Tom Jolliffe places some iconic characters into the festive chaos of the Christmas movie…
We’re approaching Christmas. You might already be fed up with the never-ending barrage of Christmas songs, the neighbours who have had their lights going since they threw out their pumpkins, and the impending barrage of Christmas movies. Are there too many? Maybe. So of course, what better than to conjure up some imaginary Xmas film scenario’s and place some iconic characters within the parameters of the Christmas film. Some characters had such an impact in their film(s) that it’s only natural to want more, and some would be right at home in a Christmas setting (and all the chaos that could potentially bring). It might be a backdrop in some cases, but the Christmas setting has always felt welcome as an extra pinch of atmosphere for films like Die Hard, Lethal Weapon and Rocky 4 to name a few. Here’s a few ideas of iconic characters thrown into Christmas scenarios.
A Christmas on Elm Street
It’s Elm Street. The disposable teens are readying themselves for Christmas. Everywhere looks festive and joyous, but there’s a problem; They’re dying horrifically in their sleep, as Freddy Krueger is back to clean house again. Freddy is a horror icon and a pop culture icon. Somewhere between a classic first and his final film appearance, he transitioned from demonic and fear inducing spectre from the depths of a nightmare, to a character almost loveable. Heavy on the humour and a certain tongue in cheek theatricality. Throwing Krueger into a Christmas film could lend itself to a lot of visual whimsy. Plus a number of Christmas infused nightmares and death sequences would undoubtedly be great fun to watch. It would certainly be more in line with the comedic sequels and with the right level of irony would work.
Withnail, Christmas & I
Sherry? Sherry. Mince Pie? Mince pie. A Withnail Christmas. I love Withnail & I. From first viewing to now, it just gets better and better. A follow up in reality would never come close to recapturing the magic, but perhaps I can dream and I can imagine, and I can certainly bring the late Richard Griffith’s back as Uncle Monty, despite his passing. In fantasy, anything is possible. Withnail is understudying Buttons at a small Camden theatre panto, and still ‘resting.’ Marwood (aka “I”) has been away for almost a decade successfully enjoying some stage acting, but now we’re well into the 70’s and the bright verve and fun of the swinging 60’s has given way to a crushingly dour era, hurtling toward Thatcher. Marwood has hit the skids. The festive season is upon us, and he turns up at the old flat. Thus beginning a new series of irreverent sequences as they decide to break into Monty’s home, with Withnail assuring Marwood that Monty is spending the season with his ‘son’ in Crow Crag . They arrive to a home adorned throughout with Christmas decorations. They rinse it clean of alcohol with the help of Danny. There will involve a sequence with Monty dressed as Santa, Marwood finding himself in an uncompromising position on Santa’s lap (with Monty returning unexpectedly). There’s lots of potential for Christmas merriment with just the right amount of pathos.
A Labyrinth Christmas
Sarah, now with a daughter of her own, has passed down all her fantasy books and toys. Christmas is upon us. Her daughter is not feeling seasonal. She’s taking things for granted and acting up. Like mum before her, she accidentally summons the Goblin King, only this time she wants an end to Christmas. The Goblin King abducts Santa, keeping him hostage in the castle, and now it’s up to Sarah’s daughter to save the day. A mid-film trap sees her in an almost unescapable position but she finds something magic that can pull someone into the Labyrinth to help, and Sarah is now once again drawn in to rescue daughter and then help her in the quest to save Christmas. Huzzah. In this alt universe movie, Bowie is still with us and is back as villain and soundtrack creator, and all is good with the world.
