Are you sick of the typical holly, jolly, good-natured Christmas movies? Tired of Charlie Brown and his dopey tree, the antics of Ebenezer Scrooge, and Bing Crosby tap dancing with Danny f’ing Kaye? Are you rooting for that dumb kid to shoot his eye out, ready to cook Rudolph on an open fire, and finally see Jimmy Stewart take the plunge off that bridge?
Check out our Top 5 alternative movies for you to watch this Christmas!
Bad Santa (2003)
Billy Bob Thornton and Tony Cox play a Santa/Elf duo who get work at a mall each year during the holiday season only to rob it on Christmas Eve. The only hitch is that Thornton is a vulgar, alcoholic degenerate who can barely see straight most of the time, let alone interact with children. The movie is as mean-spirited as it sounds but underneath it all, it probably has the most heart of any film on this list. It’s also playing at the Enzian for free on December 23rd.
Black Christmas (1974)
Every year some channel plays A Christmas Story for 24hrs and leaving it on all day is even a tradition in some households. It may come as a surprise to some that its director, Bob Clark, made another Christmas movie. Only instead of being about children and their Christmas wishes, its about a sorority house whose members are tormented and murdered one-by-one during their Christmas party. It’s a great early slasher film with a creepy atmosphere and even creepier killer.
Die Hard (1988)
I’ve had a number of arguments over the years about whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie. But it takes place on Christmas Eve during an office Christmas party. I’d even argue it’s more of a Christmas movie than something like It’s a Wonderful Life. Everyman John McClane is thrust into the role of badass action hero when a criminal group takes the Christmas party hostage, including McClane’s wife. Over the top, and yet somehow grounded by Willis’s performance, Die Hard is not just one of the best action films of all time, but also one of the best Christmas movies of all time.
Gremlins comes from the wonderful era of where the line between films for kids and adults was blurred. Billy gets a Mogwai for Christmas and has three simple rules to follow: Don’t get them wet, don’t feed them after midnight, and keep them away from bright lights. Of course all three are broken, causing Gremlins hatch and bring mischief and mayhem wherever they go. It’s a Christmas horror comedy that manages perfectly blend its fun and humor with the mean-spirited hijinks of the little green monsters.
Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
This is probably the least well known movie on the list. A boy, Billy (a different Billy from Gremlins) witnesses his parents being raped and murdered by a man dressed as Santa Claus. Years later after getting a job at a toy store, he’s forced to dress up as Santa, causing him to snap and go on a killing spree. It’s a lesser known slasher flick that’s gained a bit of a a cult following (and four sequels) over the years. There was plenty of controversy around the film when it was released due to it advertising a killer dressed as Santa. Silent Night, Deadly Night is honestly the worst film here, but if you’re in to cult, 80’s slashers, you’ll want to give it a watch.
Krampus is technically an honorable mention but I felt it deserved a little more attention. The only reason it didn’t make the list is because of how new it is and I’d like to see how much yearly rewatchability it has. It’s the newest film from Michael Dougherty, the writer/director of Trick ‘r Treat (which made out Top 5 Halloween Movies). If you aren’t aware, Krampus comes from Alpine Folklore about a sort of Christmas Devil who kidnaps and punishes misbehaved children. Dougherty’s Krampus focuses on a stereotypical dysfunctional Christmas family gathering where everyone’s forgotten the reason for the season. It’s falls into the same vein as Trick ‘r Treat in that Krampus is about respecting Christmas and keeping its traditions alive. It’s not exactly an over the top, laugh-out-loud horror comedy like Evil Dead 2 or Dead Alive but is ultimately a very fun, light, and twisted Christmas horror film. It’s currently playing in theaters and is one you’ll want to see this month.
1. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
2. Lethal Weapon
3. Trading Places