Tis the season that horror nerds begin the search for the best Christmas horror movies! While there are some truly great ones, there are also many terrible ones. Here’s my list of the best and worst Christmas horror movies!
Black Christmas — There are three versions of Black Christmas and it’s my opinion that they all need to be included here for different reasons. The original version was released in 1974 and had a killer cast that included the likes of Margot Kidder and Andrea Martin. The story focuses on a group of sorority sisters that are spending Christmas at the sorority house. The phone rings, but no one thinks twice until the person on the other line begins to make threats.
When one of the sisters comes up missing, the girls find themselves in a fight for their lives. It’s a little known fact that when the original Black Christmas was released in U.S. theaters, it did so under a different name. Instead, it opened with the red and black WB logo and the title Silent Night, Evil Night. However, all subsequent releases including home video and additional U.S. theatrical releases had the logo removed and the title was changed to Black Christmas.
First remake — The first remake of Black Christmas came about in 2006. The storyline was largely unchanged from the original and this version also featured an all-star cast that included Lacey Chabert and Michelle Trachtenberg among many others. The biggest fault this version has is that it kept the stereotype character tropes from the original. What no one batted an eye at in 1974 wasn’t so well received in 2006. So many female stereotypes were perpetrated in this version, that it lost a fair bit of its value. It makes it easy to undervalue the positives of this film. Some pretty amazing effects make the scenes pull you in and immerse you in the moment.
Also, because there is so much stereotyping, it’s easy to overlook a moment when one of the characters, thought to be prissy, reveals that she has basic electrical knowledge. Even though it has its faults, this one is included as a “best” option because of the effects and the fact that it’s a true remake that didn’t vary greatly from the original.
Second remake — The second remake of Black Christmas was released in 2019 and was really more of a reboot. There are quite a few differences in this version. First, the cast consists of essentially all-new faces. Second, even though the story still revolves around a sorority and a particular group of sisters, it’s vastly different from the first two versions. Many horror fans reject remakes on principle, especially if the remake differs too much from the original. However, if you haven’t yet seen this version of Black Christmas, you’re missing out on something great!
This is the feminist horror movie that the genre has needed for a long time. Instead of the young women acting ridiculous, screaming pointlessly and running around aimlessly, they band together and show the world what women can accomplish, especially when they work together.
Krampus — When it comes to Christmas horror, there are few choices I consider better than Krampus. There are many movies that are about the entity known as Krampus, but most should be on the “worst” list. This one, however, has it all. There are some truly disturbing moments, a few comedic moments and constant action. Between Krampus and the helpers he brings along, there’s a new threat everywhere the characters turn. The effects are excellent. No matter what manner the creatures go about claiming a victim, it’s sure to be gruesome and terrifying. The end though, is what really grabs me and refuses to let go. To say I was not expecting the twist at the end would be an understatement. This is a must-see Christmas horror movie that is on my watch list every year!
Better Watch Out — Better Watch Out was released in 2016 and at the time, I had little hope for it. After watching the trailer, I feared that it was just another trope-filled film that was predictable and disappointing. However, after I watched it, it went right into my top five Christmas horror movies! At first, it seems like so many other films before it, but if you keep watching, you’ll find a unique tale that doesn’t disappoint. The end has a twist that left me reeling for days! Plus, there’s action and suspense throughout that kept me interested.
Gingerdead Man — What can really be said about Gingerdead Man? It came out in 2005 and it’s literally a story about a criminal being executed, a curse activating from blood getting into a batch of gingerbread dough and BOOM the bad guy’s now a killer cookie. It’s like someone was watching Child’s Play and thought, “Hey, if a killer can put his soul into a doll, why couldn’t he become a cookie?” The entire movie is basically about an oversized cookie running around killing people. The effects are not great. Plus, the Gingerdead Man is barely in the movie at all. Overall, this is a movie you watch once just because you can and then move on. There are two sequels and they get progressively worse. By the time you get to the third one, you’ll definitely be questioning your life choices.
Jack Frost — This movie … like Gingerdead Man, this is a story about a killer who gets transformed into something weird. In this case, he becomes a killer snowman. There are two movies in this franchise and the sequel is sadly even worse than the original. As a horror movie lover, there are few things that I find disturbing in a movie. However, there is a scene in Jack Frost that’s at the top of my list for horrible and disturbing.
Rape scenes, in general, are difficult to watch, but the one in Jack Frost is worse than most. The snowman suddenly produces a male appendage that’s a large, pointed icicle which he uses to rape and kill a woman in a shower. In my eyes, that alone is grounds for the movie going straight to the “worst” category.
Once Upon a Time at Christmas — This is by far one of the worst horror movies, period. Once Upon a Time at Christmas released in 2017 and the plot is quite simplistic. A deranged couple turns homicidal in a small town in upstate New York. The weirdest part is that they dress up as Mr. and Mrs. Claus while on their rampage. To make it even weirder, Mrs. Claus is more like a version of DC Comics’ Harley Quinn. Her overall look is way more Harley Quinn than Mrs. Claus and to seal the deal, she carries around a bat as her weapon of choice. The acting is bad, the effects are worse and the overall result is disappointing at best.
Do you agree with my list? What Christmas horror movies are at the top and bottom of your list? Let me know in the comments!
This article was originally published on 12/9/21.