Welcome to Knockout Horror and to another Horror Movie List. You know, I have never really understood why people do the whole Christmas in July thing. I mean, what’s the point? Is it just something to break up the year? I have heard the whole Southern Hemisphere reason and I get that. But it really seems to be more of a Northern Hemisphere thing. I don’t know but a lot of places, and people, seem to embrace it. I know that one of the movie channels in the UK changes to a Christmas channel for a couple of days in July, most years. A lot of other channels seem to do it too.
Whatever, I don’t need an excuse to get amped for Christmas. It’s my favourite time of year. I love everything about it and having virtually no family means we don’t even have the usual stresses of spending time with relatives. It’s just an excuse to exchange gifts, day drink and watch movies. What could be better? I tell you what I do need an excuse for, though. I need an excuse for putting my Awful Advent 25 Days of Christmas Horror feature into a list ready for this Christmas. And that’s why, at Knockout Horror, we are celebrating…
Christmas In July – Festive Frights
Yep, in a move that is both hypocritical and genius. We are getting into the festive spirit despite the heat and sun (I live in Wales, UK and it is pissing it down while I write this). Today we are going to be looking at 25 Christmas Themed Horror Movies. One for each day of Advent and a bonus for Christmas. “But Richie, it’s not advent for another 5 months. Why are you doing this now?” Good question! Shut up! That’s why.
For the month of December 2022. I reviewed a different Christmas Themed Horror Movie every day leading up to the 25th. I called it Awful Advent because I am very bad at thinking of names for features and I enjoy alliteration. Now that we are half way through the year, I really needed a reason to bring those reviews together in one neat format. Because when November roles around. People will start typing “Scary Christmas Films” and “Christmas Themed Horror Movies” into Google. And I would quite like them to find my site and have a read. If that’s how you ended up here then I would like to say welcome to the site… And mission accomplished.
Christmas Themed Horror…. Mostly
All of the movies here have one thing in common and that is Christmas. Whether they are set during the holiday, feature Santanic killers or just happen to have a lot of decorations. They are all unmistakably festive. They aren’t all particularly good, I’m afraid. In fact, they aren’t all, exactly, horror. There are a few movies here that are really pushing it a bit. You are gonna see them in the list and think “Why has this idiot put that in here?”. And you are right.
But if you would consider, for one moment, what it is like to start a horror movie review site. Only to realise that it means you can’t talk about some of your favourite movies. You might understand just how much I was clutching at straws here. Have a little sympathy for my plight and just let it go for this once. It’s Christmas, after all….. In July!
As I mentioned earlier. These movies were part of our Awful Advent 25 Days of Christmas feature for 2022. This means that they are not in rating order. These are NOT ranked. If they were, 2019’s Black Christmas would be last, closely followed by 2006’s Black Christmas. These movies are just in the order I reviewed them in. Starting on the first of December and ending on the twenty fifth. You may be thinking “Well, Advent doesn’t include Christmas day” and, once again, you would be right. I included a bonus movie because it’s Christmas and it’s nice to give people gifts. “But Advent changes every year and doesn’t always start in December?”. Well the chocolate filled calendars I buy every year don’t agree with that and who am I to disagree with chocolate? Right, let’s go.
Okay, it might not be, strictly speaking, horror but this list would not be complete without Henry Selick’s stop motion masterpiece. Based on a poem by Tim Burton. The Nightmare Before Christmas’ story of the king of Halloween town stealing Christmas has become an absolute Xmas viewing essential. While also being perfectly fitting to watch on Halloween as a way to kick the holiday season off right. Something we do in my house every single year and the entire reason it kicked off our Awful Advent feature and this list.
Featuring a cast of spooky but lovable characters. Fantastic songs by the excellent Danny Elfman and a talented, all star, voice cast. This is a musical horror movie that can be watched with the whole family. We awarded The Nightmare Before Christmas a massive 4.5/5 in one of our most positive reviews ever.
British horror movie Salvage follows the story of a mum searching for her daughter after something invades their housing estate. Gritty, low budget, and fairly uneven in parts. Salvage is lifted by the fantastic performance of Neve McIntosh.
Unafraid to get her hands dirty. McIntosh brings heaps to this tale of paranoia, broken relationships, and survival at all costs. Not the most Christmassy movie on the list but definitely worth checking out. We gave Salvage an above average 3/5 in our review.
