Every Single Christmas Horror Movie Ranked From "Lump Of Coal" To "Turbo Man"

Here's an insider tip for any aspiring entertainment journalists who might be reading this beastly feature: when pitching an idea to your editor, always know the workload before presenting your case. Like, for example, if you agree to rank every Christmas horror movie (possible), don't cockily scoff a "I've seen a bunch already, how many can there actually be?" Because there's probably eighty-flippin-eight, at most thirty of which you've digested fully. That's not even counting on-the-cusp arguables like Babes In Toyland (1934) and Santa Claus (1959).

Good thing you're reading the words of a fighter. When adversity throws a peppermint punch, we've no choice but to strike right back – and that's what I did.

Out of my definitive list of 88 Christmas Horror movies, only six are without description from me for a simple reason: money. I'm sorry /Film readers. The bulleted list below were only available on Amazon for DVD order with prices starting at $15 and ranging as high as $54.56. For Deadly Little Christmas, a low-budget horror flick with a 3.0 IMDB rating. I might be a completionist, but I'm also on a budget. Either ship me a copy for being such a good boy this year or watch these at your own risk:

  • Santa Claws (1996)
  • The Christmas Season Massacre (2001)
  • Deadly Little Christmas (2009)
  • Christmas With The Dead (2012)
  • Christmas Cruelty! (2013)
  • Cannibal Claus (2016)
  • The rest? Here we go. 82 Christmas Horror films ranked from "A fleck of coal" (worst) to "Turbo Man Action Figure" (best). Now where's that celebratory bottle of whiskey Krampus left for me...

    82. The Elf (2017)

    Dir. Justin Price

    Starring: Natassia Halabi, Gabriel Miller

    Got a particular person on your "Naughty" list who deserves unspeakable punishment? Show them The Elf, 2017's low-fi "Elf on the Shelf" curse with a horribly explained background. An elf doll whose physical form changes depending on how it's being filmed – blurred CGI when moving, plushy creepiness when sitting, ceramic in close-ups. Characters speak like they've never been part of a human conversation before, and effects are so bad that a "seal" burned into the main character's arm is straight CGI – moving and shifting like the mark is floating above skin. Mr. Elf's gibberish chanting, scamper POV, corpses that breathe, fake snow that becomes soapy foam when heavily layered – pass the everloving 'nog.

    The Elf is an insufferable dolly revenge flick that boasts the cinematic charm of paint drying. All the alcohol in the world couldn't get me through a midnight watch of this flick – it's so bad it's just...bad.

    81. Silent Night Dead Night: A New Christmas Carol (2016)

    Dir. Richard Chandler

    Starring: George Raynor

    So the boys over at Film School Rejects – led by /Film local Rob Hunter – apparently made a bet that if they included Silent Night Dead Night on their own list of Christmas horror movies, I'd watch it. They were right. Rest assured, vengeance will be swift and Christmas themed, because Richard Chandler's "Scrooge is a hood pimp" revamp is in no way a horror movie despite the very bloody-axe-front-and-center poster. Consider this a warning for you, the reader, and a declaration of war against you, Rob Hunter (and your Tinsel Boy lackies).

    80. Bikini Bloodbath Christmas (2009)

    Dir. Thomas Edward Seymour, Jonathan Gorman

    Starring: Debbie Rochon, Lloyd Kaufman, Rachel Robbins, Phil Hall

    Bikini Bloodbath Christmas is a vile, Z-grade cesspool of midnighter waste, but that won't be new knowledge to anyone involved. The cheap, bloody product is presented as intended. Babes distracting from zero production value by flashing their breasts, multiple fake poo gags, fat-shaming "satire" (mean spirited), zero charisma – skeevy hack 'n slash nonsense without direction. Even by blasphemous 3:00 A.M. Cinemax standards, this is one offensively unfortunate carol from hell. ("BUT ONE OF THE CHARACTERS IS NAMED WILLIAM DEFOE, LIKE THE ACTOR! ISN'T THAT FUNNY?!" No. No it's not.)

    79. Darkest Night (2012)

    Dir. Noel Tan

    Starring: DJ Perry, Anne Gauthier, Issa Litton

    Ever fantasize about Christmas in the Philippines? Well here's a worst-case scenario of how it might play out. A found-footage Xmas celebration without an ounce of snow or any real decoration spliced with East-meets-West mythology. Blandifying in its lack of subgenre enthusiasm that blurs framing and depletes tension like many forgettable "discovered evidence" videos before.

    78. Psycho Santa (2003)

    Dir. Peter Keir

    Starring: Krystal Akin, Jason Barnes, Jeff Samford

    Nothing but a voyeuristic perv-out masquerading as a holiday slasher movie. Flashbacks cut to Psycho Santa's multiple victims as a driving man fills his significant other in on the killer's "sick" backstory. You know, like how a curvy redhead gets naked and showers, then how her brunette friend dances seductively for her (routine "sleepover" stuff). Next is a burglary story – featuring a blind, female house owner in her underwear pre-bath. Dude bro goes on to tell of a piano player, pot-smoker and wilderness couple, etc. All very dead, all without payoff. Pull the car over and let me out.

    77. Nixon And Hogan Smoke Christmas (2010)

    Dir. Kevin Strange

    Starring: Kevin Strange, Joshitsuo Montoya

    Cheech and Chong Lite with a do-it-yourself vibe. Drink every time Nixon says "titties" within the first two minutes. Take a shot whenever Santa Claus talks about self-gratification in front of the reindeer. I really enjoyed the part where zombie Santa calls two college girls "fuckmeat," and by enjoyed, I mean I'd rather smoke myself into a paranoid haze than sit through another offensive-for-laughs second of this wack-ass street trash.

    76. Silent Night, Bloody Night 2: Revival (2015)

    Dir. Dustin Ferguson

    Starring: Julia Farrell, Jennifer Runyon, Luc Bernier

    There's nothing worse than a forced sequel, and that, unfortunately, is what this Silent Night, Bloody Night follow-up turns out to be. Heartless, unambitious and visually unappealing. It's very Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 – characters "recall" the original film's plot at length until you realize what feels like over half the film is just replayed "flashback" footage. And I know, Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 did it, so why can't someone else? Well, in this case, because Silent Night, Bloody Night 2: Revival is the kind of indie slasher that gives "low-budget" a bad name.

    75. Krampus: The Devil Returns (2016)

    Dir. Jason Hull

    Starring: A.J. Leslie, Shawn C. Phillips, Melantha Blackthorne, R.A. Mihailoff

    A sequel to Krampus: The Christmas Devil – except with more child beating and purposely-distorted synth keyboards butchering Christmas carols. Dialogue as rigid as an icicle, overused fade-to-black editing, a lunatic cop's return (translation: more focus on procedural drama than action), chesty female thugs – huh? Just a lot of Krampus peeping in suburban windows and someone uttering the phrase "farting turtles." Oh, and Krampus is forgotten for, like, an entire middle act. Just...shrugs.

    74. Trees 2: The Root Of All Evil (2004)

    Dir. Michael Pleckaitis

    Starring: Ron Palillo, Philip M. Gardiner

    When Treevenge goes wrong – Trees 2: The Root Of All Evil. Yes, a SEQUEL to another feature-length film about killer Great White Pines. This time during Christmas, as genetically-enhanced spider trees start slaughtering townsfolk. Hope you dig PTSD flashbacks every time a disturbed park ranger recalls the savage botanist's nightmare that caused him to wet the bed (actual plot point). Acorn science bombs? Jaws references? You still probably won't like this overacted, dead-around-the-edges D-Movie.

    73. Caesar & Otto’s Deadly Xmas (2012)

    Dir. Dave Campfield

    Starring: Dave Campfield, Paul Chomicki, Deron Miller, Linnea Quigley, Lloyd Kaufman, Debbie Rochon

    Caesar and Otto may have found underground comedic success back in 2007, but their childishly meta Christmas slasher haplessly fails to prove how. References span Silent Night, Deadly Night to the Silent Night remake, barely with the satirical gusto of Aaron Seltzer's severed pinky toe. Writer/Director/Actor Dave Campfield jests (on screen) about how his screenwriting professor would hate every scene that's scribbled down, and such desperate attempts to laugh away no-budget restraints becomes as blatantly annoying as they sound. Paste-in audio design, camera lensing that changes frame to frame, genre cameos like a gun to the head – this inexplicable Laurel and Hardy knockoff is a Christmas gift from Satan (and not in a fun Christmas Horror way).

    72. Feeders 2: Slay Bells (1998)

    Dir. Mark Polonia, John Polonia

    Starring: Eh, I mean...

    Back home in Jersey, a commercial used to play late at night for some local strip joint. Traveling aliens would hear an advertisement for the club, make an Earth pit stop, then end up with scantily-clad ladies dancin' on their green bodies. Why do I tell you this? Because said advert had better production value than Feeders 2: Slay Bells – yet, as per my decree, everyone must see this movie. Please. Gather round like a yule log and experience the warm glow of Santa's phaser effects and styrofoam aliens with pipe cleaner arms slamming their bulbous heads against Christmas tree ornaments. Here is your Trolls 2 of Xmas Horror.

    71. Krampus: The Christmas Devil (2013)

    Dir. Jason Hull

    Starring: Jay Dobyns, Darin Foltz, Richard Goteri, A.J. Leslie

    In this one, "Santa" and "Krampus" are working together – naughty vs. nice duties, I guess. Also, it's a police procedural based on one law enforcer's kidnapping experience as a child. There are lines like "that won't bring all those dead babies back" and favored gunplay, but no real Krampus goodies. This is a criminally boring Krampy take more focused on cop-on-cop melodrama and cold, dull facts.

    70. Silent Night, Bloody Night: The Homecoming (2013)

    Dir. James Plumb

    Starring: Adrienne King, Sabrina Dickens, Rorie Stockton

    Without argument one of the worst slasher films – seasonal or not – I've ever witnessed. Some "creative liberties" are taken – random sex scenes inserted and an ending that'll have fans scratching their heads – but there's absolutely zero imagination. Editing is flat, sound design rancid, blood is mostly CGI, production design inexcusably drab, and twenty billion other complaints. A pointless remake that eschews the original's dreadful atmosphere, repurposed for no-budget sleaze schlock indiscernible from the most forgettable entries into the midnight genre. You probably didn't even know this movie existed – go back to living that better life.

    69. Lucky Stiff (1988)

    Dir. Anthony Perkins

    Starring: Donna Dixon, Joe Alaskey, Jeff Kober, Lin Shaye

    From Psycho III director Anthony Perkins – his only other directorial credit – comes a movie cobbled from rejected Naked Gun gags and Donner tie-ins baked twelve shades too raw. The story, about a rotund schmuck whose potential wives keep leaving him, ends with the yuck-failing loser being chosen as Christmas dinner. Lead actor Joe Alaskey stammers and Dangerfields his way through jokes hammier than Christmas dinner, Perkins never retains any "dark comedy" and the whole affair falls embarrassingly limp. So tongue-in-cheek the tongue penetrates said cheek – a visual that's still be better than any of the material in Lucky Stiff. Imagine bombing at the Apollo in the '80s. This is somehow worse.

    68. One Hell Of A Christmas (2002)

    Dir. Shaky González

    Starring: Tolo Montana, Thure Lindhardt

    A movie so conceptually bonkers has no right being this boring. Through one way or another – explanations not González's strong suit – an amulet or artifact or whatever pits one man against undead strippers, a blood-hungry stuffed animal and more possessed demons. Christmas touches spruce up trailer-trash aesthetics, but González spends too much time emphasizing influences from Robert Rodriguez's El Mariachi (intended or not) with none of Rodriguez's early success or energy.

    67. Krampus: The Reckoning (2015)

    Dir. Robert Conway

    Starring: Monica Engesser, Amelia Haberman, James Ray

    In this Krampus movie, our patron saint of Christmas evil is bound to some twig-figure found in the woods by an immortal(?) girl. Whenever little miss darkness gets mad, Krampus comes and lights whoever "wronged" her on fire (Krampus, in PlayStation One pixelated form). Pure lameness sans one or two quick glimpses that appear to be competent effects (before CGI blurs all) and one hilarious line delivery in the form of "Mom, there's a drunk cop at the door." All in all, extremely missable and in the least fun way (SO. MUCH. YAMMERING.).

    66. Mother Krampus (2017)

    Dir. James Klass

    Starring: Claire-Maria Fox, Tony Manders

    Mother Krampus, the Beetlejuice/Candyman of Xmas Horror, appears if you say her name three times to make gingerskin cookies from your back blubber. She's also got, like, a Freddy-Krueger-esque establishing story, where the old townsfolk are to blame for her curse? What matters is a female "Krampus" loves eating her victims – that, and the entire movie is generic to a fault. Like 20 legends crammed into one cloaked, pale-faced ghoul, plus a weird divorced mom/dad reunion for added "WTF-ery." Not today, Christmas Satan!

    65. The Blackout (2009)

    Dir. Robert David Sanders

    Starring: Barbara Streifel Sanders, Joseph Dunn, Ian Malcolm

    It's the Christmas season, electricity goes dark and an alien race starts decapitating an apartment complex full of targets. Sounds like genre fun, but Robert David Sanders presses hard on expectancies that become tiresome after mere minutes – not to mention all the goofs. Why aren't glasses of water rippling during "tremor" sequences? Why is a small child who's "stuck in the basement" found at the highest point of an elevator shaft? How can a character punch away his scaly attacker's piercing tail when before it sliced through flesh like butter? It's not worth the headache, I assure you.

    64. Christmas Slay (2015)

    Dir. Steve Davis

    Starring: Dani Thompson, Frank Jakeman, Laura Ellen Wilson, Lydia Kay

    Psychotic asylum patient escapes in a Santa suit, starts killing hot ladies on vacation with their flings, the whole ordeal ends terribly for everyone. Stop me if you've heard this setup before. The slasher ideals are all there, but most of the film is just cleavage-leaning ladies in short-pajama-shorts and tank tops chatting – then some slashing at the end for good measure. Egregious sound design (common theme so far), fine enough action, but the horror aspects that matter are all fairly hackish. Another lump of coal.

