When this article was originally done in 2014, with the title Surviving the Holidays: Slashing and Slaying Santa Claus for the now defunct Rogue cinema site it was truly a major undertaking, and garnished it with 2,534 views, and tallied slightly over 5,000 words. Therefore, it is only proper to return to this credible article, and update it vastly, and hence a part 1 (December 1st to December 15th) and the part two found here runs from December 16th to the 31st).
As the time of Christmas carols, red and green lights displayed everywhere approaches and no Freddy Krueger in site, to relieve the joys of horror fans, this article serves as the best way to manage the holiday season that lost its meaning long ago and replaced it with commercialization and endless cheery music and movies. UGH! Therefore, before the drowning in eggnog here’s a Christmas horror and other Holiday films a 31 day-to-day film guide to guide through the tortures of this time of year. One must admit that over 120-horror Christmas theme movies exist, and ideally the National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (which contains horror related items) find some themselves omitted. Although, the list has no exact order to watch them all, one should note that some do list a date as a suggestion of when the film matches with history. Lastly, no film is giving a review here just some trivial information or a summary, however some contain trailers and links to their respective reviews.
So let’s start the holiday season with a few obscure movies, first Home for the Holidays (1972) which has an ailing father who has his daughter come home, to assist in avenging him, as he believes his new wife is poisoning him, a television movie from directed John Llewellyn Moxey, who made a career doing TV episodes and a script from Joseph Stefano (RIP 2006), yes the same man who made famous Psycho (1960) script. In addition, the film starred Sally Field, Julie Harris and Eleanor Parker all whom would later work on projects with famed director Robert Wise, which leads to the second movie to start the holiday season.
Oh by the way, if you seek another horror film under the same name, made in 2017 look no further the short indie film by Director Scott Vasey, in which a father struggles to regain what’s lost in the past, with his homecoming around the holiday season. The full movie found here:
Then, sequel to The Cat People (1942), called The Curse of the Cat People (1944) which contains a wintry mix of a princess/queen of snow, annoying carolers and an old house filled with presents, it doesn’t exactly scream horror no Christmas horror, just another movie using the season for the background of the plot and very tough to call it a part 2, as it goes in a new direction. The film had two directors Gunther von Fritsch (this marked his only horror entry out of 40 directorial films) and Robert Wise (yes, the one who directed the creepy classic The Haunting (1963) which sandwiched between the musicals West Side Story and The Sound of Music) who brought the convoluted story to the screen.
Well enough of that, seriously here is a new holiday classic that plays on heart strings, the innocence of children, not aware the turmoil, heartache, death, famine and suffering after a nuclear holocaust at Christmas Time, a critically acclaimed movie from filmmaker Mike Lombardo called I’m Dreaming of a White Doomsday (2017), that took the fest circuit by storm, and originates from a story he did in the book A Very StrangeHouse Christmas (2013), where he presents a story of losing the magic of Christmas and the shattered innocence of childhood.
Now, one can have their night complete with a double feature, of Black Christmas (1974) and then the remake from 2006, at the hands of Glen Morgan. Allow us first to start with the original from the hands of Bob Clark, who coincidentally also directed A Christmas Story, however this story takes sorority sisters, with a foul mouth Barb (Margot Kidder) trades comments to a disturbed Prowler, while he terrorizes and gift wraps some of them. The police headed by John Saxon, a role of police officer he would reprise in another ten years, in A Nightmare on Elm Street, begin to grow concerns when a 13-year-old is found dead, and the sorority house has calls from within its own domain. Jess (Olivia Hussey), a woman who’s considering an abortion becomes a central figure in this dark tale, what shall become of her. Then there’s the remake, released actually on Christmas day in 2006, and blessed with some criticism from religious organizations, however the reception met with drowsy response from fans. Even though the storyline gives more background of the character Billy, who later creates a new fashionable way of using Christmas lights, that even Clark Griswold would never conceive of in the first place. Billy even shows his masterful cookie cutting skills to his dear mother, who after had an incestuous relationship with him to create his sister, Agnes. A most odd scene involving, Billy (Robert Mann) and a candy cane to kill – diabetics warning society of the dangers too much sugar. Kelly is portrayed by Katie Cassidy, who many may realize has starred in three horror remakes, and while she is, joined by Andrea Martin, who played a sorority sister in the original and in this version is the house mother.