A lonely man spending Christmas alone decides to kidnap some company for himself in the form of Rachel Nichols. A business woman on the way home for Christmas. This movie sees a cat and mouse game take place across the many levels of a parking garage. A decent option for anyone looking for a slightly more high octane Christmas thriller.
Uneven, sometimes lacking in thrills but more than making up for it in copious amounts of cleavage. This is the type of movie that will suit a viewer that doesn’t ask too much or just wants to enjoy 80+ minutes of Rachel Nichols’ boobage. Hey, we aren’t judging! It takes a fair bit of stick from critics but I have watched it a few times and always enjoy it. Not brilliant but in the barren world of Christmas Horror, it is work checking out. We awarded P2 2.8/3 in our review.
One of three versions of Black Christmas on this list. This movie comes by way of director Glen Morgan who hoped to expand on the backstory of the original movie. With a high profile cast for the mid-2000s and a name with some serious slasher cred. It’s something of a surprise that this movie is so utterly awful. It’s still not the worst of the Black Christmas remakes but it is a movie that does so much wrong and very little right.
Staying true to the original’s slasher beginnings but never managing to do much to hold a viewer’s attention. Some might enjoy getting to know more about Billy. But most of us will want to keep the attic window firmly locked so that we never have to experience a Black Christmas again. We awarded Glen Morgan’s Black Christmas a lowly 1.5/5 in our review meaning you can safely skip it unless you are desperate for Christmas Horror. Some little bugger has put this whole movie on YouTube so head on over there and give it a search. Do it in an incognito tab, though. You don’t want your family and friends to see that you watched this crappy film.
It wouldn’t be Christmas without turkey, gifts, and a maniacal French woman attempting to cut the still living fetus out of another woman. Inside is one of the most notorious movies in the New French Extremity era of horror that took the horror world by storm in the 2000s. Starring Beatrice Dalle in a fearsome role as a terrifying, Christmas Eve, home invader. This is a movie that pulls no punches when it comes to gore, violence and straight up carnage.
If you are looking for something a little more brutal this Christmas, it’s hard to do better than Inside. Just be sure to steer clear of the American remake. We awarded Inside 3.7/5 in our review and highly recommend it. That’s if you can stomach the gore and violence, of course.
Most people are forced to spend the holiday season arguing with their family. But what if you want to spend it watching someone else’s family argue? Well, you could always check out British sci-fi horror movie Await Further Instructions. Following the story of a family awaking on Christmas Day to find their house sealed up and the TV giving them vague instructions on what to do next.
This movie is something of a test of patience when it comes to annoying characters and ridiculous scenarios. Still, it is a movie that some enjoy and features a very interesting ending with some striking sci-fi horror visuals. It does feel all the more apt after the events of the past few years, as well. Not for everyone, we awarded it 2/5 in our review. It may be worth checking out for something completely different.
Christmas and the holidays is all about the kids, right? Watching them opening presents; seeing their happy smiles; hearing their innocent voices filled with joy. But what if you don’t have children and you see the little buggers for the murderous little shits they really are? Well then you will enjoy The Children. We get to sit smugly in the knowledge that this will never happen to us.
Another British horror movie that sees a group of kids going absolutely bonkers over the festive holiday spreading Christmas fear to all the adults in the house. Playing out like a snowier version of Children of the Corn. This is a movie that offers a few thrills and a fair amount of spills too. We awarded The Children 2.8/5 but a lot of people seem to like it a lot more than I did so why not check it out? Guess where you can watch this one?
One of my absolute favourite Christmas horror movies and just a fantastic film in its own right. Dead End is a criminally underrated movie about a family taking a road trip to the in law’s house for Christmas. After narrowly avoiding a horrible accident, the family begin experiencing strange events and finding themselves unable to retrace their steps back to the main road.
This is a movie that is both funny and rather creepy. Featuring brilliant performances from Ray Wise and Insidious actor Lin Shaye. The events take place almost entirely within the confines of the family’s vehicle. The fact that Dead End works at all is something of a miracle given the claustrophobic nature of the vehicle. The trippiness and unexpected ending make for a horror film like no other. Brilliant stuff and definitely worth a watch. We awarded Dead End 4/5 and highly recommend it.
Following the story of a new step-mom being snowed in over Christmas at a rural cabin with her step children. The Lodge is a story of grief, mental illness, and the consequences of one’s own actions. Featuring a fantastic performance by Riley Keough in a complex role as a woman trying to do the best by her new family. The Lodge often feels like an Ari Aster movie for its twists, turns and desire to shock the viewer.
