Slay bells ring: underappreciated Christmas horror films

Athena Sherlock ‘23, Opinion Editor

Throughout December, many people excitedly flock to their television sets to tune into the endlessly playing loop of Christmas movies. Ask most people what their favorite is, and you can expect to hear a lot of love for Elf, Home Alone, or The Santa Clause. While these movies have rightfully earned their titles as holiday classics, there is still something to be said about the deeply repetitive themes surrounding Christmas movies. This holiday season, audiences should branch out and expand their cinematic horizons by giving some attention to one of the most neglected and disrespected genres of Christmas films: horror. 

It may feel as though Christmas and horror should be kept as separate as possible, considering the comforting and joyous nature of Christmas in comparison to the tense and disturbing nature of the horror genre. However, this surprising combination has created some shining gems that deserve to be deeply appreciated.

Black Christmas (1974) is a classic slasher film that tells the story of a group of sorority sisters who are picked off one by one while staying on campus during the holidays. The movie boasts a horrifying killer and an iconic final girl as it is widely considered one of the most influential films in the slasher and horror genres. Of all the films that will be listed, Black Christmas is the most classic and arguably the best Christmas horror film of all time. The film’s 2006 remake of the same name is also solid if you are in the mood to watch something that does not take itself too seriously. 

Released in 2017, Better Watch Out puts a frightening holiday spin on your typical home invasion film. A babysitter is tasked with watching a 12-year-old boy during Christmas when intruders break into the boys’ home, leaving the sitter to fight not only for her own life, but also the life of the kid she is watching. The film sports an unexpected twist that most viewers will not anticipate, setting it apart from other home invasion films.

Doubling as a horror and psychological thriller film, The Lodge (2019) follows a soon-to-be stepmom, her fiance, and his two children as they go to their cottage to celebrate the holidays. Eventually, the fiance is called back for work, leaving the main character and the children alone. As the movie progresses, they are forced to fight for their survival as strange and terrifying things continuously happen to them. This film goes in a very different direction than viewers may anticipate, but the end result is exceedingly better than anything an audience member could have dreamed up. Riley Keough shines in the main role with her stellar performance as Grace.

Finally, Krampus (2015) is a horror comedy that puts a modern spin on a classic Christmas folktale about a demon who punishes children for being naughty. After a disastrous Christmas gathering, a dysfunctional family is hunted by the vengeful Krampus, who has decided to punish them for their lack of Christmas spirit. Toni Collette and Adam Scott star in the occasionally silly but strangely charming flick. This is a movie for those who still crave some of the more lighthearted aspects that come along with Christmas movies. 

It is no secret that horror is not always the most well received or appreciated genre of film, especially during the Holiday season. And while there is no shame in a comforting traditional holiday film, these horror movies are perfect for anyone looking for something a little different this Christmas.

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