Mad Max: Christmas Town
Somewhere in the wastelands of the future is a Utopian (so of course, Dystopian) shanty town called Christmas. It’s run by Claws, a beefy and maniacal melding of Toecutter, Immortan Joe (both played by the late Hugh Keays-Byrne), and Humungus, who’s heard of old tales and lore from Christmas in the old world, and skewed them into laws of his town. An egomaniacal re-imagining of Pa Christmas, Claws (who has clawed gauntlets) hunts and captures a mythical nomad, whose reputation for transportation precedes him. It’s Max, and he’s tasked with collecting packages and bringing them back to Christmas. The packages, taken forcefully from Barter Town were harvested from a mine discovery…dynamite. Chases, massive explosions and chaos as Max fulfils his mission before being betrayed and left for the crows (like in every film). As Claws utilises his power to destroy rivals and plunder gas/resources, Max makes a deal with Barter Town, which is the next target, and leads an explosive vehicular onslaught on Christmas (actually this idea is so good I may have to copyright it).
Festivus: The Movie
A Festivus for the rest of us. I know Seinfeld covered the festive season in the sitcom run. We need more Seinfeld though. It’s one of the all time great sitcoms, so lets bring about a one off movie return, set at Christmas. The late great Jerry Stiller will be brought back via the power of theoretical fantasy film making. Frank must return to oversee Festivus. The gang will get caught up in a widespread craze as Festivus breaks big, in turn making George’s life in particular, a living hell. The gang must travel to a newly built Festivus park to stop Frank and Kramer from unleashing an embarrassing family video of George wrestling with Frank in his younger days. Jerry is along, simply to gain material for the re-launch of their show about nothing and Elaine must retrieve several cases of her old Christmas card that Frank has duplicated in thousands as Festivus merchandise.
Taken to Lapland
It’s been a while since Brian Mills has had to rescue one of his dumbass family members. Liam Neeson continues to star in action fare. A group of traffickers lure family members out to the remote Lapland wilderness with the promise of the ultimate Christmas experience, giving away free tickets to young families. Mills’ daughter and granddaughter are among those. Despite Brian’s warnings (“Don’t go to Lapland…it’s incredibly dangerous”) Kim ignores him. As with everyone who ignores Brian’s sage advice, they find themselves pillaged among the other selected guests. Kim is sold back into trafficking, her daughter to be sold on into slavery. It’s down to Brian to save the day.
I toyed with having another Reeves icon, John Wick in a Christmas film, but we’ll go with Neo. The fragile truce between man and machine is threatened with oblivion when the Matrix bugs out, trapping the inhabitants, including Neo, Trinity and Morpheus, in a Christmas movie sub-programme. Agent Smith is re-imaged as Santa Claus, and Neo is unable to utilise the full extent of his powers. The key lies in finding the one escape line out of the programme (so they can reboot the machine manually in the real world), lying at the centre where Agent Claus/Smith oversees his new empire. Gone is a soundtrack of Manson, Prodigy and mid-9o’s techno/drum+bass, replaced with Mariah, Buble, Wizard and fucking Slade.
A Shining Christmas
The overlook hotel was bad enough, but lets throw in the stress of Christmas on top. Jack Torrance had a descent into madness, helped along by the demonic spirits housed within. Now Torrance lies among them in spirit only, but what if the returning Danny, hypnotically drawn back again (we’ll ignore what happened in Doc Sleep, because we don’t need logic in franchise cinema these days). It’s Christmas time and now the overlook becomes the setting of a horrendous seasonal festival of spirits, all intent on harming Danny and spreading beyond the Overlook site. Chief of all is the returning Jack. The power of the Overlook is drawn across mountains through fog into the nearest town, several hours away. Now the spirits are delivering horrors to local children, and only Danny can stop them.
Which other characters would you like to see placed in a Christmas setting? Let us know on our social channels @flickeringmyth.
Tom Jolliffe is an award winning screenwriter and passionate cinephile. He has a number of films out on DVD/VOD around the world and several releases due out in 2021, including, Renegades (Lee Majors, Danny Trejo, Michael Pare, Tiny Lister, Ian Ogilvy and Billy Murray), Crackdown, When Darkness Falls and War of The Worlds: The Attack (Vincent Regan). Find more info at the best personal site you’ll ever see…https://www.instagram.com/jolliffeproductions/