It doesn’t always work and it drags its feet in parts. The plot is a little silly at times too. But this is a movie that a lot of people like. And puts a more mature twist on the Christmas horror movie formula. Definitely worth a look if you are desiring something a bit different. We awarded The Lodge 3/5 in our review.
Yet another remake of Black Christmas and yet another horrible version that makes a mockery of the original movie’s legacy. It’s a Christmas tragedy that we have to associate such an iconic name with such terrible movies but here we are. Following a group of sorority sisters taking on a cult like fraternity. Black Christmas bears almost no relation to the original title. Instead usurping it to create a dreary movie filled with supernatural bull and terrible acting.
Sophia Takal’s remedial interpretation of feminism let down everyone who dared to be excited for a serious girl power Christmas horror, including my partner and myself. We were so amped for this film and so disappointed when we watched it. This movie could have been great, instead it manages to be worse than the 2006 travesty. Avoid at all costs but it is here on the list for the sake of posterity. We awarded Black Christmas 1/5 in our review. And I will take this moment to remind you that this list is in order of when I reviewed the movies. Not the rating of them. If you want to actually watch this one as some form of self flagellation or something. You are shit out of luck because they seem to believe people would be happy to pay for it. Go figure!
A lot of people don’t like this movie. I am not one of those people. I really enjoyed Mercy Christmas. Following the story of a lonely office worker who spends Christmas with a beautiful woman. Only to find out that he is the one on the menu. Mercy Christmas is pure chaos and hilarity from beginning to end.
Playing out like a Hallmark Christmas movie with a sick twist. The slapstick nature of the film and clearly low budget may not be for everyone. But if you are just looking for something Christmassy to make you chuckle. Mercy Christmas might fit the bill perfectly. It’s incredibly gory, horrifically violent and genuinely makes you laugh. We awarded it 3.5/5 and recommend it to fans of slapstick horror silliness.
Let’s be real, we had to review this movie, didn’t we? It is a cult classic. Now we aren’t talking about the horrifying Michael Keaton movie that came out the same year. The one where a negligent father returns from the dead to haunt his son and stalk his sexy milf wife from beyond the grave. That movie is far scarier than this and has a much more sinister snowman model. Nope, this is the story of a serial killer who dies violently and has his soul transported into that of a snow man. Allowing him to take revenge on the people who imprisoned him in the first place.
This is a cult classic and considered to be one of the best “So bad it’s good” movies of all time. I am a big fan of these types of movies but, with Jack Frost, I just didn’t see it. It felt like it was trying way too hard to be bad. Clearly aware of the market it was targeting. It goes on too long and feels far closer to a bad movie than one that deserves a watch for how hilarious it is. Still, some people love it so why not check it out? We awarded Jack Frost 1/5 but your opinion may differ.
The Advent Calendar is an interesting French Christmas Horror movie. Following the story of a paraplegic woman called Eva. The former dancer’s world is, once again, turned upside down after she is given an Advent Calendar that promises to make her dreams come true. As long as she eats every last one of the chocolates and opens each door.
Acting as something of a grim and moody alternative to traditional Christmas movies. This is a slow moving and ultra tense film that makes you think while managing to be consistently unsettling. Excellent performances deserve mention but a very slow pace and a question mark ending does drag things down a bit. This is a movie that is not for everyone. But if you are looking for something altogether more somber this Christmas, The Advent Calendar is worth checking out. We awarded The Advent Calendar 3.7/5 in our review but keep in mind, it is very slow.
Acting as a modern remake of the 1984 slasher Silent Night, Deadly Night. Silent Night sees a killer Santa Claus causing havoc in a small town. Tasked with hunting him down and putting a stop to the violence. A team of cops are forced to look on every Saint Nick in the town with a suspicious eye.
Pushing away much of the backstory of its source material. Silent Night feels far closer to a modern day slasher. With copious amounts of gore, creative kills and a fair amount of nudity. This is a movie that is a fairly solid option for some Christmas themed scares. What’s more, it is partly based on a true story. Not perfect by any stretch but very entertaining in parts and not at all demanding of the viewer. Silent Night is worth a watch. We awarded it 2.8/5 and recommend it for some easy Xmas thrills.
What could be more Christmassy than an egg nogged up Billy Shatner hosting a radio show in between a series of spooky Christmas horror tales? I don’t know if I have a genuine answer for that. That is right up there with tinsel and the big man himself as far as Christmas goes for me. A Christmas Horror Story is actually a few horror stories all vaguely connected by location and coincidence. And all themed around the festive season.
