Every year, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of heartwarming Christmas movies to rewatch in which characters rediscover love, goodwill toward others, and the general Christmas spirit. There are also dozen of holiday action movies that have become annual viewing for many families around the world.
An underrated genre, though, is the holiday horror film. There are numerous entries with numerous themes, but for my money here are four great Christmas horror films and where you can buy, rent, or stream them.
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Black Christmas (1974)
A. Roy Moore
Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, Andrea Martin, Lynne Griffin and John Saxon
Remade several times with varying success, this Canadian classic of the genre has a group of sorority girls being stalked by a slasher who leaves them threatening phone calls on their Christmas break. Inspired by the urban legend of a babysitter receiving threatening phone calls that they later learn are coming from inside the house, Black Christmas had a rough go when it was originally released but is now considered a classic of the slasher genre.
The Lodge (2019)
Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala
Sergio Casci, Veronika Franz, and Severin Fiala
Riley Keough, Jaeden Martell, Lia McHugh, Alicia Silverstone, and Richard Armitage
This unsettling psychological horror film follows a young stepmother-to-be named Grace (Riley Keough) as she becomes stranded with her fiance’s children at a remote cabin where they all start experiencing unexplained events which may be connected to Grace’s past as a member of a cult. In case you weren’t already convinced of Riley Keough’s talent, this is another great example and also the start of the comeback trail for Alicia Silverstone.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)
Onni Tommila, Jorma Tommila, Tommi Korpela, Rauno Juvonen, Per Christian Ellefsen, Ilmari Järvenpää, and Peeter Jakobi
An American research team is excavating atop a hill in Lapland, Finland. They believe it might be an ancient burial mound they can plunder, and while they are right about what the hill is, they are terrifyingly wrong about the second. In this twist on the Krampus folklore, they end up unleashing the original Santa Claus, a being who tortures and kidnaps bad children rather than rewarding good ones. This Finnish export is ridiculous and over the top, but in a fun way that I’m not sure an American version would be.
Todd Casey, Michael Dougherty, and Zach Shields
Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner, Allison Tolman, Conchata Ferrell, Emjay Anthony, Stefania LaVie Owen, Krista Stadler, Lolo Owen, Queenie Samuel, Maverick Flack, and Sage Hunefeld
Despite what I wrote above, Krampus is a super fun twist on the same mythology. In this version from Trick R Treat and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, director Michael Dougherty, a young boy named Max (Emjay Anthony) loses the Christmas spirit as his dysfunctional family squabbles and fights around him, which summons Krampus to punish them all. The film has a cast of great character actors, some super fun monster designs and props (keep an eye out for the jack in the box) and a screenplay that alternates between hilarious and terrifying, along with an animated segment in the middle that is almost worth the price of admission on its own.
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