It’s that special time of year again; the year where we stomp into the house complaining about the weather, the crowds and over-saturated holiday music. A time where all we want to do is flop down on the couch, crack open some booze and watch some nostalgic Christmas specials. I love re-watching all the classic Christmas movies. It’s that nostalgic feeling that can really put you into the Christmas spirit and make you want to share that gooey, holiday cheer. However, when I was a kid, I was foolish and not privy to the horrors of these classic holiday specials. Let’s all examine the sheer terror of Christmas with my Top 5 Horrifying Christmas Movies.
5. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (Larry Roemer, 1964)
This movie was always a classic for me. Every time I sing that song, I am immediately pulled into that beautiful world that only Rankin/Bass could create. Oh, wait, this is a world where your boss is a fat prick, you are ostracized by your peers for being different until you are deemed eligible for employment, civilization is plagued by man-eating Yetis and there is the possibility you will be banished to an island along with your freaky peers for being too useless. Nothing like a little bit of discrimination and hypocrisy to put us all in the Christmas spirit.
4. “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” (Rankin/Bass, 1970)
Wow, Rankin/Bass is really on my last Yuletide nerve this year. At number 4 on my shit-list, this Christmas special also seems warm-hearted and morally uplifting… at first. This movie used to make me cry because it was so adorable and touching. Now it makes me cry to think about the horrifying idea that a grumpy, obese mayor banishes all the toys in town thereby making children suffer just because he can’t get his shit together. Funny, this almost seems like how actual mayors would act given the circumstances.
3. “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (Henry Selick, 1993)
This movie scared the shit out of me as a kid and it scares the fuck out of me as an adult. There are parallel worlds out there, people; hidden behind some easily accessible oak trees. And, at any point, the mascot of a holiday can get bored and just decide to fuck with the natural order of things because they think they can do it better. Enter Jack Skellington, a complete party-pooper who OD’s on Christmas and decides to copy the holiday in his own twisted way by handing out Halloween themed Christmas presents. THIS IS HORRIFYING. He sends presents with teeth and fangs, kids are screaming and running for their lives, the military is forced to intervene. What kind of a Christmas movie is this? No Christmas movie should end with half of your audience pissing itself in sheer terror.
2. “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (Jeremiah S. Chechik, 1989)
This one is truly terrifying, one of the most horrifying concepts ever to be put on screen: having the whole family get together for Christmas. This movie pretty much sums up how much of a fucking nightmare having the clan together in one building over the holidays can become. One asshole in charge who loses their shit if things don’t go according to plan, grandparents too senile to still be breathing and creepy relatives eating all your food, breaking your shit and ruining your Christmas turkey. Your family is a circus and combining that with Christmas is a freak show nobody should have to endure.
1. “Home Alone” & “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” (Chris Columbus 1990-1992)
My God, these films are the stuff of noel nightmares. I’m honestly under the belief that John Hughes was working out some aggression over a divorce while writing these movies, because some of the greatest slasher flicks out there wish they could have come up with half the crazy shit this psycho put on screen (for kids no less). There is a really good conspiracy theory circling the internet that protagonist Kevin McCallister grows up to become Jigsaw from the “Saw” films which does make sense. If you spend Christmas with this kid, make sure you have 911 on speed dial because he will fuck your shit up faster than last-minute shoppers during a Christmas Eve sale.