Just because it's xmas, doesn't mean you can't enjoy horror. With so many to choose from, it's hard pick the rubbish from the treasure.
It's that time of year again. If you love your horror as much as I do, then here is a list that should please any type of horror lover.
From slashers and psychological to gore fest and thrillers. Zombies, aliens and humans all at Christmas and all being hunted or becoming a hunter.
Of course there are movies I left off this list. Why? Because everybody is telling you to watch Black Christmas and Gremlins and all the classic horror you can handle. These are the lesser knowns. Some are good, some are great and some are awful, but they can all be slotted into your Christmas festivities if played at the appropriate time.
Ghost Stories for Christmas (2000)
Christopher Lee famously played Dracula along with Saruman the White in Lord of the Rings trilogy. He makes the perfect host to read out ghost stories. These are all excellent and make a perfect Christmas tradition after the kids have all gone to sleep, and no-one feels like talking anymore. These are narrated stories made alongside a short movie.
- The Stalls of Barchester
- The Ash Tree
- Number 13
- A Warning to the Curious
Christopher Lee has a voice as appropriate for this as David Attenborough has for narrating nature. These classic spooky ghost tales will create the perfect atmosphere for a late night apéritif after a long day and night of celebrating. If you don't want to buy the full CD set off Amazon under the title BBC Ghost Stories for Christmas. You can find most of the episodes listed above in full on YouTube or on iTunes but you won’t find them all. Maybe buy the full set as a gift and forget to take them out of the CD player when all your guests are leaving.
Dead End (2003)
Some people just want a cast that rocks it. This film stars Ray Wise (Jeepers Creepers 2, Twin Peaks (1992) and X-Men: First Class) and Lin Shay who everyone knows from Insidious (2010).
Dead End has great reviews and compares itself to Cabin in the Woods and sets up with an air of Triangle where real world rules fail and the people within the story have to respond to events as they happen.
This film is a good one to play when you actually feel like settling in for something solid. It starts with the Harrington family driving on Christmas eve. Frank is at the wheel and is sleepy. His kids are fighting in the back and he takes a little nap. Frank had taken a detour because he wanted to do something different and after almost crashing the car, he gets out to make sure there is no damage. A woman holding a baby appears and from there, the film takes on a creepy tone that extends throughout.
I liked this movie for the well thought out decision-making of the characters and the fact most of the violence is left to the imagination. It’s concept is great and despite a few plot holes and an ambiguous ending, achieves a lot.
Both Jean-Baptiste Andrea and Fabrice Caneps wrote and directed this and not too much else. Maybe they didn't want anything to mar the reputation this has.
Available on Amazon and iTunes.
Calvaire: The Ordeal (2004)
Calvaire has a vibe reminiscent of Deliverance and Texas Chainsaw Massacre all bound together by a bit of Misery, This film originated in Belgium and is a slow burn, sadistic backwoods-freak show with some scenes that will make your hair stand on end and others that may make you gag.
Marc is a singing performer and after a gig, he finds himself broken down and lost. Boris is a local who comes to his aid but things take a turn for the unexpected and Marc discovers that Christmas certainly isn't the most wonderful time of the year, especially if he has to spend it with Boris and his family.
This movie has French subtitles but there isn't too much to read and I'm certain, the gist of what is happening is very clear most of the way through. The director is Fabrice Du Welz who co-wrote it with Romain Protat.
If you're the type of person who works late a lot then you might appreciate this tale. This movie sets out on Christmas eve and Angela is working late. She tries to leave but her car won't start. Luckily for Angela, the car park security guy Thomas is there to help.
Angela finds she can't get out of the building and after being knocked out by an unknown assailant, she wakes in different clothes.
This is one film where at least having no phone service is plausible and makes sense. I can never get phone service in the parking garage. It definitely has some flaws though. Like; are elevators like submarines? If they are not, why would you try and fill one with water?
This film has a Norman Bates influence to it and tries to seal the edges with a lesson. Although this movie doesn't quite reach where it intended to, it has plenty of Christmas music and doesn't need your full attention to keep up with it. A great one to put on when people are yabbering about stuff and you just want to enjoy the buzz from your wine and chill out with a film.
The Director is Franck Khalfoun and he is known to add tiny actor roles for himself into some of his films and this is no exception as he plays the role of a Newsman early in the movie. It should also be noted that he directed Maniac (2012) and Amityville: The Awakening (2017).
