If Die Hard is a Christmas movie, so is Jaws: The Revenge!
Around this time of the year, all the horror sites across the net spend a good deal of time talking about holiday horror classics like Black Christmas and Silent Night, Deadly Night, and sometimes we even get a little bit obscure by shining the spotlight on lesser-known gems like Elves and Don’t Open Till Christmas. But these are all horror movies with very obvious Christmas themes and settings, often directly noted in their titles. Other horror films, well, they’re so subtly set around Christmastime that maybe you didn’t even notice. Or maybe you’ve forgotten over the years.
Today we wanted to talk about the Christmas horror movies that are almost never actually classified as Christmas horror movies. But they totally are, and they deserve that recognition.
Here are 5 of them!
One could say that the Jaws franchise “jumped the shark” in the wake of Steven Spielberg forever making the entire world terrified of the water, and 1987 sequel Jaws: The Revenge is pretty strong evidence of that fact. The film implies that sharks basically have a vendetta against the Brody family, and in it Ellen Brody (wife of Martin Brody) seeks revenge for all the torment they’ve caused her family. In the opening sequence, young Sean Brody is eaten by a massive shark on the frigid waters of Amity at Christmastime, while the local choir sings classic holiday tunes off in the distance. The quick cuts back and forth between the attack and the singing kids makes for a pretty effective opening scene, firmly establishing Jaws: The Revenge as a Christmas film.
Picking up directly after the events of the first film, 1990’s Maniac Cop 2 is the rare sequel that’s probably better than its predecessor… and it’s also set around Christmastime! Bruce Campbell reprises the role of Jack Forrest, once again coming face-to-face with the undead Matt Cordell (who teams up with a NYC serial killer). The holiday has a strong presence in the film even if it’s never part of the storyline; Christmas decorations are in the background of most scenes. Cordell never dons a Santa suit, but his second outing was undoubtedly a Christmas slasher.
The brutal 2007 French horror film Inside doesn’t exactly make for family-friendly viewing around the holidays, but what you may not remember is that the bulk of the film takes place on Christmas Eve. Alone in her house just four months after losing her husband in a car wreck, the pregnant Sarah is tormented by a mysterious woman with a vendetta. Nothing about Inside really screams Christmas, but when you consider that it’s a film primarily centered on a baby being born on Christmas day… that’s pretty much the story of Christmas in a nutshell, is it not?!
Last year’s Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension wasn’t exactly a memorable end to the long-running franchise, but you’d be hard-pressed to find another horror movie that makes better use of the 3D technology that it employs. The other thing that differentiates it from the other films in the series? It’s the Christmas one! Yes, Ghost Dimension is totally set right before Christmas, and a massive tree in the family home is on display throughout the entirety of the movie. It’s rare that horror franchises have Christmas installments, so props to PA for getting festive.
As we told you last month, James Wan very intentionally made this year’s The Conjuring 2 a Christmas movie, explaining to us that the holiday played a huge role in the story. “My aim was to make The Conjuring 2 a Christmas-themed and set horror film,” he said. “It felt very relevant with the characters and the world.” The England-set sequel obviously takes place around Christmastime, as decorations are seen in the background and several holiday tunes are played. There’s even a memorable scene where the Hodgson kids decorate a Christmas tree.
Other unlikely Christmas genre films include The Stepfather (2009), Prometheus, and Jurassic World. Can you think of any others? Comment and let us know!