    63. Krampus Unleashed (2016)

    Dir. Robert Conway

    Starring: Amelia Brantley, Emily Lynne Aiken, Dujhan Brown

    Krampus: Unleashed is the second Robert Conway Krampus movie on this list – neither of which are connected. This one a slight upgrade, if only for the numerous intestine rips and actual Krampus costume. Conway rips guts out like that's the only practical effect his team perfected – sorry, a few decapitations do sneak in – and it's one soulless affair.

    62. A Cadaver Christmas (2011)

    Dir. Joe Zerull

    Starring: Daniel Rairdin-Hale, Hanlon Smith-Dorsey, Yosh Hayashi

    You can tell A Cadaver Christmas was made with the best of intentions, but the end result is a meta-midnight grindhouse homage that does little to jingle one's bells. All the characters are intended stereotypes (The Janitor, The Cop, The Drunk, etc), jokes purposely draped with gaudy tinsel, gore of the fakest nature – but it's all so very underwhelming. Like, why does it take forever for a main character to zombify when a side-character transitions in under a minute? What's so funny about a cop's goat-bonin' perp boinking a charred cadaver? Why does it take so long for the action to start? The great mysteries of life...

    61. Silent Night, Deadly Night Part V: The Toy Maker (1991)

    Dir. Martin Kitrosser

    Starring: Mickey Rooney, Brian Bremer, Clint Howard, Jane Higginson,

    I'll admit, there's something sexually traumatizing about a life-sized Ken doll humping a female character with his smoothed-off crotch bump while screaming "I love you mommy!" This is way after Mickey Rooney is introduced as Joe Petto, a toy store owner who...well, let's just say he has a teenage son named Pino. Joe Petto. Pino. Whatever you're thinking right now, yes. Part 5 is a tremendous departure from the first three – on insanity par with Part 4 – and has nothing to do with Ricky Caldwell from earlier entries (except Clint Howard maybe reprises his role as "Ricky" from Part 4 because how many Ricky's can there be in the Silent Night, Deadly Night franchise?).

    60. Once Upon A Time At Christmas (2017)

    Dir. Paul Tanter

    Starring: Simon Phillips, Sayla de Goede, Laurel Brady

    Ever wish for a slasher movie based on the "12 Days Of Christmas?" That is Once Upon A Time At Christmas, the only low-budget slasher flick to feature a "drummers only" music event (gotta find those 12 drummers drumming somewhere). Two psychopaths play Santa and Mrs. Claus ("be Harley Quinn, except at Christmas" is presumably the only direction Mrs.'s actress received), as they axe their way through a small New York town driven by the night's song lyric. Sounds like fun, but Santa didn't bring an effects budget or technical showmanship in his bag this year it seems. Boo-hoo-hoo.

    59. The Gingerdead Man (2005)

    Dir. Charles Band

    Starring: Gary Busey, Robin Sydney, Ryan Locke, Larry Cedar

    Is The Gingerdead Man truly Christmas Horror? A doughy delinquent's murder spree isn't tethered to the Xmas holiday itself, but when else do you eat gingerbread? Plus, how do I NOT include a possessed inanimate object flick that stars Gary Busey? It's not very good – and the sequels have even less festive connection so they're not included – but hey, you can't have Christmas without milk and cookies.

    58. Two Front Teeth (2006)

    Dir. David Thomas Sckrabulis, Jamie Nash

    Starring: Johnny Francis Wolf, Megan Pearson

    Never did I imagine one Xmas Horror film could contain zombie elves, "Clausferatu" and a massive Easter Bunny werewolf. Nor did an Xmas-Files "X-Files" ripoff ever seem possible. Yet, here we are discussing Two Front Teeth – an inventive genre jingle that sticks nary a landing. At least you'll get two or three hilariously bad seasonal sex puns in the very first scene? "C'mon baby, Santa's chestnuts are roasting!"

    57. Jack Frost 2: Revenge Of The Mutant Killer Snowman (2000)

    Dir. Michael Cooney

    Starring: Christopher Allport, Doug Jones, Jennifer Lyons, Scott MacDonald, Ian Abercrombie

    The first time I ever watched this Jack Frost sequel was pre-horror obsession. Up late one night, with endless cable stations at my choosing. "A killer snowman movie that takes place on a paradise resort? Cooing snowballs? I'm in." Easy choice, right? Well, let's just say execution is just as wonky as the description – hammy performances, insane kills that lack the spirit of the original frosty spree. It's the "...In Space" kind of sequel to a franchise yet to be established past one lucky dice-roll. And there's a reason why Jack hasn't been heard from since.

    56. To All A Goodnight (1980)

    Dir. David Hess

    Starring: Jennifer Runyon, Kiva Lawrence, Sam Shamshak

    Oh, no. To All A Goodnight is bad. Very bad. The first 30 seconds alone are enough to enrage any slasher fan, as writer Alex Rebar and maestro David Hess take less than a minute to establish the film's driving motivation – a sorority murder on Christmas (I think?). Then the credits speedily kick in, some womanly types invite boys over and they start getting slashed apart by a killer Santa because...? Oh right. That blink-and-you-miss-it intro clip. Dialogue is cracker stale, performances you'd expect from actors who never worked again and kills wholly lost to shoddy camera work. It gets better, I promise.

    55. Elves (1989)

    Dir. Jeff Mandel

    Starring: Dan Haggerty, Julie Austin, Deanna Lund

    What a perfected cheesefest for midnight watches fueled by spiked eggnog or coco. From the film's insane story – "A young woman discovers that she is the focus of an evil Nazi experiment involving selective breeding and summoned elves, an attempt to create a race of supermen" – to a single elf puppet whose face doesn't even come with moving parts (even though the movie is titled "Elves" plural), this is so-bad-it's-good as only the '80s and Dan Haggerty can deliver. I mean, a sober mall Santa who constantly spouts exposition by talking to himself has to save a teenager who's slapped by her Grandpa and abused by her mother all within the first 10 minutes – and then the murderous elf shows up followed by Nazi goons. 20/10 entertainment rating, 1.5/5 cinematic value. Your choice (but watch it).

    54. Silent Night, Zombie Night (2009)

    Dir. Sean Cain

    Starring: Jack Forcinito, Andy Hopper, Lew Temple, Vernon Wells, Felissa Rose

    "Always love when my zombie movies turn out to be love-triangle dramas," he says with extreme sarcasm. It's Christmas and a two LAPD partners find themselves waiting out the zombie apocalypse with one of their wives – whom the other loves. There's some gore and bloody makeup gashes, but gunshots are CGI and far too much scene work is spent unspooling this overplayed web of "two love interests, one wife." No balance, no treats, just a forgettable rom-zom-dram.

