Christmas… it’s a time for family, a time for giving and a time for red-suited psychopaths and frost-bitten demons to roam the earth to terrify the living. That’s the way it is for horror lovers, anyway. There are so many Christmas horror films out there, and the writers over here at PopHorror wanted to put together a list of their favorite scary flicks to watch over the holidays. ‘Tis the season!
Jack Frost (1997)
Move over, Frosty, – there’s a new snowman in town. Jack Frost is the story of a serial killer that ends up being mutated into a snowman. Frost goes on a murderous rampage to get revenge on the sheriff who caught him. The reason that this is my favorite holiday movie is its absurdity. Jack Frost is a Frosty double and not even remotely scary. At least I can say that it wasn’t CGI. But the one-liners from this snowman are simply to die for: “The world’s most pissed-off snow cone,” and “Is it cold in here or is it just me?” It also has one of the strangest and unique death scenes. There’s even a sequel: Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman. — Danielle McKinney
Jack Frost (1997)… Again!
A Christmas Horror Story (2015)
One of my favorite Christmas horror films is A Christmas Horror Story (2015). Last year, the people behind the Ginger Snaps films brought movie fans this fresh and original anthology horror flick. What I love more than anthology horror films are anthology horror films where the stories actually intertwine. A Christmas Horror Story is Trick ‘R Treat (2007) for the Christmas season! Even my least favorite segment completely won me over with the ending. One of the reasons I love it it because it brought the Christian element, the Santa element and the Krampus element all in one holiday film. Also, George Buza’s portrayal of Santa is possibly my favorite Santa in any Christmas movie ever. A Christmas Horror Story is a new favorite of mine and I’ll definitely be making it a tradition to watch this film every Christmas! — Karli Ray
When Billy Peltzer (Zach Galligan) first meets cute little Gizmo the mogwai (voiced by Howie Mandel) in the 1984 film Gremlins, movie fans across the globe fell in love with the furry little Chinese monster. He seemed sweet and innocent enough. It wasn’t until Billy broke the three rules of owning a mogwai – #1 Keep them out of bright light, #2 Don’t get them wet, #3 Never feed them after midnight – that shit really started hitting the fan in Billy’s hometown of Kingston Falls. Part black comedy, part creature feature, part romance, part Christmas movie, Gremlins covers all of the bases, making it a favorite among even non-horror movie fans. I’ve loved this movie since the first time I rented it on VHS from the corner video store (yes, I am that old). Gremlins is a holiday tradition to watch on Christmas Eve here in the Allen household, despite the fact that it was released in the middle of the summer. “Bye, Billy…” — Tracy Allen
Santa’s Slay (2005)
I can’t lie. I love holiday themed ho-ho-horror, especially if it involves a killer Santa Claus. From Christmas Evil (1980) to Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) to Tales From The Crypt’s (1972) segment “And All Through The House” to Silent Night (2012), I love them all. My favorite – as well as a Christmas viewing tradition at my house – is Santa’s Slay (2005).
Back around 2006, I discovered this gem in the 4 for $20 bin at a Blockbuster Video (remember them?) in Houston, Texas. It looked ridiculous, but for $5, I couldn’t say no. Boy, am I glad I took a chance! I love this movie! Bill Goldberg (The Longest Yard 2005) is a hoot as Santa and the supporting cast, including the late Robert Culp (I Spy TV series), Dave Thomas (SCTV TV series), Fran Drescher (The Nanny TV series), Saul Rubinek (True Romance 1993), Chris Kattan (Saturday Night Live! TV series), Rebecca Gayheart (Urban Legend 1998) and Lost’s Emilie de Ravin, exudes hilarious tongue-in-cheek charm.
From the opening scene of the hysterical, cameo-filled Christmas dinner massacre to the final showdown between good and evil, Santa’s Slay delivers creative kills, repeatable one-liners and a stocking full of holiday cheer…er, fear! — Kenn Hoekstra
In recent years, we horror fiends have gotten some awesomely scary Christmas/holiday movies. However, when asked about my favorite seasonal horror flick, this chick would have to go with one the most underrated horror Christmas movies of all time… none other than P2. Overachieving employee Angela (Rachel Nichols) stays late on Christmas Eve to finish up some work. When getting ready to leave, she is greeted by security guard Tom (Wes Bentley), who asks her to stay and enjoy a meal with him. She declines and proceeds to find her vehicle in the parking garage, only to discover that her car is not working. It’s not long before we discover Tom has ulterior motives. He kidnaps her, ties her up and forces her to enjoy a nice Christmas Eve dinner. What comes next is a fun cat and mouse game between Angela and Tom… one hell of a ride through the parking garage that is P2.
Why is this movie so lovable to me? Well, if Wes Bentley singing Elvis’ Blue Christmas in a Santa suit doesn’t do it for you, then I don’t know what to tell you because it certainly makes me jolly. Bentley puts the “hot” in “psychotic.” Of course, Santa Baby also plays throughout the movie. So not only does this one have feel good holiday music, P2 has a tense plot and some really fun moments between the two leads. Make this movie more of a holiday classic and go watch P2!
One of my all time favorite Christmas horror flicks is last year’s Krampus. I’m a huge fan of Michael Dougherty’s Trick R Treat (2007), so when I heard he was making a film about Krampus, I gor really excited. With the exception of the lack of gore, Krampus met every one of my horror-fueled expectations. I loved the juxtaposition between the bright, cheery and downright cheesy side of of a child’s Christmas with the dark and depressing side it can take on as an adult.
