There’s no beating around the bush: Christmas does not lend itself to horror or sci-fi. Let’s be honest guys, we’re all (probably) adults, we know that there’s nothing scary or mystical about Christmas except for how sick you can get of those damn songs and how many people get trampled during Black Friday. It’s the holiday of warm and fuzzies and mass consumerism. So why do directors insist on making these holiday horror and sci-fi films? What’s the appeal as a subject?
I’m not one to beat a zombie horse, but I guess I got to spell it out for future movie makers so we can stop this ridiculous trend. Christmas is cheesy enough as it is, we don’t need these polluting the pine-needle-scented air anymore.
Let’s get one thing straight: I’m not talking about horror or sci-fi films that are set during Christmas, like Gremlins. The main plot has to revolve around the holiday explicitly for it to count. That means Santa, snowmen, blizzards, Christmas trees, the works. Plus, Gremlins is too good a movie to fit into any one genre, and if you haven’t seen it, go out and find it.
If there’s anything that fills the hearts of nerds with dread more so than yet another delay on the next Legend of Zelda game is crappy Christmas episodes and specials. I couldn’t count how many Christmas Carol ripoffs show up this time of year on the world biggest abacus. And don’t even get me started on the hit and run travesty that is the Star Wars Christmas Special. But for most major franchises and series, this is contained to one episode. It’s a lot harder when it’s one long movie.
Now, you might be thinking, “Starshine, what sci-fi Christmas movies? I’ve never heard of such a thing.” And you know what? You’re right. Most of these sci-fi ones are TV films, like the Star Wars one, or Doctor Who specials, but they still count. The sub genre that is the most prevalent in times of Yuletide joy is horror. Really, really terrible, cheestastic horror. HoMe invasion is scary? Murderous Santa. Have deep-seeded childhood trauma surrounding Christmas? Murdering and kidnapping children around the Christmas tree. Had nightmares about Frosty the Snowman? Murderous snowman named Jack Frost. Because why the Hell not.
In fact, all this genre seems to be is terrible, awful, poor thought-out and written films that somehow got greenlit by producers. What is their purpose? Comedy? A little morbidity to keep us all from going insane during the holiday season? To make a quick buck? Do they ever make their budget back? I just don’t get it – where’s the appeal? Why would anyone think these types of movies would be a good idea?
Also here’s my question – where are all the Hanukkah and Kwanza scary movies? Winter solstice celebrations (save for that one episode for 100 Good Deeds for Eddie McDowd) can be creepy ’cause of its pagan roots? The Saturnalia slaughter? Maybe that’s another reason why Christmas horror and sci-fi movies fail – there’s no variety. Just like the droning Christmas music that is only broken by Adam Sandler’s “The Hanukkah Song” – too much sugary sweet Christmasness gets damn boring after a while, with all the same tropes, jokes, and even scares. We need some punchy, funny, off the wall movie to break through this creepy little sub genre to be a breath of fresh air.
So, future film makers of the world, hear my plea – no more freakin’ Christmas horror and sci-fi films! They are lazy, stupid cash grabs that will just sully your good name. Trust me, there are less stupid paths to fame. Go write another Batman movie. Or maybe a good adaptation of War and Peace. You know, something people will want to see!
And now, after this long-winded rant about why Christmas makes a terrible theme for the genres I love…we’re going to review some for the rest of the month. Why? Cause I’m a hypocrite, sue me. Next week, we’ll be looking at Black Christmas. And yes, the 1974 version. Fucking remakes.