Posted by James Brown on Saturday, December 5, 2015
The holiday season is upon us once again and the classic Christmas movies are making their annual rounds on TV and streaming services. The only problem is that you've probably already seen them all a million times or maybe you're just not in the mood for sappy, saccharine, seasonal fare. Here are some of our favorite non-traditional holiday movies to keep you on the edge of your seat this season.
Please keep in mind, a lot of these movies are cult classics that are so ridiculous or so bad that they are kind of amazing in their own right. As far as the sobriety test goes, we recommend a good helping a liquid courage for most of these spooky seasonal favorites.
Gremlins (1984)You can't make a Christmas movie list without talking about Gremlins. When it comes to holiday horror, Gremlins perfectly toes the line between comedy and creepy and holds up as a non-traditional holiday film that can be shared and enjoyed with just about everyone. The movie does actually have some pretty intense scenes that may be too scary for young kids, and it was partially responsible for the creation of the PG-13 rating (along with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom). The movie was written by Chris Columbus, who went on to write and direct the first two Home Alone movies and also directed the first Harry Potter film. In retrospect, it's no surprise that the movie became yet another holiday classic. The effects work and gremlin puppets still hold up incredibly well today, and the movie looks just as good now as it did back in the '80s.
Santa's Slay (2005)It seems like you can squeeze Santa Claus into just about anything these days, besides just your chimney, of course. Beyond the usual Coca-Cola ads, the jolly, bearded man has made his way into games. Yes, there's even a "Santa Surprise" title that puts a social slot-style spin on St. Nick. It lets players try their luck on some seasonal slots featuring wreaths, reindeer and presents. Kinda out there, right? Well, would you believe it we told you that wasn't the weirdest place we've found Santa? In one of the hands-down craziest interpretations of the Santa Claus story, former pro wrestling superstar Bill Goldberg dons the big red suit and looks to find out exactly who's naughty and who's nice during his homicidal holiday rampage. This movie definitely falls into the "so nuts that it's good" territory, and the opening 10 minutes are some of the most insane ever pressed to film. This is where you'll need more than a couple cups of spiked eggnog to get through it, but you owe it to yourself to at least watch the beginning.
Krampus (2015)This film starring Adam Scott and Toni Collette is an upcoming comedy-horror film that looks to fit the mold created by Gremlins. It's based on a character from German folklore known as "the Krampus," which in many ways is kind of like the anti-Santa. Where Santa rewards well-behaved children, the Krampus is there to do the dirty work and punish anyone on the naughty list. Director Michael Dougherty is well-known among horror fans for his well-received Halloween movie, Trick 'r' Treat, and it looks as though he's managed to repeat the same magic this time around. Critics have been lauding the film as a Christmas movie for the modern era, and it looks a nice breath of fresh air from the usual holiday offerings.
Black Christmas (1974)This is definitely not one to watch with the family, but it's a must-see if you're a fan of horror movies. Black Christmas is widely considered to be one of the first slasher films and has been highly influential on the horror genre as a whole. The movie has a terrific cast starring Olivia Hussey and Margot Kidder along with a great supporting role from horror icon John Saxon. Its director, Bob Clark, went on to make A Christmas Story, so yeah, the man knows his way around the holidays. Actor Nick Mancuso described the film as "opening your colorful Christmas present with colorful ribbons and bows and discovering a tarantula in the box." Yep, he's not far off with the movie's insidious subversions of holiday traditions. This is by far the most legitimately scary movie on this list, so watch it with the lights on—and make sure you check the attic.
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