Treevenge (2008) A Short Film
What's better than your christmas tree seeking revenge on you? This is a surprisingly gore-filled 16 minutes of revenge seeking Christmas tree action. Jason Eisener is credited to Hobo with a Shotgun (2011), V/H/S/2 (2013) and Death Note (2017) and he wrote and directed this little treasure.
Treevenge - The full short film
The Children (2008)
Not afraid of killer kids? Don't mind it when kids are in horror films? Probably best if you skip this one if you do because this movie is one that divides the field when it comes to horror simply because it's a quasi Children of the Corn (1984) holiday romp where you better watch out because those little rascals just may kill you.
A family spends the holidays with Elaine, the children's aunt. When one of the kids, Paul, becomes ill and everyone puts it down to being car sick. One of their cousins also becomes sick and the cat Jinxie goes missing. Suddenly, sleigh bells might be jingling but it's not such a fun time sleigh riding together, with you. Or anyone else for that matter.
This film also has a 1980 version if you like your horror original. The director of this film is Tom Shankland and this is his only film. Shankland is credited to plenty of singular TV episodes within many shows such as House of Cards (2016) and The Punisher (2017).
Available on iTunes and Amazon, this is not a film to watch with the children, unless of course you want to give them ideas of what to do next year when they don't like their gifts from Santa.
Alien Raiders (2008)
Do you like your horror set in a supermarket and to have a Sci-fi backdrop? Think The Mist combined with Dawn of the Dead (2004) and swap the zombies for some who is the alien fun, and you have Alien Raiders.
Supermarkets are big and the shelves are tall and you can't see underneath them so it makes sense to have movies set in them. This movie has heaps of Christmas music and as an added bonus and talking point sometimes the music gets twisted into an eerie score giving extra atmosphere to the scenes.
As the supermarket is closing, a group of armed men storm in and take everyone hostage. They are looking for someone. They have a job to do. But what exactly are they looking for and why are they killing people?
It's a Christmas horror whodunit! What better time to watch this than just after some Christmas carols when everyone is feeling up for a game of 'spot the alien.'
Directed by Ben Rock and written by Julia Fair it’s available on most platforms.
Alien Raiders - Trailer
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)
It's astounding this movie doesn't come up more often when people ask for Christmas horror. This is for the lovers of foreign films and is Swedish. It also has some English-speaking characters. This film is different. From the cinematography, to the story line to the performances of the cast, I really enjoyed the uniqueness of this film.
Watch this alone or watch it with someone who normally talks during a movie to keep them quiet (because they will be reading.) It is also a good movie for those that don't enjoy gore. Apart from some deer dead in the snow, there is not much bloodshed.
It starts in the Korvatunturi mountains and underneath the icy snow, a secret is being kept. A large company commences an archaeological dig knowing Santa was imprisoned in the mountain. This is not the ho, ho, ho Santa we all know. This Santa is different and the story traces back to a fairy tale where Santa is not the bringer of gifts but instead, the kidnapper of naughty children.
It's a slow and easy movie to watch and only just creeps into the horror genre but I loved the gentle nature of this one. I wish the writers had expanded on the Santa expert a little, but it was still pretty cool.
There is also a short film called Rare Exports Inc. (2003) and both written and directed by Jalmari Helander.
Available on iTunes and Amazon. Thank me when you watch it and love it as much as I do. I'll be waiting.
Rare Exports - Trailer
If home intruder movies are your jam then this one might have your Christmas magic sorted.
Two sisters who live together are held hostage by some very bad people going about their night robbing people. This one is brutal in every way imaginable and is certainly not for the faint of heart or for those who are sensitive to things that may happen to people attacked by gangs of criminals.
It's B-Grade but supported by some cast members who do well enough to balance out those that don't.
Knifepoint is a fairly average film but I really loved the tension prescribed in this and I have a thing for home invasion horror films. Jed Strahm is the director and writer for this.
Knifepoint - Trailer
The Melancholy Fantastic (2011) aka Doll in the Dark (2016)
I love Robin Taylor who is the Penguin in Gotham (TV Series). He also popped up in Would You Rather (2012) and stars as Dukken in this dark and strange movie reminiscent of The Boy (2016) or perhaps a twist on Bates Motel (TV Series,) if Norma Bates got transformed into a into a creepy full-sized doll.
Melanie's mom dies and so she builds a doll to keep her company, after all it's Christmas and if you can't give to yourself, well, okay—she's a bit of a nutter.
