- on Saturday, 10 December 2016 14:14
- by Loron Hays
Five Tales of Holiday Cheers, Jeers, and Tears or
Ho! Ho! Oh, The Horror!
Deck the halls with parts of Molly, fa la la la la, la la la la! Dawning now our day of peril, fa la la la la, la la la laaaaaa!!!!!
Christmas is a stressful time of the year. Everybody knows this, but no one is ever prepared for just how stressful the act of decorating houses, stringing lights, and putting up Christmas trees actually is. Suddenly, everyone – even those ruddy-faced carolers outside the living room window – becomes annoying and demanding of your time. Almost suddenly, the idea of throwing cups of hot cheer in the faces of all the “good” people you meet becomes a really great idea.
There are gifts to buy, car windows to scrape, presents to wrap, credit cards to max out, relatives to deal with, meals to cook, cards to buy and actually send, and hundreds upon hundreds of bundled-up jerks cutting you off on the roads and in store lines. No matter how many times you hear Darlene Love belt out “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” or Sinatra spell out how much he loves those “jay eye en gee el e” bells in his jazzed-up version of Jingle Bells, there’s simply no escape from the tension embedded in the season.
You don’t need me to tell you that it is enough madness to make a person snap. Just turn on the nightly news for that drama. No wonder then that this time of the year is one ripe for some serious holiday-themed horror films. The following list of Ho! Ho! Oh, The Horror! films will help you survive the final five days before Santa dives headfirst down the chimney to deliver the goodies to all the unappreciative boils and ghouls in your home.
5. Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
Released in 1984, Charles E. Sellier Jr’s Silent Night, Deadly Night did for Christmas what John Carpenter did for trick or treating: memorialize the day with a seriously twisted flick. While not as popular as the coveted Halloween franchise, Sellier’s movie definitely does not disappoint b-movie enthusiasts longing for a grisly time of merrymaking. It recently celebrated its 30th anniversary with a stunning blu-ray release from Scream Factory that you should probably get your grubby hands on. After all, Santa IS coming and there will be hell to pay.
4. Krampus (2015)
Released in 2015 and starring Adam Scott and Toni Collette, Krampus sees writer/director Michael Dougherty (Trick 'r Treat) do what he did for Halloween to the most magical time of the year. Serve it up with a bit of a twist. Inspired by some ancient pre-Christian folklore, Krampus is the story of a very relatable and stressed-out family get-together that goes completely off-kilter in a matter of hours thanks to the arrival of a deliciously evil-looking Alpine monster. Complete with plump, annoying cousins and very ancient aunts, Krampus invites viewers in with a very relatable situation before the menacing looking snowmen take charge.
3. Child’s Play (1988)
Don’t tell me it’s not a Christmas movie. I’m not buying it. It’s perfect for the holiday gift-giving season gone bizarre. There are few moments in 1988’s output of horror titles as effective as the opening minutes of Tom Holland’s Child’s Play. Serial-killer Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif), wearing a righteous brown trench coat, is being chased through the dingy streets of south Chicago by a homicide detective when shots are fired. Ray is fatally wounded. He makes his final stand inside a Toy Store and, through a demonic ritual, possesses a child’s toy. Written by Don Mancini, Child’s Play remains a rollicking 87-minute thrill ride through one child’s nightmare as he discovers that his favorite toy just wants to kill, kill, kill. Turns out, little people shouldn’t always get what they want.
2. Gremlins (1984)
For my money, 1984 was a pretty great year for movies. And Joe Dante’s Gremlins made it that much greater. It’s often forgotten when we create lists of Christmas movies, but – at least in my household – it has been a staple viewing. Every time the Christmas tree goes up, I can’t help but think of the night Randall gave Billy, his son, a cute little cooing creature called a mogwai as a pet, complete with three simple rules to follow about taking care of it. Of course, all the rules are broken and, of course, Hell itself follows in the tiny town of Kingston Falls as Gizmo populates it with destructive monsters.
1. Black Christmas (1974)
There’s no other way around it. Bob Clark’s horror movie is the first film to bring about the slasher genre. There were none before it and there have been a million after its release. While it didn’t receive the praise it deserved at the time of its release, critics and fans are falling all over themselves to give it the credit it so justly deserves. Plagued by a series of haunting calls, the girls in this sorority house are completely on edge. They are getting ready to go home for the holidays, but something or someone inside the house has other plans for them. The mystery thickens as, one by one, the girls start disappearing. Want to see the birth of Michael Myers? Start here.
This is not a complete list, mind you. There are other demented titles you might wish to check out (if you can track them down) like Jack Frost, Elves, Dead End, ATM, The Children, and the original Silent Night, Bloody Night with Candy Darling and Tally Brown. The five films featured here are readily available and, ultimately, mere suggestions to help you, rather unconventionally, keep your sanity during the holiday season.
Everybody sing with me! “On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me … (deep breath) … FIVE HORROR FILMS!”
| Jack Frost