Taking a slightly different approach to Xmas frights, the uneven nature of the stories on offer here might put a few people off. Anthology horror is always fun, though. So you should find something to enjoy. Be it a possessed girl looking to seduce, a changeling child, Krampus or a fight between Santa and his Zombie elves. This is an entertaining movie that is worth checking out for something genuinely different. We awarded A Christmas Horror Story 3/5 in our review.
One of the original Christmas Horror movies and an absolute controversy magnet back when it was released. Time has aged Silent Night, Deadly Night leaving behind a rather tame but genuinely fun 80’s slasher full of gore, boobs and tons of violence. Back when he was a child, little Billy witnessed his parents being murdered by a twisted man in a Santa costume. Ever since he has been viciously opposed to anything Christmas. After managing to get his life on track. He sees something that brings out his murderous side. Sending him on a festive rampage the likes of which would make Krampus blush.
This is a movie that might surprise modern horror fans for its commitment to telling the killer’s back story. Once the action gets going, however, it’s a laugh a minute slasher romp that deserves to be dragged out every December with the Christmas decorations. We awarded Silent Night, Deadly Night 3/5 in our review. Well worth a watch for all slasher fans.
As I said in my review of this movie. This is Hosts, not Host, the fantastic 2020 Lockdown based Screenlife horror movie. This is an altogether different affair. Perhaps destined to be remembered for one particularly Grinchy, mean spirited, moment of Xmas ultra violence. Hosts follows a family spending one last Christmas with their cancer stricken mother. Only to have it violently ruined by two people they invited to join them.
In a lot of ways, Hosts is an admirable effort. It looks better than its budget would suggest and features a brilliant performance by the promising Samantha Loxley. But, at its heart, Hosts is just not a very good movie. Full of technical issues and marred by a terrible script. The story here quickly falls apart leaving a movie that feels a like underdone Christmas turkey. This needed a lot longer in the oven but might be worth checking out for some of its more brutal scenes. We awarded Hosts 1.7/5 in our review.
All The Creatures Were Stirring is another Christmas Anthology Horror movie. Featuring five stories all connected by an awkward couple spending a first date at a bizarre community theatre. This is a movie that is horribly uneven and very difficult to recommend. Two stories are definitely worth a watch. With one seeing an office sharing a deadly game of Secret Santa. And a second seeing a man locked out of his car in a parking lot being helped by a pair of women with something to hide. The final three stories are legitimately bad with not a single one giving a reason to stick it out to the end.
There isn’t a whole lot to grab onto here. The connecting story might be the worst part of the entire movie, as well, so that doesn’t help. Watch for the first two then grab your phone and browse the net for the last three. We gave All The Creatures Were Stirring a 1.5/5 in our review.
Following the story of a struggling novelist having to defend herself from real life vampires in her Lake Tahoe cabin. Red Snow is a decent movie that might appeal to fans of romance, comedy, and horror with a less gritty edge.
Not scary and featuring a bit of a wooden performance from Nico Bellamy. Dennice Cisneros, as vampire romance novelist Olivia, does a great job of bringing the laughs. Making it easy to buy into the rather farcical plot. It’s silly, it won’t be for everyone, but a lot of people are sure to love it. Red Snow is definitely worth a watch. Even if the Christmas themes feel like more of a setting than anything. We awarded Red Snow 3/5 in our review.
We are getting into the good ones for the last few entries into this list. Remember, these listings follow my 2022 Awful Advent 25 Days of Christmas Horror review release schedule so are in the order I watched them in. I made sure the last six days were all great movies. Some of them may be skirting the lines of horror at little bit, though. Gremlins being one of them. It’s really more of a fantasy adventure movie but there are some serious horror elements here.
Following the story of a young man receiving a pet Mogwai for Christmas and the hell that is unleashed when it gets wet. Spawning a whole army of Gremlins that take over the town. Joe Dante’s Christmas classic is essential viewing over the festive period. Featuring some genuinely hilarious moments and some legitimate scares. This is an iconic film and one of the best Christmas movies of all time. Gremlins is a classic and stands up to repeated viewing. We awarded Gremlins 4/5 in our review.