    53. Secret Santa (2015)

    Dir. Mike McMurran

    Starring: Annette Wozniak, Brent Baird, Tony Nash

    How there hasn't been a seasonal slasher titled "Secret Santa" before 2015 is beyond this genre reviewer, but here it is, for better and worse. Typical drunk Christmas fun-seekers attempt to hook up, get wasted and trade presents. Expected slasher villain starts picking them off one by one. The problem? We never care because most these exaggerated student stereotypes are so annoying we pray for their swift demise, no matter how hard you try to play nice for Santa. One or two fun kills, but the party's over before it even begins.

    52. Dismembering Christmas (2015)

    Dir. Austin Bosley

    Starring: Baker Chase Powell, Johnathon Krautkramer, Leah Wiseman, Nina Kova

    Your standard "friends gather in the woods, are warned of local legends but party irresponsibly anyway." Minimum budget, some fun kills (razor wreath and candy cane pain) but ultimately everything you've seen before. The first IMDB trivia note says this is "the first Slasher Studios film not to have any direct homages to previous horror films" – but, I mean, wasn't the sledding kill directly Silent Night, Deadly Night? At the very least?

    51. Red Christmas (2016)

    Dir. Craig Anderson

    Starring: Dee Wallace, Geoff Morrell, David Collins, Sarah Bishop, Janis McGavin

    The casting of Dee Wallace doesn't make for an instant holiday horror classic. Don't get me wrong, Red Christmas goes for some gory kills, but man, cinematography and lensing recreates an HD home recording, and we're not even talking "found footage." Mix that with an abortion subtheme and a slasher villain whose mask does little to strike fear and yeah, you've got yourself a "red" Christmas. Also "grating," "underdeveloped" and "too reliant on kills."

    50. Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 3: Better Watch Out! (1989)

    Dir. Monte Hellman

    Starring: Samantha Scully, Bill Moseley, Eric DaRe, Laura Harring, Robert Culp

    Only in the Silent Night, Deadly Night franchise does a slasher about telepathy, a recast Ricky Caldwell (now Bill Moseley), and an exposed cranial dome not out-weird the other entries. A shame too, because obscurity is just about the only thing Monte Hellman has going for his production – the movie itself deceptively stale, and rather actionless. No memorable killing sprees like Part 2 or lunatic performances. Better Watch Out! comes and goes quicker than a bottle of vino on Christmas Eve, barely deserving a mention in the annals of Christmas Horror glory.

    49. The Dorm That Dripped Blood (1982)

    Dir. Stephen Carpenter, Jeffrey Obrow

    Starring: Daphne Zuniga, Laurie Lapinski, Stephen Sachs

    Even for an '80s slasher, very little substance of consequence occurs in The Dorm That Dripped Blood until a finale that tries to punk you something fierce. Misdirection like a brick to the face. Death sequences go practical with such utter dummification that some laughs are shared (a great drill-to-the-head bit with a plastered noggin), but alas, storytelling is not this collegiate goodwill project's forte. Who would rather empty out a dormitory over going home for Christmas vacation, anyway?

    48. Red Christmas (2014)

    Dir. Steve Rudzinski

    Starring: Amie Wrenn, Seth Gontkovic

    Conceptually, Red Christmas strings festive streamers around gender-bashed slasher dynamics mixed with found footage torture porn. It's a demented hybrid of so my genre styles, but even at 50-ish minutes long, characters end up repeating dialogue and effects find little new worth destroying. Extremely DIY, pitch-damn-dark, deceptively clever but ultimately a one-note slaughter with rubbery limbs and blood that shoots like a soda fountain dispenser. Not my cup o' tea, but indie roadies out there shouldn't be scared off.

    47. All Through The House (2015)

    Dir. Todd Nunes

    Starring: Ashley Mary Nunes, Jessica Cameron

    Upon the film's first kill – a gruesome shower attack – slasher fans may think Santa has come early. In a very indie regard, gore effects assure nothing will be held back and it looks pretty damn good compared to similar affairs. But then? Lackluster ploting recycles the same scantily-clad "sex bimbos" formula since those who are at their most naked always seem to die. A male-gazy throwback no less, yet "shock" is used so much that severed wieners become an expectancy, not squeal-first surprise. Sex, death, and a literal bag of dicks gratify the film's absurd trainwreck of a finale – a mother's love gone one snip too far.

    46. Don’t Open Till Christmas (1984)

    Dir. Edmund Purdom

    Starring: Edmund Purdom, Alan Lake, Belinda Mayne

    Listen, I'm suspect numero uno when it comes to loving cheesy '80s slashers. So why didn't Don't Open Till Christmas shine bright like a diamond in my eyes? Overreacting to the max, awkward cutaways, a Santa slaying fetish – all the makings of a great Xmas Horror entry, but execution is more off-putting than potent. From the producer of Pieces comes a very "From the producer of Pieces" seasonal genre flavor – I just wish the bow didn't unravel so early on.

    45. Infinite Santa 8000 (2013)

    Dir. Michael Neel

    Starring: Duane Bruce, Tara Henry, Michael Neel

    It's the dystopian future. Santa lives on a ranch with his robo-reindeer (Randolph, lol) and a rescue named Martha. Gladiatorial Thunderdome victories are the only way to collect food. Yup, this animated Mad Max retread is every ounce as madcap as descriptions suggest. Right down to Santa devouring the corpse of his enemy just to survive. A wonderful 45-minute gag, but clocking in over 90 minutes, this rough-around-the-edges cartoon gets old, onkey lobster monsters, flying lizard beasts, robot assassins and all.

    44. The Path (2012)

    Dir. Miguel Ángel Toledo

    Starring: Gustavo Salmerón, Irene Visedo

    Atmosphere? Schizophrenic visions? A solid leading effort from Gustavo Salmerón? The Path (La Senda) has all that. A chess player being bested by his own preoccupations and overanalysis, but is this even reality? That's for you to decide as you stumble through this "seeing is maybe not believing" snow-covered thriller – a task that's not always chills and excitement.

    43. The Melancholy Fantastic (2016)

    Dir. A.D. Calvo

    Starring: Amy Crowdis, Robin Lord Taylor, Josh Caras

    As Christmas horror goes, The Melancholy Fantastic might be the most far-flung relation when it comes to mainstream opinions. A girl, her cracked-face doll and crushing amounts of grief. A.D. Calvo knows a slow-burn (Sweet, Sweet Lonely Girl gets a nod), but there's a lot of dead air here that could have been reignited. Only worth a recommendation to the more "ambitious" seasonal "art-house horror" seekers.

    42. Good Tidings (2016)

    Dir. Stuart W. Bedford

    Starring: Colin Murtagh, Claire Crossland

    In this choppy ode to street-trash flicks of Troma past, three deranged psychopaths dress up like mall Santas and hack a commune of homeless vagrants to death. The three murderers – dubbed Moe, Larry and Curly in the credits – use their holiday tools of destruction to inflict the largest amount of pain possible. Severed heads, bloody candy canes and more are the weapons of choice, but it's an 80-minute plot dragged on an extra 20 minutes more than necessary.

