another Santa killing spree but the killer’s actions involve enough ambiguity and black humour to nudge it ahead of its competitors. The killer’s demise is particularly humorous.

3: Gremlins (1984). Don’t be fooled by your recollection of this being a children’s film in the mould of The Goonies or Monster Squad, if you step back from your nostalgia and watch-on with a fresh pair of eyes you’ll notice how dark this film actually is. Gremlins had a rather large impact on the horror genre, with it’s success inspiring the likes of Ghoulies (1985) and Critters (1986). Ok it isn’t hardcore horror by any means, but it sure as shit wouldn’t be considered a kids film if it were released today.

2: Jack Frost (1996). I loved this film (read the full review here). Echoing the earlier point that horror supports insane narratives better than any other narrative you have this little gem featuring a killer snowman. It sounds stupid, it is stupid, but it knows it’s stupid, which is why it’s also an incredibly enjoyable watch. Without doubt the best of the horror gimmicks out there, delivered with just the right amount of self knowing silliness. PS the snowman drives a car.

1: Black Christmas (1974). Number one by a long shot. Why? Because not only is this a great seasonal horror film, it’s also one of the best horror films of its time, incredibly under rated and sadly only talked about at this time of year. Black Christmas holds its own with any other slasher heavyweight from the 70s and 80s; imagine Halloween (1978) only being dusted off in October. It’s incredibly dark, claustrophobic, eerie, and twitchy in places, with the dirty phone calls being particularly unnerving. Avoid the remake AT ALL COSTS. And as the trailer says, if this doesn’t make your skin crawl it’s on too tight!

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2 thoughts on “Deadly Movies Favourite Christmas Horror / Alternative Films

  1. Frugal Dougal says:

    You're right about Gremlins – it has a dark core, somewhat like Batteries not Supplied (I think that's the title) and shows the reservoir that he was able to draw on to make Schindler's List.

  2. 24hourstomidnight says:

    GREAT LIST!Well-said about "Silent Night Deadly Night". Ditto "Black Christmas". The lure of Michelle Trachtenberg spazzing out was too much for us to resist, but the film was lame.

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