Okay, so I get that this is meant to be the season of good cheer and goodwill to all men (and women), but what about if you are feeling a bit meh about the whole thing?
The weather is cold and it’s dark by mid-afternoon. You might be stuck in a job you hate and feeling pretty tight with money, but everywhere you go you are surrounded by unwavering cheerfulness and enforced jollity.
Whether it’s those unrelenting Christmas tunes (which seem to start about mid-October), endless Christmas adverts showing happy smiling families (not a trace of seething animosity or passive aggressiveness), or the Christmas jumper – one of the least attractive items of clothing known to man. I mean, has anyone ever been asked out on a date while wearing one of those things?
Well, not to worry: you are not alone. Here’s a list of great films to watch, for when all that good cheer and goodwill becomes too much. So pour yourself a glass of bile, serve up a side dish of cynicism and sit back and let out your inner Grinch. Bah Humbug!
Sarah, played by Toni Collett, heads up a squabbling family who are feeling anything but festive. Which, in turn, causes their young son, Max, to decide he’s had enough of Christmas and tear up his Christmas list. Enter Krampus, a demonic spirit sent to punish those on the naughty list. Who, along with a bunch of evil elves, terrifying toys and ginger men, which are anything but sweet, sets out to capture the entire family one by one. And there is a very clever twist at the end of this movie. So, people remember to be good, you don’t want to get a visit from the guy with the cloven hoofs.
2) Bad Santa
Billy Bob Thornton plays an alcoholic crook. Who, along with his friend Marcus played by Tony Cox, have devised a regular set-up, where they get a gig at a department store as Santa and his elf. And then on Christmas Eve, they empty the safe and make a run for it. Although it can occasionally dip into sentimentally at times. i.e., the friendship between a lonely bullied boy who is spending Christmas without his parents. It is Billy Bob Thornton’s, misanthropic, amoral Santa and his increasingly frustrated sidekick Marcus that makes this a great fun watch. A perfect antidote to the seemingly enforced festive cheer that is normally in abundance at this time of year.
3) Silent Night Deadly Night
This controversial 80s slasher movie, featuring a Santa who goes on a killing spree, was pulled from many theatres shortly after its release. But, has since developed something of a cult following. It tells the story of Billy, who along with his younger brother, witnessed the horrific murder of their parents on Christmas Eve, by a man dressed in a Santa outfit. Years later, after spending time in an abusive orphanage, Billy is working in a local toy store. On Christmas Eve, he is asked to dress as Santa. But then, a series of events flips Billy over the edge. And he sets about wreaking revenge on those he deemed to be on the ‘naughty list’.
4) The Ginger dead Man
This comedy horror is not a great movie, but with a running time of 75 mins it is thankfully short, and it has a ‘so bad it’s good vibe’ to it. Take the ashes of one executed serial killer. A secret gingerbread mix, one ancient curse and the killer’s vengeful mother, who’s also a witch. Add a pinch of blood from an unsuspecting bakery employee, and voila, you have yourself one angry murderous gingerbread man. What happens to this evil baked good? SPOILER ALERT he eventually gets eaten by one of the bakers, who subsequently becomes possessed. It’s not the greatest plot, but they did go on to make three more in the Gingerdead series. So someone must have liked it.
5) The Legend of Hell House
Looming out of the swirling fog, the gothic mansion ‘Hell House’ looks like the type of place you would definitely turn down an invitation to stay. But the week before Christmas, this is exactly what a group of investigators do. The house had been previously inhabited by a sadistic killer. And they want to find out why previous guests at Hell House had died or gone mad. This includes a party of paranormal investigators who went there in the 1950s. What follows is seriously eerie and full of suspense and scares. The house seemed cursed and ready to destroy anyone who tried to unlock its secrets. Plus, it stars Roddy McDowell as the sole survivor of the previous expedition.
6) Black Christmas
One of the original slasher movies. The story takes place in a sorority house. The girls have started to receive disturbing phone calls. And when one of them goes missing, they call in the police, who discover. SPOILER ALERT that the calls are coming from inside the house!! This movie knows how to rack up the tension. And it has a creepy version of ‘Silent Night’ to add to the heightened sense of fear.
Also, this differs from many other slasher movies as. SPOILER ALERT the killer is never identified and is only known as Billy. And because nothing is known about what happened to him, this makes the ending truly chilling.
7) Die Hard
I have added this, because nothing says festive cheer like a high body count and automatic weapons. John Mclane has joined his estranged wife at her company’s work Christmas do to try and patch things up. Suddenly a bunch of terrorists decide to gate crash the party and hold everyone hostage. Will he be able to save the day? You bet he will! He plays a deadly cat-and- mouse game with a bunch of ruthless terrorists. Led by one of the greatest of all cinematic villains, played by the late great Alan Rickman. When Hans Gruber says “I’m going to count to three, there will not be a four’’, you believe him, ho, ho, ho everyone.