Black Christmas: The Night Billy Came Home (2016) is a different variation on the Black Christmas standard, originally titled Christmas Night, but changed later to honor the cult classic, none of the characters are the same as either original or remake, but follows the same pattern. Trivia note for much of the cast this is their only film credit.
Hanukkah (2018) likely the first film to wrap itself around both the religious day and horror, though definitely not as any mockery or offensive, it’s just a different version of the customary Christmas horror. The story in 1983 Judah terrorized NY as the original Hanukiller and prepared to kill his son Obediah on the eighth night, however police shot him to death stopping the wretched crime from occurring. However son like father the evil boils with him and the extremist act reigned supreme, against a new series of victims. From director Eben McGarr, starring horror icon Sig Haig, Caroline Williams, P.J.Soles, Sadie Katz and Victoria De Mare and the always incredible Dick Miller as Rabbi Walter Paisley.
Since, one night with remakes may not please oneself, an evening of two sequels might be better, with Jack Frost (1997), not the one with Michael Keaton, the feature film from director Michael Cooney. The film achieved the cult status level recently, even though the storyline gets a tad chilly, with a serial killer, Jack Frost coming back to life as a snowman, thanks to some snow and genetic material, except this one is not a friendly frost fellow, rather a murderous villain. However, in the town of Snowmonton, what can stop a killer snowman, Jack, (Scott MacDonald) only Sheriff Sam Tiler (Christopher Allport) can resolve the matter, and melt away the damnation. The film contains so many bad aspects that Santa would run out of coal for this picture, yet is the so-bad-it’s-good concept, complete with fallout from a rape from a carrot carry creature. The second sequel, Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman, had both actors Scott MacDonald and Christopher Allport reprising their respective roles, except this would mark Allport’s last entry into the horror genre to date. Michael Cooney brings this storyline back, with the humiliated sheriff Tiler and Jack’s witted remarks similar to Chucky, however, no longer in Snowmonton, now place in the tropics. Jack’s transformation comes in the form of all things liquid that convert into ice references, including and ice anvil, icicles, and even an ice cube that gives new meaning to the term brain freeze. The heat does not get to Jack, the body count mounts, like and wicked blizzard, and allows for more insanity in plot and helps you deal with the craziness of the season.
All The Creatures Were Stirring (2018) a new Christmas anthology story from the writing and director duo of David Ian and Rebekah McKendry, which features mad killers, demons, killer reindeer and much more including aliens in a series of short stories and will give horror fans much to celebrate and cheer while enjoying the season.
The Toybox (2005) begins with innocence, a red flag for the basic horror fans, of two children Berenice and Brian, obsessed with local folklore and that she has mystic powers as a reincarnated witch, who possess the righteous to dominate others, and her younger brother suffers emotional issues from her position. Several years later she (Caludine Spiteri) returns with a boyfriend just in time for Christmas, and the folklore seems to grow more powerful and attacking from within and outside. The film from Paolo Sedazzari has subtle references to many powerful subject material including overtones of an incestuous nature between the children, though more one-sided and a bit of imaginary from Brian’s (Elliott Jordon) point of view.
December 5th – Krampus Day
Today, officially marks arrival of Krampus, on the eve of St. Nicholas Day in Austria and other parts of Europe, Krampus Day/Night, hence the day when one should watch all Krampus movies, unsure of them? No problem they are listed here by year order, I’m unsure if you can watch them all in one-day but in horror challenges exist.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010) a mostly foreign film, and yet still highly entertaining hails from Finland, and directed by Jalmari Helander about a highly protected and guarded secret buried in the depths of Korvatunturi Mountains, whose time has come for exposure. Again, like Don’t Open Till Christmas (1984), this film comes from a foreign land and yet they embrace the Christmas Horror sub-genre. This year everyone believes in Santa Claus and how evil his elves can be to others.
Night of the Krampus (2013) a short film available on most VOD platforms, about Santa Clause traveling with Krampus, each with their good and naughty lists all of it myths, but as the bad children begin to vanish, supernatural investigators come to save the season thanks to director Thomas Smith, his team consist of Rue Morgan, Claire Renfield, Herbie West (which is respectively Kristian Fulmer, Erin Lilley, and Soren Odom), notice the play on characters names.
