Most horror movies don’t tend to happen on normal days. Usually, slashers, monsters, and other blood-curdling monstrosities wait for a holiday to strike, and Christmas is no exception. Here’s a look at the five greatest Christmas horrors out there, excepting It’s A Wonderful Life since that’s not technically a horror movie. Technically.
A bunch of Finnish reindeer herders, living near the Russian border, discover that a dark, ancient horror, long buried by the Sami people, is being unleashed on the world. That horror? Santa Claus. Rare Exports is simultaneously utterly ridiculous but delivered in the best possible straight-faced fashion, even when you’ve got an old guy running around naked. It’s like the ’80s horror comedy Hollywood never made, except it’s Finnish. Of note: The Netflix version apparently bowdlerizes some of the profanity, so keep that in mind when somebody says “Fiddlesticks!”
Oh, like we have to explain to you how great Joe Dante’s hilariously brutal takedown of Christmas movies, the holidays, and the suburbs is. If you haven’t seen Gremlins, make it a Christmas tradition.
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The remake was… OK, we suppose, but the original Black Christmas was one of the first slasher movies, and actually a creepily effective little horror flick in its own right, riffing on a classic urban legend. Some sorority sisters are staying at their house over the season, for various reasons ranging from the trivial to the uncomfortable. Unfortunately, there’s another problem, up in the attic. Helping matters considerably is the underrated Bob Clark directing; he’d go on to make A Christmas Story. Really.
Cronos, Guillermo Del Toro’s first film, takes place over Christmas and New Years, and it actually makes the proceedings a lot more poignant. As Jesus Gris becomes younger, he finds himself losing, among other things, the ability to relate to his granddaughter. Doubles as one of the best vampire movies out there, which certainly helps.
Something of a cult classic, Dead End is a ghost story boosted immeasurably by the presence of a really good cast, not least Ray Wise and Lin Shaye as Frank and Laura. It’s modest in its aims, but it’s a creepy little movie that deserves a wider audience.
Any we missed? Let us know in the comments. OK, fine, before someone does it, here’s the only good scene from Silent Night, Deadly Night 2: