Welcome to Knockout Horror. It’s that time of year where we take a look at some Xmas Horror Movies. I haven’t been contributing to the site much as of late and for that I apologise. We took a bit of a hit with a recent Google search update and my heart has, simply, not been in it at all. Still, it’s time to get back on the horse and try to bring you guys some horror content and what better time than Christmas? It’s December the 7th so that means the first week of the Christmas season is in the books.
Last year I put together an Awful Advent – 25 Christmas Themed Horror Movies feature where I reviewed a horror movie a day in the lead up to Christmas. Doing that this year would be a massive waste of time and while I had initially planned to do this with 25 Christmas movies I hadn’t covered yet. I am, instead, going to feature a few lists that should have you covered for the entirety of December.
Festive Frights – Xmas Themed Horror Movies
Christmas and horror go hand in hand. They are perfect bedfellows. Snuggling up close, sharing body heat and not minding when the other accidentally cuts one while sleeping. Every year in the UK you could be guaranteed that one channel or another would be showing a few late night horror movies at the end of the big day. Usually Rosemary’s Baby for some reason. And the lead up to Christmas would be peppered with Xmas horror movie classics like Black Christmas and Gremlins.
Over the next few weeks we will be bringing you a few lists featuring some of the best Xmas horror movies of all time… Oh, and some of the worst too. If you checked out my 25 Christmas Horror Movies – Festive Frights Xmas in July list from earlier in the year or even my Awful Advent 2022 feature. You will see a bit of a crossover here. There are only so many Xmas horror movies to talk about, after all. But these lists will all be self contained, fully ranked, and each will feature a few Xmas horror movies I haven’t talked about on here. When all is said and done, I will bring them all together into one big Xmas horror movie master list.
We are kicking things off with the Anti-Christmas List. This is ten movies that have lost all of the Christmas spirit. These horror movies are perfect for people who are simply done with Christmas. They aren’t particularly jolly, they aren’t pulling any punches and some of them are downright Scroogelike. Without further ado, let’s take a look starting with number ten.
The Dorm That Dripped Blood (1982)
Seeing the name Carpenter attached to an 80’s slasher movie would normally be cause to get a little excited. Unfortunately, with 1982’s The Dorm That Dripped Blood, it’s a case of “We don’t need John Carpenter, we have a Carpenter at home”. And the Carpenter at home is screenwriter Stephen Carpenter trying his hand at an Xmas slasher movie that has a bunch of kills and almost zero excitement.
Four college students staying on campus over the Christmas holiday are stalked by a maniacal killer in this slasher by numbers Xmas horror movie that really misses the mark. Daphne Zuniga makes her big screen debut and the movie managed to earn itself a “Video Nasty” tag for awhile in the UK. Something which gives the impression that it is anything other than a rather lame and boring 80’s slasher. Still, it is Christmas themed and people have a far greater tolerance for these run of the mill horror movies than they used to have so you may find plenty to enjoy. Give it a watch and hopefully it won’t turn out to be a massive lump of coal.
A group of co-workers head home from a Christmas party. One of them wants a pizza so stops off at an ATM booth. A crazy person appears and spends the night harassing them and trapping them in said ATM booth.. That’s it, that’s the entire movie. And if that sounds like a great time to you then you are probably in the minority as this movie was slammed upon its 2012 release.
I watched it back then and, to be honest, it didn’t exactly stand out for being completely awful. It just fell in line with a bunch of these types of horror movies that were bouncing around at that time. Writer Chris Sparling stumbled on gold with the claustrophobic Ryan Reynolds thriller movie Buried and tries to recapture that here. The clumsy setup and rather dull location never manage to come close to the tightly confined thrills of the aforementioned hit. Leaving ATM to stand as just another generic horror that happens to be set at Christmas. Still, worth a watch as something of an Xmas horror that might have flown under your radar.
Black Christmas (2006)
Did anyone ever watch the 70’s proto slasher Black Christmas and think “Damn, I really wanted to know more about the background of the killer”? Because apparently Glen Morgan did and the result is a reimagining of the Christmas Classic horror that bears little resembelance to its nakesake. Folowing a group of sorority girls being stalked inside of their house over the Christmas holidays by a demented killer. 2006’s Black Christmas goes into far more detail about the backstory of “Billy” and seems to lose a lot of the tension that made the original so great along the way.
There’s plenty of kills and a ton of gore on offer along with some of the more traditional slasher tropes like nudity and the occasional bit of humour. But Morgan’s version of Black Christmas misses the mark over and over again. It’s just not that great but it is still a cut above the abysmal 2019 version so it has that going for it. Fans of early 2000’s slashers may find something to love. The cast is very familiar and the visuals are pretty great while being perfectly fitting for some festive frights. You could probably do a fair bit worse so why not give it a try? We reviewed Black Christmas as part of our Awful Advent feature and awarded it a paltry 1.5/5.
Jack Frost (1997)
Nope, we are not talking about the Michael Keaton nightmare-fest where a man returns from the dead as a snowman to terrorise his family into believing in Christmas again. We are talking about the 1997 slasher movie that sees an ex-con taking on the form of a snowman before seeking revenge on the people who did him wrong in his previous life. This movie is ridiculously popular and I have no clue why. I mean, I understand the whole so bad it is good thing and I am a big fan of crappy horror movies. But Jack Frost just feels like it is trying too hard to be bad.