Christmas Cruelty (2013) a horror flick for our Norwegian readers and fans, this foreign movie follows a serial killer who’s checking his own list for bringing cruelty and madness to Christmas gatherings. Here’s the Facebook page in the native language simple translate to check it out: https://www.facebook.com/Filmproduksjon-i-Vestnes-315614139339/
Krampus: The Christmas Devil (2013) based from folklore, as a creature kidnapping children who do evil without confession, punishment and/or penance, hence linking the beast with Christian religions (perhaps as suggested pre-Christian i.e. pagan rites), and is brother to Santa. While Santa is portrayed as a holly jolly man, Krampus appears as deformed, menacing and evil, and thrown into the mix Jeremy (A.J. Leslie) a local officer now hunting to stop the creature of mythological portions, and also stars Bill Oberst Jr. This creature needs to hurry up his mission, the disrespectful children nowadays, bullying and cruelty to others and even animals, need a visit from this beast. Individuals who work at a mall or retail store about folklore man-beast and let them view this movie to vent their building anger during this season. A purely trivial point, Krampus interest for many has grown similar to that of the Jersey Devil, spawning sequels and other tales in this folklore. and a sequel entitled
Now the movie of Krampus (2015) that lit up the screen came from director Michael Dougherty, concerning a boy Max (Emjay Anthony) who does many bad things, and causes his negativity to summon Krampus (Luke Hawker) and his evil powers on toys to terrorize his parents and extended family. The fans of the television sitcom Two and Half Men recall the character ‘Berta’ (Conchata Ferrell) stars in the movie as well.
Krampus: The Reckoning (2015) a child named Zoe (Amelia Haberman, who later starred in Krampus Origins , as a completely different character) has a Krampus (William ‘Bill’ Connor), who many think is merely imagery, but in reality but real, named Krampus, who’s a good friend of St. Nicholas, and directed by Krampus obsessed Robert Conway
A Christmas Horror Story (2015) a wrapped around story of Santa (George Buza (A Little Bit Zombie , and also starred in at least three other wholesome Christmas movies) battling Krampus (Rob Archer(Darken ), as an anthology series of short tales playse out for the thoroughly entertaining amusement for the viewers, while a radio DJ Dangerous Dan (William Shatner) serves as the teller of the stories.
A Visit from Krampus (2015) a 7-minute short from director and screenwriter Lisa Jay, that involves magic mushrooms, exploratory shaman guidance and the pagan god Odin, along with Santa, simply the craziest night ever on Christmas Eve. Curious here’s the movie:
Krampus: The Devil Returns (2016) the story occurs Five years after the murder of his wife and his daughter is missing, former police officer Jeremy Duffin (A.J. Leslie) is brought back to help in the hunt for a yuletide monster, this film follows Krampus: The Devil Returns (2016). Santa Claus and Krampus both appearing to represent the sides for good and naughty, which stars Shawn C. Phillips, Melantha Blackthrone, and R. A. Mihailoff (Smothered ). But wait there’s more stranger Krampus flicks to come after all this is a 1.7/10 for either entertainment or further puzzlement.
Krampus Unleashed (2016) from director and writer Robert Conway, no true connection his previous movie Krampus: The Reckoning (2015), this time the creature is awoken by treasures hunters, when they disturb his ancient tome, so the entire folklore completely flipped for this movie, except set around Christmas.
The 12 Days of Krampus (2017) also known as Mother Krampus which focuses more on the witch Frau Perchta, than Krampus, the witch goes after those who slack, and slits the bellies of her victims, pulling out intestines and filling the garbage with their guts. Yummy. She’s highly offended by those who work Epiphany (on January 6), however often associated with those of gluttonous mannerisms during the holidays, as the sin often tied to laziness. In this story the 12-days preceding Christmas a child is taken.
Mother Krampus 2: Slay Ride (2018) set in Cleveland, while 4-women, nearing the end of mandatory community service, something their completely happy to finish, just need to visit home of those less fortunate and the elderly but everything is at it seems, director Eddie Lengyel (Voodoo Rising )
Krampus Origins (2018) starts over in Germany during the first World War, and a twisted path the book that summons the spirit of Krampus arrives to the widow of a soldier in Arizona, just in time for Christmas at a small-town orphanage. While the story is from Robert Conway, its actually directed by Joseph Mbah, and stars Maria Olsen as Sister Rafus.
