So you’ve had enough of all that festive good cheer, well here’s a list of gruesome christmas chillers to sink your teeth into…
This seminal christmas horror film really set the ball rolling for the long line of slasher movies that would follow in its wake – it was released four years before John Carpenter’s now iconic Halloween. It centres around a sorority house plagued by obscene phone calls and grizzly murders over christmas. Margot Kidder steals the show as a boozy sorority girl and the film itself, although dated – is pretty nasty without being massively gory and builds tension to breaking point – qualities the shockingly bad 2006 remake does not manage to achieve.
This 2008 festive chiller sees two families meet at an isolated, snow-covered home to celebrate New Year. To ruin the party, their young children become infected with a mystery virus which makes them murder their parents. Creepy kids rarely disappoint in horror films, and the knife wielding terrors in this cold British chiller are no exception. Director Tom Shankland does a great job of slowly building both tension and mood before all hell breaks loose. The iciness of the isolated setting and the paranoia associated with being cut-off echo elements of Stanley Kubrick’s classic The Shining and the murderous kids really act as a mirror for the increasingly tense adults trapped in the house.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Brilliantly infused with classic Tim Burton weirdness, The Nightmare Before Christmas tells the story of Jack Skellington, Halloweentown’s beloved pumpkin king, who having become bored with the routine of frightening people in the real world,accidentally stumbles on Christmastown. Driven by his new discovery Jack plots to bring Christmas under his control by kidnapping Santa Claus and taking over the role. It’s a roly-poly adventure from the fantastically warped mind of Burton, the off-kilter animation lends a jagged edge to the film making it equally enjoyable for all ages – an awesome festive treat.
This christmas classic strikes a healthy balance between humour and horror as a gadget salesman looking for a special gift for his son finds just what he is looking for at a Chinese curiosities shop. The shopkeeper warns him never to expose the ‘mogwai’ to bright light, water, or to feed him after midnight and when his advice is ignored the resulting gang of gremlins tear though the town wreaking havoc on Christmas Eve. Chris Walas’s puppetry is a stroke of genius and the film’s gently subversive nature – commenting on small-town fears and paranoia – make this essential festive viewing to suit all tastes.
If what you want from a film is a wise-cracking, homicidal-maniac snowman, then this is the festive flick for you. It puts zero effort into being anything other than a budget slasher, but this one falls in the ‘so awful it’s good’ category. It follows a psychopathic killer who, having been transformed into a snowman when a crash throws him into some toxic slime, returns to continue his killing spree. Packed with snow-related puns, festive cheer and a script that reads like one long christmas-cracker joke it is comedy-horror at its glorious best.