Director Michael Cooney knew this movie would gain a cult following and did everything he could to make sure it was bad in practically every conceivable way. In my opinion, it is not so good it is bad, it is simply bad. Still, if you enjoy cheesy kills, absolute silliness and classic slasher one liners. You will probably find plenty to like in this ludicrous Christmas horror movie. We awarded it a big lump of Christmas coal in the form of one star out of five in our review. You may love it, though.
Rachel Nichols finds herself being chased around a parking lot on Christmas eve by a psychopathic security guard hell bent on having her stay for Christmas Turkey in this cat and mouse thriller from 2007. Directed by Franck Khalfoun who would go on to helm the enjoyable Elijah Wood thriller Maniac a few years later and produced by Haute Tension’s Alexandre Aja. P2 had a decent crew and a pair of competent leads with Wes Bentley playing security guard Thomas. It just never manages to rise above fairly average thriller horror.
The most noteworthy thing about P2 is the amount of cleavage Nichols manages to keep in her top as she bounces around, behind, under and in the parked cars that litter the setting. There aren’t too many thrills on offer. That’s not to say you won’t enjoy this movie though. The Christmas theme is fun and it doesn’t out stay its welcome. We awarded it 2.7/5 in our review and it definitely holds up better to one viewing than two.
Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
Little Billy witnesses his parents being murdered by a deranged Santa Clause one Christmas. Leading to him spending the majority of his youth in an orphanage. When he is finally fit for starting his life, an upsetting encounter pushes him over the edge. Sending him on a murderous Christmas rampage the likes of which had never been seen before in the 1984 Christmas slasher Silent Night Deadly Night.
Charles E. Sellier Jr’s Xmas horror movie caused a bit of a ruckus on its release due to copious amounts of violence and a healthy dollop of salacious nudity. Looked at through a modern eye, it’s a far more tame affair than you might expect but, ultimately, no less enjoyable. This is a great option for some truly fun Christmas horror laughs and really scratches that 80’s slasher itch. We awarded Silent Night, Deadly Night 3/5 in our review.
Silent Night (2021)
Christmas is coming and so is the apocalypse but there is one more night to spend with family and friends in this British horror comedy from 2021. A quick glance at the cast probably makes you want to bang your head against a brick wall rather than take a seat and watch. But for something that does things a little different, Silent Night works pretty well.
It’s a bit bleak and it can be quite tough to find the fun in this, let alone the comedy. But there aren’t many Xmas horror movies quite like it. If you can push aside some of the boredom and emptiness, there is plenty to enjoy but don’t expect an all out horror fest. This is a movie that is difficult to classify and not at all traditional. Think 2016’s The Invitation and you are somewhat there. Worth checking out as a change of pace Christmas horror movie.
The Advent Calendar (2021)
Written and directed by Patrick Ridremont. A paraplegic woman receives a strange advent calendar as a birthday gift from a friend. After opening the first door, Eve is compelled to follow the rules of the calendar each and every day. If she does, it will grant her greatest wish. If she doesn’t, she will die. This is a fantastic French Christmas horror movie that we covered as part of our Awful Advent feature in 2022. I you are tired of the same old slashers at Christmas. Look no further because The Advent Calendar is totally unique.
Completely different from most Christmas horror movies and far more dark and brooding. This is a slow paced story that takes you on a captivating and, often, terrifying ride. Grossly overlooked and underrated. This is an essential watch if you are looking for something a little different and very much anti-Christmas. A great horror in its own right. We awarded The Advent Calendar 3.8/5 in our review.
Dead End (2003)
One of my all time favourite Christmas horror movies. Dead End follows a family taking a road trip to relative’s house for a Christmas gathering. Only to find themselves narrowly avoiding a catastrophic accident and completely stuck on a series of roads that appear to lead to nowhere. Starring the fantastic Ray Wise and Lin Shaye. Dead End is a mix of pure hilarity and genuinely unsettling strangeness with a slight hint of Twilight Zone uncanniness. All wrapped up in Christmas themed wrapping paper.
This is a difficult movie to explain as it is just so strange. But it works incredibly well and the performances from the cast keep you enthralled throughout. Tensions continue to rise as the family become more and more lost. All while the severity of their situation becomes more and more clear. This is a Christmas horror movie unlike any other and deserves far more praise than it gets. We awarded Dead End 4 out of 5 in our review.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale(2010)
This is, probably, a fairly obvious suggestion. In keeping with some of the darker, more visceral, movies on this list. We are slapping 2010’s Rare Exports at number one. A position it genuinely deserves as it’s one of the more exceptional Anti-Christmas horror movies around. Following the story of a group of excavators digging up the body of Santa Clause which is closly followed by the disappearances of a few children. Rare Exports sees a son and his father team up to hunt Santa and his elves to put a stop to the mayhem.
Rare Exports is dark, scary, and often hilarious. It’s a fantastic option for people who aren’t the biggest fans of the holiday season and it does a great job turning the legend of Santa on its head. What’s even more significant is that it uses real Scandinavian legends of Santa to turn the big guy from a jolly, gift giving, do gooder into a terrifying mythological being. Awesome stuff and one of the best Christmas horror movies of all time. We awarded Rare Exports 4 out of 5 in our review.
Thanks for Reading
That is the Anti-Christmas horror movie list all done. Our next list will be the complete opposite of this one. We are going to be ranking 10 Xmas Horror Movies for people who love the festive season. These movies will capture all the usual fun and joy of December including snow, decorations and Christmas gatherings. They will just so happen to come with a bit of a frightening twist. That list will be up next week so check back and thanks for reading.