Rafael Motamayor on the six holiday horror movies you need to watch before Christmas…
It’s almost Christmas, and many are mid-way through their Holiday marathons. Christmas lights are up, and carollers are out and around singing merry tunes. Tacky Christmas sweaters can be seen in the streets, but some of us prefer Christmas light illuminating scenes of bloody horror. After all, don’t Christmas sweaters and Christmas decorations look brighter and cooler covered in blood? Killer Santas, devilish elves, kids being awful and kind of psychopathic, you named it.
What better way to take a break from all the pompous glee than watch some horror movies that still maintain some Christmas spirit? Honouring the spirit of the arbitrary-ranking-list-season, here are the best Christmas horror films that will likely piss you off because I omitted your personal favourite.
Better Watch Out (2016, dir: Chris Peckover)
The newest addition to the Christmas horror sub-genre, Chris Peckover’s Better Watch Out came out this year, but it already made a huge impression. Described by Peckover as a “John Hughes movie written by Tarantino”, we follow a teenage boy plotting a scheme to make his older babysitter fall for him, before his plans take a hard left-turn when intruders try to enter the house.
Is it scary? Better Watch Out probably won’t give you nightmares. That being said, there’s a couple of jump scares that do just what they are supposed to – and managed to make a friend spill his drink at the theatre – and some shocking scenes that are as disturbing as they are wicked fun.
Is it fun? Hell yes. Peckover takes you along for a wild ride with so many crazy twists and turns, you will be amazed by the direction this movie takes. Better Watch Out is quite grim and has some disturbing plot developments, but it never loses its dark and twisted sense of humour – and the young cast is fantastic!
Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984, dir: Charles E. Sellier Jr.)
I confess I only saw this controversial classic for the first time earlier this year. A young boy witnesses a tragedy when a robber dressed as Santa murders his parents. Years later, having grown up tormented in an orphanage run by nuns, the kid goes on a killing spree dressed as Santa. Honestly, it gets crazier from there, as soon as I read how this movie got pulled from theaters after only 2 weeks I knew I had to see it.
Is it scary? A bit! Silent Night, Deadly Night is a proper slasher, so expect lots of blood and surprise killer Santa coming out of nowhere to hack you to pieces with almost inhuman strength. Seriously, this guy strangled a man with Christmas lights by lifting him from the ground with just one hand!
Is it fun? Let me put it this way. This guy goes out to kill people who according to him have been naughty (mostly people having sex) and when he meets a little girl who says she’s been nice this year, Santa gives her a boxcutter! Silent Night, Deadly Night is the perfect amount of gory pulp that you either find way to campy, or you love its insane story to the point where you instantly want to see the sequel.
Krampus (2015, dir: Michael Dougherty)
In 2015 Michael Dougherty gave us something scarier than a killer dressed as Santa. He gave us something primal, a family of terrible people – and a little kid who loses his Christmas spirit. To punish him for not believing in Christmas, his entire block (or town, we don’t know) is covered in an eternal snowstorm and tortured by numerous evil creatures. Amazing practical effects, a tight script and good performances by Adam Scott and Emjay Anthony make this a new classic.
Is it scary? Yes! You will not piss your pants in fright, but there are some jump-scares as well as some scary imagery in Krampus, mainly from its army of practical-effects monsters – from killer gingerbread men wielding knifes to the creepiest snowmen since 1997’s Jack Frost. Best of all is the titular Krampus, a tall, horned creature that’s half-goat, half-demon which comes every year to punish those who lose the Christmas spirit by literally dragging them to hell. Dougherty builds the plot of the movie like a straight up horror film, where characters are being offed one by one in brutal ways. It also features one of the best attic-scenes in recent horror memory.
Is it fun? Uh, did I not just mention the knife-wielding gingerbread man? Krampus is full of darkly comedic moments, and makes you root for the demise of the main characters in the most brutal ways possible.
…Click below to continue on to the second page…