Just for the record, I love Christmas, I am no bah hum-bug! However I know some of you out there might not share my festive spirit and for those of you who will turn their TV off in disgust when Jingle All The Way (1996) will undoubtedly be playing, this is a list for you. These are my top 12 anti Christmas films, that is Christmas films that are specifically related to Christmas but may take on a different tone to It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) (This will not be including Christmas films that are SET at Christmas, like Diehard (1988) and Lethal Weapon (1987), awesome though they may be). This is a list of films that takes the Christmas cheer and turns it upside down and inside out:
1) Gremlins (1984)
It’s the classic “what am I going to get my son for Christmas?… I know! A little, furry, creature!” tale that leaves you wishing you had a Mogwai of your own…minus all the complications of course. Gremlins is a timeless classic that perfectly combines both comedy and horror to create the perfect anti Christmas movie. Nothing can beat the evil Mogwai’s carol singing debut before they ransack the poor unsuspecting house.
2) Bad Santa (2003)
A black comedy that is exactly what it says on the tin: Billy Bob Thornton being the worlds worst Santa. This drunk, debauched, bad ass Santa Claus is on no ones good list as he drives his life into the ground. However the film has some remnants of Christmas redemption as he attempts to help the local, unloved and unpopular kid in town…ok so his methods are a little unorthodox but ten out of ten for effort!
3) Black Christmas (1974 & 2006)
You can take your pick of the 1974 film or its 2006 remake. Both films are your archetypal revenge slasher with a holly sprig of Christmas anti-spirit; An escaped maniac returns to his childhood home on Christmas Eve, which is now a sorority house, and begins a murderous rampage. Especially noted on the anti-Christmas list for their decorative use of Christmas ornaments and decorations as murder weapons, this film invites you to come along for the slay ride.
4) Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)
A Finnish Horror/Fantasy movie that will leave you with Claustrophobia! Set in the Korvatunturi mountains, a group of scientists excavating on the mountainside, stumble over the truth about Santa Claus. It sounds tacky but has actually had excellent reviews, being described as ‘original, daring and a well-crafted’ (Roger Ebert), a perfect parody of ‘the monster that arises from the dead’ movies. It has certainly made it onto my Christmas list!
5) Silent night, deadly night (1984) & Silent Night (2012)
Santa Claus is coming to town, and he is wielding a bloody axe! Another revenge horror that sees the punishment of those who have made it onto Santa’s naughty list, this follows the story of Ricky Chapman and his psychotic brother Billy who are traumatized by their childhood christmas ordeals. This is your classic ‘the killers’ family were awful and dysfunctional and now he is screwed up’ horrors. This franchise continues for another five films following to story of the Chapman brothers who exact revenge on those who have been ‘bad’ and discovering new and exciting ways to kill people with Christmas ornaments, lights and deadly toys. The remake ‘Silent Night’ (2012) is based on the original 1984 film but they have re-vamped Santa Claus into a successfully creepy villain. This time Santa Claus is coming down your chimney… to terrorize!
6) Cooper’s Camera (2008)
A Canadian film that dips into the life of Cooper’s dysfunctional family on a typical Christmas day. Championing the use of the hand held camera to record the mayhem, this film is like Festive Family Guy in-the-flesh.
7) The Ref (1994)
When a heist goes wrong for a jewel thief (played by Denis Leary), he is forced to take a rich family hostage to avoid his own capture, but boy did he pick the wrong family! This is a loud, lewd Kevin Spacey film that seems to have been swept under the Christmas tree and should be dugout for Christmas this year. This is a hilarious, sharp-witted, dysfunctional family Christmas film that will leave you laughing your Christmas stockings off!
7) Scrooged (1988)
A twist on the classic Charles Dickins tale A Christmas Carol, Bill Murray stars in this modernization that will leave you laughing your christmas stockings off! With mischievous ghosts and a big bowl full of bah-humbug cynicism is all you will need for the perfect anti-christmas.
8) Jack Frost (1998)
A black comedy that inverts the idea of the lovable Frosty the Snowman, into bad ass, bad tempered and bad mouthed Jack Frost. Despite the box office ratings hurting more than a snowball to the face, this film has become a cult classic thanks to its low- budget special effects, silly plot and comical death sequences. Not to be confused with Jack Frost (1998) which is a family film of the same name, which still includes living, breathing snowman and is full of that disgusting festive cheer. Blargh!
9) P2 (2007)
For Angela Bridges (played by Rachel Nichols) this really is the nightmare before Christmas as she is trapped and stalked in a parking lot on Christmas Eve by the menacing Wes Bentley (who is not a bad looking psycho killer one has to say!). As a white angel fallen from grace as the victim, dressed up in angelic attire, is the object of her tormentors desire despite her “many sins”. A twisted morality tale for Christmas this year!
10 ) Sint (Saint Nick) (2010)
So we’ve had slashing Santa’s, now we have demonic Santa’s! A Dutch Comedy/Horror that unearths the evil undead Sinterklaas, who inflicts vengeance on the town where he is brutally murdered.
11) Puppet Master vs Demonic Toys (2004)
And from demonic Santa’s to demonic toys, this film had to make the list; it will leaving you hoping for lumps of coal in your stocking, at the least they can’t attack you! Creating a hybrid of the Puppet Master franchise and the Demonic Toys series, the veteran toys and puppets, who possess their own colourful characters, return for the ultimate Christmas battle. You may remember such toys as Jack Attack, Baby Oopsie-Daisy and Pinhead but who will prevail?
12) The Children (2008)
A relaxing, snowy, Christmas vacation turns into a terrifying fight for survival as the children are taken hold by an evil force. A genuinely good horror film with some British TV favourites such as Hannah Tointon, Jeremy Sheffield and Eva Birthistle, this has all the panache of British horror films…and lots and lots of snow!