Graveyard Shift

The Most Macabre Holiday-Themed TV Episodes Ever Produced  

Lauren Milici
573 votes 110 voters 1.7k views 12 items

List Rules Vote up the episodes that chilled you to the bone.

Halloween isn't the only holiday that deserves its own spooky TV specials. When it comes to television, Christmas isn't just about claymation reindeers or Charlie Brown. As it turns out, there's some pretty scary holiday TV, too. The cheerful nature of the holiday season makes it the perfect venue for horror: What can go wrong will go wrong, and because we're too busy wrapping presents or sitting around the fire, it'll happen when we least expect it. The episodes in this list were designed to rip the safety net right off the holiday season and remind us that spooky stuff happens no matter the time of year. 

1
An Evil Santa Faces Off Against An Evil Mom On 'Tales from the Crypt'
An Evil Santa Faces Off ... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Macabre Holiday-Themed TV Episodes Ever Produced
Photo: Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Episode: "And All Through the House" (Season 1, episode 2)

In this remake of a chapter from the 1972 film anthology, unhappy housewife Elizabeth (Mary Ellen Trainor) slays her husband with a fire poker on Christmas Eve. After informing her lover that she will be getting the life insurance money, she wraps her husband's head in plastic, even adding a bow for a festive touch. As there are news reports of a madman dressed as Santa on the prowl, Elizabeth uses the opportunity to call the cops and blame the deranged Santa. This all goes to hell when her little daughter Carrie Anne tells Elizabeth she let Santa into the house. After that, the episode turns into a cat-and-mouse game between the two villains.

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2
Ian McShane Plays A Serial Slayer Santa On 'American Horror Story' 
Ian McShane Plays A Seri... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Macabre Holiday-Themed TV Episodes Ever Produced
Photo: FX

Episode: "Unholy Night" (Season 2, episode 8)

A possessed nun lets a maniac out of solitary confinement in order to dress up as Santa for the aslyum's Christmas party. What could possibly go wrong?

In a flashback, Leigh Emerson (Ian McShane) fires at a Santa collecting money for charity and dons his suit. His reign of terror commences, beginning with a sweet little girl asking why "Santa" doesn't have a beard. After sending her back to bed, he ties up her parents with string lights. As it turns out, Emerson ended 18 people from five different families that night, just days before Christmas, all while wearing a Santa suit. Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe), possessed by Satan himself, gives Emerson a new Santa suit and employs him as holiday help - instructing him to attack Frank the guard.

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3
Mulder And Scully Uncover A Creepy Holiday Pact On 'The X-Files' 
Mulder And Scully Uncove... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Macabre Holiday-Themed TV Episodes Ever Produced
Photo: Fox

Episode: "How the Ghosts Stole Christmas" (Season 6, episode 6)

Agent Scully reluctantly joins Agent Mulder on a last-minute trip to investigate a haunted house in Maryland on Christmas Eve. The house is supposedly haunted by two lovers, Maurice and Lyda, who made a macabre pact in 1917. Any couple who walks into the house is guaranteed to meet a grisly fate. As they investigate the house, Mulder discovers that the room that won't let them leave no matter how many times they exit.

The scariest part: Lyda morphs into Scully and fires at Mulder, and then morphs into Mulder to fire at Scully. The pair are momentarily confused and horrified, all while crawling on the floor while drenched in blood.

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4
Sam And Dean Confront Holiday Demons Both External And Internal On 'Supernatural' 
Sam And Dean Confront Ho... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Macabre Holiday-Themed TV Episodes Ever Produced
Photo: Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Episode: "A Very Supernatural Christmas" (Season 3, episode 8)

A little boy watches in horror on Christmas Eve as Santa is aggressively yanked up the chimney, leaving behind only a boot. Luckily, the Winchester brothers are on the case.

While investigating a string of disappearances, Sam and Dean end up kidnapped by two pagan gods masquerading as a sweet, suburban couple. Things get gory as they pierce Dean, rip out one of Sam's fingernails, and almost extract one of Dean's teeth. The brothers manage to escape and end up dispatching the pagan couple with stakes made from, you guessed it, the branches of a Christmas tree. Ho ho ho.

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