Six Christmas Horror Movies to kill your festive spirit
Susi Holliday, author of The Deaths of December, shares her favourite festive-themed horror films.
Posted on December 7, 2017 in Author Q&A
It’s no secret that my favourite Christmas film is Die Hard. Who doesn’t want to see Bruce Willis crawling around inside lift shafts in his vest, while a psychotic German terrorist tries to blow up Los Angeles? Yippee-kai-ai motherf**ker! Anyway, it’s not really a horror film, so I thought, to tie in a bit more with the weird folklore mentioned in my book, I would delve into a few proper Christmas horror films and see which, if any, would have me ripping the threads off my tinsel…
- A Christmas Horror Story (2015)
Four interconnecting stories. Started well with a proper jump scare during a video-taping moment, leading to some very creepy ghostly bits, a creepy old lady with a horrible Krampus figurine and a terrifying changeling. Let down by zombie elves. Partially redeemed by William Shatner.
- Silent Night Deadly Night (1984)
This started so well. Very creepy grandpa moment, followed by madman dressed as Santa massacring a young boy’s parents. The young boy escapes, and is understandably traumatised – even more so when he is abused by nuns in an orphanage. Roll forward a few years, and he is asked to dress up as Santa… and it seems that his trauma is not too far under the surface. Cue ridiculous amounts of fake blood and lots of grotesquely killed (bra-less) females. Leaves you with a feeling of immense ick.
- Krampus (2015)
Starts out as a dark comedy, throws in a few genuinely creepy moments, goes completely bonkers for a while with rabid gingerbread men and possessed toys… then turns horribly bleak and ends with a brilliant moral twist. Be careful what you wish for!
- Gremlins (1984)
Aww, who doesn’t love Gizmo? This film is so much fun. I have loved it since I first saw it as a kid. It’s not quite as scary as it was back then, but I can appreciate the perfectly hilarious bar scene now with much more clarity.
- The Box (2009)
Apart from the weird sci-fi sequence in the middle featuring water tanks and some sort of weird teleportation, this is a perfectly twisted tale of choices and consequences. Just before Christmas, a strange man delivers a box to your house, all it contains is a button. Push it, and you get $1,000,000 – but a stranger has to die. Think of the money though. And strangers die all the time. Except, you’re not the only one who’s going to be given this choice… and you might be someone else’s stranger. Chilling and with a heart-breaking ending, this is definitely worth a watch if you fancy something a bit different.
- Black Christmas (1974)
This is a genuinely creepy old movie set in a sorority house just before Christmas featuring the classic horror tropes that influenced so many others. The weird krank caller, the madman in the attic and the gradual bumping off vulnerable girls while the police take too long to take it all seriously. Something about the caller reminded me of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and it was great to see a couple of actors who went on to star in more of the classics – Margot Kidder (The Amityville Horror) and John Saxon (A Nightmare on Elm Street). And those carol-singing children. Urgh! Massively underrated and highly recommended for fans of classic horror.