It’s the most wonderful, joyous time of the year! Eggnog, presents, snow, and stories around the fire place. Grandma breathing so shallowly in her chair you're not sure whether she's sleeping or dead. So break out all your... terrifying, scary Christmas movies? Sure, during the festive holiday season, you typically gather your family before the old mind control box to watch jolly movies that make you feel grateful, happy, and warm inside. But just in case you want to switch things up, check out the best Christmas horror films ever made. They'll be especially fun to watch with relatives who've had so much to drink they're disoriented, and don't know where the screaming is coming from.
Most of the dark holiday movies on this list feature a combination of horror and comedy. There's a fair number of straight-up Christmas slasher films that put a knife in Santa’s hands, but a lot of these flicks effectively blend black comedy and horror, helping audiences laugh and scream (and maybe cry, if you're too young or weak-willed to derive pleasure from such raucous blood sport) at the same time. In addition to such "ho, ho, ho"-inducing slaughterfests, you may be surprised to find one very traditional holiday classic on this list that doesn’t feature a drop of blood, but is sure to cause a whole heap of existential terror.
So put the children to bed, and remember: the family that slays together stays together. Don’t see your favorite Christmas horror movie on the list? Add it in the comments section below.
A murderer is on the loose over Christmas break, placing terrifying phone calls to sorority girls in 1974 cult classic slasher film Black Christmas. The scariest part is, the CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE! The killer is hiding in the sorority house's basement. Even the film's conclusion is terrifying; after several red herrings, the filmmakers leave the spectator wondering who's responsible for the murders. No one is safe.
Five-year-old Billy is placed in an orphanage after witnessing the murder of his parents at the hands of a killer in a Santa suit in the beginning of Silent Night, Deadly Night. When Billy is released into the world at the age of 18, he gets a job at a toy store, where he's asked to dress as Santa for Christmas. Reliving past trauma as he has a violent encounter in the present sends Billy on a murderous rampage in this controversial, classic slasher film that spawned four sequels and one remake.
Horror/fantasy/comedy genre bender Krampus is based on a German folktale. In the ancient story, Krampus is a demon/devil creature that comes around at Christmas to punish kids who have been naughty by hitting them with branches. In the 2015 movie, the demonic, horned spirit of Krampus is unleashed in America on Christmas Eve, when a young boy loses his Christmas spirit due in large part to his feuding family. If you ever stopped believing in the spirit of Santa Claus, seeing this movie may scare you into being festive.
Silent Night, Bloody Night is a largely forgotten proto-slasher film that helped to define the genre. It features all the classic horror motifs: a mysterious murder, a mansion-turned-mental asylum, a serial killer on the loose, and a revenge plot. There's even a shootout. An obscure horror film bordering on art house classic, Silent Night, Bloody Night offers an intriguing narrative with plenty of disturbing twists and turns.