Also, needed for inclusion is Saint (2010) concerning St. Nicholas as a murderous bishop kidnaping and murdering a child on the famed day of December 5th, from director and writer Dick Maas, this a foreign film, with subtitles. In addition, those seeking for their pleas able shopping listed both Mass’ film Down (aka: The Lift)  and Down (aka: The Shaft)  given limited edition releases in October 2017.
Two Front Teeth (2006) originally released on Halloween, and yet the title plays of the song All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth, debuted on December 6, 1947 hence the sixth one on the list. As is the case with most Christmas horror films, the comedy lends itself into the storyline, and writer Jamie Nash, does not fail, working as director with David Thomas Sckrabulis, bringing Gabe Snow a so-call writer of tabloids. His latest scoop, an airplane crashed on a foggy Christmas Eve, by a red-nose creature (Rudolph) but wait, there’s more to the story, and the plot goes completely off-course, envision a Vampire Santa and Zombie Elves, who desire to spread blood and gore on the white snow. By this point of holiday season, you have unpacked the decorations, stringing the lights, and tired of the songs, so what better way to relax at night then with an insane film as Gabe (Johnny Francis Wolf) battles zombie elves, evil nuns, and Clausferatu (Josh Buchbinder).
Santa’s Slay (2005), a Lionsgate Home Entertainment, that presents over–the-top comedy throughout this horror flick, and stars Bill Goldberg a former professional wrestler as Santa Claus, sets out on Christmas Eve, and quickly slaughters, with sheer brutality, a family enjoying Christmas dinner and each other. Bill dishes the worst assault ever, far greater than his previous matches, with stabbings, force feedings, and one person definitely gets a red face. An in-movie joke surrounds the personal lives of some real actors’ lives, such James Caan, Rebecca Gayheart and Fran Drescher – can you figure it out? Unsure – later in the film, someone gets murdered by a religious item, also to add to the religious overtones, does Santa’s sleigh have “hell-deer” and leads to the back story. Santa is Satan’s son, who lost a bet in curling, to an Angel, but terms of it, have eclipsed and now the demon Santa slashes, slays all to the bells of hell. The ending of this film involves a Zamboni, a bazooka, and a Grandpa.
Christmas Slay (2015), a Green Apple Entertainment released from director Steve Davis set in the Scottish Highlands, staring Dani Thompson (Serial Kaller ) a very ideal look to the film, setting style and tone, a group of college friends at the Mistletoe Lodge surround with fun, snowy conditions, but the snow is decking the halls with blood, likely no one truly wants their balls hanging from the tree.
Christmas Evil (1980) from director Lewis Jackson, original title You Better Watch Out, a holiday cheering tune and yet still acclaimed as a best Christmas tale, and provides a warning to parents about the psychological scars imprinted on their child’s mind about the falsehood that Santa is a fake. In this sub-genre, the comedy runs under the dark terror of the storyline where one, scarred child now an adult becomes obsessed with the selfish behavior of children and parents alike that causes him to SNAP! A trivia this film marked actor’s Jeffrey DeMunn first time venture into the horror genre and if one’s recalls had spill his guts on The Walking Dead (TV Series).
Caesar and Otto’s Deadly Xmas (2012) comes from the twisted mind of writer and director Dave Campfield assisted by screenwriter Joe Randazzo, rounding out another entry into the cheer. The cast includes a who’s who of b-movie lore, with Linnea Quigley playing respect to her role in Silent Night, Deadly Night, and the trio Debbie Rochon, Felissa Rose and Brinke Stevens. However, in the modern-day Abbott and Costello romp the men represent themselves with the cast of characters of Shawn C. Phillips, Robert Z’Dar and legendary Lloyd Kaufman. A quirky plot of in-store Santa and elves create a vendetta with another Santa (CKY’s Deron Miller) and therein – SNAP – the bodies start stacking faster than wrapping gifts. A final snowflake of trivia, actress Victoria Vertuga’s latest three horror films are surrounded on the Christmas horror genre.
Deadly Little Christmas (2009) writer Jeremiah Campbell and director Novin Shakiba brings forth the story of a young boy, Devin Merriman, who heads a mental hospital after he’s discovered grasping a knife with cherry red blood covering, seeming he gave his father and housekeeper the gift of the afterlife all on Christmas Day. This dreadful tale allows Devin (Samuel Nathan Hoffmire) some unauthorized vacation time and returns home to visit the remaining members of the family namely his sisters Noel and Taylor, (Leah Grimsson and Monique La Barr respectively). Rounding out the storyline, a crazy and at times a hysterical Mrs. Merriman (Felissa Rose), however the lack of Christmas decorations makes it tough to enjoy and the plot, well Santa forgot to pack it.
