EJ Moreno looks at the best of the worst holiday horrors…
For horror fans, we all know the holiday horror trend that pops up every few years. It seems like every generation gets a batch of Christmas-themed horror movies that give us candy-coated treats.
However, not every present is excellent; sometimes, these movies feel more like getting a lump of coal. So, let’s check our stockings and prepare for some not-so-holly jolly magic.
On this unholy night, join us as we look at the cheesiest and possibly the best of the worst in Christmas horror films. Share your thoughts on the list, and let us know if your favorite made it…
- Christmas Evil
- Silent Night (2012)
Black Christmas (2006)
If you were a horror fan in the 2000s, you know this was an era filled with extreme gore and a brutal tone. Nothing captures that vibe more than the wonderfully titled Black X-Mas.
Remaking one of the most influential slashers, 1974’s Black Christmas, wouldn’t be easy, and trying to capture the 70s vibe perfectly wouldn’t have worked in 2006. That’s why the filmmakers went maximalist and offered you so much of everything: a bit of hot women, extreme gore, and some shocking moments that will stay with you for years.
2006’s Black Christmas doesn’t hit the highs of the original, but compared to the most recent entry, it’s at least a bit of style and substance. It’s a colorful splatterfest that boosts gross-out moments that you needed to fit in at the time of release but now feels like a throwback to a much different genre era. Black X-Mas works for what it is, but it’s still too lowbrow to keep up with more esteemed Christmas horror.
The Mean One
As the most recent pick on the list, we still see room for bad Christmas horror movies in today’s market. Sadly, keeping up with the theme of this list, The Mean One isn’t that great.
It’s buoyed by a fantastic performance from David Howard Thornton with a great idea, but that’s about as far as the positives go. The idea of taking a child film and morphing it into a horror film hasn’t been around too long, and it’s already run its course. This mockery of How The Grinch Stole Christmas works at first, but a few minutes in, you’ve seen it all.
The previously mentioned performance from Thornton as the titular Mean One is great, though, and adds more to his status as a modern horror icon. With a little more time and care, you can tell that this could be even better than its peers, like Winnie The Pooh: Blood and Honey. Out of all these movies, The Mean One may be one of the lower-tiered, but it needs a little more polish to hit cult classic status.
The Gingerdead Man
Easily one of the wildest films included, The Gingerdead Man makes the most of its Chucky-esque plot. While not excellent, you grow to admire the wackiness of this idea.
A killer’s ashes get placed into some gingerbread spice mix, creating one of cinema’s most infamous killers. The Gingerdead Man is voiced by the eternally wacky Gary Busey, which also helps elevate the material. No one can confuse this with a masterpiece, but you’d be shocked to find how entertaining it is by the time the credits roll.
Crafted by the crafty Charles Band, The Gingerdead Man has the rare honor on this list to have sequels, with Gingerdead Man 2: Passion of the Crust and Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver coming not long after. Charles Band even found a way to cross this over with his other franchise, Evil Bong. While none even hit the level of watchability as the first, you can tell this cult classic found its audience.
The thought of well-known Jewish pro-wrestler Goldberg playing a murderous Santa is enough to win anyone, but that’s all Santa’s Slay can offer you in entertainment.
We see an attempt to take this version of Santa back to his original roots as he’s done being a nice older man and wants to kill everyone. Much like The Mean One, it’s a gimmick that works for a short time, but you end up seeing that’s all the filmmakers could cook up. At least this one feels like a complete story, not just a tiny idea stretched too thin.
Bill Goldberg is surprisingly more campy than you’d expect, and the overall story idea feels well-developed compared to its peers. With a more robust budget and stronger characters to follow, you could almost see this joining the ranks of the original Black Christmas or something like Krampus from 2015. Each holiday season, I somehow find myself watching the movie where Santa Goldberg spears someone to death.
Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2
It’s garbage day for anyone who decides to watch the sequel to Silent Night, Deadly Night. While the first film isn’t perfect, it feels more like a “real” movie than Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2.
The first chunk of the film is spent using flashbacks to the first film, and then the film devolves into utter chaos. It sometimes works simply because Eric Freeman is chewing every bit of scenery as Ricky Chapman. Beyond just the iconic “Garbage Day” meme, Freeman gives the film some personality when everything else is bland.
It’s another franchise on this list, but a bit messier than the other entries. The films rarely connect, and the quality varies between installments. Finding one as good and bad as Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 is hard. We get holiday-themed violence and ’80s slasher charm, but it feels too disjointed to be anything above pure schlock. On a sidebar, Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation is another fun watch.
In the sub-genre of “killer’s soul gets placed into a random object,” many will say that the Christmas-themed Jack Frost is one of the more exciting offerings, even if it’s still not good.
While the theme of the overall list is “so bad, it’s good,” you still need to be able to sit through whatever you’re watching, and somehow, Jack Frost feels like the easiest to get through. Maybe it’s the hilariously wild practical effects or the performance we get from our titular snowman killer, but I’ve watched this more than I care to admit to many.
Scott MacDonald eats up his role as our titular killer snowman, giving just as many memorable quips as Chucky gave us in his first outing. The film embraces its absurdity, giving you a sense that the filmmakers knew exactly what they wanted to do with this. Jack Frost may not be up there in quality with the fabulous Christmas horror films, but you could spend your chilly winter evenings with worse movies.
What are your favourite worst Christmas horror movies? Let us know on our socials @FlickeringMyth…