Christmas is fast approaching and the arrival of the season also signifies that the year is coming to an end. Throughout the year, we make sure that we’re behaving well and pretend that Santa Claus is going to put us on the nice list. We would even spend time with our family or friends to watch some of the best and heartwarming Christmas movies.
Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, Santa Claus will make a list and check it twice before visiting your chimney/front door with the gifts you deserve to get. But if you want to get Santa to put you on the naughty list, we’d suggest you to watch some of our favourite horror movies that take place on our favourite holiday. At least, these movies will let you know that it’s not going to end up well if Santa Claus is the one who is being naughty instead. We wish you a scary Christmas :)
- Release date: June 8, 1984
- Cast: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Howie Mendel
Mogwai (Cantonese: 魔怪, “monster”) can either be your best Christmas gift or your worst nightmare. Everyone wants to own the warm and furry little creature but owning Mogwai comes with a great responsibility, so great that people might just forget to adhere to the rules. First, it’s a pet that will die if it’s exposed to sunlight or bright lights. Second of all, the pet will multiply itself when it gets wet, even with a single drop of water. Lastly and most importantly, Mogwai will cocoon itself and transform into a tall and scaly creature known as gremlin if you feed it after midnight. And no, it’s not going to get cuter.
Mogwai/Gremlin is a character created in 1984’s “Gremlins”, a horror comedy film directed by Joe Dante and executive produced by Steven Spielbierg. The film centres around Billy, a young man who receives Mogwai, which is also known as Gizmo by his father. However, the creature will transform into a destructive and mischievous monster if you feed it after midnight. While it’s rated PG-13, the film also featured some violent sequences and disturbing stories as told by Kate, one of the leading characters. Unlike its first film, the sequel opts for a darker setting, which is balanced against a Christmas-time setting.
2. Black Christmas
- Release date: October 11, 1974
- Cast: Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder
Despite being an independent horror film, 1974’s “Black Christmas” is one of the pioneers to the classic slasher movies in the film industry. Directed by Bob Clark, “Black Christmas” follows a group of sorority sisters who are stalked and murdered by a menacing maniac in their sorority house during their Christmas vacation. The pacing is slow but good enough to build up to a decent tension. The violent sequences of the film are surprisingly iconic as the graphics are creepy and unsettling.
The film has inspired a bunch of filmmakers to create the films with a similar formula (sorority girls being killed) but only a few of them have lived up to the terror that was shown in “Black Christmas”. In 2005, director Glen Morgan remade the film with Clark attached to produce but the remake received a lot of bad reviews due to the change in the storyline.
3. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
- Release date: December 3, 2010
- Cast: Jorma Tommila, Peeter Jakobi, Onni Tommila
From the land of the original Santa Claus comes a Christmas-themed horror film with twisted tale on our beloved Santa. Through “Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale”, everyone will finally believe in Santa Claus but just not in the way we used to see him. If you’ve been nice throughout the year, well, good for you but the Santa Claus in this film is not going to reward you. The real Santa Claus is more concerned about punishing the naughty ones with his army of silent elves.
The Finnish horror-fantasy-thriller film is directed by Jalmari Helander based on his own short film “Rare Exports Inc.” with Juuso Helander. The film offers an interesting premise by having the characters discover the biggest secret behind Santa Claus. It’s a film with lots of black humour elements and the director certainly did not shy away from showing brutal, gruesome scenes. The film received mostly positive reviews from movie critics and won numerous prestigious awards including Locarno International Film Festival’s Variety Piazza Grande Award, 43rd Sitges Film Festival’s Best European Motion Picture Award, Finnish Film State Award, Jussi Award,Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival’s Pegasus Audience Award, and Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films’s Saturn Award.
4. Silent Night, Deadly Night
- Release date: November 9, 1984
- Cast: Lilyan Chauvin, Gilmer McCormick, Toni Nero
If there’s a must-watch Christmas-themed horror film, horror movie fans would know that “Silent Night, Deadly Night” is definitely worth a watch. The 1984 film is directed by Charles E. Sellier, Jr. based on screenplay written by Michael Hickey. The story follows Billy Chapman, a young boy who witnesses his parents getting killed by a man in a Santa suit. He was traumatised, of course, because who wouldn’t be traumatised after witnessing their own parents getting killed in front of their eyes. But unlike Bruce Wayne aka Batman, Billy Chapman didn’t grow up to be a superhero. He grew up as an older teen who’d still get haunted by the horrific incident and later decides to punish the naughty ones as a Santa Claus in a toy store.
Obviously, “Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale” wasn’t the first film to view Santa Claus in different light as “Silent Night, Deadly Night” literally ruined Christmas by creating a serial killer dressed in a Santa suit. The movie poster alone caused an uproar from the parents’ group as it shows the Santa Claus attempting climb out from a chimney with an axe in his hand. As a result, the cinemas were forced to pull the film from theatres due to the public outcry.
5. The Children
- Release date: December 5, 2008
- Cast: Eva Birthistle, Stephen Campbell Moore, Jeremy Sheffield
Don’t let the movie title fool you because “The Children” is one of the most disturbing films we’ve ever watched. Director Tom Shankland made sure that kids were still “the main source of terror” as the kids featured in this British film became homicidal after being infected by an unexplained ailment. The film started off with 2 families gathered at their private country home to celebrate Christmas. It was all fun and joyful until one of the children takes ill.
Soon after, the other kids also become infected and started to behave strangely towards the results. What seemed like a normal thriller film was later turned into a film with various disturbing death scenes. The kids outsmarted the adults and killed them without batting an eyelid. Without explaining the source of the viruses, the film leaves the story open with interpretations.
- Release date: November 9, 2007
- Cast: Rachel Nichols, Wes Bentley, Simon Reynolds
Working late in the office is certainly something we won’t do and refuse to do, especially after watching Frack Khalfoun’s horror-thriller film “P2”. Released in 2007, “P2” revolves around Angele, a young businesswoman who stayed up late in the office on Christmas Eve, which is a bad movie since there was no one else in the office to ensure her safety. What happens after is sort of predictable because she couldn’t leave the office building after becoming imprisoned in the parking garage.
Surely, the security guard would come and rescue her but since it’s a horror-thriller film, he was certainly not an ordinary guard. As expected, the security guard turned out to be a long-time stalker of hers and he used the opportunity to kidnap her. The tension in the film had us sitting on edge of our seats and the dark setting helped create some of the best jump-scare moments too. Psychotic killers are certainly scarier than the ghosts.
- Release date: November 11, 2010
- Cast: Egbert Jan Weeber, Bert Luppes, Caro Lenssen
“Sint” is yet another Christmas-themed horror film that will ruin Christmas because of its portrayal of Sinterklaas. It is a Dutch dark comedy horror film about Sinterklaas, a traditional figure based on Saint Nicholas. Just like Santa Claus in the English speaking countries, Sinterklaas celebrates Christmas with the giving of gifts on the eve of Saint Nicholas Day (December 5th) in European countries.
However, director Dick Mass decided to tweak the Christmas tale by transforming him into a vengeful, demonic ghost who returns to modern Amsterdam under the full moon on December 5h. And of course, he only has one job to do – to punish the people on his naughty list. Parents were initially concorned about the movie poster due to the mutilated face of Sinterklaas that might cause fear for little children. A legal complaint was sent to the court, requesting the removal of the movie posters. However, the request was rejected by the court because the mutilated face is not visible in the poster.
Now, we’re pretty sure there are better Christmas-themed horror movies that we’ve not mentioned in the list. What are some of the most disturbing holiday horror movies you’ve watched so far? Share your list in the comments box below!