The cast is amazing – their chemistry is spot on, as is their back and forth dialogue. I also loved the look of the creatures in the film: the Angel, the Jack in the Box and the Gingerbread Men. They all had a nice sense of fun with just a hint of creepiness. The ending was phenomenal with a perfect twist since, technically, Max gets his wish but it doesn’t turn out quite the way he expected. If you haven’t seen Krampus yet, I highly recommend it for a Christmas viewing. — Charlie Michael Cargile
Black Christmas (1974)
Christmas is fast approaching. Time for me to burn Christmas trees, tell little kids that Santa ain’t real and feast upon some freshly-butchered reindeer. It’s also time to throw on my favorite Christmas horror flick, Black Christmas. Before he ruined Christmas with A Christmas Story (1983), Bob Clark directed this excellent slasher flick about a group of sorority girls being harassed and killed by a psychotic killer – who is living in their house! The film has the perfect blend of atmosphere, creepiness, vicious kills and humor, and is certain to please any and all horror fans. So this Christmas, treat the family to a good Christmas flick for a change and show them Black Christmas. Better yet, why not give it to someone as a gift? They’ll love you for it. Remember: “If this picture doesn’t make your skin crawl, it’s on too tight.” — Evan Romero
“And All Through the House” segment from Tales From the Crypt (1972)
After catching Tales from the Crypt (1972) a few years ago, a new Christmas horror ritual started with me. The first segment in this anthology, “And All Through the House,” is superbly brilliant and macabre short as only the people behind Tales from the Crypt can do. Releasing years before the 1989 TV series, this film is made up of shorts based on the gruesome E.C. Comics from the 1950s. One of the best stories stars Dynasty‘s Joan Collins as Joanne Clayton, a woman who murders her husband on Christmas Eve. As if that weren’t bad enough, an escaped mental patient dressed as Santa comes a-knocking to parcel out the karma. The laughs and terror are a handful in this great horror masterpiece! — Josh Davis
Christmas Evil (1980)
In Christmas Evil, a boy named Harry Stadling (Gus Salud) sees his mother being groped by Santa Claus, which permanently jostles his little mind loose – he even intentionally cuts his hand with a glass shard from a shattered snow globe. Years later, Harry (Brandon Maggart) is obsessed with Santa. He works in a toy factory and keeps a list of who is naughty and nice. As you might of guessed, things escalate for Harry. He soon dons a Santa Claus outfit and begins to take his list a little too seriously. I especially recommend this movie for Maggart’s performance. He really does seem to come unglued. It’s also wonderful how the Santa story becomes a Big Brother scenario, where Harry Stadling tries to make everyone be more moralistic or else. If Harry had his way, he would become a dictator, only with a Santa suit on. Lots of psychological layers going on. Check it out! — Wade Wainio
All Through The House (2015)
I’m a huge fan of Christmas movies in general, both traditional and non-traditional. It’s honestly hard to pick just one,
but since some of my fellow co-writers have picked some of the ones I love already, I’m going to go with a brand new favorite. All Through The House just came out last year and is a bloody terrific yule time experience! It follows the story of a killer dressed as Santa who is dismembering and killing off people one by one during the holiday season. It has a great cast and they’ve done a phenomenal job marketing the film in the horror community. Watching All Through the House will be definitely be a new tradition for me to watch it ever year from now on. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone and be sure to check out All Through The House before the season is up! — Tori Danielle
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)
As Christmas rolls around each year, it’s always amusing to think of the lives behind those mall Santas, the ones who you plop your children onto to take (hopefully) adorable photos to send to the inlaws: what do they do when all is said and done, and they take off the hat? What if those Santas weren’t even human at all, but were actually creatures who lived in the mountains of Finland, who ate reindeer and stole children from unsuspecting parents? (You’ve probably figured it out by now: I ain’t talking about Bad Santa.)
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is a Finnish take on the old legend of Saint Nick, a hilarious black comedy which introduces us to a group of Lapland researchers who discover one such “Santa creature,” and attempt to capture it. The movie is based on a short film of the same name, which is also amazing and worth a watch. It’s a fun and unique take on the usual Santa tradition, and is a great horror film to boot! — Seth Hansen
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Deck the halls with horror movies! What do you think the best Christmas horror movie is? Personally, I like the feel-good holiday horrors, so I recommend Edward Scissorhands (1990). While the film is not completely horror, Edward Scissorhands still has a unique horror vibe to it. Thanks to Tim Burton, this film is packed with relatable characters and a villain you love to hate. Also, you can’t go wrong with Johnny Depp and Wynona Rider. Why couldn’t it have worked out between those two? At least we still have this film to enjoy. Edward Scissorhands will make anyone want to dance in the snow. If you want straight up horror…remember that Edward has scissors for hands, giving Freddy Krueger a run for his money. — Nikki Williams
“Woodland Critter Christmas” episode of South Park
When it comes to the Christmas season, very few horror titles make my viewing list tradition. Of course, there’s everybody’s favorite ’84 monster classic, Gremlins. However, another personal favorite seasonal viewing for me is the South Park episode, Woodland Critter Christmas. Full of extreme and controversial South Park humor, this episode features a group of forest animals preparing for the birth of the Antichrist until Santa intervenes with a shotgun. A red star in the north, a porcupine giving birth to Satan’s child, murder. and possession… this episode will have you laughing in awe, making it a must-see for the holidays. Nothing says “Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays” like Satan worshiping critters. – Brandon Long
That about wraps up our little holiday gift to the PopHorror readers. Did we list your favorite? Did you find something new to watch this year? Let us know in the comments. Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!