During this time of year, we get together with family to celebrate the season. And what brings families together more than a heart-warming Christmas movie? Well, when you you get sick of all the heart-warming tripe, check out one of the movies on our list below as we’ve loaded up your Xmas stalking, um stocking… with a nice collection of Holiday Horrors just for you.
Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
Years after witnessing his parents perish at the hands of a burglar disguised as Santa Claus, Billy Chapman dons a Kris Kringle suit of his own and goes on a terrible holiday killing spree, finally returning to the abusive orphanage that raised him. ‘Tis the season for yuletide mayhem! Charles E. Sellier Jr. directs this horror cult favorite, co-starring Robert Brian Wilson and Lilyan Chauvin.
This movie spawned four sequels, all of which were more ridiculous than the first. The first one seemed to take itself somewhat seriously, but as you can see from this much beloved “garbage day” clip from the second movie, things went really downhill in the sequels:
When a man brings home an adorable creature from Chinatown as a Christmas present for his son Billy, the shopkeeper’s sage advice — no midnight snacks, no water, mood lighting only — goes unheeded. As a result, devilish green creatures with a million vices take over the small town on Christmas Eve. This 1980s hit was written by Chris Columbus and executive produced by Steven Spielberg, and is not recommended for your littlest monsters. This is perhaps the best-known and probably best-quality movie on this list, and it’s a true classic from the 1980s.
Black Christmas (1974)
Terror reigns inside a sorority house a few days before Christmas break as a series of menacing phone calls — and the discovery of a dead girl’s body — transform yuletide cheer into fear. Margot Kidder, Olivia Hussey and Andrea Martin (“SCTV”) co-star as just a few of the petrified sisters at the mercy of an unseen stalker in this 1970s horror gem from director Robert Clark, who told a much happier holiday tale with his 1983 classic, A Christmas Story. This movie was filled with a lot of just…weirdness.
And of course, they remade this movie in 2006.
The Shining (1980)
While this isn’t directly a Christmas movie the winter setting creates a sense of holiday of terror unlike any other movie. This is also high on our “wish list” for a haunted attraction, well suited for Universal. The Shining is a 1980 psychological horror film directed by Stanley Kubrick, co-written with novelist Diane Johnson, and starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, and Danny Lloyd. The film is based on the novel of the same name, by Stephen King, about a writer with a wife and young son who accepts the job of off-season caretaker at an isolated hotel. The son, who possesses psychic abilities, is able to see things in the future or past, such as the ghosts in the hotel. Soon after moving in, and after a paralyzing winter storm that leaves the family snowbound, the father becomes influenced by the supernatural presence in the haunted hotel; he descends into madness and attempts to kill his wife and son.
Jack Frost (1996)
When his prison transport collides with a truck full of “genetic material,” condemned serial killer Jack Frost (Scott MacDonald) is inexplicably transformed into a terrifying, murderous snowman. With a red plaid scarf, a carrot nose and a heart made out of coal, the icy madman sets his sights on a small rural town and goes on an old-fashioned killing spree. Shannon Elizabeth co-stars in this chilling horror flick directed by Michael Cooney. The description of this movie made us wonder what exactly they mean by “genetic material”? (Kids, don’t eat the slimy snow.) This movie is so beyond ridiculous that it’s really a comedy rather than horror. It’s best watched after consuming a pitcher of spiked eggnog.
Pinocchio’s Revenge (1996)
Defense attorney, Jennifer Garrick, acquires a Pinocchio puppet from a condemned serial killer. Her pre-teen daughter, Zoe, mistakes the puppet as a birthday present and grows really attached to her new doll friend. Suddenly, accidents begin to happen to those who cross Zoe. Zoe claims it’s her Pinocchio doll. Zoe’s therapist thinks otherwise. Soon Pinocchio and Zoe are conversing about his bad behavior. Pinocchio promises he’ll behave if Zoe will cut his strings. Zoe complies, and the mysterious murders begin…
Christmas Evil (1980)
The winter weather isn’t the only thing that’s frightful about this unconventional holiday offering about a toy maker whose obsession with Christmas spirals dangerously out of control. After enduring a traumatic childhood in which he learned there was no such thing as Santa Claus, Harry Stadling (Brandon Maggart) takes it upon himself to judge the “naughty” and the “nice.” But instead of spreading cheer, he opts for fear. Here’s a great bunch of clips from the movie:
Don’t Open ‘Till Christmas (1984)
A murderer is running loose through the streets of London, hunting down men dressed as Santa and killing them all in different, extremely violent, and quite colorful fashions. Inspector Harris has decided to take on the seemingly impossible task of tracking down the psychopath, but he’s going to have his work cut out for him. Only the suspicious reporter, Giles, seems to offer the Inspector any promising leads.
You can watch the entire movie on YouTube.
Santa Claws (1996)
Under normal conditions, a man in a jolly red suit can be delightful. But when the outfit belongs to a demented psycho (Grant Kramer) who’s convinced he’s Santa Claus, it’s absolutely frightful. Raven Quinn (Debbie Rochon), a sexy B-movie scream queen whose marriage is crumbling, is already dreading the Christmas season. When her creepy next-door neighbor starts dishing out his own brand of holiday cheer, things only go south from there. The scariest thing about this movie is the naughty job everyone does at acting but it could make for a strong final contender on America’s Funniest Home Videos (if we were still living in 1996).
Santa’s Slay (2005)
Jolly old Saint Nick (Bill Goldberg [yes, the wrestler]) isn’t making a gift list this year — he’s making a hit list, checking it twice and unleashing his inner demon for an unforgettably terrifying Christmas. A bet that Santa lost to an angel 1,000 years ago has expired, and now he’s hell-bent on spreading some holiday fear. As the big day approaches, only young Nicholas Yuleson (Douglas Smith) and his grandfather (Robert Culp) can stop him.
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)
The Martians are irked that their children spend so much time watching TV shows from Earth that sing the praises of Santa Claus, so they decide to make a trek to the planet to capture Mr. Claus. During their mission, they also abduct two children who lead the aliens to the North Pole and Santa. The Martians take all three earthlings back to Mars, where, with the help of a native, they manage to spread Christmas cheer throughout the red planet. A serious B-movie classic; so great, it was featured on Mystery Science Theatre 3000.
If you’re so inclined, you can actually watch the entire movie on YouTube.
The Disney version of Frozen has become it’s own terror for parents and anyone in the proximity of little girls under age 13 who can’t “let it go”. However, the terror of this survival themed horror movie comes from the suspense of being on a ski lift in middle of a winter storm with unknown terrors (spoiler – a pack of wolves) waiting below. In Frozen, three skiers stranded on a chairlift are forced to make life-or-death choices which prove more perilous than staying put and freezing to death. The movie does provide some wonderfully gruesome scenes and high tension moments if you’re able to “suspend” your disbelief that the scenario they’re in could actually happen in the first place.
Here’s a chilling scene from Frozen…