Santa has been and gone, the presents have been opened, the tree is beginning to wilt and there’s only a turkey carcass left to remind of Christmas dinner. Here’s 10 films to get you OUT of the Christmas spirit.
10. The Silent Partner (Duke, Canada, 1978)
Instead of giving at Christmas, Christopher Plummer’s psychopath-in-a-Santa-suit is only interested in taking. In this case, he’s got his sights set on robbing the bank where Elliott Gould works in Daryl Duke’s darkly comic heist movie. Gould’s bank teller figures out his place of work is going to be robbed before the thief makes his move, so devises a plan to steal the money for himself. A sadistic cat and mouse game ensues. There’s more blood red than red-nosed reindeers on show here.
9. Deep Red (Argento, Italy, 1975)
Death and carnage during Christmas form the basis for Dario Argento’s giallo masterpiece. The opening scene sees a child witness a brutal slaying while the twinkling of the Christmas tree tinsel sparkles in the background. The only Christmas spirit evident here is the ghost of the mysteriously slain victim.
8. Black Christmas (Clark, Canada, 1974)
The film that influenced an entire horror sub-genre (the “slasher” film), Bob Clark’s classic scary movie from 1974 sees a crazed killer chopping up sorority girls at Christmastime. There won’t be any treasures to be found in the Christmas pudding this year, but there might be the odd body part or two.
7. Sint (aka Saint Nick) (Maas, Holland, 2010)
Let me introduce you to Sinterklaas, basically the Dutch Santa Claus. However, in Dick Maas’ comedy-horror Saint, the Father of Christmas becomes a mass murderer when his annual celebration coincides with a full moon.
6. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (Helander, Finland, 2010)
Santa is a bastard according to Jean-Marie Poiré’s 1982 film. He may well be right. In this Finnish horror-fantasy, a team of excavators uncover an ancient burial ground where the real Santa Claus had been laid to rest. But he isn’t dead. And he isn’t very happy. Indeed, instead of rewarding children for good behaviour, this Santa is only interested in punishing the naughty. The “naughty or nice” list just got thrown out – indefinitely.
5. In Bed with Santa (Sundvall, Sweden, 1999)
Christmas is all about families, togetherness, selflessness: isn’t it? Well, in Swedish comedy In Bed with Santa the Christmas cheer diminishes when a housewife reveals that’s she pregnant without realising her husband had a vasectomy a few years earlier. Things get really complicated when the woman in question invites her numerous ex-husbands and their families for Christmas dinner – this is a case of whodunit, but not of the murder-mystery kind. As you’d expect: arguments ensue…
4. Silent Night, Deadly Night (Sellier, USA, 1984)
The American slasher movie gets a Christmas makeover in Charles Sellier’s horror about a Michael Myers clone who grows up pissed off with the world and decides to start hacking people to pieces dressed as Santa. You wouldn’t want this guy shuffling down your chimney in the middle of the night… that’s for sure!
3. Inside (Maury, France, 2007)
Christmas Eve is usually a day filled with joyful anticipation as Santa begins his journey to deliver presents to all the children around the world. The day should be extra special for expectant mother Sarah as she prepares to welcome her child into the world. But her husband died earlier in the year and she is struggling with depression. Unfortunately, her Christmas is about the get worse as she is brutally attacked by a strange woman who forces entry into her home. Without any subtly – typical of France’s extreme contemporary horror – Inside is a sadistic night of unrelenting terror with a shocking conclusion. Christmas cheer just got the boot!
2. Die Hard (McTiernan, USA, 1988)
John McClane just wants a peaceful Christmas. He’s come to Los Angeles, a city he’s not fond of, to be with his wife and children after his work as a New York cop has kept him at the other side of the country most of the year. He attends his wife’s Christmas party in the skyscraper known as Nakatomi Plaza where he wanders around barefoot making fists with his toes believing it’ll help him get over his fear of flying. But a group of German terrorists – clearly eschewing festive spirit – storm the building taking everyone hostage. A shoeless McClane escapes but he’s outnumbered and outgunned. Thankfully, his sharp-tongued quips are there to help him – “Ho Ho Ho, now I have machine gun”.
1. Santa Claus is a Bastard (Poiré, France, 1982)
There’s very little Christmas cheer on offer in Jean-Marie Poiré’s 1982 French film Le Père Noël est une ordure (otherwise known as Santa Claus is a Bastard). Taking place on Christmas Eve at the offices of a telephone helpline for the lonely and depressed, the two operators on duty – Pierre and Thérèse – get more than they bargained for when their troubled callers make personal visits. This includes a depressed transvestite, a heavily pregnant woman on the run from her abusive boyfriend, and the boyfriend himself, dressed in full Santa Claus uniform and brandishing a gun. If this wasn’t enough to subdue the Christmas spirit, prepare for murder, butchery and, erm, zoo animals eating human flesh! This film, by the way, was remade as Mixed Nuts in Hollywood.
Written & Compiled by Daniel Stephens
Still suffering from the Christmas hangover? What are your favourite “anti-Christmas” Christmas movies?