Tuesday, December 21, 2010
The holidays can be horrific. Getting together with family and friends, some of which you may not have seen in quite some time on purpose or other, exchanging ill-thought required gifts and putting on phony smiles while greeting each other with fake hellos. Yes sir, the holidays can be quite brutal…especially with all this careless good cheer flowing around.
Anyway, those of us who may for whatever reasons wind up spending the holidays alone may find something better to do with their time…like watching a few Christmas-themed horror flicks. Yes, they do exist, and yes, some are glorious, and some are absolute trash. Whichever category the four I’m going to mention here fall into, keep in mind that the holidays themselves are really all about having fun, and these flicks listed below are the absolute definition of the term:
BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974)
Director: Bob Clark
Starring: Olivia Hussey, Margot Kidder, John Saxon
Garnering an unbelievably shitty remake in 2006, the original and best “Black Christmas” is directed by none other than the late, great Bob Clark, who would craft a holiday classic almost a decade later with “A Christmas Story”. Instead of a heartwarming and thoughtful tale like that film would be, “Black Christmas” revolves around a small group of girls in a sorority house that are terrorized and picked off by a homicidal stranger. Pre-dating John Carpenter’s classic “Halloween” by a few years, the slasher genre owes almost as much to this film as it does to Carpenter’s. And oh yeah, even after almost 40 years since its release, the original “Black Christmas” still manages to shock and deliver.
SANTA’S SLAY (2005)
Director: David Steiman
Starring: Bill Goldberg, Emilie de Ravin, Robert Culp
Did you know that Santa Claus is actually a demon who lost a bet with an angel centuries ago and thus ended up becoming a giver of toys and happiness? Me neither, but if there was ever a premise for a Christmas-themed horror movie to grab my attention, it was this. “Santa’s Slay” stars former pro wrestler Bill Goldberg as Santa, who has now gone back to his evil ways and is wrecking bloody havoc. A glorified B-movie if there ever was one, “Santa’s Slay” is gleefully bad and revels in itself for being so. This is made even better thanks to the off-the-wall, tongue-in-cheek humor, and it makes no apologies for what it is either.
SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT (1984)
Director: Charles E. Sellier Jr.
Starring: Lilyan Chauvin, Robert Brian Wilson, Linnea Quigley
When originally released, “Silent Night, Deadly Night” stirred up so much controversy from angry parents over its depiction of an axe-murdering loony in a Santa outfit, that all it did was help it become a slasher cult classic in the process. Another gleefully bad take on holiday horror, the film revolves around a young man who as a child witnessed the murder of his parents by a guy in a Santa outfit. This experience, plus spending the rest of his youth having his mind messed with in an orphanage overseen by a horrid Mother Superior, makes him flip his shit when he’s forced to dress up as Santa at the local toy store he works at. Subsequently going on a bloody murder spree through town, he makes his way back to the orphanage as an ultimate judge of who’s being naughty (i.e., if he catches you getting laid, expect an axe through your head). So bad it’s good, and it spawned a surprising shit-ton of unbelievably horrible sequels throughout the years too.
Director: Joe Dante
Starring: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Dick Miller
I have to include this, I just have to. Though it isn’t of the same ilk as the rest of the bloody, holiday schlock mentioned above, “Gremlins” is the pure definition of holiday horror regardless. You all know the story so I won’t bore you with re-telling it, but when I first saw this as a kid, it scared the holy living shit out of me. Gizmo is super cute for sure, but his evil offspring sure as fuck aren’t! The film is packed with so many surprisingly scary sights for a PG-rated film, and that is one of the many reasons why it is still so goddamned revered to this day as a holiday horror classic. I could watch this, and it’s even more fun sequel (which isn’t Christmas themed but who gives a shit, it’s still awesome) all fucking day long.
If you’ve never seen any of these flicks (and if you’ve never seen “Gremlins” you should crawl out from underneath the rock you’ve been living under) and you want to have some bloody, scary fun, check them all out…you’ll be happy that you did.