Christmastime is full of unspeakable horrors that usually involve elderly relatives getting drunk and telling younger relatives that they are “professional students,” “have put on a few pounds,” or “don’t know how to live like a human being.” It’s fun stuff to watch as long as you’re not the target. But if for whatever reason you are unable to make it to Christmas with the family this year, we’ve selected five Christmas horror movies that will supply at least some of the laughs and appalling predicaments you’ll be missing at the dinner table.
BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974)
This is a good one because a) it largely takes place inside a 1970s sorority house filled with girls who get naked, b) there is a nice surprise “twist” at the end that Wes Craven was paid millions of dollars to dry hump for five years (the killer is calling from inside the house), and c) it’s mildly amusing to watch college girls get suffocated with plastic wrap. The best part is that the killer is a “moaner.” He rings up the girlies and rants into the phone like real perverts used to do before Caller ID spoiled everyone’s fun. Then he stalks and kills them. It’s impossible to make movies like this anymore, which is why you should steer clear of the 2006 remake.
Silent Night, Deadly Night
SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT (1984)
If you can’t afford Christmas presents for your kids, just make them watch this movie. Within the first 15 minutes an otherwise catatonic grandfather tells his grandson Billy that Santa will punish him if he’s bad, a guy in a Santa suit shoots Billy’s dad in the face, and Mom is sexually assaulted and her throat is slit. Of course, this causes Billy to grow up as a serial-killing madman who dresses like Santa Claus. I fell asleep about halfway through, but I thoroughly endorse the concept. Show this to your children or your siblings’ children when you think they might be headed down the spoiled-fucking-brat path. It will scare the “I want…” out of them.
SANTA’S SLAY (2005)
I’m almost certain this is the only movie that features Santa played by a professional wrestler who gets around on a sleigh driven by “hell deer” and shoots fireballs out of his mouth. It must have been the easiest casting call in the history of cinema: “We need an old-looking guy with a beard who doesn’t give a shit about his career or life in general.” Thirty minutes later, that Goldberg wrestler guy showed up, signed a contract, and the entire crew went to Hooters for the rest of the day. Whoever is putting together the DSM-V should include a specific diagnosis for the person who was insane enough to produce this screenplay. (PS: Sorry about the time code at the top left corner of the screengrab. I couldn’t find a place to rent this garbage, so I had to download it and this was the only version I could find.)
Night Train Murders
JACK FROST (1996)
If you’re like me, you’ll be surprised to find out that this isn’t a heartwarming fantasy comedy starring Michael Keaton as a doofus who transforms into a walking, talking snowman after being killed in a car crash. That particular movie didn’t happen until 1998, after a horrible producer got the bright idea to rip off the plot of this garbage (a serial killer en route to his execution is involved in a car accident with a truck carrying genetic material, which bonds with his body and the snow to create a murderous snowman) and spin it into a family film that cost $85 million. It made less than half of that at the box office. The other thing that the films have in common is that they’re both giant Yuletide logs of shit.
NIGHT TRAIN MURDERS (1974)
Banned as a “video nasty” in the UK and featuring a score by Ennio Morricone,
Night Train Murders
is an Italian revenge flick I would watch even if I weren’t reviewing Christmas horror movies. The plot is simple: Two young girls board a train traveling from Munich to one of their parents’ houses in Italy for the holidays. They stumble on two degenerate small-time crooks and a crazy blond lady who proceed to stalk, beat, rape, and murder them. After killing the girls, the trio coincidentally bump into one of the girl’s fathers—a doctor who agrees to treat injuries inflicted on blondie by one of the murderers/rapists/crooks—who is looking for his inexplicably delayed daughter and friend. Then Dad hears a radio broadcast in his car that confirms both girls are dead. Shortly after, he realizes the visiting thugs had something to do with his daughter’s murder. He shakes down the blond, who claims she was forced to play along, lets her go, catches one of the guys shooting up, forces him to overdose by plunging the needle deep into his arm, and shoots the other guy with a shotgun. The masochistic blond’s outcome is never revealed. She’s a real bitch, but this movie is a gem.