Manic Movie Magic: Why Christmas Horror Movies Typically Fail

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.

NO SANTA. NO MURDERING FOR YOU. STOP IT.

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.

…how does a snowman have a tongue? Am I the only one bothered by this?

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.

NOT.THIS.ONE.

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.

The following two tabs change content below.

Starshine5050

As just a regular, hard-working work, often-stressing, procrastination-mastering history and journalism student, I often turn to the silver and small screens for relief, even though I'm only an average cinema-and-television loving viewer, commenting on what, and does not, makes good entertainment. I love horror everything - book, TV shows, games, movies - even though they frighten me terribly. I'm a long time believer of the old saying "When life gives you lemons, don't take life's lemons! Give the lemons back!" So, onward I go, returning lemons and logging an unhealthy amount of screen time for your enjoyment. So please be sure to read my stuff and let me know what you think, I'm alway looking to improve and be the best, most cynical critic I can be!

Latest posts by Starshine5050 (see all)

Starshine5050

As just a regular, hard-working work, often-stressing, procrastination-mastering history and journalism student, I often turn to the silver and small screens for relief, even though I'm only an average cinema-and-television loving viewer, commenting on what, and does not, makes good entertainment. I love horror everything - book, TV shows, games, movies - even though they frighten me terribly. I'm a long time believer of the old saying "When life gives you lemons, don't take life's lemons! Give the lemons back!" So, onward I go, returning lemons and logging an unhealthy amount of screen time for your enjoyment. So please be sure to read my stuff and let me know what you think, I'm alway looking to improve and be the best, most cynical critic I can be!

8 Comments:

  1. I look forward to your review of the zombie Sinterklaas movie "Sint", the Bill Goldberg Santa movie, Silent Night: Deadly Night 2 (You know exactly why), Gingerbread Man, Child's Play, Santa Claus conquers the Martians. I could go on and on.

    Also, Eight Crazy Nights was average at best. It's not terrible.

    Ah yes, the Star Wars Holiday Special, or Wookie's Worst Nightmare. Let's slice that tape to pieces.

    • Waaahh I just saw this now! I have never heard of Sint but I'll have to watch it if there's zombies. Gingerbread man…makes me hurt so badly on the inside. I forgot Child's Play takes place at christmas. Wow, maybe I should go to you for movie suggestion advice. Next December I'm definitely using these titles. Always nice to know another cinephile!

      Even if we destroyed every copy of the Star Wars Holiday Special, the Internet never forgets. It'll live on forever, haunting people.

  2. Nah. I just watch a lot of Thatguywiththeglasses and stuff. I also have an appreciation for old school.

    Sinterklaas is technically a European Santa Claus most celebrated by The Netherlands and since I'm Aruban, so do we. Sint does have many zombies, besides himself.

    Such a shame that the Holiday Special cannot be erased from memory. Maybe, in some sadistic way, that's a good thing. Otherwise, internet critics would be out of work and will be forced to only bash media that are more popular.

    • I LOVE TGWTG 🙂 Still, I admire your knowledge greatly, and old school can be great….sometimes.

      My country technically celebrates Three Wise Kings Day more so than Christmas. But that's really cool, I never knew about Sinterklaas. But now I do!

      And that is true, I still need my job. Not to mention how will we show the next generation what truly bad holiday specials look like.

      • TGWTG, along with Cinemassacre, Reviewtopia, Huerfano Producciones have shown me so many great bad movies, and obviously bad BAD movies that I have found a desire to see how much garbage has been spread across our fair world during the so called glorious 90's decade and before that.

        I also like 80's to early 2000's music more than today's modern music. Oh, and anime music rules as well. Auto tune can go bury itself though.

        Indeed. We must continue reminding our future children that Television Screens used to be square shaped, chubbier and not rectangular.

      • Nice! That's pretty wide spread. As for music, I'm more into J-Pop. Autotune is a tool often misused but it's not SO bad when usually properly.

        And we must always remember those big black bricks we would watch movies on, that we would slip into machines called VHS's

      • Walkmen before iPods. The VCR, Cell phones as big as a person's head. Oh, how lucky the kids of today are, yet they are being spoiled, I think.

      • Like we are spoiled by not having computers that fill rooms and cost thousands of dollars.

Leave a Reply