Christmas is a time of peace, and love, and joy. It can also be a time for abstract terror and horror. It’s all about how you look at it. For some people, the idea of Christmas is just too sappy, and they prefer a little scare in their stockings over the Xmas period. With that in mind, we’ve devised a devilish list of the very best festive frighteners to ensure you have yourselves a scary little Christmas.
The screams start below.
There are literally tons of Krampus movies out there, but this 2015 one from Michael Dougherty is easily the best of the bunch. A quarrelling family finds themselves on the naughty list when they awaken an ancient demon intent on punishing them. You’ll never look at your Austro-Bavarian folklore in quite the same way again after this screamer.
RARE EXPORTS: A CHRISTMAS STORY (2010)
Based on a short film by the same writers, Rare Exports: A Christmas Story is an absolute gem of a Christmas horror, and we discovered it completely by mistake one sleepless December night.
All Hell is unleashed upon a small Norwegian town when a secret mountain drilling project releases the long-buried Santa from his ancient slumbers. If naked, feral elves, half-eaten reindeer and a gigantic monster who cares nothing about whether you’re naughty or is your idea of a good Christmas then this one is definitely for you.
Gremlins is a Christmas movie. It’s set at Christmas, the titular monsters go carolling, and there’s a dead Santa in the chimney. How much more Christmas would you like?
SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT (1984)
The Silent Night, Deadly Night series ran for six movies spanning most of the 80s, 90’s and climaxing in 2012. But it is the first movie that remains a horror favourite with its tale of a demented toy store Santa who goes on a bloody rampage one Christmas eve. The movie made it into cinemas but after a bunch of complaints ended up being pulled and moved to VHS.
How about seeing Christmas through the eyes of your Christmas tree? That’s the synopsis of Treevenge, a 2008 short film by Rob Cotterill and Jason Eisener.
This eye-opening “expose” uncovers the secret resentment of a group of sentient fir trees who grow tired of being chopped down, dressed in garish decorations and then throw in the trash a few weeks later. Their only option? To murder every man, woman, and child responsible for this so-called festive tradition. Treevenge is utterly bonkers but so original, and watching people wrestle with even the tiniest of Christmas trees makes hunting this short down even more worthwhile.
BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974)
A group of sorority girls is terrorized by a sadistic killer one Christmas eve in this classic 1974 horror from A Christmas Story director Bob Clark. Black Christmas is your formulaic slasher movie that was prevalent during the 1970s and 80s but has remained a firm favourite in the horror community, making it onto must-see festive movie marathons every year. We guess everything is slightly scarier at Xmas.
BETTER WATCH OUT (2016)
Imagine Home Alone but the intruders actually intend to murder you, instead of letting you hit them with paint cans and other household goodies. Well, there is a can of paint sequence in Better Watch Out, but it’s nothing like Home Alone. So. Much. Blood.
This nifty little horror came from nowhere, and at face value is your run of the mill home intrusion flick with a dash of comedy. But that’s before the twist in the tale, the one that makes Better Watch Out a must-watch festive favourite.
These are only a few of our faves. Let us know your favourite festive frighteners in the comments below.