The 12 days of Christmas for most scary movie fans should come with a heaping helping of holiday horror. Lord knows there’s enough material for a flick each night, and then some.
We’ve put together our top dozen Christmas horror flicks to frighten your holiday (if you’re up for the challenge). Caution: if you can’t handle killer Santas, dead Santas, and a crazy woman with scissors trying to perform an unwanted Cesarian section, you may want to stick with It’s A Wonderful Life.
1 and 2. Black Christmas (1974 / 2006)
Both versions of Black Christmas are must-sees but for different reasons. The first one satisfies those of you who enjoy suspense, little gore, a sense of humor, and some of the most frightening phone calls ever muttered. The second is purely for the gorehound. We had fun with both of them.
In this unnerving French horror-thriller, a scissor-wielding madwoman stalks a newly widowed pregnant woman on Christmas Eve night at the victim’s home. Inside strikes a rare balance of being genuinely frightening while delivering the gory goods.
4 and 5. Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) /Silent Night (2012)
If you grew up in the ’80s, then you know how revolting this film was to parents all over the country. It had difficulty getting seen. Most of us had to wait for home video because the uproar behind a killer Saint Nick was too much for theaters to handle. Since then, it’s been done a few more times — in fact, this wasn’t even the first deadly Santa incarnation to be filmed. (More on that later.) The original 1984 anti-classic also inspired four sequels and a surprisingly watchable remake released in 2012 (our No. 5; ignore the sequels).
6. Christmas Evil
Enjoyably quirky and pretty harmless despite one explosion of extreme violence near the end of the film. The lead performance from star Brandon Maggart is even more enjoyable when you know that this freak of nature fathered singer Fiona Apple.
7. Don’t Open Till Christmas
Pieces is one of the most notorious slasher films ever made, and with good reason. Director Edmund Purdom was certainly not leery about showing the chainsaw violence, and that led to heavily censored edits on the home video market throughout the ’80s before finally getting a fully restored DVD release a few years ago. Well, that same director also made this Christmas-themed horror featuring a bunch of guys in Santa suits getting offed in the grisliest of ways.
Hard to find but worth it for a grenade tossing St. Nick, played by Dan Haggerty, doing battle with some rather devilish creatures.
9. To All A Good Night
Made in 1980 at the height of the slasher film, this is the first time that we know of where a killer suited up as Santa Claus. Not quite as nasty as SN, DN, but it still has people being offed one-by-one by the representation of a childhood hero.
10. Silent Night, Bloody Night
Unfortunately, no one has run this one through a remastering, but it is readily available for cheap and not half bad. While settling an estate, a man gets wrapped up in a dark family secret that has left the townsfolk on edge.
11. A Cadaver Christmas
Christmas and Zombies? We’re in!
12. Tales from the Crypt: Movie/TV
While the ’70s anthology film and the later TV series didn’t deal with Christmas very often, they both did a fantastic job of adapting the comic book classic, “…And All Through The House” for adult viewers. Fantastic vignette whether done with Joan Collins or Mary Ellen Trainor. A real holiday classic!
Which Christmas horror flicks are your favorites? What should we have included on the list?