The Christmas season is steeped in traditions, with each family practising their own.
One of the most common things people love to do is watch some of the plethoras of holiday films that have been made over the years. Classics like A Christmas Story, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and It’s a Wonderful Life tend to top many lists, but what about some of those darker films?
You know, the ones that are still Christmas-centric but are a little less sweet and little more dark.
Well, we took some time compiling a list of such films and the wittled it down to the top ten.
Without further ado, here are our Top 10 Not-So-Sweet Christmas movies.
The last few years have seen a few new contenders enter the Christmas movie market. The Night Before hit theatres last November and managed to do pretty well at the box office. The film follows three longtime friends in Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as they hunt for an elusive and exclusive secret Christmas party. The comedy is raunchy and the movie is abundant with memorable characters. A sit-back-and-have-a-good-time film.
Another release that is new to the holiday pile is Krampus. A family that is just trying to make it through the holidays when their house is brought under siege by the mighty hoof of an evil half-demon, half-goat. This has the makings of a cult classic, with its campy dialogue, cheesy practical effects, and the fact that it sticks to its underlying message of the true meaning of the holiday season. A fun movie with some interesting bad guys.
A cat burglar, played by Denis Leary, is abandoned by his partner mid-heist and is forced to take an irritating couple, played by Kevin Spacey and Judy David, hostage. After awhile it is hard to tell who has it worse as the flood of family problems and relentless bickering of the pair make the burglar irate. A truly well written dark comedy that sometimes gets overlooked.
A young boy gets a strange new pet but fails to adhere to the care instructions he was required to follow. As a result, a horde of mischievous monsters spawn from the pet and threaten to destroy the boys home and maybe even the entire town. A mixture of horror and comedy, this is a real eighties holiday treat that everyone needs to see. Nothing is taken too seriously, so it makes for a great time.
The cast alone for this one should make it a true contender for your holiday viewing list; Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, Lauren Graha, the late Bernie Mac, and the late John Ritter make a great team. The story follows an alcoholic, safe cracking mall Santa Clause as he shamelessly navigates the day-to-day of his latest scheme with his little person partner. Things start to unravel, his heart starts to warm, and his urinary continents continues to fail. Tuck the little ones in bed and enjoy this crass film.
Sometimes the best way to enjoy the holidays is to sit back and watch things get bloody. Silent Night, Deadly Night follows a tormented teenager whose parents were murdered as he, in turn, goes on a murderous rampage of his own, dressed as Santa. The practical effects in this one are well done and the ways he chooses to kill his victims are originally and fitting. By the end of the movie, you are left looking for more.
This one is the only foreign entry on the list. Rare Exports is a Finnish film, which means you will need to read subtitles. I know, I am so sorry to make you read. On Christmas eve in Finland, an archaeological dig has unearthed the real Santa Claus but this one isn’t all laughter and gifts. Soon the local children start disappearing and a father and son hunting team have to capture the evil Claus and bring him back to the multinational corporation conducting the dig. If you have never seen this film, don’t look up anything else, just go watch it.
If John McClane isn’t part of your holiday tv-staring tradition, then you are missing out. Bruce Willis plays John McClane, a take-no-shit, at-the-end-of-his-rope cop that has to stop a group of terrorists lead by Hans Gruber, played by the late Alan Rickman. This film is the epitome of a perfect eighties action movie; bad ass cop, over the top drama, and a bevvy of oneliners.
A dark and comical take on the Charles Dickens’s classic A Christmas Carol. Bill Murray stars as Frank Cross, a jaded TV executive with a heart of stone who’s visited by three ghosts trying to help him see that the holidays are about more than just profit margins and viewer ratings. The funny bits just keep piling up as the movie rolls on but the ending is bound to touch you in the old heart muscle. One of my personal favourites.
This movie defined the slasher genre and laid the groundwork for the likes of Michael Myers, Freddy Kruger, and Jason Voorhees. The film follows a sadistic slayer as they kill off the members of a sorority over the Christmas holidays. The cinematography is beautiful and the murders are bloody; a real dark holiday treat. For me, it isn’t Christmas until you turn this flick on and pour yourself a rye and ginger.
Well, there you go. A nice neat list of not-so-sweet Christmas movies for your viewing pleasure.
If there are any of these that you haven’t seen, you should take the time to check the out.