Let’s face it, the holidays can be a nightmare! All that good cheer, the family, the prezzies, the snow… the pressure! So what’s a horror fan to do? I know, watch some holiday-themed horror films! That’s right, holiday horror! So I thought I would list out some of my favorite (and mostly cheese-tastic) horror films to help you make it through this holiday season. I’ll warn you, Santa might be prone to shouting “MU HA HA” instead of “HO HO HO”!
Black Christmas (2006): An escaped maniac returns to his childhood home on Christmas Eve, which is now a sorority house, and begins to murder the sorority sisters one by one. This remake is actually quite good. We get a little Buffy tie-in with Michelle Trachtenberg! But that’s about as much star power as this film has… and that’s not saying much.
The Blackout (2009): It’s Christmas Eve, the city goes dark, and the few remaining tenants of The Ravenwood find themselves trapped in their building. And they are not alone. This one isn’t so much Christmas-themed, as it just takes place at Christmas. But hey, we’ve all felt like there’s some sort of evil beast, waiting in the shadows, to rip our flesh apart during the holidays. Don’t expect much from this film and you won’t be disappointed.
The Christmas Season Massacre (2001): Tommy is a loser. He wears a pirate eye-patch, a Christmas gift he was given as a child. It is a symbol of the humiliation Tommy endured in high school. Tommy was the subject of so much torment from his classmates that he became a bloodthirsty maniac! Tommy disappeared, vowing to eventually slay all of his schoolyard tormentors. Over the years, he has slaughtered all but six of them. Now, these six former schoolmates unite to end Tommy’s reign of terror. Will they put Tommy six feet under? Or will Tommy win by slicing and dicing the six remaining on his victim list? Poor, dear Tommy. Maybe he should have visited a therapist instead of the Grim Reaper?
Don’t Open Until Christmas (1984): Somebody with very little Christmas spirit is killing anyone in a Santa suit (in different, and extremely violent, fashions) one London holiday season. Inspector Harris, of Scotland Yard, has decided to take on the unenviable task of tracking down the psychopath, but he’s going to have his work cut out for him. Only the suspicious reporter, Giles, seems to offer the Inspector any promising leads. Killing fat men in Santa suits… what more do you want?
Elves (1989): A young woman discovers that she is the focus of an evil nazi experiment involving selective breeding and summoned elves, an attempt to create a race of supermen. She and two of her friends are trapped in a department store with an elf, and only Dan Haggerty, as the renegade loose-cannon Santa Claus, can save them. Evil Nazis and Christmas on a collision course with wackiness and mayhem!
Jack Frost (1997): A serial killer is genetically mutated in a car wreck on the way to his execution. After which, he becomes a murdering snowman hell-bent on revenge for the sheriff who caught him. Murdering. Snowman. Say that without chuckling. But seriously, haven’t you wondered what those snowmen do at night when you’re fast asleep? Why not murder those around them mocking the fact they have NO LEGS AND CAN’T MOVE!
Nutcracker (2001): It’s another crazy Christmas and psychotherapist Dr. Carlton Fairfax, Jr. is losing control of his patients and his sanity – then he meets one particularly mysterious patient who sees to it that he definitely continues down that road. The title alone should make any man cringe and any fan of the ballet sit up and go “This one’s for me!” Not really. In fact, not at all. Look away; look very, very away.
Gremlins (1984): Minature green monsters tear through the small town of Kingston Falls. Hijinks ensue as a mild-mannered bank teller releases these hideous loonies after gaining a new pet and violating two of three simple rules: No water (violated), no food after midnight (violated), and no bright light. Hilarious mayhem and destruction in a town straight out of Norman Rockwell. So, when your washing machine blows up or your TV goes on the fritz, before you call the repair man, turn on all the lights and look under all the beds. ‘Cause you never can tell, there just might be a gremlin in your house. Have a merry, Spielberg Christmas. Oh wait… isn’t he Jewish?
P2 (2007): The story centers on a corporate climber who gets stuck working late on Christmas Eve and finds herself the target of an unhinged security guard. With no help in sight, the woman must overcome physical and psychological challenges to survive. This one is actually quite good. Not so much horror as it is thriller, and the most you get out of the Christmas spirit is that it takes place on Christmas Eve. You won’t find any killer elves, insane Santas, or cannibalistic reindeer in this film.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993): Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of Halloween Town, is bored with doing the same thing every year for Halloween. One day he stumbles into Christmas Town, and is so taken with the idea of Christmas that he tries to get the resident bats, ghouls, and goblins of Halloween town to help him put on Christmas instead of Halloween — but alas, they can’t get it quite right. Sigh. One of my favs. Tim Burton brings to life such joyous magic, it makes me tear up just thinking about it. And having good ol’ Mr. Boingo himself, Danny Elfman, along for ride doesn’t hurt.
And there you have it. Some holiday films to get you through the seasons. You have just about any type of movie you like; from your yuck-tastic B-Horror cheese-fest to classic films that might well go down as some of the best films of a generation. But the most important thing to remember is this — God bless us, every one!
Even the killers? Seriously Tiny Tim? God bless the maniacs and psychotic monsters? Oh well, it was said by a cute little moppet with a crutch… so we’ll just nod our heads and say “Awwwww!”