The director Alejandro Daniel made this for those that like the slow burn, subtle films that make you look at everything to find out what the point is. Not my type of film but it is beautifully created, well performed and creepy.
Sometimes boring but after a few champagnes around the fireplace it might be just what you need to send you off the land of nod. It's also technically a thriller, but I needed to add it to the list because we all need a sleeping pill at Christmas sometimes.
Christmas with the Dead (2012)
Zombies you want? This film is Christmas + zombies.
The story looks at Calvin. He was a crappy husband and now that the apocalypse is upon the world, and his family have all decided to join team zombie, he sets out to make it the best Christmas ever. He is trying to right his wrongs even if it's too late and it is now summer. He just wants to finally get it right.
This is not a serious movie. It is not an awesome movie. It was a little fun and a lot Christmassy and reminded me of Last Man on Earth (TV Series) except with zombies and Christmas so have at it. If the in-laws are still hanging around, tell them it's a comedy and then when they see it has zombies, you'll either find a new thing you have in common with them or they will make a swift exit so you can finally loosen your belt after all that food.
T.L. Lankford directed this one and Joe R. Lansdale wrote the original story with Keith Lansdale credited with the screenplay. I found this available on Amazon Prime.
Christmas with the Dead - Trailer
Silent Night (2012)
Directed by Steven C. Miller this is part of the Silent Night, Deadly Night franchise so there are more of this type of film is you find you enjoy it.
There is a well-known urban legend in the town of Cryer where an evil killer Santa kills people who have been naughty and leaves the one's who are nice alone.
It's disturbing to think that this movie set against real events and although the film itself is far from the realities of the Covina Massacre in 2004, the idea of someone dressed as Santa killing people certainly is a scary thought.
Lots of gore, lots of tension and paced so that just when you think it might be time to relax and grab some more turkey from the fridge, you realize it's never going to let up. This one is for the lovers of slasher and is available on most platforms.
Better Watch Out (2017)
I wrote a full review of Better Watch Out and I wasn't as impressed as the masses. Most think this Aussie Christmas horror is a fun play on the movie Home Alone (1990). I suppose it could be if instead of some little twerp performing slapstick comedy on two would-be robbers, it was a slightly older teen team wreaking havoc and using traps, spiders and masking tape.
It is a shiny new movie though, and is enjoying higher than average review scores. It flows well and has enough star-studded enjoyable actors in it that it is hard to hate it in entirety. I enjoyed many things about this film, but some of the concepts didn't agree with me. Or maybe it was the trifle, who knows. It's still not one to miss if you love your Christmas horror.
It's directed by Chris Peckover and written by Zack Kahn who is also a writer for Mad Magazine. Available on iTunes and Amazon.
Directed by Michael Dougherty, who is probably most notable for Trick 'r Treat (2007). This horror-comedy film is rated PG-13 so is safe to put on earlier in the evening and has less gore than most others on this list. Krampus is a modern take on Christmas tales with a horror bathed edge.
If you need a reason to get into the spirit of Christmas then this may just convince you not to attempt to 'Bah Humbug' the whole season or you just may release the Christmas demon who will hunt you down for being so miserly at such a fun time.
Krampus is a demon who hunts people down who have lost their Christmas spirit. This movie is one to put on when your kids are being jerks and all you want to do is have a nice Christmas.
It's available on iTunes and Amazon.
Red Christmas (2017)
I first heard of this Red Christmas because I read a review describing how great this movie is, but the thing is, I am quite certain that it is terrible.
But if you want to watch something you definitely haven't seen, then feast your eggnog-eyes on this. This film is cray. If you aren't into character development and don't care when people break all the rules of horror and just want hectic kills and gross out spills with no discernible story-line then add this to your list and watch it with some red wine.
This is another Australian Christmas horror and Diane wants to get her family together to mend the broken fences. This film somehow weaves abortion, down-syndrome and family secrets all bound together by 'the ghost of Christmas past' who happens to knock on their door. This film is not well made, but if it's slasher you want, then it's slasher you will get.
Written and directed by Craig Anderson, it's available on iTunes and Amazon.
Red Christmas (2017) Trailer
© 2017 Mother of Movies and Series Reviews
Mother of Movies and Series Reviews (author) from Moreton Bay, Queensland on December 14, 2018:
Thanks Zia! Glad you liked it. Hope you enjoy the film!
Zia Uddin from UK on December 14, 2018:
Pretty good list of horror movies and the trailers. Silent Night about evil Santa seems like a good choice for me. Thanks a lot.