Wednesday, April 8, 2015

GUEST POST -- Holiday Movies for Horror Fans

Although it April, it's never too early or too late for holiday horror movie advice!

Written by: Brandon Engel

For some people, December is all about mistletoe and candy canes and warmth and whatever. But for those die-hard horror fans who are not-so-keen on the Bing Crosby style Christmas, here is a viewing list especially for you. While many Christmas-themed horror movies are ridiculous, we’ve highlighted the ones worth seeing. The following countdown of holiday movies is ready-made just for you.

Gremlins—For those looking for a way to take that warm and fuzzy Christmas movie and turn it on its head (without completely losing all of the warmth and fuzziness), this is the movie for you. Little green monsters terrorizing a Christmas town straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. What could be better than that? Directed by Joe Dante, written by Chris Columbus, and produced by Steven Spielberg, this is one of the most imaginative (and surprisingly subversive) populist Christmas films of all time.

Silent Night, Deadly Night—The story of a young boy who witnesses his parents' brutal murder at the hands of a man dressed as Santa Claus and then grows up to become a killer Santa himself, this film is firmly entrenched in the slasher genre. Although derided by critics like Siskel and Ebert or its sensational (and macabre) treatment of Christmas themes, this film nevertheless retains its status as a cult classic.

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale—Fans of The Thing will likely not want to miss this Christmas horror story that puts a new twist on the origin of Santa Claus as a wild and possibly alien creature found in the artic north. Complete with curious child and dead reindeer, this is a must for the holiday movie list.

Santa's Slay—Another creative version of the Santa story, this one brags Goldberg of WCW wrestling fame in the lead role of Santa Claus, albeit an evil and murdering Santa. Other stars in the cast include Fran Drescher, James Caan, Chris Kattan, and Rebecca Gayheart. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your perspective, they're all killed off in the first scene of the movie.

Black Christmas—Following the classic horror story theme of an unknown killer terrorizing a house full of teenaged girls, this one is more about classic suspense than about an overabundance of slashing, although the bodies do mount up. Starring Olivia Hussey, Margot Kidder, and Keir Dullea, among others, this is a must-see classic. Psycho kept people out of showers. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre kept tourists out of the southwest. Black Christmas had parents of college students everywhere checking ADT pricing.

To All a Goodnight—opposite of Black Christmas in that this one is all about the slashing and body count. Storyline and plot take a backseat to the gore, but the result is a rather campy classic that can be called so bad it's actually good. Notable in that it was directed by David Hess, who readers may recognize as one of the lead actors (and principal songwriter) from Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left (1972).

Christmas Evil—Similar to Silent Night, Deadly Night in that the lead character here also becomes a psycho killer because of childhood trauma that involved his parents and Santa Claus, this is however a very different film. While there are decidedly deaths portrayed, this film delves more deeply into the psychological workings of the main character, portrayed effectively by Brandon Maggart.

The Gingerdead Man—Another so bad, it's good movie for the holiday horror mix, this one stars Gary Busey as an executed serial killer turned gingerbread man by way a magical recipe. When baked into a gingerbread man, the creature simply picks up where it left off in life.

Jack Frost—although set during the week leading up to Christmas, the main character is a condemned serial killer who is mutated into a snowman when his prison transport truck collides with a truck carrying genetic material in the form of acid. The snowman in this cult classic then seeks revenge on the sheriff who caught up with him in typical killing spree fashion.

P2—Another for the fan of suspense over gore in the horror genre, the premise here is that of vulnerable female stalked by insane male. The heroine, played by Rachel Nichols, has worked late in an office building on Christmas Eve and returns to her lone car parked in level P2 of the parking garage, only to find it won't start. Enter psycho night parking attendant, played by Wes Bentley, and off you go.

There you go: a ready-made list of holiday must-sees for horror fans everywhere. All that's needed now is the popcorn and eggnog, and everyone can settle in for a long winter's night of frights.

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