December is a month for many traditions. Black Friday hysteria, tree buying, tree decorating, holiday music and cookie exchanges galore. But for those of us who celebrate this festive month, and also happen to be horror lovers, there are some other important rituals that top the list. Mostly, the relentless consuming of christmas horror movies. While everyone else is watching family classics like It’s a Wonderful Life, and Miracle on 34th Street as the fireplace crackles, horror fans are watching killers set fires on screen. Yes, it’s a joyous time, ripe with sentiment, seasons greetings and depending on who you are, a few slasher films. Typical holiday traditions will never cease to exist, and if you’re a fan of horror, than neither will these seasonally beloved flicks. Whether it’s brand new to you, or your millionth time watching, these five classic christmas horror movies will never go out of style.
1. Gremlins. One of the most famous and popular of its genre, Gremlins is a classic Christmas horror movie that never gets old. It’s a dark comedy with a few key components including the Holidays, humor, and at heart, an underlying moral about responsibility. (And what can happen when we’re reckless with our ‘toys’.) Maybe that’s why network TV plays it so much this time of year. Who can forget Phoebe Cates dryly recounting her hatred for Christmas while explaining what happened to her father on Christmas Eve.
2. Black Christmas. (The original). The 1974 flick is one of the best horror movies period but it’s also at the top of the christmas horror movie list. Black Christmas doesn’t have your typical blood and gore, but it does have tons of suspense and mystery. Although it’s dated, it still somehow feels relevant and still blows it’s 2006 remake out of the water. Essentially, a group of girls inside a sorority house fight an unknown (and super creepy) killer. As they get picked off one by one, it’s up to the remaining few to figure out what’s going on. While the remake was ripe with young starlets, and one liners, the Bob Clark original (also featuring soon-to-be stars like Margo Kidder) accomplished something the remake did not. A non typical, non cliche horror movie that remains intriguing every time you see it.
3. Silent Night, Deadly Night. This 80’s christmas slasher movie is also a beloved cult classic. When a young boy sees his family murdered by ‘Santa’, he’s traumatized an at early age. Years later, Billy has become a strapping, handsome teenager who got his act together and works diligently at the local toy store. But, when the Holidays come around and Billy’s asked to dress up as old St. Nick, memories come flooding back. You can guess what happens next. This movie has lots of corny moments, including the very bad, yet, impossible to get out of your head Warm side of the Door tune played on several occasions. Despite that, it still provides some good scares and classic moments, ranking it near the top of this Christmas list.
4. Krampus. If you’re talking about Christmas horror movies, then you can’t exclude this kitschy 2015 film from the list. The movie, staring Adam Scott and Toni Colette is based on the German folklore of a mythical creature who basically represents the evil to Santa’s good. It’s such a long standing legend, there’s even a real life holiday parade dedicated to it’s fictional honor.
5. Christmas Evil. Another vintage classic likely to be included in a movie theater’s holiday horror marathon. The 80’s slasher doesn’t quite live up to it’s colleagues. However, it does have its own quirky charm which has won fans over throughout the years. And it still bears the mark of a Christmas horror movie, making it forever a re-watchable classic. (At least for some.)