The scariest films at Christmas are not the horrors that twist festive tales, or the ones that show us the ugly side to the holiday season. This prestigious accomplishment goes to the Christmas films that are so horribly woeful nobody wants to find them under the Christmas tree Mind you, there is no better prank then to gift one of this rubbish films as your Secret Santa gift to the one you hate this Christmas.
Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman (2000)
As a self confessed horror fan I’ve happily sat through an inane amount of poor quality horror films, due to a combination of always looking for that next hidden gem, and usually being drunk. Heading into this sequel to the so bad it’s entertaining Christmas horror Jack Frost I was under no illusion that it would be a good film. However what I got was far from bad, it was appalling. I remember trying to save face when I first watched it with a friend, forcing laughter at moments that were supposed to be funny but in actual fact were just a bit shit. You can sort of give it props for some utterly ridiculous kill scenes, including death by carrot nose and exploding heads, but you can’t ignore the other 80 eye gouging minutes you have to endure till the end. Can I save you the time of watching this film and tell you that the one way of bringing down ol’ Jack Frost is not by heat, but bananas….You know what, I’m not going to explain that, you’ll have to endure the film just like I did to find out. A quick piece of movie trivia for you though, Doug Jones (the Faun and the Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth, the Silver Surfer in Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer, and many more) is in this film!
The end of the film surprisingly leaves the door open for a potential third film, where seemingly Jack Frost has turned into a an evil snow powered kaiju. But quite honestly I’m surprised somebody hasn’t made a spin off about the little killer snowballs…if they can make a Minions spin off then they can make anything.
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)
1964 was a year that brought us such cinematic classics such as Dr. Strangelove, Mary Poppins, Goldfinger, Zulu, Marnie and a Fistful of Dollars. Then there was this. Yes, there is a film that is called Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. It involves a couple of inhabitants on Mars deciding it’s a great idea to kidnap Santa for the benefit of the martian children. However they can’t seem to find Santa so they then kidnap a couple of kids to find him. Messed up right? Well it gets even worse when one of the martians doesn’t agree with the plan and repeatedly tries to dispatch Santa and the earth children. Did I mention this was a U certificate? Regardless, despite the title suggests, Santa doesn’t really conquer any martians in the film. Quite simply this film is utter garbage, just look at those ridiculous costumes!
There are many problems with Elves. You have the ridiculous premise, a trio of girls engaging in an anti-Christmas ritual that sees them accidentally bring an murderous elf to life. The only thing standing in it’s way is former detective turned department store Santa, played by Grizzly Adams himself, Dan Haggerty. Then how can we forget the incestuous subplot of a Nazi cell attempting to create the Fourth Reich by using the elf to breed a master race. But the biggest problem with the film is, the title is a complete and utter lie. The word Elves suggests you have more than one devious little bastard in the film, but no, there is only a single elf here and it has as much dexterity as a rock. If you think I’m jesting, just watch this godawful trailer.
Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (1987)
Making a poor horror film is a forgivable act, what isn’t forgivable is regurgitating nearly 30 minutes of actual footage from a predecessor and packaging it as a new film. Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 does just that in what is some of the most shockingly blatant and pathetically executed cash grabs in film history. If the DVD commentary is anything to go by, the filmmakers claim they were asked to recut the original and sell it as a sequel, just in case you were in any doubt over the intentions of film production companies. Now strangely the film has garnered a cult following (what bad film hasn’t?) thanks to Eric Freeman’s absolutely mad portrayal of Ricky Caldwell, with some really, really bad line delivery, the most contrived laughter captured on film, and nonsensical one liners. The most frustrating thing is, if they’d bothered to make a new film entirely rather than “recut” footage from the first film, Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 could have been so bad it’s good. If you haven’t seen the film already, this 6 minute clip sums it up perfectly. I challenge you not to laugh.
Home Alone 3-5
Did somebody say cash grab? It’s no surprise holiday favourite Home Alone spawned a franchise which currently consists of five films, but what is a surprise is just how bad they’ve made them. It’s another wonderful example of film production companies churning out sequels that mimic the blueprint of the original, with continuously poorer quality. As much as I can understand why they do it, I do not understand why nobody has stepped up yet and asked why these sequels are so rubbish? But do you know what really annoys me? The grating effort put into the covers for each subsequent entry in the franchise. Look at them and their appalling shocked face expressions, do they not boil your piss?
Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey?! (2014)
Nativity had a charm to it. Nativity 2: Danger In The Manger had David Tennant in it and a scene-stealing performance by Jessica Hynes. Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey is a terrible, incomprehensible, and at times upsetting film. Martin Clunes steps into the lead role as the sparring partner for Mr Poppy (Marc Wootton), the hyper man-child who somehow still works as a teaching assistant. Mr Poppy wants to put the school in a flash mob competition (remember when they were a thing), and Clunes goes along for the ride because he gets amnesia. This means that he forgets everything, including that he has a daughter and is about to get married to Catherine Tate. The film ends up being mostly centered around Clunes and Tate in New York, but this being a kids film they act like 7 year olds all the way through. There’s also a genuinely upsetting scene of Martin Clunes explaining to his daughter that he doesn’t know who he is, and she shouts back that it is because he doesn’t want to know who she is. In an episode of Black Mirror, that might be ok. In a film that’s meant to be about disadvantaged school children having fun and enjoying themselves through song and dance, it really isn’t.
An unsettling romantic sub-plot that takes over the film, a dated flash mob idea that goes nowhere, and a lack of the charm that made the films enjoyable in the first place. It got 1 Gold Ring in the 56 Days Countdown, and that was being generous! Avoid at all costs because no film that incredulously steals another films title (stoner classic Dude, Where’s My Car), without being a parody of it, should be watched anyway.
Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006)
You make a successful film with Tim Allen becoming Santa Claus. Cool. You then manage to get a sequel out of it years later, with the idea that he needs to find a wife. Ok, well done. You then decide to squeeze a third film out of the same idea. Oh dear.
Santa Claus 3: The Escape Clause decided to have Tim Allen’s Santa get so stressed out that he is tricked by Jack Frost (Martin Short) into giving up his role and going back to being plain old Scott Calvin, allowing Jack Frost to become the man in the red suit instead. However, the film takes two thirds of its running time to get there! So we see an hour of Santa Claus getting annoyed at his family (the in-laws come to stay because his wife is pregnant) and about 15 minutes of the world with Jack Frost as Santa. There’s also the fact that Jack Frost tricks Santa into renouncing his Santa-hood, he could have done that straight away!
A poor cash-in of a film. It was like someone came up with the idea of Martin Short as Jack Frost stealing Christmas, then pulled back, and mashed it together with a story about Santa having a baby at Christmas time instead. Neither gets enough time to develop properly.
Alan Arkin almost makes this watchable though.
Silent Night (2012)
Silent Night is a sort of remake of 1984s controversial Silent Night Deadly Night. The original is not without it’s flaws, but is still a stupidly enjoyable slasher film with a killer Santa. Silent Night on the other hand is just a bit rubbish, despite the reasonable talent on offer. For example, Malcolm McDowell turns it up to a 11 as an ineffective police chief happy to risk the lives of the townsfolk instead of informing them of a homicidal maniac on the loose. Silent Night is yet another addition to the crappy horror remake vault, and is a pretty naff horror film despite the gnarly wood chipper scene. The flamethrower wielding antagonist even made our baddest Santa list, but not for the right reasons.
Black Christmas (2006)
How do you remake a horror Christmas classic like Bob Clark’s Black Christmas? Clearly by abandoning every good thing about it, providing a wholly unnecessary back story to a previously mysterious deranged killer, and have somebody die not by the hands of said killer, but by pure accident. Actually you know that doesn’t sound like the best way to go about it, but of course that is what they went ahead and done anyway. To it’s credit it tried to do some things slightly differently, which is what all remakes should do. However not that, nor the presence of Mary Elizabeth Winstead or Michelle Trachtenberg, could prevent this film one of the more inane and worthless horror remakes to grace the silver screen.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure
The Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of the word adventure is “An unusual and exciting or daring experience”. There isn’t much unusual about this film, there is absolutely nothing exciting that occurs within it, and the only daring thing about it were the actors and actresses who risked never being cast again. Watching it you just don’t know where Randy Quaid ends and Cousin Eddie begins. In fact the shenanigans Quaid has got up to in his personal life are more interesting than this pitiful attempt at comedy, barren of anything that will draw even a smirk. It’s shameless studio excretion that not even the Grinch would enjoy.