Dec 17 2012

Deck The Halls With Guts and Innards: The Six Greatest Christmascentric Horror Movies Ever Made

Published by at 11:00 am under Editorials,Lists,Movies

Christmas is not a season people would normally associate with horror films. People would rather deck the halls, and fa la la, and so forth. But if you looked in Santa’s bag of horror films, you might just be surprised at how many horror films seem to center around Christmas, or even the mythos of Saint Nick himself. And the oddest part is a great deal of them are actually really good.

For most of my teens I avoided the Christmas horror films, just because it seemed like it was just barely riding the wave of that “holiday themed” horror movies that seemed so predominant (and predominantly lame) after Halloween came out. But upon further inspection I discovered just how wrong I was. Black Christmas actually came BEFORE Halloween, and set the tone for those movies I mistakenly thought it was ripping off. As the result of learning that, I did a “Christmas Horror Marathon” in the nude, in my office, by myself, and I was shocked and surprised at  just how great some of these Christmastastic horror films were. Here, for those of you who would rather deck the halls with guts than tinsel, this list is for you.

Gremlins

I have to admit, the Gremlins adapted to some of our more archaic holiday traditions with relative ease.

I see SO many Christmas horror movie lists, and yet I rarely see Gremlins on said lists. Why? Well, if the movie doesn’t involve a Santa that kills people, some people don’t see it as a holiday movie. Now please allow me to take a moment to tell you some of the reasons Gremlins IS a holiday movie, and maybe the seminal holiday horror movie:

Mogwai is a present from Billy’s Dad  for Christmas.

As seen in above pic, we have caroling.

A Christmas tree is purchased, decorated, and later decimated.

And there are many, many other elements that make it a Christmas movie. But nothing gives it that “Christmas kick” quite like this speech in the film, which traumatized me to no end.

I saw this in the theater very young, and remember looking up at my Dad during this scene with my eyes welling with tears.

Yup. That single story is far darker than any of the subject matter breached on this list, I can tell you that right now. And above and beyond all of that, Gremlins is just a great film. I still pray I get a “Gizmo” every Christmas, and every Christmas, my heart breaks a little more.

Santa’s Slay

Yes, that is Goldberg, and yes, he is Santa. And yes, his reindeer is a buffalo. All that rends your argument invalid.

If you are anything like me, which is to say, slightly discriminatory against holiday themed horror movies, rest assured, this film takes itself about as seriously as the guy who dresses like a little Ceaser and breakdances outside of Little Ceasers. And much like Little Ceasers, this film is cheesy. But it KNOWS it is cheesy, and from the moment the film says go, it embraces that ideal with aplomb. The end result is a mindless retelling of the Santa Clause origin that is unlike anything you have ever heard.

I mean, we have some God versus The Devil shit here. And on top of that, it all comes down to a curling match. Yes, you read that correctly. In case some of you want to tear me apart for liking this stupid movie, watch this intro and tell me what there is NOT to like about it?

Seeing Santa kill Christ Kattan is pretty much one of the 107 best things I have ever seen.

Rare Exports

And to think, you let your kids sit on this guy’s lap at the mall. What is wrong with you?

You know, Rare Exports has become my seminal Christmas movie (outside of Christmas Story, ofcourse). Though the ritual is only two years deep as of 2012, it has become one of my favorite moments of the holiday. Why? Well, one, because I am obviously f*cked in the head. And two, the movie is just awesome.

Rare Exports is a Finnish horror film about a group of reindeer herders who are inadvertently involved  in the unearthing of the real Santa Claus, and as it often turns out when things are unearthed, he is an ancient evil. Well, stuff happens, and he gets caught by a family who attempt to sell him. Do you realize how delightfully original that premise is, and just how well it’s executed here? The scares are not cheap, the shots are fantastic, the cinematography is gorgeous, the setting is unique, and it all adds up to put a chill in your bones when you watch it. Unlike any other horror film you have ever seen, daring and unique, you should add it to your Christmas rituals, too, lest he come for you, naughty child.

Sint (Saint Nick)

” Dear Santa, this year for Christmas I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t kill my family. Sincerely, Little Timothy Jacobs of Sargent Road.”

Okay, so Sint (or Saint Nick) is Dutch black comedy/horror film that plays off the mythos of Sinterklaas, a dutch version of Santa Claus. In this, much like in Santa’s Slay and Rare Exports, he is by no means a good guy. You may actually be familiar with Sinterklaas’ sidekick, Zwarte Piet (Black Pete) because he is that dude with black face. You may have heard about him through some memes and tasteless jokes on the web. Here, I will show you a picture of him.

This is not a joke. Again, not a joke.

I WISH I was joking, but this is really how he is represented in the Netherlands, but it really is not as racist as it looks. Just kidding. It is.

But, in the movie Sint, it is not just one guy, but an army of servants who are not actually “black faced”, but burn victims. I was familiar with the Zwarte Piet legends for some time, so to see a movie spin the mythos like that was a real joy for me, and Sint gets pretty hardcore at times. Here, have some Sint on me:

It is much more creepy when you have no idea what they’re saying.





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6 responses so far

  • Brent Highley

    Slight correction time. As we all know, Tales From the Crypt, the television show, was adapted from the EC Comics brand of the same name. It contained stories from several of the EC brands including Tales From the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, and The Haunt of Fear. Now that our little history lesson is done, we can correct a minor error. And All Through the House was actually adapted from a Tales story published in the original EC comics, and on top of that, in 1979, as part of an eight film series based on EC comics tales, it was a vignette in the Tales From the Crypt movie starring Joan Collins and Peter Cushing about four strangers who meet a strange man during a tour of historic crypts (The Crypt Keeper) who tells them the stories of how they died. So, to recap: It was already in a movie, not just a TV show. Said movie debuted 6 years before Silent Night, Deadly Night. And the story itself was written over a decade beforehand in a comic book. Good article though.

  • Brent Highley

    Self edit: it was a nine film series.

  • Brent Highley

    Quick trivia. Robert Zemeckis, the director of the tv episode, said that the original film was his favorite movie to watch on Halloween since it’s release. That was the reason he chose to direct the first vignette as his episode of the show.

  • http://remycarreiro.com/ Remy Carreiro

    Impressive array of knowledge, Brent. Thanks, brother.

  • trashcanman

    He really likes TFTC. God, man, where did you find some of this stuff? I’ve only seen Santa’ Slay (hoes hoes hoes!), Black Christmas, Gremlins, and for some reason Jack Frost. Good stuff here.

  • http://remycarreiro.com/ Remy Carreiro

    My hatred of Santa runs pretty deep. I feel these portrayals are oddly accurate.
    http://remycarreiro.com/bribery-nepotism-and-juicing-the-bitter-truth-behind-the-reindeer-games/#

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