There’s no time like the winter when it comes to
Around the Christmas season, a person can only take so much sugar and spice and Christmas magic before they get a severe sweetness overload. Check out this list of darker, scarier holiday movies with warm gingerbread cookies and a mug of hot buttered rum or spiked egg nog.
1. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale – Killer Santa movies are a dime a dozen, and everyone has seen “that scene” from Jack Frost. Rare Exports is the rare killer Santa movie that actually got great reviews from the critics, including Roger Ebert who called it “a rather brilliant lump of coal for your stocking hung by the fireside with care.”
2. The Nightmare Before Christmas – This is a scarier selection that is still okay to watch with the whole family. The scenes with Oogie Boogie kidnapping Santa Claus might be a bit disturbing for really young kids, but there is enough good humor and songs by Danny Elfman to distract them.
3. Gremlins – Like The Nightmare Before Christmas, this is a scary Christmas movie that is still friendly for the kids, though this film goes to more violent, bloody places. Over 30 years later, Gremlins is still a crowd pleaser.
4. P2 – Angela, a young professional, is kept late working on Christmas Eve. When she leaves for the night, however, she discovers that an obsessed stalker Thomas, played by Wes Bentley, is doing everything he can to keep her from leaving. The fun of P2 is how Angela turns the tables on Thomas, and it’s good to see Wes Bentley on the big screen, even without his crazy Hunger Games facial hair.
5. Santa Claus – Mystery Science Theater 3000 did an episode of Santa Claus. I don’t think was meant to be a horror movie, but it sure is horrifying, especially the character of Pitch a.k.a. Satan himself. Be sure to watch it with the MST3K commentary for full enjoyment.
6. Black Christmas – There are two versions of Black Christmas, the 1974 version and the 2006 version. It isn’t hard to see why Hollywood wanted to remake a movie about sorority girls getting killed on Christmas, but it is highly recommended to stick to the original.
7. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians – Another entry from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 catalog. Again, the scariest part of this movie is that it ever got made.
8. The Children – This movie is most definitely not appropriate for the kids, but for folks sick of precocious Christmas special children, the murderous tykes in The Children could be exactly the right choice.
9. Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 – Two words: “Garbage Day!”
10. Christmas Evil – A young boy is traumatized by his mother fooling around with a man dressed as Santa Claus. He grows up to be a toy maker at Jolly Dreams, but one Christmas, he snaps and becomes a Santa serial killer, taking out those who he deems “naughty.” John Waters absolutely loves it, and when asked about his favorite Christmas specials, he called Christmas Evil “the best one ever.”
11. “Unholy Night” from American Horror Story: Asylum – This is also known as the Ian McShane-Santa episode, and while it is a TV show and not a movie, it absolutely needs to be mentioned. “There is no God, but there is a Santa Claus!”