    41. Holidays (2016)

    Dir. Scott Stewart (segment)

    Starring: Seth Green, Clare Grant

    Ranking based on the Christmas short, not Holidays as a whole. I rather liked this anthology film overall.

    Scott Stewart's (Legion) Christmas gift-giving disaster gets points for avoiding an easy holiday massacre, focusing instead on the impending cultural takeover of virtual reality headsets and internet databases. Seth Green stars as a distraught father who'll do anything to snag a UVU headset (think Oculus Rift), in a very struggling-family-man-frustrated-with-life kind of way. Of course the toy store is sold out when Green arrives, but through unsavory means he secures the hot-ticket item. It's one of those technological warning motifs, but a weaker "twist" ending ruins the larger potential inherent in the societal commentary. A great idea, but a bit underbaked.

    40. Body (2015)

    Dir. Dan Berk, Robert Olsen

    Starring: Helen Rogers, Alexandra Turshen, Lauren Molina, Larry Fessenden

    Three stoned/drunk girls decide to party in one of their uncle's empty houses – key under the mat, no one home. Except, it's not the uncle's house? That's when Larry Fessenden shows up – and promptly "dies" after a staircase stumble when the girls try to dash by the enraged groundskeeper. Let the morality boggling and blame-gaming begin – in a way that's not terribly inviting and oddly macabre, unfortunately.

    39. ATM (2012)

    Dir. David Brooks

    Starring: Alice Eve, Josh Peck, Brian Geraghty

    One location, multiple bodies, and a nameless killer – check. No backbone, no real twist, just an exploitation of isolated trappings – boo. ATM wraps feeling incomplete and without meaning, like some bad PSA about the dangers of night snacking or late night cash withdrawals. Do everything you can to void this transaction.

    38. P2 (2007)

    Dir. Franck Khalfoun

    Starring: Wes Bentley, Rachel Nichols

    A single white female trapped in a parking garage. The "lonely" security guard who just wants to make a new friend. Franck Khalfoun does well in the first half of P2 to generate tension and terror as Angela (Rachel Nichols) tries to escape her company's parking structure after nightwatchman Thomas (Wes Bentley) locks her in...then campy undertones become a mood-killing distraction. Bentley screaming like Howard Dean, too many "WHY IS SHE DOING THAT" moments and an aggressively brutal (re: not-needed) dog death make for a frustrating back half.

    37. Black Christmas (2006)

    Dir. Glen Morgan

    Starring: Katie Cassidy, Michelle Trachtenberg, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Lacey Chabert, Kristen Cloke, Andrea Martin, Crystal Lowe, Oliver Hudson, Karin Konoval

    As far as 2000s slasher remakes go, there is midnight fun to be had with this decades-jumping update. Sure, Billy and Agnes' reveal is horrendously botched – forever my gripe – but some of you may have enough fun with sorority babes running for their lives. Take everything about the original, strip the dread, replace it with model sorority hotties of the decade and presto, you've got the Black Christmas remake.

    36. Sint (2010)

    Dir. Dick Maas

    Starring: Egbert Jan Weeber, Caro Lenssen, Huub Stapel

    Hungry B-movie lovers might enjoy Dick Maas' holiday treat to horror fans, but for me, Saint (Sint) falls short of insta-cult worship compared to a film like Rare Exports. Watch for the gore and stay for evil pissed-off bishop Santa, just don't expect high-quality dubbing (the only version readily available) or fleet-of-foot plotting. Kills are plentiful as jolly old Saint Nick doles out beheadings like fruitcakes on Christmas night,  yet even "Santa's demonic look can't spark the fun-filled genre feast that you'd expect.

    35. Stalled (2013)

    Dir. Christian James

    Starring: Dan Palmer, Antonia Bernath, Mark Holden

    Has there been a single-setting thriller from inside a bathroom stall yet? I don't think so. During Christmas? Definitely not. With zombies? You're speaking' my language, Stalled. Even better is the very slapstick British sensibility of director Christian James and writer/actor Dan Palmer who evoke short bursts of Edgar Wright during his Spaced period, specifically a drug-trip hallway dance number with undead backup waltzers.

    34. Mercy Christmas (2017)

    Dir. Ryan Nelson

    Starring: Steven Hubbell, Casey O'Keefe, Cole Gleason, Whitney Nielsen

    You know what, Mercy Christmas is ridiculously farfetched and not very spooky, but it kinda' works. A family of cannibals fret over Christmas dinner with the same holiday anxieties we all do, except their recipes are a bit different. This one reminds me of a New Zealand genre flick called Fresh Meat; comical and zany, the kind of script that names its lead captive Michael "Briskett" then never looks back. And you know what? It works if you don't take it too seriously.

    33. The Munsters’ Scary Little Christmas (1996)

    Dir. Ian Emes

    Starring: Sam McMurray, Ann Magnuson, Bug Hall, Sandy Baron, Mary Woronov, Elaine Hendrix

    When you sign up for a Munsters Christmas special, you know exactly what to expect. Syndicated sight gags and super-cheesy family humor helps lil' Eddie find the Christmas spirit once again. Santa turns into a fruitcake, elves chant "Silicon!" when fantasizing about supermodels (I heard that correctly, right?), over-the-top Creepsmas decorations displease neighbors and win over pretentious judges. This is expectedly enjoyable for Munsters fans and introductory holiday horror lovers alike.

    32. Alien Raiders (2008)

    Dir. Ben Rock

    Starring: Carlos Bernard, Mathew St. Patrick, Rockmond Dunbar, Courtney Ford

    Alien Raiders totally works a serious-but-silly '90s vibe, because what's more fun than an extraterrestrial invasion around Christmas? Everything goes haywire for a small-town supermarket when a parasitic "King" reveals itself and space monster hunters crash the party. Cue The Thing inspirations, squirmy gore and nifty creature effects. One of those perfectly suitable Netflix/VOD watches.

    31. The Curse Of The Cat People (1944)

    Dir. Gunther von Fritsch, Robert Wise

    Starring: Simone Simon, Kent Smith, Jane Randolph

    Blessed be a Hollywood era that understood marathon running lengths aren't required to develop intricate stories. It only takes 70 minutes for The Curse of The Cat People to turn a child's preference of imaginary friends over real ones into a mysterious tale of parental encouragement and inherent hang-ups. The little girl almost dies in the process, but everything ends with a hint of sweetness thanks to an interwoven ghost story.

    30. Films To Keep You Awake: A Christmas Tale (2005)

    Dir. Paco Plaza

    Starring: Maru Valdivielso, Pau Poch, Ivana Baquero, Elsa Pataky, Daniel Casadellà

    A Christmas Tale doesn't sprint out of the gate – especially with the sunny coastal backdrop – but when it hits stride, Paco Plaza strings together juvenile survival instincts with a zombified twist. First it's about a group of kids (who dub themselves the A-Team) keeping their newest find trapped in a hole. What could be so precious? A Santa-suited female who's wanted by the police. They fight, fumble ideas and grow too imaginative like kids do, but then it all wraps with one slip-and-slide to remember. Short and brisk, plenty of character. Good enough for me.

    29. Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (1971)

    Dir. Curtis Harrington

    Starring: Shelley Winters, Mark Lester, Chloe Franks, Ralph Richardson

    As far as Hansel and Gretel reimaginings go – Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters being the best obviously – this British import is a maniacal mother's nightmare mixed with the upstanding charm of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Delightful little orphan runts who sound like they've ingested helium run away from a poor benefactor who hosts a Christmas party. The children, think Mrs. Forrest to be a witch; Mrs. Forrest is an otherwise demented socialite who likens one of the orphans to be her replacement daughter. More comical guffaws than horror, but if you're into dark '70s fairy tales, this may just suit your tastes.

    28. Calvaire (2004)

    Dir. Fabrice du Welz

    Starring: Laurent Lucas, Jackie Berroyer, Brigitte Lahaie

    A musician en route to a Christmas gig suffers from car trouble, breaking down along a desolate stretch of country road. There's an inn, a spacy innkeeper and villagers he's told to avoid – you know where this is going. Or do you? As the backcountry situation morphs from comfort to imprisonment, Fabrice du Welz settles for a nice European Deliverance theme that's equal parts unsettling and psychotic. Ugh, the animal squeal – try wiping that screech from your memory.

    27. Wind Chill (2007)

    Dir. Gregory Jacobs

    Starring: Emily Blunt, Ashton Holmes, Martin Donovan, Ned Bellamy

    Before ridesharing underwent the (loose) security of Uber and Lyft vetting, carpool movies like Wind Chill were still possible. A pretty young college girl requiring a ride back home for Christmas; the nervous stalker who fabricates a whole persona just to drive for 6-hours in a locked car with his crush. That's not even the worst of it. The car careens off the road after an intentional swerve from an oncoming driver, stranding both travelers alongside a quiet winter's landscape where time stops. Intentions are exposed and hooded tormentors walk free in what stands as a serviceable paradox thriller, at the very least as a creepy first-date nightmare that exploits forced "nice guy" syndrome.

    26. Christmas Evil (1980)

    Dir. Lewis Jackson

    Starring: Brandon Maggart, Jeffrey DeMunn, Dianne Hull

    When John Waters is the loudest critical voice supporting a film, expect the absurd. Such is the case of Christmas Evil (aka You Better Watch Out), in which a young Harry Stadling (later played by Brandon Maggart) is sent spiraling into psychosis when he learns Santa isn't real. Then, as an adult, he suffers a full mental breakdown and starts killing "naughty" souls who don't deserve one of his presents – a deranged, carol-mumbling, child-spying, asylum worthy performance by Maggart. It's far more ridiculous and hilariously edited than slasher-scary, but those collectors of cinematic oddities will guffaw and cock their head in perplexed fashion along with Harry's final tune.

    25. Jack Frost (1997)

    Dir. Michael Cooney

    Starring: Shannon Elizabeth, Scott MacDonald, Christopher Allport, F. William Parker

    Jack Frost is Child's Play except instead of a doll it's a snowman and instead of voodoo transference it's genetic sludge. A serial killer's soul finds itself in a snowman (yes) and he goes on a frozen killing spree sprinkled with terrible/fantastic puns. Sled decapitations, Picasso rearrangements and Shannon Elizabeth's first acting role (which might be one of my favorite holiday horror deaths). Director Michael Cooney never sets out to make a serious slasher flick, and with that in mind, Jack Frost ends up being far more fun than it has any right to be. Just don't confuse this for the Michael Keaton film if you're babysitting.

    24. Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

    Dir. Charles E. Sellier Jr.

    Starring: Linnea Quigley, Lilyan Chauvin, Robert Brian Wilson

    Silent Night, Deadly Night is a snow-covered slasher that does a lot right. Some of the orphanage scenes may not be perfect, but the idea of this psycho Santa punishing naughty people around Christmas works given his batshit origins. You've got Linnea Quigley gettin' horned, decoration-themed deaths, a killer who may be not Ricky Caldwell but who still rustles our crazy jollies. Silent Night, Deadly Night is infamous in title because it was pulled from theaters, yet the content itself is more what we should be talking about.

    23. Silent Night (2012)

    Dir. Steven C. Miller

    Starring: Malcolm McDowell, Jaime King, Donal Logue, Ellen Wong

    An overlooked gem when it comes to jollified genre treats, Steven C. Miller's Silent Night is a loose remake of 1984's infamous Silent Night, Deadly Night that sacrifices not an ounce of madness. The cast is stellar – Malcolm McDowell does that for a movie – and deaths so brutal that Billy Chapman would even shed a tear. Woodchipper chomping, axe defacing, Mr. Flamethrower – so many fond memories. What more can you ask for? (Don't answer that.)

    22. Home For The Holidays (1972)

    Dir. John Llewellyn Moxey

    Starring: Jessica Walter, Sally Field, Jill Haworth, Julie Harris, Eleanor Parker, Walter Brennan

    With so many random slashers and feature affairs on this list, the soapy predictability of John Llewellyn Moxey's made-for-TV mystery is somewhat refreshing. The story is simple: a '70s-era Jessica Walter and Sally Field rush to their father's mansion because he suspects he's being poisoned slowly, only for them to be hunted one-by-one (alongside two other sisters). It's all very primetime television – dramatic glances into the camera, ominous thunderclaps every time a character stops talking, facial zooms for no reason – but without commercials, this 70-ish minute whodunnit breezes by.

    21. Tales From The Crypt - “...And All Through The House” segment (1972/1989)

    Dir. Robert Zemeckis, Freddie Francis

    Starring: John Kassir, Mary Ellen Trainor, Larry Drake, Marshall Bell, Joan Collins

    The Crypt-Keeper's evil Xmas story has seen two incarnations. First as part of Freddie Francis' 1972 film with Joan Collins as his muse, then revamped in 1989 by director Robert Zemeckis, written by Fred Dekker. Zemeckis' 22-minute home invasion thriller plays its cards right by packing two delicious twists into a simple story. Cue a lot – I mean a LOT – of actress Mary Ellen Trainor's blood-curdling victim's scream. This is a bedtime story for the criminally insane. A fun little party starter, if you ask me.

    20. Silent Night, Bloody Night (1972)

    Dir. Theodore Gershuny

    Starring: James Patterson, Patrick O'Neal, Mary Woronov, Astrid Heeren, John Carradine, Walter Abel

    In the early '70s, Christmas was tainted by a seasonal housebound thriller about a killer who coaxed victims into his clutches by disguising his voice over the phone... Er, actually it seems there were TWO such titles. You immediately thought Black Christmas, right? Track back two years and you've got Theodore Gershuny's Silent Night, Bloody Night, which methinks might have influenced the more notable Xmas slasher classic. This one is more of a small-town realtor nightmare due to a house's unstable past and the history that repeats itself. Stoke the fire a bit and cuddle up for a Black Christmas/Silent Night, Bloody Night double-feature. What a creepy, educational treat that'd be for genre fans!

