Even in 2018, Christmas tends to be treated as a sacred holiday, so audiences can get touchy about movies in that context. For example, plenty of people don’t even like thinking of Die Hard, in which bloody events transpire over Christmas Eve, as a Christmas movie. Maybe that’s why there aren’t a ton of horror movies set around December 25, as though they were only for the naughty among us. But there are exceptions and plenty of them. Every now and then, someone dares to disturb the tranquility of the season, whether it’s defiling Kris Kringle himself or simply wishing ill will to men and women alike. Here are the 10 best when it comes to Christmas horror.
10. Krampus (2015)
Hollywood has largely steered clear of Christmas horror, but every now and then, they go dark. One example: This moderately budgeted nasty piece of work from Legendary Pictures, the company currently busy rebooting Godzilla and King Kong. (Krampus director Michael Dougherty is the one behind the wheel for Godzilla: King of the Monsters.) They tapped another monster for this hunk of Christmas coal: Central Europe’s favorite Yuletide boogeyman — a half-goat, half-demon who preys on misbehaving children. Here, the beast descends upon modern day snowcapped suburbia, lurking after a top-shelf cast that includes Toni Collette, Adam Scott, and David Koechner. Though occasionally comedic (see: Koechner, David), Krampus is more intense and eerie than one would expect from studio horror targeting the holidays.
9. Jack Frost (1997)
Not to be confused with the other, arguably more horrifying Jack Frost — a heart-warming CGI-fest released one year later that starred Michael Keaton as the voice of a well-meaning snowman — this winking-yet-gory campfest finds a serial killer resurrected inside three balls of snow, laying waste to small town types, the most famous of them being a pre-American Pie Shannon Elizabeth.