On the first day of Christmas, Cultured Vultures gave to me… 15 of the best Christmas horror movies to help you get through the season.
We understand, with Halloween long over, you’re itching for your horror fix. While we typically have to wait until January for the next wave of horror movies to hit theaters, we can at least backtrack to previously released holiday horrors. Unfortunately, that means trekking through the avalanche of terrible Christmas horror movies.
As you can probably guess, finding 15 great Christmas horror movies wasn’t an easy task. Many of these fall under the “so bad, they’re good” umbrella and are best enjoyed with friends and family laughing along. Seeing as how those jovial nights are the whole point of the holiday season, consider this our Christmas gift to you and yours.
You know those movies that you can’t look away from? No matter how many times you’ve seen it and how bad it may be? Well, that’s Jack Frost.
When the vehicle transporting serial killer Jack Frost gets into an accident with a nondescript “Genetic Research” truck, the titular murderer becomes melted into the snow. This allows him to return as a rampaging snowman out for revenge against the sheriff that brought him in.
Jack Frost is full of terrible one-liners, attempts at witty quips, and ridiculous kills involving sleds, Christmas ornaments, and carrot rape. Yes, you read that right and it’s all that needs to be said about this holiday horrorshow.
Watch if: You want to turn your brain off this holiday season. Avoid if: Frosty the Snowman is your gospel of the holidays.
14. Silent Night (2012)
Director: Steven C. Miller
Who would have thought Santa Claus would be the perfect way for a killer to hide from the authorities. Well, it’s a disguise that works in the 2012 horror film, Silent Night, which is a loose remake of the 1984 Christmas classic, Silent Night, Deadly Night.
When a serial killer poses as Santa, it gives him access to the public he needed to continue his killing spree. Not one to randomly kill everyone, this Santa sticks to the rules. He’ll only slay if he sees that person partaking in a naughty deed. Or, at least, what he deems “naughty.”
Silent Night is full of creative kills, but it doesn’t have that old-school slasher charm of Silent Night, Deadly Night or many movies from the 80s. It is, however, a suitable Christmas horror film with a decent kill count and a murderous Santa.
Watch if: The phrase “Santa with a flamethrower” intrigues you. Avoid if: You’re a Silent Night, Deadly Night purist.
13. Santa’s Slay (2005)
Director: David Steiman
What happens when Father Christmas gets tired of being nice and delivers kills instead of gifts? Writer/director David Steiman explored this concept in Santa’s Slay, a slasher comedy starring Bill Goldberg as Santa.
Steiman tinkers with the lore of Saint Nick a bit for this gorefest, which sees Santa, driven by his “hell-deer,” fulfilling his murderous impulses. According to Santa’s Slay, Santa only delivered presents because he lost a curling match to an angel. Before that, Christmas was a “Day of Slaying” for the hot-headed product of a Satanic virgin birth. You know, like it says in the Bible.
Once free of his 1,000-year sentence, it’s time for Santa to start killing again – and boy does he kill. No one is off his list when it comes to maiming, disfiguring, and slaughtering everyone in his path.
Watch if: You’re tired of the whole “Coca-Cola Santa” image. Avoid if: You still believe Santa Claus delivers your gifts.
12. Dead End (2003)
Director: Jean-Baptiste Andrea
Ah, the dreaded family road trip during the holidays. There’s nothing more tense and uncomfortable than being trapped in a vehicle for hours as you begrudgingly make your way to a relative’s home for Christmas. Until, of course, you throw in a mysterious lady in white, her dead baby, a symbolic hearse, and a whole lot of carnage.
When Marion and her family become lost on a back road, they’re thrust into a supernatural mystery of gruesome proportions. As they start to die off one by one, it becomes a question of whether or not the experience is real or the product of insanity. Hey, we get it. Driving along a snowy road with nothing but family to talk to is sure to break even the strong-willed.
It’s not quite a traditional Christmas movie with all of the glimmering lights and references to Santa, but beneath its elements of horror, Dead End is a relatable holiday film.
Watch if: You want to watch Lin Shaye in a pre-Insidious horror film. Avoid if: You have a road trip planned with your family.
11. Inside (2007)
Director: Julien Maury
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, save for a crazed lunatic with sinister intentions. In this French horror thriller, expectant mother Sarah is pulled into a Christmas horror nightmare of frightening proportions.
Christmas Eve becomes a veritable bloodbath as Sarah’s intruder kills off anyone that comes to her aid, forcing the pregnant protagonist to defend herself by any means necessary. It’s a home invasion movie like any other, but the holiday setting and the killer’s motive put a slightly unique spin on it.
Watch if: You enjoy traditional home invasion movies. Avoid if: You’re pregnant.
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