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.
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.
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!