    19. La Nuit du Reveillon (2011)

    Dir. Serge Meynard

    Starring: Quentin Baillot, Armelle Deutsch, Jean-Pierre Lorit

    In America, direct-to-television Christmas specials are all about romance, covert Santas and wishes coming true. In France, apparently you can get hostage situations structured around infidelity, corporate scumminess and making seasons a whole lot darker. La Nuit du Reveillon (titled Silent Night Bloody Night stateside) is a slice of Bûche de Noël when you're expecting stale sugar cookies if only because the "televised" distribution makes us wince based on experience.

    18. Blood Beat (1983)

    Dir. Fabrice A. Zaphiratos

    Starring: Helen Benton, Terry Brown, Dana Day

    My own words cannot describe Blood Beat better than the plot synopsis on IMDB already does: "A woman who lives in deer-hunting country in rural Wisconsin is possessed by the spirit of a Japanese samurai warrior." Sounds craz-mazing, right? Even when knowing the "how," this hog-wild slasher defies expectations. As outlandish and farfetched '80s camp goes, it's unfathomably outlandish, and gratuitously farfetched. Death and sex splattered together during a family Christmas getaway, glowing samurai forms, impalement... Happy holidays?

    17. Night Train Murders (1975)

    Dir. Aldo Lado

    Starring: Flavio Bucci, Macha Méril, Gianfranco De Grassi, Marina Berti, Irene Miracle

    Maybe don't watch this one with the family on Christmas? Aldo Lado's savage exploitation journey depicts sexually explicit assaults that torment the eyes and psyche, all set to a signature Ennio Morricone score. Two thugs and a socialite nymphomaniac take two innocent girls hostage on an overnight train ride, and yes, there's murder. Also vengeance on the backside. For a '70s Italian poke-the-bear pedal pusher? There's certainly nothing to "love" – but plenty to appreciate from a cinematic standpoint.

    16. Dead End (2003)

    Dir. Jean-Baptiste Andrea, Fabrice Canepa

    Starring: Ray Wise, Lin Shaye, Mick Cain, Alexandra Holden

    While some people dread family get-togethers, others loathe the car ride there. Assumedly filmmakers Jean-Baptiste Andrea and Fabrice Canepa are two such people, given how Dead End is a neverending journey to grandma's house. One final road trip down a stretch of forest highway that never ends, just because dad (Ray Wise) decided to choose the scenic route for once. Sound corny? With a likable '90s vibe, tremendous lunacy from two genre vets (including Lin Shaye), a driverless roadster and deathly trials for each family member, this indie ends up being a path less traveled that more should seek.

    15. Santa’s Slay (2005)

    Dir. David Steiman

    Starring: Bill Goldberg, Douglas Smith, Emilie de Ravin, Robert Culp, Dave Thomas, Saul Rubinek, Rebecca Gayheart, Chris Kattan, Fran Drescher, James Caan

    My love for Santa's Slay is real. Bill Goldberg as Santa, AKA the Antichrist. Explosive presents that behead children. Chris Kattan getting the everloving holiday snot beaten out of him. What isn't there to love here? It's certainly tipping the scale of comedy more than horror, but that's fine given how much stupid fun there is to be had. A perfect kind of Netflix watch with some spiked goodies and emphasis on getting lost in Creepsmas cheer – nothing wrong with stupid fun now and again.

    14. Sheitan (2006)

    Dir. Kim Chapiron

    Starring: Vincent Cassel, Monica Bellucci, Roxane Mesquida, Olivier Barthelemy, Leïla Bekhti

    Kim Chapiron's less terrifying, more unsettling flick is one of those "Christmas-ish" horror movies because it merely uses Christmas Eve as a backdrop. Frankly, the date is only mentioned once or twice by three horny club-heads who end up heading to a secluded farmhouse with one of their potential hookups. Turns out Vincent Cassel plays a legendary nutcase in the form of Joseph, the house's caretaker, and the group of immature horndogs find themselves in an all-too-weird sleepover situation. Chapiron dances the lines of both "Christmas" and "Horror" all too vaguely, but Cassel's deliciously mad racist, simpleton doll enthusiast makes Sheitan too much fun not to include, even if I'm still trying to piece everything together.

    13. A Christmas Horror Story (2015)

    Dir. Grant Harvey, Steven Hoban, Brett Sullivan

    Starring: William Shatner, George Buza, Rob Archer, Julian Richings, Zoé De Grand Maison, Alex Ozerov

    I'm a real sucker for anthology horror and A Christmas Horror Story is one of the most underrated gems in both Xmas and indie horror of the past few years. Radio DJ "Dangerous" Dan (played by William Shatner) rings in another merry season for his listeners in the form of not-so-nice holiday tales. Tree cutting mishaps, found footage scares, zombie elves, a throwdown between Krampus and Santa – not every segment is a winner, but the quality ratio favors audiences.

    12. Better Watch Out (2016)

    Dir. Chris Peckover

    Starring: Olivia DeJonge, Levi Miller Ed Oxenbould, Dacre Montgomery, Patrick Warburton, Virginia Madsen, Aleks Mikic

    During its festival run, people either seemed to love or hate Better Watch Out. Me? I'm somewhere in the middle. Performances are, and without question, the film's greatest gift to the world. That said, there's a twist – I'm sure you've heard – and reactions differ tremendously on execution. Some patrons even cried injustice on marketing materials that sold them "the wrong movie." Know that going in and brace yourself for what I consider to be gleefully gruesome, pitch black invasion horror combed with the brightest seasonal touches.

    11. The Children (2008)

    Dir. Tom Shankland

    Starring: Eva Birthistle, Stephen Campbell Moore, Hannah Tointon, Rachel Shelley, Jeremy Sheffield

    Could you kill a child if they started killing first? That's what Tom Shankland's The Children dares to ask, as a rage-virus like disease turns daughters and sons against their parents. Opening scenes begin like any indie might, some wobbly acting and a bizarre setup – but then the children warp innocence into a playtime victim hunt. What's promised is delivered – terrifying tots and a savage fight for survival – in what might be one of the season's more unsung holiday must-sees.

    10. Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (1987)

    Dir. Lee Harry

    Starring: Eric Freeman, James Newman, Elizabeth Kaitan, and everyone from Silent Night, Deadly Night

    For the first 30-or-so minutes, Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 is repurposed scenes from the original with Ricky Caldwell's narration. The rest? Slasher sequel infamy. You don't even need to see Silent Night, Deadly Night because most the deaths/important plot details are replayed. Then slasher calamity comes flying faster than Santa's reindeer. Mr. Umbrella Man, the movie theater bit, "Garbage Day!," a billion other quotable cues – Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 is the slasher your momma warned you about, which makes it an even better after-hours watch.

