On the second day of Christmas the Snooty Ushers gave to you, 5 Favourite Horrors and a Home Alone Re-View.
For the majority Christmas is an opportunity to watch some festive classics that make you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside, films like It’s A Wonderful Life and Home Alone help reaffirm the positivity of this jolly season. But for the horror fans who like their snow with a sprinkle of red then this is a list for you, as we bring to you our favourite Christmas horror films.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (Dir. Jalmari Helander, 2010)
It’s Christmas time in Lapland near the Korvatunturi mountain and local herders have had their preparations and business disrupted by a massive excavation in the mountain. Following the excavation the local reindeer are mysteriously slaughtered and children, supplies and appliances also disappearing. As the herders become suspicious they find a shocking discovery in one of their traps, an elderly man with long white beard who bears a striking resemblance to Father Christmas himself.
There is no better source for fresh horror films than outside of the Hollywood film circuit. Foreign horror films are a continual source of interesting material and Rare Exports is no different. If you like your humour dry, and your backdrops creepy then this is the winter tale for you. Rare Exports is a swift seasonal tale that puts a different spin on the tale of Santa Claus, and it’s not a nice one.
Black Christmas (Dir. Bob Clark, 1974)
Long considered the slasher film that kick started it all, Black Christmas takes place at a sorority house during the Christmas break. As the girls enjoy a celebration before they make their way home for the holidays they receive a disturbing phone call from an unknown person who threatens “I’ll kill you” before hanging up, it’s another in a long line of calls that have pestered the house. That same night one of the girls, Clare Harrison, disappears whilst packing to go home. As the remaining members of the sorority, Phyl, Barb and Jess start their search for Clare with the help of the police, the erratic phone calls continue as the tone gets darker and darker. Somebody is stalking the girls, but their identity and motives remain unclear.
Black Christmas is timeless, and it stands as a perfect example of effective horror filmmaking, easily overshadowing the majority of modern slasher films to this day. With a minimalist but brooding score, and utilising ambiguity to its full potential it’s as atmospheric as they come. The stalker phone calls remain horrifically uneasy audio cues and demonstrate there is much more to making an effective horror film than splashing blood across the screen. Black Christmas is an absolute must for horror fans. Oh and it also stars the original Louis Lane, Margot Kidder!
Jack Frost (Dir. Michael Cooney, 1997)
Loving story starring Michael Keaton this is not. Here Jack Frost is a serial killer on his way to be executed in the middle of a snowstorm. The van he is riding in collides head on with a genetic research truck full of an experimental genetic acid. After the truck explodes all over Jack Frost, he dies and melts away into the snow. Then just like a Christmas miracle comes back to life as a serial killer snowman hell bent on revenge against the sheriff who caught him. And yes you heard me, serial killer snowman.
If you like your films so bad they’re good then Jack Frost is the Christmas horror you’ve been waiting for. If you haven’t already been sold on the fact we have a serial killer snowman, then how about cringe worthy acting? ridiculous music choices? and one liners such as “God I only axed you for a smoke” after you guessed it…killing somebody with an axe. Still not convinced? How about a watching pre-American Pie Shannon Elizabeth (Nadia) in one of the weirdest shower scenes you’ve ever seen.
Krampus (Dir. Michael Dougherty, 2015)
The Engel family are in the midst of their frantic preparations for Christmas, and Sarah is waiting for her sister Linda and her slightly boisterous family to arrive. However festive cheer appears to be lacking in the house, Tom and Sarah are growing apart and their son Max is becoming disillusioned with the spirit of Christmas. Matters are made worse when Max is openly teased at the dinner table over his letter to Santa by his cousins. In anger Max tears up his letter to Santa and casts it into the wind, but unbeknownst to him as a result he has summoned Krampus, the shadow of St. Nicolas who comes not to give, but to take. A snowstorm engulfs their neighbourhood and they soon become terrorised by Krampus and his evil devices.
When it comes to fun horror you can’t go wrong with Krampus. From the director of cult Halloween favourite Trick R’ Treat comes another cult film sure to be watched annually in the countdown to Christmas. It’s not necessarily scary but it isn’t trying to be. With a legion of evil elves, a demonic angel and a twisted jack in the box in his haunted bag of presents Krampus is a blast and a socking full of fun. Check out our full Krampus review here.
Silent Night, Deadly Night (Dir. Charles E. Sellier Jnr, 1984)
In 1971 Billy and his brother Ricky watch their parents get murdered by a criminal in a Santa suit. Billy is traumatised by the events and the brothers wind up in an orphanage run by a strict mother superior who frequently punishes Billy for not conforming. After a tough childhood Billy manages to get a job in a toy shop, but his state of mind begins to deteriorate after being forced to wear a Santa suit and he then snaps after watching his crush nearly raped by a co-worker. Following the incident Billy becomes homicidal and begins to judge who has been naughty and who has been nice, with those being naughty meeting grisly demises at his hands.
Like Black Christmas this is more of an atypical slasher film, it still contains creative deaths and an unstable killer but it takes some time to build Billy’s back story and give reason for his maniacal actions. Rob Zombies Halloween utilises a similar method. It’s very much an 80s film and even stars scream queen Linnea Quigley in a small early role. If you like your slashers and 80s horror then Silent Night, Deadly Night should be your film of choice. If you like what you see it’s even spawned a bucket load of straight to DVD sequels that will be sure to satisfy for Yuletide needs.