While plenty of people love to spread festive cheer, many of us cringe when the holidays roll around. It’s not that we dislike Christmas, but we get bogged down by the tacky music, corny decorations and of course, the cheesy movies. There are so many Christmas movies meant to make people feel good, but my heart is cold as stone and those tactics won’t work on me. Instead of making me feel sentimental, I feel nauseous. Luckily, there are many Christmas movies out there that are more sinister than saintly. Take a look at 10 of the best Christmas horror movies in the gallery below, then let us know your favorite film from this list in the comments section on social media.
“Black Christmas” (1974)
“Black Christmas” was one of the biggest slasher films of the 1970s and starred actress Olivia Hussey, whose biggest claim to fame is 1968’s “Romeo and Juliet.” The film follows a group of sorority girls who’re stalked and killed by a mysterious man hiding in their attic during Christmas time. So far, “Black Christmas” has been remade twice, once in 2006 and then again in 2019.
Based on the character from Austro-Bavarian folklore, this film follows a young boy who accidentally unleashes Krampus and must save the neighborhood from his wrath. The film features an all-star cast, including Adam Scott and Toni Collette. Considering the subject matter, the film was pretty successful with critics and is highly recommended to those who enjoy unconventional holiday movies.
Debuting in 1984, “Gremlins” is regarded as one of the most celebrated films of the 1980s. The film follows a father who gifts his son with a small creature called a Mogwai for Christmas and is told not to expose it to sunlight, get it wet or feed it after midnight. Things go awry when the rules are broken, with the creature multiplying, transforming into reptilian creatures called gremlins and causing mass havoc.
“Silent Night” (2012)
A loose remake of the 1984 film “Silent Night, Deadly Night,” this film follows a small town police force hunting down a mass murderer dressed as Santa Claus. The film followed in the footsteps of other deadly Santa films, however, it’s one of the goriest and most frightening of the bunch. Plus, performances by Jamie King and Malcolm McDowell make it a stand out.
“Dead End” (2003)
This film follows a family who attempt to take a short cut during a drive on Christmas Eve, but instead find themselves on a mysterious never ending road. “Dead End” was a great success with critics, with many comparing it to “The Twilight Zone.” Overall, it’s one wild ride.
“Better Watch Out” (2016)
“Better Watch Out” puts a creative spin on classic slashers like “Halloween,” turning the concept of a babysitter/ invasion horror film on it’s head. The film starts off as your classic babysitting horror flick, but the script is flipped when the villains turn out to be the 12-year-old boys and chaos ensues.
“Christmas Evil” (1980)
Beloved as a cult phenomenon and celebrated for it’s camp by director John Waters, “Christmas Evil” follows a man who’s obsessed with Santa Claus and goes on a murderous rampage. This slasher takes a stab at society’s issues and makes the audience reconsider what Christmas is all about.
“A Christmas Horror Story” (2015)
If you’re a fan of anthology horror, then you’ll love 2015’s “A Christmas Horror Story.” This film’s stories are strung together by a radio DJ named Dangerous Dan, who’s played by William Shatner, and features elements of fantasy such as ghosts, Krampus and a changeling.
“The Children” (2008)
Set around the Christmas holiday, this film follows a family whose children turn violent because of a mysterious illness and the adults are left to fight for their lives. Strange and unsettling, this film takes on new terror in our current health landscape.
“Anna and the Apocalypse” (2017)
Set in Scotland, this film follows a high school student named Anna who must fight for her life alongside her friends when a zombie outbreak occurs during the holidays. What sets this film apart from the pack is that in addition to being a Christmas and zombie film, it’s also a musical and was based on the screenwriter Ryan McHenry’s 2010 short “Zombie Musical.”