With the holidays season lurking right on our doorstep and hovering right over out chimney tops, I (Elaine Lamkin) thought it an appropriate time to recommend some movies with a Christmas theme or setting but scary in a way that seeing “It’s A Wonderful Life” for the 387th time is not. In no particular order, although the first four are favorites of mine, one should make at least a few of these films required viewing for this bloody good time of the year. Read on for Elaine’s list of ten films that’ll color the snow red. You can also read Keres’ ‘Holiday Horror List’ from a few years back here…
WE WISH YOU A SCARY CHRISTMAS!
1. “Black Christmas” (1974) – The granddaddy of slasher films. Takes place in a sorority house being menaced by an unseen killer just days before Christmas. A classic!!
2. “Dead End” (2003) – Overlooked little gem with Ray Wise and Lin Shaye as the parents of a family who put the “fun” in dysfunction and what happens when Dad decides to take a “new” way to Grandma’s on Christmas Eve. Chilling!
3. “Desecration” (1999) – Set during the Christmas season and Dante Tomaselli’s first film. Young boy at Catholic boarding school accidentally kills a nun, unleashing all sorts of horrific mayhem.
4. “Horror” (2002) – Visually stunning film set just after Christmas and also directed by Tomaselli. Tells the story of some drug-rehab runaways and their run-in with the bizarre Salo family.
5. “Silent Night, Deadly Night” (1986) – On Christmas Eve a man and his wife are driving home with their two young children in the car after visiting family. A man dressed as Santa is pulled over on the side of the road who they stop to help. The man dressed as Santa kills the parents and leaves the kids there. When one of the two grows up and leaves the orphanage he gets a job at a toy store but when he is asked to dress up as Santa, he loses it and goes on a killing spree.
6. “Christmas Evil” (1980) – After a boyhood trauma during Christmas, a man is slightly obsessed with the holiday for the rest of his life. He becomes a toy maker and keeps track of the children that are naughty and nice. He ends up snapping and goes on a killing rampage.
7. “Tales From The Crypt” (1972) – The 1972 British anthology film, Tales From The Crypt, is notable for featuring the screen’s premiere evil Santa. In the first of the film’s five segments, Joan Collins finds herself terrorized by a maniac dressed as Santa Claus, a particularly unfortunate development considering she’s just murdered her husband. It seems Joan might have the upper hand on Santa…until her young daughter screws things up by inviting him into the house! A good, tight little story that’s far and away the best part of the film. It was remade years later as an episode of the cult HBO series of the same name.
8. “Silent Night, Bloody Night” (1973) – In 1973’s “Silent Night, Bloody Night”, an old man haunts the secluded mansion where he witnessed the murder of his family by a band of maniacs years earlier. The place used to be an insane asylum, you see, and the disturbed protagonist unwittingly let the inmates loose. The creepy and atmospheric sequence depicting the events outlined above is the only reason to watch this film as the holiday is incidental to the story.
9. “Santa’s Slay” (2005) – It seems that Santa Claus is actually a devil who was only acting jovial because he lost a bet with an angel that forced him to be nice for 1,000 years. But now that he has served his time, Saint Nick has returned to his murderous ways. Determined to save Christmas–and the world–a young man enlists the help of his girlfriend and his crazy grandfather to try to restore peace on Earth. Inspired blend of horror and comedy stars wrestling great (Bill) Goldberg, Emilie de Ravin (“Lost”) and James Caan.
10. “The Christmas Season Massacre” (2002) – An eyepatch-wearing maniac has been stalking classmates who ridiculed him years earlier in school. The six survivors decide to band together and whack the killer first, but he’ll be harder to polish off than Aunt Myrt’s fruitcake!
Read Keres’ Holiday Horror List here