The Best ‘Alternative’ Christmas Films

by : Tom Percival on : 18 Dec 2016 14:44

Do you ever get sick and tired of the normal, dull Christmas movies? Oh sure they’re sweet and fun, but sometimes you need a nip of something a bit stronger in your delicious Christmas cocoa don’t you? 


Luckily for us Hollywood agrees and there’s a veritable festive feast of alternative Christmas movies for a bored fan of cinema to enjoy over the holiday season.

From deranged goat demons to terrorists invasions the world of cinema has a lot to offer a film fan who’s a sick of the fat git Santa in his red suit, some may stretch the definition of a true Christmas movie but in our eyes if it’s got an X-mas tree in it, it counts!



Dark, funny and similar to a modern day Gremlins,  Krampus is a wonderful Christmas treat for anyone with a dark sense of humour and a love for scares. 

Directed by the devilish Michael Dougherty this grim fairy tale is a warning to all the Scrooges out there what happens if you lose your Christmas spirit, namely a visit from Santa’s demonic brother Krampus and his evil elves.

Easily the most fun I had in the cinema last year and a must see for anyone who thinks that Santa’s a bit too nice.


A Christmas classic in my house, Gremlins combines over the top gags with a splattering of green gore, this film may be the definitive Christmas horror movie. 

From the master of mixing fantasy with comedy, Joe Dante, Gremlins is an anarchic monster of a movie that inspired a whole roster of sub-par creature features none of which hold a candle to this wonderfully monstrous yuletide movie.

Even better at it’s heart it’s a film about greed, another perfect theme for the festive season! Our only advice, don’t watch it after midnight…


Trading Places

Trading Places is a hilariously pitch black comedy that sees a wealthy stockbroker (Dan Aykroyd) ‘trade places’ with a homeless conman (Eddie Murphy) after two wealthy stockbrokers decide to perform an ‘experiment’. 

An absolute classic comedy from the master of eighties comedies John Landis,  this movie may be dark but at it’s core it’s got a wonderful, if slightly heavy handed message about prejudice which is perfect for the season of giving.

Nightmare Before Christmas

What’s this! The first of two Tim Burton films to make the list, Nightmare Before Christmas is one of those films that needs no introduction and has defined Burton’s work for an entire generation of fans.

Sweet, well meaning but a little bit twisted Nightmare takes the best of Burton and smashes it headlong with into a big bucket of Christmas cheer, making one of the weirdest and most fun films I’ve ever seen.

Batman Returns

Secret confession time this is my favourite Michael Keaton Batman movie and may actually be my favourite film about the caped crusader. 


From goth whizz-kid Tim Burton Batman Returns is a soppy and silly superhero film that in my eyes is the perfect mash-up of camp and seriousness making it one of the most memorable Batman films to date.

Of course you may be wondering what makes this a Christmas film? Well it’s set at Christmas and begins with Danny DeVito’s ghastly Penguin being abandoned on Christmas Eve.

Die Hard

It’s not really Christmas until you’ve seen Hans Gruber plummet off the top of Nakatomi Plaza is it?

If you answered anything but ‘yes’ I’m guessing you haven’t seen Die Hard because that’s the only reason I can think for not liking it.

Seriously though this may be the perfect alternative Christmas film, barely touching on the fest season despite being set at an office Christmas party, focusing on thrilling, adrenaline fuelled action and perfect one liners.

‘Now I’ve got a machine gun Ho, ho, ho,’  indeed!

Tom Percival

More of a concept than a journalist, Tom Percival was forged in the bowels of Salford University from which he emerged grasping a Masters in journalism. Since then his rise has been described by himself as ‘meteoric’ rising to the esteemed rank of Social Editor at UNILAD as well as working at the BBC, Manchester Evening News, and ITV. He credits his success to three core techniques, name repetition, personality mirroring, and never breaking off a handshake.

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