    9. Treevenge (2008)

    Dir. Jason Eisener

    Starring: Jonathan Torrens, Sarah Dunsworth

    Yes, this is the only short film I'll be including here because Treevenge is, bar none, the most enjoyable holiday horror stocking stuffer (at 20-ish minutes). A revolution rages as Christmas trees fight back against the humans who harvest, decorate and plant their corpses for entertainment value. Is it insane? Of course! Prickly furs hopping on their chopped stumps and talking in a forest language. Grotesque kill sequences with snaking branches and practical blood effects gushing from a whole range of victims. It just isn't Christmas anymore unless I watch Treevenge.

    8. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)

    Dir. Jalmari Helander

    Starring: Onni Tommila, Jorma Tommila, Tommi Korpela

    The majesty of Rare Exports is...disturbing. Fun, fresh and full of fleshy Santa followers – seriously, prepare for a dongslaught – with a bedtime aesthetic, but Black-Phillip-dark. Just like us genre fans like it. Even better? Main characters range in age so we get both youthful and adult perspectives as a behemoth St. Nick monster thaws, his release bringing apocalyptic doom. It'll make you feel like a kid again, comforting in the most wicked, warped way. Yuletide magic with a heavy dose of imaginations running too wild to believe – until you're face to face with death.

    7. The Day Of The Beast (1995)

    Dir. Álex de la Iglesia

    Starring: Álex Angulo, Armando De Razza, Santiago Segura, Terele Pávez, Nathalie Seseña, Maria Grazia Cucinotta

    Christmas Eve, an antichrist's birth and three heroic eccentrics: the sin-embracing man of God, the patched-up metal head, the televised soothsayer celebrity. These details would be odd to most cinematic worlds, but Álex de la Iglesia is an accomplished conveyor when it comes to shadowy oddities. "El Día De La Bestia" is no different, melding cultist doomsdaying with a wryly comical vibe that would pave a golden genre road for the enthusiastic filmmaker. The Witch, eat your heart out. De La Iglesia was making evil goats cool way before 2016. A buddy comedy with a heavy helping of headbanging and religious blasphemy. What else is worth watching around Christmas!

    6. Anna And The Apocalypse (2017)

    Dir. John McPhail

    Starring: Ella Hunt, Malcolm Cumming, Sarah Swire, Christopher Leveaux, Ben Wiggins, Mark Benton, Paul Kaye

    Disclaimer: Anna And The Apocalypse still has no distribution after premiering at Fantastic Fest 2017. This fact, for the life of me, cannot be explained. Please watch for a release date like a hawk wearing elf ears.

    As a massive fan of happy-go-not-so-lucky genre hybrids, it should come as no shock that I absolutely dig John McPhail's Anna And The Apocalypse. Nothing is better than dance choreography spliced with zombie killin' meatiness, and that's what you're gettin' by the verse – High School Musical meets Footloose meets Shaun of the Dead. This is one of those films that demands to become a Christmas tradition, a film that is equal parts heartfelt lyricism, powerful voices and bloody good carnage. Apologies for unwrapping this one early and leaving you with no joy yourself. I promise the wait will be worth it.

    5. Krampus (2015)

    Dir. Michael Dougherty

    Starring: Emjay Anthony, Adam Scott, Toni Collette, Stefania LaVie Owen, Krista Stadler, Conchata Ferrell, Allison Tolman, David Koechner

    With Krampus, Michael Dougherty dances a very thin line between dark forces and family values. He's not just here for demonic toy creatures and Krampus scares. A story is told about the true spirit of Christmas, compassion and our gross over-commercialization during December holiday seasons. Don't get me wrong, it's not without fangs – ask Mr. Teddy – but the ambiguity of an ending that's either redemption or damnation asks a valuable question of intent and life's greatest joys.

    Of course, to tell that story, Dougherty pits a celebrating family against a hungry jack-in-the-box, minion elves and one gigantic cloven-footed Krampus. Better to not give up on yearly cheer than learn a lesson from this beastly teacher – no matter how fun this whimsical genre warning may be.

    4. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

    Dir. Henry Selick

    Starring: Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O'Hara, William Hickey, Glenn Shadix, Paul Reubens, Greg Proops

    "Uh, The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Halloween movie!" Oh how contrarian of you! And wrong. Jack Skellington wishes to become dear old Sandy Claws in this very Tim Burtonized stop-motion phenomenon, mixing two famous holidays into one genre exploration. Oogie-Boogie and his burlap baddies, razor-toothed toys, a genuine desire for seasonal happiness despite living in a world of monstrosities...what a delightful family tale. Musical numbers, creepy cheers and Jack's all-around curiosity collides for an all-time type of watch. I mean, would Hot Topic even exist without everyone's favorite singing pile of bones?

    3. Inside (2007)

    Dir. Julien Maury, Alexandre Bustillo

    Starring: Alysson Paradis, Béatrice Dalle

    Ho-ly baby drama. Inside will leave you gasping for air, clenching extremities and utterly gut-torn from 80-ish consecutive minutes Paradis-on-Dalle primal abuse. A pregnant mother-to-be fighting against a rival female invader who intends to harvest the not-even-newborn and run. Father dead, neighboring families gone to their own festivities. Good thing, too – there's so much blood and gore in this flick it probably spilled over into the surrounding yards. This is a seriously sick, sadistic, traumatic, violating watch of dueling mamas that cannot be undersold. Bustillo and Maury earned their provocateur status starting with Inside – you better believe each wince and cringe is doubly earned (while also being a tremendously wrought survival horror flick that breaks down the safety of home and leaves a mess of French maternal extremist gunk behind).

    2. Black Christmas (1974)

    Dir. Bob Clark

    Starring: Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, John Saxon, Marian Waldman, Andrea Martin

    Black Christmas is not only a holiday horror staple, but a seminal slasher classic. Dating back to 1974, Bob Clark's vision is one of the earliest influences on slasher cinema that would overtake the horror genre in the late '70s andearly '80s. Sorority babes trapped during the Christmas holiday, a killer hiding in their attic, his heavy panting heard over the phone – it's absolutely horrifying. Excuse me while I forever remain unsettled by this pinnacle of Christmas Horror devastation.

    1. Gremlins (1984)

    Dir. Joe Dante

    Starring: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton, Corey Feldman, Dick Miller

    As I continue to replay Gremlins year after year, the magic never fades. Cookie baking with Grandma, tree chopping excursions, a comfy Gremlins watch sometime in December – these are festive traditions as far as I'm concerned. Joe Dante is forever credited with stringing together family-friendly mayhem, irreplaceable creature hijinx and playful Christmas storytelling without sacrificing ambition. A Looney Tunes episode with Dante's maniac twists drawn in, if you will. How better to celebrate than with everyone's favorite Mogwai, nasty Gremlin flashers and an entire town being overrun with frolicking jesters of destruction?

    The joy I get from Gremlins equals that of a normal movie fan's affinity towards stop-motion Hermey or Dr. Seuss' Grinch. It's not Christmas until Mrs. Deagle is flying out a window or Phoebe Cates is landing one of the quintessential (anti) Xmas monologues ever to hit cinema. No CGI, hyper zaniness. Sweet lord if a new Gremlins doesn't follow this exact formula (because you know they're going to make one), someone will owe me an explanation.