10 Incidental Christmas Films - Raindance

It always takes me some time to get into the Christmas spirit. The 1st of December, I am cringing from the Christmas carols being played in every store everywhere.

Inevitably, during this season, I feel obligated to watch a festive movie, but just can’t muster up the enthusiasm to put on the usual Christmas films. Are you sick of “Home Alone”, “The Miracle on 34th Street”, and the endless versions of “A Christmas Carol”?

Check out these films that take place around Christmas, but Christmas has almost nothing to do with the plot!


Psycho (1960)

This is a re-cut trailer following a more modern style.

The classic slasher film Psycho was filmed between November 1959 and February 1960. Some Christmas decorations snuck into the film. So if you really want to watch a film that has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas, put Psycho in your queue of Holiday Films.


Christmas Decorations in downtown Pheonix, AZ

Rather than re-shoot the sequence, Hitchcock chose to add the title text of “Friday 11th December.”

Go (1999)

This film is a Tarantino inspired adventure with three storylines converging on one drug deal. And the best part is? The whole film takes place on Christmas Eve. The film is interesting because it obviously takes place near Christmas, but there are no families, no snowmen. Instead there is a whole lot of X, car chases, drug dealing, strippers, bouncers, hotel room fires, and 9mm pistols.


A Rave named Mary Xmas

Santa in a neck brace drinking orange juice in a hospital bed

Drug-dealer wearing a Santa hat

Tinsel on a Buffet

Mistletoe in the breakroom of a grocery store

(awkward) Christmas dinner

Katie Holmes talking about presents

The Mothman Prophecies (2002)

A psychological thriller follows a DC journalist who is grieving his wife’s death and some bizarre drawings that she created before her death. He ends up in Point Pleasant West Virginia where some of the town’s residents are seeing similar phenomenon. A paranormal voice begins communicating with one of the town’s residents in particular, predicting disasters before they happen. The journalist (Richard Gere) descends into an obsession with the phenomenon. Christmas Eve reveals the final disaster predicted by the Mothman.



Wrapped presents bobbing in the water

Christmas decorations

Multiple mentions of Christmas, mostly how Richard Gere shouldn’t be alone on Christmas.

Children of Men (2006)

Watch the trailer HERE

This film focuses more on the Christian themes of Christmas rather than the Consumer Culture of Christmas. Kee is the first pregnant girl in 18 years. So it is a story of redemption, seemingly immaculate conception, and new beginnings. No wonder it opened December 25th in the USA.


Pregnancy is revealed in a barn

References to the Nativity are made

Baby creates eerie quiet in street battle

and an overall theme of Redemption

and the feeling of a New Age dawning

Brazil (1985)

Brazil, if you haven’t already seen it, is a farcical view on the totalitarian governments a la 1984. It is also an expression of Terry Gilliam’s profound frustration with the bureaucratic society that he lives in, and a commentary on the Christmas season.


A civil servant is black bagged by Government agents while sitting around a Christmas tree with his family

The squad is heralded with sleigh bells and drop through a hole in a ceiling with a sack

Themes of consumerism (especially when dealing with Sam’s mother)

Christmas shopping in the lingerie department

Santa visits captive Sam Lowry

Batman Returns (1992)

Tim Burton’s 2nd Batman film is a stark winter landscape of black, white, and red. What better time than Christmas for Gotham to accept it’s judgment? And really, what screams Christmas more than Michelle Pfieffer in a pleather catsuit?


Penguins wearing candy-striped rockets

Penguins exploding out of a giant gift-box

Max Shreck as a benevolent industrialist giving to the poor

A company Christmas party where Wayne and Kyle flirt



Cast Away (2000)


Tom Hanks is plane-wrecked on an island for 4 years on a short business trip close to the holidays. He and his best friend, a volleyball named Wilson, make a raft and try to get rescued. Nothing like getting stranded on a deserted island to get away from the crowded malls!


Christmas decorations at the airport

The FedEx plane is full of Christmas presents

Turbulence caused by Santa

Oral surgery by ice-skate

In Bruges (2008)


Two gangsters are hiding out in Bruges (aka Purgatory) at Christmas. Hooks, drug deals, tourists, and sightseeing. What more could you want?


Christmas decorations

I know not a ton of Christmas evidence, but enough to qualify!

Die Hard (1988)

Ah, the action classic. On Christmas eve, NYPD officer John McClane flies to LA to reconcile with his estranged wife at her company’s Christmas party. Unfortunately for them Alan Rickman and his gang of thugs are trying to get into the company vaults and have all of the party-goers as hostages. John McClane gets to sneak around the building picking them off one by one.


Christmas party

“Now I have a machine gun, ho ho ho”

and of course, theme of reconciliation

“Yippe-ky-ay Motherfucker.”

Gremlins (1984)

Getting a Mogwai for Christmas may sound like the perfect present…but as Uncle Ben said “with great power comes great responsibility” so don’t get the Mogwai wet, feed them after midnight, or shine them with light. The classic horror-comedy results in a holiday romp of…decidedly unsettling proportions.


Mogwai Christmas present and this monolog:

“The worst thing that ever happened to me was on Christmas. Oh, God. It was so horrible. It was Christmas Eve. I was nine years old. Me and Mom were decorating the tree, waiting for Dad to come home from work. A couple hours went by. Dad wasn’t home. So Mom called the office. No answer. Christmas Day came and went, and still nothing. So the police began a search. Four or five days went by. Neither one of us could eat or sleep. Everything was falling apart. It was snowing outside. The house was freezing, so I went to try to light up the fire. That’s when I noticed the smell. The firemen came and broke through the chimney top. And me and Mom were expecting them to pull out a dead cat or a bird. And instead they pulled out my father. He was dressed in a Santa Claus suit. He’d been climbing down the chimney… his arms loaded with presents. He was gonna surprise us. He slipped and broke his neck. He died instantly. And that’s how I found out there was no Santa Claus.”

Well, that about sums it up, I guess.

About The Author

Brenna EricksonBrenna Erickson had no choice but to dedicate her life to film after her first film shoot entailed running around a basement in subzero temperatures in a formal gown with bare feet. She apparently couldn’t get enough of it and is working on evolving into a FILM PRODUCER/SCREENWRITER, but until investors begin showering her with money, she is interning whilst learning as much as possible. She owns a film company called Em.K. Productions with her partner in crime. Her first feature film, Anatomically Incorrect will be hitting the film festival circuit in spring 2011.



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