The Darker Side of Christmas


Published: December 13, 2007

As fall comes to a close and the holiday season approaches, moviegoers put away the films that gave them frights on Halloween and search for Christmas cheer in some holiday classics. Holiday films have become a pivotal part of the Christmas experience. Most people can’t go through the Christmas season without watching the classic TV Christmas movies such as “Rudolph,” “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “A Christmas Story,” just as most people had appropriately watched “Halloween” on Oct. 31. Both seasons alike are breeding grounds for their own topical movies—however, is it really necessary to put away horror films and turn toward a whole new genre? No. With the hybrid holiday-horror movie, moviegoers can enjoy the gore and frights of the Halloween season while drinking their eggnog in yuletide cheer. So don’t let the horror films die off as the holiday season approaches, and check out these great holiday-horror classics:

Santa’s Slay (2005)

Turns out Santa is not that nice of a guy. Someone finally felt they had the need to use the Santa/Satan anagram in their movie. Riding on his sleigh pulled by “helldeer,” Santa (without any real purpose) goes around a town killing people. Most importantly, St. Nick is played by none other than ex-WWE star Bill Goldberg, and yes, he does manage to pull off some wrestling moves, including his signature “Spear.”

Worth watching for: The Strip Club Fight. Yes, Santa goes into a strip club and, yes, he starts a fight. I guess we can’t forget this Santa was once called “The Bull” and World Wrestling Heavyweight Champion. There’s just one thing I don’t get… why the hell is there a shovel and pick axe on the wall of a strip club?

Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

Some people might be a little more familiar with the sequel to this film, since the ending scene, labeled “Garbage Day” on YouTube, has gained some Internet acclaim as containing one of the funniest/worst lines in movie history. However, since 3/4 of the sequel is flashbacks, the credit should go to the first film, which is nothing short of a great B movie with gore, sex and, of course, Santa.

Worth watching for: The Do-Good montage. Before this psycho put on a Santa suit to go on a killing rampage, he was a good guy working at a toy store doing good things (to really bad ’80s pop music). In the manner of a public service announcement, this Santa says “No” to alcohol and “Yes” to milk. Classic and Classy, indeed.

Black Christmas (1974)

“Jess! Don’t go upstairs! Jess!” What do you think Jess does? This is a classic cliché horror flick set during Christmas season. There are a bunch of sorority girls in a house getting creepy telephone calls by a guy that turns out to be in… the same house. AHHH! Just imagine the first-person camera views of classic horror films like “Halloween” scored by “Silent Night.” Don’t pick up the recent remake either. It’s no good.

Worth watching for: The death of Mrs. Mac. First of all, Mrs. Mac has to be the ugliest old woman I have ever seen. Second of all, how the hell does this woman stay alive after being hooked in the face?

Elves (1990)

I am speechless about this film. All I can say is: Nazi elves…again, Nazi elves. It doesn’t get any more evil and ridiculous than that.

Worth watching for: Do you need me to explain more? Nazi Elves!

Christmas Evil (1980)

What happens when a child sees his mother and Santa doing more than just kissing? Well, he grows up to imitate Santa in every aspect of his life. He dresses like Santa, talks like Santa and even begins to look like Santa. Taking the obsession a bit further, he begins to do Santa’s job, except this time, Santa’s killing the people on his naughty list. Warning: Don’t piss this guy off.

Worth watching for: The scene on the church steps when a few guys piss off Santa. I’m not entirely sure what happens, but the body count is five. Some jokes are made, someone is stabbed in the eye with a nutcracker, an axe gets swung and there’s blood everywhere. I can’t really explain why this movie was made, but it is definitely entertaining.

Gremlins (1984)

Look what my father got me for Christmas. It’s a mogwai! Okay, so most people wouldn’t call this a horror flick, because let’s face it: we all loved Gizmo when we were younger. Also, any movie that you can watch with the whole family just doesn’t seem to be a horror film in spirit. That is, until you feed Gizmo after midnight and he spawns the other gremlins, which are mischievous, crazy and like driving plows. For an even greater Gremlin experience, see the sequel, which, unfortunately, wasn’t made in the Christmas spirit, but is a great movie.

Worth watching for: The Kitchen Fight. I can’t even make fun of this scene; this is a legitimate horror sequence. Mix the music of “Psycho” with the alien ooze of “Starship Troopers” and you get this scene where, not one, but three gremlins get shredded in a blender, stabbed and cooked in a microwave.