When it comes to associating horror to a holiday, Halloween is king…BUUUUT that doesn’t mean that other holidays haven’t thrown their bloody hat into the ring.
(Hey, that rhymed!)
So with that in mind, I give you six holiday themed horror films that’ll give you that special holiday cheer as you’re fighting with the masses to get your hands on the perfect gift or with your own willpower not to eat everything in sight.
Let’s start with the closest holiday: Thanksgiving
Billed as the “Ultimate Low Budget Experience”, Thankskilling was made for a mere $3,500 by Kevin Stewart and Jordan Downey in the summer of 2009 and tells the tale of a 356-year-old cursed turkey (named “Turkie”) who stalks a group of college kids headed home for Thanksgiving break when their car suddenly overheats and opt to go drinking in the woods…HIS woods.
Did I mention the turkey talks and is a total wiseass? Turkie reminded me a bit of The Gingerdead Man (which I wanted to include but because there’s no holiday theme, couldn’t) when it came to quips and one-liners.
If THAT wasn’t hilarious enough the team of Stewart and Downey managed to get $100k through Kickstarter to fund the sequel AND there’s a THIRD Thankskilling film. Gobble gobble, indeed.
Black Christmas (1974)
Generally considered to be one of the first slasher films, Black Christmas tells the tale of an escaped maniac who returns to his childhood home on Christmas Eve only to find it’s now a sorority house…so everyone gets death for Christmas.
Apparently the film was based on an urban legend (The Babysitter and The Man Upstairs) and a series of grisly murders that happened in Quebec during the Christmas holidays.
For a horror film, the cast list is impressive and includes Olivia Hussey (Romeo and Juliet), Keir Dullea (2001: A Space Odyssey), Margot Kidder (Superman), Andrea Martin (SCTV, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius), John Saxon (A Nightmare On Elm Street), and Doug McGrath (Porky’s).
And knowing that producer/director Bob Clark is also responsible for one of my fave comedies ever (Porky’s) and my fave Christmas film ever (A Christmas Story) makes it all the sweeter.
Silent Night Deadly Night (1984)
Boy, oh boy! Billy witnesses his parents killed by a thief in a Santa suit and spends his childhood an orphanage run by a sadistic nun. As an adult, Billy finally scores a job at a local store and things are cool until the bossman forces him to wear a Santa suit…brain goes *snap* and Billy goes on a killing spree that leads him slowly back to the orphanage. Film also stars Britt Leach (Weird Science) and scream queen Linnea Quigley, so you gotta watch!
To be honest, I couldn’t go sledding at night for a VERY long time after seeing this movie (I was 13 at the time). Good, good fun!
Jack Frost (1996)
When a truck transporting notorious serial killer Jack Frost (Scott MacDonald) to his execution crashes into a genetics truck, the material fuses to both Jack’s body and the snow on the ground; where he melts away. Presumed dead, the people of Snowmonton continue to enjoy pre-Christmas festivities until Frost returns as a killer snowman hell bent on getting the sheriff who put him on the death penalty train in the first place…with HILARIOUS results
If Scott MacDonald looks or sounds familiar, fans of the HBO series Carnivale will recognize him as Burley and gamers know him for his work in MANY video games like Dead Space, Final Fantasy XIII, and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance.
But the BIG cameo comes from a then unknown Shannon Elizabeth (American Pie) who dies in a most unfortunate (yet hilarious) way.
NOT to be confused with the 1998 family film that starred Michael Keaton, haha.
There’s three rules to owning a Mogwai: No bright light (it can kill them), do NOT expose them to water and whatever you do, NEVER feed them after midnight (no matter how much they beg). So when well-meaning inventor dad Randall Peltzer is able to procure said Mogwai for his son Billy as a Christmas gift, all these rules are broken and all hell breaks loose.
I know some of you think I’m crazy for considering this a horror film but when you’re 13 and see a giant one of THESE on screen, you’d piss your pants out of fear, too.
Gremlins is a brilliant mix of horror, black comedy and cuteness that has yet to be matched by any other film out there and it was fun to see Polly Holliday (“Flo” from the Alice tv series) as a mean as hell Scrooge-like character. This was also where my lifelong crush on Zach Galligan was born…he was just so dreamy.
New Year’s Evil (1980)
From the theme song to the killer, this film is pure cheese…but as it exists and is one of the only New Year’s themed horror films I can think of off the top of my head, it’s going here.
During a New Year’s Eve celebration, a punk-rock singer gets a phone call saying that when New Year’s strikes in each time zone, someone will be murdered–and she will be the last one.
If you need a good, unintentional laugh, New Year’s Evil is for you.
And there you have it! I know I’ve left quite a few off the list but I know y’all will give me plenty of recommends in the comments, so…have at it!
Happy holidays, darlings.
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