Disaster Films’ Top 9 Christmas Horror Films

If you’re like me, you want to have your scares no matter what time of year it is. Christmas is no different. In fact, the most popular winter holiday rears it’s ugly head in quite a number of great horror movies. You don’t have to have an axe-wielding Santa to have a good Yuletide horror flick, either. Not in my book.

So without further adieu, here is my personal top 9 films of Christmas fear. Why 9, you ask? Why should I be like everyone else?

Besides, I don’t like even numbers. So sue me.

Black Christmas (1974)

Much better than the 2006 remake, the original Black Christmas stars veteran actresses Olivia Hussey and Margot Kidder in a well-crafted sorority slasher. Arguably the progenitor of the whole slasher genre, it was a huge inspiration to John Carpenter when he made Halloween. Excellent camera work and a solid script make this simple premise a classic in holiday horror, and a great one to start you off.

Wind Chill movie posterWind Chill (2007)

More of a ghost story than a horror film, Wind Chill is a compelling and suspenseful tale of a college student (the beautiful and talented Emily Blunt) who catches a ride home for the holidays with a decidedly creepy fellow student (Ashton Holmes). When he chooses to take a shortcut, they inadvertently break down on a lonely stretch of road where they must face the ghosts of those who have died there, the bitter cold, and each other.

This film is surprisingly well done, and hats off to executive producers George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh for a film that is quite chilling in more ways than one.

Dead End

Although the “trick” ending has been done many times before, it’s the journey that makes Dead End stand out from films with similar themes. On their way to visit relatives on Christmas Eve, the Harrington family takes a detour on a road that not only seems to go on forever, but is haunted by a mysterious lady in white who seems to be picking them off one by one.

This film, staring the ubiquitous Ray Wise and TV cutie Alexandra Holden, has genuine scares and tense moments peppered with a kind of humor that is at once over the top and somehow quite fitting. The driver-less hearse is especially eerie.

Silent Night (2012)

Of all the psycho Santa films out there, Silent Night is by far the best and most serious of them all. Directed by Steven C. Miller, who also brought us The Aggression Scale, this film takes the inevitable cheese of a killer Kringle plot and spruces it up with great cinematography and an excellent cast (Malcolm McDowell, Jaime King and Donal Logue) to the point where you can hardly taste the cheese at all. A seriously surprising film, and one that should have put Miller on the map.

Jack Frost (1997)Jack Frost (1997)

It’s rare to find a well-written B-movie, especially one that involves a killer snowman, but Jack Frost is definitely one of those films. Michael Cooney, who scripted the excellent thriller Identity, did an bang up job of imbuing a lot of fun into the holiday slasher/killer genre. This is a great movie if you don’t expect a lot of realism… or a chance to see Shannon Elizabeth topless. It was her first film role, after all. What you can expect is a stocking full of creative ways to kill if you’re made of snow, and an overall entertaining film for the season.

P2

Set primarily inside the parking garage of a large business building, P2 is an exciting thriller from the people who brought you High Tension. It concerns a young business woman (the lovely Rachel Nichols) who gets trapped on Christmas Eve in the parking garage by the creepy stalker security guard (Wes Bentley) and must survive to escape. P2 has plenty of scares and high tension for any fright fanatic.

Child’s Play

If you’re a single mom and can’t afford to buy your kid that doll he just has to have at a real toy store, what can you do? Why, buy one from a shady street peddler, of course! Well, as you find out in Child’s Play, your chances of that doll being possessed by a serial killer are obviously pretty high. Brad Dourif voices the doll, Chucky, who has since become a horror icon with four sequels and a fifth on the way. This film succeeded in making a child’s toy creepy when it could have been cheesy, which is more than I can say for Chris Sarandon’s wimpy police detective.

The Passion of the Christ

Hey! How did this get here?

Rare ExportsRare Exports: A Christmas Tale

Ok, to call this a horror film may go a little too far, but Jalmari Helander’s 2010 indie film, Rare Exports is not one to miss. The premise is clever, and it has enough creepiness to keep the kids from dreaming of chestnuts and candy canes. What if Santa Claus was not the jolly, bearded man we know and love, but an ancient, evil creature? What if someone accidentally released it to begin preying on children once again? Watch it and find out!

Gremlins (1984)

The quintessential “follow the instructions or else” fable, Joe Dante’s Gremlins is about a boy, Billy (Zach Galligan), who receives a strange, cuddly creature for Christmas from his father. This creature, a “mogwai” named Gizmo, has just three simple rules – no meals after midnight, no bright lights, and no water – but but he’s so cute that Billy just can’t say no. Little does he realize that those rules prevent the mogwai from multiplying and transforming into nasty gremlins!

Gremlins is not really a horror movie per se, but it’s lots of fun to watch the gremlins run riot and there are some scenes the little ones may not like such as one gremlin meeting his demise in the microwave. It’s also a chance to see Phoebe Cates before before she grew up and got all puffy…

That’s it! Do you have any favorites I didn’t list above? Let me know in the comments.

Speak Your Mind

*