Mean spirited and brutal in parts. Better Watch Out follows the story of babysitter Ashley as she defends a 12 year old boy from home invaders while his parents are at a Christmas party. Only, there may be more to what’s going on than Ashley realises. This is a fantastic horror movie that offers something rather boring before pulling the rug out from underneath the viewer and turning into something altogether better.
Bringing a whole new meaning to the term “Home Aloning”. It features excellent performances and a genuinely detestable villain that is sure to make your teeth itch. Violent, hilarious, and very unexpected in parts. This isn’t going to be for everyone and the somewhat twist ending definitely might annoy certain viewers. But this is a Christmas horror that is well worth checking out. An annual watch for us in my house. We awarded Better Watch Out 4/5 in our review.
Coming by way of Finland. It’s a bit of a cliche. But Rare Exports is the ultimate Anti-Christmas movie. Following the story of a young boy encountering an entirely different and entirely more twisted version of Santa Claus. Rare Exports takes the commercialised and sanitised view of Christmas and throws it into a blender with Scandinavian folk lore, twisted horror tropes, demented imagery and a candy cane for flavour. The result is a movie that is genuinely unsettling, often hilarious, and completely effective in its depiction of a whole different type of Saint Nick.
The movie’s commitment to bringing actual folk depictions of Santa to a willing horror audience deserves praise. The fact that it works so well deserves even more. This is essential horror viewing for anyone who is sick of hearing about Christmas. An Xmas horror classic. We awarded Rare Exports 4/5 in our review. Highly recommended.
Again, more of a fantasy movie than a horror. There are definitely some strong horror elements at play in this big budget tale about the European folklore creature that punishes naughty kids at Christmas. Following the story of an extended family gathering together for an argument filled Christmas holiday season. Only to be visited by the goat hoofed bringer of coal and ass whuppings himself.
This movie feels like something of a Gremlins for the modern era. A Christmas movie that wants to bring a little bit of Christmas jeer to your living rooms. Reminding us all that we should probably stop complaining and try to be happy with what we have this year. Lest you end up being put into Krampus’ bag and whisked away to another world. I really like this movie. It is great fun and feels old fashioned in its approach to scares. Tons of laughs and some fantastic imagery. Krampus is well worth a watch. We awarded this movie 3.8/5 in our review.
This one is definitely cheating but I had to include at least one version of A Christmas Carol. I mean, come on. What’s not scary about a cruel miser being visited by three ghosts. Shown his past and everywhere he went wrong. Exposed to visions of dying children, locked in a coffin and shown his own death? That’s pretty horrifying. My gut told me to include the Disney version with Jim Carrey because that movie is scary as hell in parts. But I ended up going with the much more adult Scrooged. After all, Bill Murray is fantastic in it and Carol Kane is just a joy to behold as the Ghost of Christmas Present.
Sure, this version of the story isn’t the best and you can see that Murray is phoning it in in parts. But it still essential Christmas viewing and the closest you will get to a genuinely adult version of the story that is worth watching. Though people’s opinions on the BBC production from a few years ago are warming. We awarded Scrooged 4/5 in our review.
This is one of the movies that started my love of horror. After catching the movie while sneakily watching late night TV as a child. Black Christmas stuck with me and has been one of my favourite horror films ever since. The proto-slasher follows the story of a group of sorority sisters being violently murdered, one by one, by a mysterious serial killer. Slow moving, brooding and featuring some incredibly effective horror imagery.
This is one of the movies that basically started the slasher genre. Creating many of the genre tropes that we still see to this day. While also managing to construct a killer that seemed genuinely demented and deeply unsettling. Black Christmas is still effective to this day. A must watch over Christmas. In our house it’s the movie we put on every year while we decorate the Christmas Tree. Essential Christmas horror viewing. We awarded Black Christmas 4.5/5 in our review.
Thanks for Reading!
So that’s 25 Christmas Themed Horror Movies. One for each day of the lead up to Christmas and one for the day itself. One more reminder that these were in the order that I reviewed them, not in a ranked order. I will actually be putting together an Awful Advent 2 for 2023. It will feature lower profile movies and some utter crap but that should be fun in its own way. I will then put together a ranked master list of all of the Christmas Horror movies I have reviewed.
Whether you found this list in July or stumbled across it during the Christmas period. Thanks for reading. Why not stick around? We will be putting together more horror movie lists. We review around 5 horror movies a week. We explain horror movie endings and we update almost every day. There is always something new and never any fluff. Only substantial horror content written for horror fans by a horror fan. Support your local tiny Horror Movie Review site.