It’s A Wonderful Life? A Christmas Carol? Miracle on 34th Street? Maybe Jingle All the Way at a push…. Just a few of the Christmas films that people could roll off the top of their head if they were stopped asked in the street to name their favourite festive flicks. We all like a bit of seasonal schmaltz at this time of the year – film quality means little as long as it makes us feel Christmassy.
But for me, when someone brings up the topic of Christmas films, I don’t think of the usual suspects. Forget the goodwill and sentiment of the holiday period, I’m more interested in the perverse nature of Santa. I think of some stranger who dresses in a weird red get-up, keeps a chilling list of those who have been nice and naughty throughout the year and then comes down your chimney and invades your personal space when you’re asleep. I see dozens of imitation Santas sitting pretty in shopping centres, department stores and Christmas parades the world over pretending to be someone they’re not – and let’s face it, you don’t know who is behind the beard! I think of the more sinister aspects to the myths and legends which brought about the existence of the character of Santa Claus in the first place. The unfortunate sight of so many children breaking down in tears as their parents force them to undergo some sort of ‘growing up’ ritual by visiting Santa in his grotto and being given some rubbish toy. I could go on and on. It’s perfect horror material, playing upon fears and insecurities that we have and portraying the dark side of what many people to be the most wonderful time of the year.
So forget all of the overly mushy nonsense, sit back and enjoy some of the more ‘alternative’ Christmas films out there. Films that take the goodwill of Christmas and slice it to pieces with a carving knife. Films which turn Santa from doddery elderly gentlemen in brutal killing machines and who take pleasure in inflicting punishment on the naughty…and in many cases the nice. I’m not suggesting that you stick one of these on just after Christmas dinner when the kids are watching. But everything in this world has an opposite and the following films represent the best (and worst) of the festive period. From Santa-hunting psychos in Don’t Open Till Christmas, to demonic interpretations of Father Christmas in Santa’s Slay, co-ed hating slashers in underrated remake Black Christmas and finally, to the ultimate anti-Christmas horror film in Silent Night, Deadly Night…..it’s time to take a bloody axe and smash the spirit of Christmas right in it’s goody-goody heart!
(click on posters to read individual reviews)
But in all honesty, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (though the updates won’t stop over the holiday period!).