I am not a fan of Christmas, but I am a fan of horror movies, and I am more a fan of horror movies than I’m not a fan of Christmas, which means I love Christmas horror movies. Does that make sense? What a terrible opening sentence. Let’s ignore I said it, and just focus on this: I love Christmas horror movies.
They are the exact opposite of festive cheer - there’s just something so perfect about setting a gross horror movie at Christmas, the contrast between happiness and abject sadness is wonderful and I love it. I enjoy being scared at Christmas, because it disguises the toxic December hate that bubbles so closely under my waxy coating.
So I thought, why not drag everyone else into the misery, why should I be the only one who sessions foulness at Christmas? As such, here are my favourite Christmas horror movies - watch them, enjoy them, put them on on Christmas day and drag everyone else down to your level. Merry Christmas!
'Silent Night, Deadly Night'
Might as well start off with my favourite. Little Billy Chapman is on the way home from his granddad’s when a bloke in a Santa suit kills his parents in front of him. So obviously he grows up hating Christmas, before finally having a full-on breakdown at 18 and going on a murderous rampage, killing ‘naughty’ people, all while screaming “PUNISH” on repeat.
If that’s not the natural progression for a Christmas movie, then I don’t know what is, and I don’t want to know what is. This is the perfect Christmas movie and if you disagree then: “PUNISH”.
While I’ve got you, might as well mention the sort-of remake from 2012, which drops the Deadly Night, but keeps the killer Santa. Ignore the all-horror-remakes-are-shite mantra, because this one ain’t half bad, which I think means it’s good.
I mean, it doesn’t reach much further away than: mad Santa kills people, but in all honesty, that’s all I ever really need at this time of year. I’m not looking for intelligence in any form whatsoever. This isn’t computer club, nerdzo!
This Dutch banger focuses on the legend of Sinterklaas, but spins it downwards by turning the nice old man into a scary old goblin on a big horse with a giant bladed staff. As such, the film is good, because nobody (read: me) wants to see a kindly saint giving out presents to a smiling bunch of grateful kids. What people (read: me) actually want to see is a snarling abomination on a dead horse slamming fuckers’ heads off with a cocking great blade.
That IS what HAPPENS so THAT is WHY it IS good THANKS see YOU in A bit.
I was pleasantly surprised when this came out two years ago, because it was a (relatively) big budget, star-packed, cinema-released Christmas horror film, and that never happens. It NEVER happens. When has it happened? You please tell me. You! There! At the back! TELL ME WHEN THIS HAS HAPPENED OTHERWISE IT’S CURTAINS FOR YOU BIG BOY.
But it did happen this time, and it ended up wonderfully. A family gathering upended by a big horned Christmas demon, complete with scary elves - what a great time had by all. If only this could happen in real life.
I would, if I were you (which I’m not, I don’t think), ignore the remake of this. Yes, it is more violent - which I will admit usually makes things better - but in actual fact, it’s by far the lesser of the two Christmas evils.
This original ‘70s shocker is the one to watch, and was a precursor to even Halloween in the slasher stakes, so deserves utmost props for helping to kick-start the movement.
And any movie which contains prank calls reminds me of the time I called up McDonald’s and asked if they allowed dogs because it was a full moon and I was a werewolf. You should have been there it was hilarious, trust me.
This Belgian shocker is one of the more peculiar Christmas films you’ll encounter, but it’s nonetheless great for it. A stranded bloke ends up at an old farmhouse for the night, completely unaware that the owner is a psychotic maniac who wants to turn him into his wife.
I mean, it’s essentially one bloke torturing another for about an hour, but think of the two-and-a-half-hours of torture that you’d have to deal with if you watched Love Actually instead. Exactly, so watch the scary man-wife farm movie instead.
This little-seen chiller (like the name, the name is Wind CHILL) stars a pre-mega-stardom Emily Blunt as a college student who travels home for Chrissy with a creepy dude she doesn’t know before getting stranded, with that very same creepy dude she doesn’t know.
You’d think that bad enough, but then even weirder things happen, which I won’t ruin, because you are 100% going to track this down this obscure movie and watch it, all because some stupid clown on the internet told you to. I know how this works.
'Better Watch Out'
Look, I haven’t actually seen this one yet, but it’s pulling in some great reviews and most importantly: it is in cinemas RIGHT NOW. That means you can go and see a Christmas horror film on a large screen and with loud speakers - you can even buy some extortionate popcorn if you’re too much of a wetty to bring in your own lasagne. Not often you get to do that, so jump on it, lazy bones.
If you need any persuading, think of this: Home Alone but with blood. Yes, correct, meet you outside, etc.
All children scare me - babies, toddlers, teenagers, man-children (that’s why I headbutt the mirror every morning) - so a film called The Children has already got my back up before I’ve even watched it. As it goes, I have now watched it, and yes, it is confirmed, it was scary.
The good thing about this one is that the kid-actors are not annoying and/or rubbish, which is what often makes children in horror movies a damp squib - so we’re all good, no need to fret. This killer kid movie is one of the ‘worthy’ ones.
'Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale'
This Finnish entry - like Sint - goes back and twists the original Santa legend, veering everything towards a far more sinister direction. In this case, that direction is the children-getting-kidnapped route, which I’m sure you can agree, is decidedly un-Christmassy. Just how I, and now you, like it.
It’s not a gloopy gorefest like some of the other on this list, and it’s got a dollop of festive comedy thrown in for good measure, but it’s still creepier than a barrel of centipedes - exactly like your family Christmas will be. Might as well add to it.
Have you ever been on a long drive on Christmas Eve? Probably have, haven’t you? To get to some weird family member’s house in the middle of arse-where - one of those houses that has a private drive which is just a road, a really long road. Thankfully, nine times out of ten you get there without your car breaking down or you literally dying - all you truthfully have to endure is a wet slab of ham and a roast potato made out of talcum powder.
For the family in Dead End, watery gravy is far from the list of problems they have to suffer when their car stops on a deserted road in the middle of the night. Instead, it’s spooky ghost-women in a white dress luring them to their death in the woods - I’ll take the crusty spuds, thank you very much.
Look, I’ll level with ya - this one ain’t scary, buster, but I’m coming to the end of the list and there aren’t that many actually good Christmas horror movies. Still, there is one about a serial killer who gets doused in toxic waste while lying on the snow and turns into a killer snowman.
It is called Jack Frost and it is fucking stupid, but - and this is explicitly related - I love it. He can shoot razor-sharp icicles and he uses axes the wrong way round - it’s the dumbest thing ever and Christmas just isn’t the same without it.
'Silent Night, Deadly Night: Part 2'
So there you go - lots to be getting on with over the next few days, there. Death, terror, violence, screaming - it’s what Christmas is made of! Have a shit one, my friends!