The Minion (1998) marks a story set in New York on Christmas Eve 1999 setting the scene for new millennium, a subway crew unearths an 800-year-old Celtic skeleton with a mysterious key while an archaeologist investigates, and a Middle Eastern sect of Knights Templar sends Dolph Lundgren (Lukas), because that is a Monk looking man. The Minion seizes its next host preparing itself for the coming of the new age, this film sadly has no other Christmas reference, aside when the discovery occurs, but it makes to the list for one to enjoy.
Psycho (1960), now two reasons to include this movie, first it’s one first slashers, and an Alfred Hitchcock film, and second it title card affixes it as December 11th. This movie’s production ran through the holiday season, and while nothing in the movie feels like Christmas, after all set in Arizona, Norman carefully watches over his mother, caring for her needs; hence giving the best gifts of love, protection and a dutiful son.
The Children (2008) relaxing vacation all near Christmas, enjoying time with the family, awhile deciding to remain on the good list or turn to the naughty list, well it does not take long for the children in the film to make the decision, and whether it was a personal or a natural is another thing. The thrill ride from Tom Shankland serving first as director and then as writer joined with Paul Andrew Williams, brings creative killings and sheer terrors to the adults. This film will have one ready to listen to news reports and thinking twice about staying with family for an extended period.
While these children go quite mad, they remind one of Village of the Damned and those dangerous alien children, however, madness exist in adults obvious therefore one can’t overlook the forget treasure Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (1971) a classic, likely not on many horror fans average collections or even on their radar, however, this movie retells the tale of Hansel and Gretel to a bizarre proportion. Not wanting to spoil or tell too much, a sweet widow keeps her mummified daughter in a nursey when one Christmas she thinks her daughter is reincarnated and captures her, from director Curtis Harrington.
December 13th – 12 Days to Christmas
Once Upon a Time at Christmas (2017) where Santa (Simon Phillips (Gehenna: Where Death Lives ) and Mrs. Claus go on killer trip, 12 days prior to Christmas, from director Paul Tanter, which is already planning a sequel to this movie.
Speaking of Mrs. Claus (originally called Stirring, but because that word means different things throughout the word name switched to something more recognizable for marketing and people understand the film’s concept), new filmmaker on the scene, Troy Escamilla who penned and directed this creation based on the platform of slasher genre heyday, college students, a party and someone dressed as Mrs. Claus looking to stab their way into the holiday season, starring Kaylee Williams, Brinke Stevens And Helene Udy (from My Bloody Valentine )
Elves (1989) a forgotten late 80s direct-to-video horror films from the mind of Jeffrey Mandel, with the film touching on another sub-genre of horror, Nazi experiments add-in quite a bit of T&A, and the result a b-movie center on sinister elves. The elves summoned to assist in selective cross-breeding in order to develop the proven superhuman soldiers, however Santa Claus (Dan Haggerty (Night Wars ) the hope to stop the Nazis. Elves allows one to indulge in sheer cut-up fun, and just relax, no deep thinking, watch it friends better for the self-creating laughs.
Speaking of Elves, one should mention both The Elf (2017) (not Will Ferrell) from director and screenwriter Justin Price , about a grown man Nick (Gabriel Miller) still haunted by a murder he saw as a child, he’s now inherited an old toy shop discovering an elf with secret devilish powers unleashed at Christmastime.
Then there’s Elves (2018) about a group of friends, discovering an ancient chest and opening it unleashing many cursed elves on society, starring Lisa May (who portrayed Tiffany in The Elf (2017) and starred in Dark Moon Rising ).
Don’t Open Till Christmas (1984) sets itself in London, a refreshing spin, thanks to lead actor and director Edmund Purdom with screenwriter Alan Birkinshaw, noting that the holiday occurs worldwide and with different styles, yet sadly the joy of the season misses someone and delivers pure humbug mentality of killing individuals wearing Santa suits. Herein Inspector Harris struggles with the developing case from a dedicated psychopath who enjoys spreading around his various weapons of destruction as he slaughters the fake Santa individuals.
See part two of this article for viewing suggestions December 16 to 31, here.