The Top 5 Christmas Horror Movies
Ah, the holidays. There’s a chill in the air and warmth in our hearts. Our days are merry and bright as we stroll down city sidewalks. What better time to give yourself a fright than during the time of year designed to lull you into a happy sense of security? The juxtaposition of horror unfolding in the following films with the family-friendly atmosphere of the holiday season gives them a very distinct visual flavor.
5) Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
Sometimes in a horror movie, we want to see depth and character development and tragic backstories with relatable characters. Other times, we just want to see a guy dressed as Santa Claus kill a bunch of people. Such was the plot of 1984’s Silent Night, Deadly Night. The plot was a simple one – an orphan raised by nuns grows up to be a serial killer who dresses up as Santa. Simple enough, and this film could have just been one of the numerous ‘holiday-themed’ slasher films of the ’80s. It could have very easily been released and then forgotten about, but that’s not what happened. People were outraged that theaters would show a movie that depicts a murderous, vengeful Santa Claus. There were many boycotts and protests of this film because people didn’t want their children to be traumatized. Instead, the uproar only cemented the film in the horror lexicon.
4) A Christmas Horror Story (2015)
And you thought your hometown was lame. At least you don’t live in Bailey Downs, a small town that is overtaken by a slew of holiday-themed spirits, zombie elves, and Krampus. The only one who can fight back is Santa Claus himself, along with some help from William Shatner. A Christmas Horror Story is somewhat of an anthology film, focusing on many different stories that all take place in the same town, at relatively the same time. Children go missing and come back different, students get trapped in school basements and Santa gets his ass handed to him by some severely underpaid elves. They’ve started a union, you see, and now there’s no backing down. This film is exactly what one would think it would be. It doesn’t take itself too seriously but there are still some really unsettling images.
3) Black Christmas (1974)
Black Christmas was a 1974 thriller from director Bob Clark (who, coincidentally enough, also directed the family classic – A Christmas Story). In it, a group of sorority sisters are menaced by a mysterious serial killer who is making threatening phone calls. As the girls become more and more frightened, they realize the killer is a lot closer than they think. With a cast including Margot Kidder, Olivia Hussey, John Saxon and more, this film captured the feeling of just how lonely, isolative and, yes, black, Christmas could be.
2) Gremlins (1984)
Could anybody have known that, when Gremlins was released in 1984, it would become an instant classic? When one thinks of Christmas movies, not even just Christmas Horror movies but Christmas movies in general, Gremlins is usually at the top of the list. Telling the story of a son being gifted a Mogwai named Gizmo by his well-meaning father, Gremlins has endeared itself to generations of children and grownups alike. Gremlins is a classic in every sense of the word. Some people argue the film isn’t technically a Christmas movie. But they’re wrong.
1) Krampus (2015)
What’s scarier — the hulking, evil, demonic antithesis of Santa Claus or your family? That is the question being asked in the 2015 film Krampus, from director Michael Dougherty. Combining his love for holidays and horror, just like he did in Trick ‘R Treat, Dougherty, crafted a tale that is both horrifying and horrifyingly relatable. Young Max’s family is, in a word, dysfunctional. So when Max, the family’s only true holder of Christmas Spirit, loses it, all hell breaks loose. Krampus is a horror movie first and a comedy movie second, but it’s a Christmas movie more than anything.
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