Imbued with the luminous spirit of these dates, Christmas cinema is, by tradition, family-oriented. It is natural, therefore, that numerous films set at Christmas bet on traditional values and smiling emotion: from classics like ‘Living is beautiful’ (Frank Capra, 1932) or ‘The big family’ (Fernando Palacios, 1962) to contemporary treats like the trilogy ‘Princess change’ (Michael Rohl, 2018, 2019 and 2021) or ‘Last Christmas’ (Paul Feig, 2019).
The strident imagery of Christmas, however, it also has something of dreadfuland genre cinema, always attentive and witty, has been able to sharpen its most shocking profiles: imitations of Santa Claus with killer instinctsmythological creatures with the worst intentions or idyllic white nights that end up dyed blood red.- We have collected here a dozen titles, available in ‘streaming’, that have been able to exploit the scarier side (also more hilarious) of Christmas.
‘Black Christmas’ (Bob Clark, 1974)
Four years before succeeding with the teen comedy classic ‘Porky’s’, Bob Clark applied himself to terror in this cult work today, a pioneer of the American ’70s slasher’, in which a group of young students (including (them Margot Kidder and Olivia Hussey) received terrifying phone calls from a stalker during the Christmas holidays. Closer to the passionate aesthetic of ‘giallo’ than to the rudeness of ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ (Tobe Hopper) also released in 1974, it had two uninspired ‘remakes’, ‘Black Christmas’ (Glen Morgan, 2006) and ‘Bloody Christmas’ (Sophia Takal, 2019). Available in filming [el ‘remake’ de 2006, disponible en Filmin, FlixOlé y Movistar+; el de 2019, en Prime Video y Atresplayer].
‘Merry Christmas Eve’ (David Hess, 1980)
Actor David Hess, star of the iconic ‘The Last House on the Left’ (Wes Craven, 1972) and ‘Rapist’s Trap’ (Ruggero Deodato, 1980), made his directorial debut with this shoddy, pure ‘slasher’ guilty pleasure, set in a ladies’ academy during the Christmas holidays. Before leaving school, five of the students will organize a night party with their respective boyfriends in search of fun and sex, but a psychopath disguised as Santa Claus will bloodily end their lives. All as crazy as crude and, of course, fun. Available in Filmin.
‘Silent night, night of death’ (Charles Sellier, 1984)
Released in the US on the same day as ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’, it grossed more money in its opening weekend than the Wes Craven classic, but fell out of favor after being pulled from theaters for “tarnishing the sanctity of Christmas& rdquor ;. The film told the story of a boy who witnessed how a man dressed as Santa Claus murdered his parents and who years later, traumatized, began a series of horrendous crimes dressed in red and white. It was the beginning of a strange and undervalued saga of six installments, of which only one, the second, can be enjoyed in ‘streaming’, although it is not a problem, because it is a perfect summary of the first, from which even good part of your footage. Available ‘Silent night, death night 2’ in Filmin.
‘Night of the Comet’ (Thom Eberhardt, 1984)
With just a few days to go until Christmas, a comet’s tail crosses the Earth and wipes out (almost) all forms of animal life. Two teenage sisters will survive the apocalypse in Los Angeles and must face the few humans that remain alive, turned, yes, into hungry zombies. A 100% eighties jewel, a luminous mixture of science fiction, comedy and horror, with mad scientists, great songs from the days of Cindy Lauper, John Townsend or Thom Pace, and where it is not cold or snowy, but there are Christmas firs and Guys dressed as Santa Claus. Shimmering Christmas pop apocalypse. Available in Filmin.
‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ (Henry Selick, 1993)
Based on a story by Tim Burton, who also served as producer and publicity stunt, Henry Selick’s film is a milestone in stop-motion animation, endowed with prodigious visual imagination and thematic audacity. A gothic tale where the dark imagery typical of Halloween night tries to appropriate the joyful world of Christmas and which, since its premiere more than 25 years ago, has been able to attract both ageless adults and children fascinated by its gallery. of great characters (Jack Skeleton, Sally, Santa Clavos, the Mayor…), the magic of its story and, of course, Danny Elfman’s songs. Who said fear? Available on Disney+. For rent, on Apple TV+.
‘The day of the beast’ (Álex de la Iglesia, 1995)
De la Iglesia approached the apocalyptic fears of the end of the millennium in the key of a satanic comedy, in one of the best films of Spanish cinema of the last 30 years, who knows if it has always been. In it, a Basque priest from the Sanctuary of Aránzazu (Álex Angulo) believes he has found the secret message of the Apocalypse according to Saint John the Evangelist: that the Antichrist will be born in Madrid on December 25, 1995. From his infinite sample of indelible images, we will stay here with the subversive shooting of the Three Kings in a Preciados street in Madrid crowded for the Christmas holidays. Available on HBO Max. For rent, on Apple TV+.
‘Rare Exports: A Thug Christmas Carol’ (Jalmari Helander, 2010)
Warning call: Santa Claus is not the good-natured grandfather in a red suit and white beard that Christmas imagery has endeavored to spread, but a terrifying creature with goat horns who puts children in cauldrons of fire and subjects them to torture. That is, at least, what the Finnish director Jalmari Helander tells us in his debut film, ‘Rare Exports: A Thug Christmas Carol’, a joyous hybrid of Nordic black comedy, monstrous terror and children’s action adventure that gave the bell a hit in the 2010 Sitges Festival by winning, among others, the award for best film. A perverse, and extremely funny, revision of the Christmas myth. Available on Prime Video and Movistar+.
‘Krampus: Damn Christmas’ (Michael Dougherty, 2015)
Little known in these lands, the krampus is a creature typical of alpine folklore that punishes bad children at Christmas, in contrast to Santa Claus, who rewards good children. Drawing inspiration from his legend, Michael Dougherty (‘Gozdilla King of the Monsters’) directed this horror-comedy in which the fearsome Krampus shows up unabashedly at a family celebration after young Max has lost his faith in Christmas. Laughter and scares without caffeine, with, yes, the always stimulating presence of Toni Colette as the mother of the family. Available for rent on Apple TV+, Google Play, Microsoft Store and Rakuten TV.
‘Beware of strangers’ (Chris Peckover, 2016)
An impossible but effective hybrid between ‘Home Alone’ (Chris Columbus, 1990), ‘Scream’ (Wes Craven, 1996) and, yes, ‘Funny games’ (Michael Haneke, 1997), Chris Peckover’s film was one of the more festive and cheering at the 2016 Sitges Festival: an ingenious cocktail of terror and black humor set on a Christmas night, where a young nanny and the teenager in her care will confront some strangers who have broken into the house. Nothing, however, will be what it seems, which will give rise to numerous script twists and a tremendous final ‘WTF’. Available for rent on Apple TV+ and Google Play.
‘Ana and the Apocalypse’ (John McPhail, 2017)
A musical set in a small Scottish town, during a sudden zombie epidemic and on Christmas Eve? “A madness between ‘Zombieland’ and ‘La La Land’ & rdquor ;, read one of his advertising slogans. And yes, it is something of that, but also much more: above all, a great little musical (horror) comedy in which Ana and her friends from high school will have to fight, sing and dance to survive in the middle of Christmas. before the invasion of undead. As it could not be otherwise, it won the Jury prize in the Midnight X-Treme section of Sitges-2017. Available in Filmin.