Christmas horror movies: Eight deep cuts

From Elves to Pooka! author Andrew Shaffer gives us some of his top Christmas deep-cut horror movies…

horror Christmas

The Office meets Stephen King, dressed up in holiday tinsel, in Secret Santa – a fun, festive, and frightening horror-comedy set during the horror publishing boom of the Eighties, by New York Times best-selling satirist Andrew Shaffer. Ahead of publication this month, Andrew gives us his top Christmas horror movies…

The original Black Christmas from 1974 tops every holiday horror list, and deservedly so. The next couple of spots are usually reserved for Eighties campfests Christmas Evil and Silent Night, Deadly Night, and lighter fare such as Gremlins.

But what happens when you’ve exhausted the usual suspects? It’s time to reach deeper into your stocking, where you’ll find these minor-key Christmas classics, which are either underrated, forgotten, or overlooked…

A Christmas Horror Story (2015)

While it’s been a mainstay on Netflix for the past couple of years, this direct-to-video anthology (pictured above) is often overlooked by critics. Because it features a Krampus on the poster, it’s usually lumped in with the dozens of abysmal Krampus movies that have flooded the market in recent years. This one’s actually worth your time. Krampus Unleashed and Mother Krampus? Not so much.

Why it’s worth your time: William Shatner goes full Shatner.

Elves (1989)

Fans of bad movies rejoice! This movie is awful. So awful that it’s not even legally streaming anywhere online (the true mark of a terrible film these days). And yet… how can you not love a movie where elves are selectively bred by Nazis to create a race of super-humans?

Why it’s worth your time: Room-worthy, too-on-the-nose dialogue such as “I need to know the connection between the elves and the Nazis!”

The Children (2008)

A Christmas holiday goes to hell in this low-budget British thriller. Kids get sick with a deadly virus that makes them attack their parents. The protagonist is a teenaged girl played by Hannah Tointon, whose many TV credits include the Channel Four soap Hollyoaks.

Why it’s worth your time: The tagline alone. I mean, c’mon: “You brought them into this world… now they will take you out.”

You can’t beat the tagline in The Children: “You brought them into this world… now they will take you out.”

Santa’s Slay (2005)

It stars professional wrestler Bill Goldberg as a crazed slasher Santa. A lot of people thumb their noses at movies starring pro wrestlers, but overlook Santa’s Slay at your own peril.

Why it’s worth your time: Tree-topper throwing stars.

Wind Chill (2007)

Two girls heading home for the holidays from college get stranded in a stalled car in a blizzard. Executive produced by George Clooney, starring Emily Blunt, music by Clint Mansell, and… you’ve never heard of it, have you? It made just $285k on a $6 million budget, so it’s not surprising it’s been buried deep in the snow.

Why it’s worth your time: Emily Blunt.

Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (1987)

The first movie is a classic amongst the pantheon of slasher pics, featuring a deranged young man in a Santa Claus outfit on a rampage. The second movie features more of the same — literally. Half its runtime is recycled footage from the first movie. A bold move, to say the least. Some might say ‘rip-off’, especially since the new footage is, for the most part, laughably bad in comparison. Look at it this way: Part 2 gives you two movies for the price of one.

Why it’s worth your time: One scene is so good-bad that it spawned an internet meme (“GARBAGE DAY!”).

Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 gives you two movies for the price of one…

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)

An eccentric businessman’s expedition to unearth the tomb of Santa Claus goes awry. Yes, it’s yet another movie about a murderous Santa Claus. This one is Finnish, however. Rare Exports takes some fantastical twists and turns you won’t see coming. Often overlooked because it’s non-English. Don’t let the subtitles scare you away… let the sadistic St. Nick do that.

Why it’s worth your time: It has all the magic of an early Spielberg film with five times the blood and guts.

Pooka! (2018)

This wouldn’t be a horror film list without at least one Blumhouse production, would it? It’s 2018, and the year’s hottest toy is Pooka (sort of like a Furby, if anyone remembers those mechanical heathens). When a struggling actor lands a gig wearing a Pooka costume… things happen. Bad things.

Why it’s worth your time: Don’t blink or you’ll miss the Pooka wanking scene.

Secret Santa is published by Quirk Books on 17 November. You can WIN a copy here