Now Scream This: Celebrate The Holidays With These Streaming Horror Movies

(Welcome to Now Scream This, a column where horror experts Chris Evangelista and Matt Donato tell you what scary, spooky, and spine-tingling movies are streaming and where you can watch them.)

Matt: Deck, the halls with torment and bodies, fa la la la la – you get my drift. Yes, SlashFilm. It's a very special Christmas horror edition of "Now Scream This," as the smell of gingerbread attempts to overpower the burning embers left behind in Krampus' wake. Zombie elves, exploding presents, murderous snowmen who stalk their pretty to tropical island resorts...you won't find these titles in the Hallmark Channel's rotation. Unless Hallmark got rad as hell and unleashed winter massacres on unsuspecting families in primetime. Cowards.

Chris: Happy Holidays, boils and ghouls. Matt and I have loaded up on eggnog, donned Santa hats, and are ready to bring you some holiday horror! The fact of the matter is, there are a lot of Christmas horror movies. Too many, in fact! And many of them are terrible, and usually variations on the same theme: someone dressed as Santa, or Santa himself, kills people. And that's fine, if that's your thing. But for this very special Christmas Now Scream This, we wanted to give you some variety. The films don't have to take place on Christmas (although they can), but have to at least invoke some sort of Christmas feeling, vague as that might be. So string up the lights, stuff the stockings, and stream these films by the light of the Christmas tree. 

A Christmas Horror Story

Now Streaming on Shudder

Matt: Starting this week swinging haymakers for A Christmas Horror Story with a simple statement: Rob Archer's Krampus showcases the Christmas demon's top cinematic form. Better yet? That's not even this seasonal horror anthology's calling card. Segments range from changeling children to found footage investigations – all narrated by William Shatner's radio DJ "Dangerous" Dan – but there's a clear winner in terms of segment comparison here. A finale that goes *all-in* on Santa's elves turning into flesh-hungry zombies who threaten Mr. Claus. Decapitations are plentiful as St. Nick hacks through his undead helpers with a golden scepter, and that's BEFORE Santa throws down with Krampus in a heavyweight bout. Bailey Downs may suffer from a "Christmas curse," but it's a damn cinematic treat at the least.

Chris: I've never seen this, but I have seen the poster. Does that count? Happy Holidays!

Better Watch Out

Now Streaming on Shudder

Matt: Chris Peckover's Better Watch Out is an odd Christmas horror enigma. Brilliantly executed Home Alone genre twists and a lead performance that smacks of Michael Madsen in Reservoir Dogs, but I shan't say more. Why? Better Watch Out hinges itself on a pretty massive left turn that's best appreciated with virgin eyes, and here's where my "enigma" comment comes back into play. Despite relying heavily on shock cinema, a second watch somehow gets *better.* Meticulous details unravel in a way that showcases Peckover's finely tuned direction and attention to the smallest, tightest details. I've said too much, but also nowhere near enough praise. Not bother. Hop on Shudder and watch this one with Grandma this Christmas!

Chris: I know the horror community loves this movie, but gosh almighty, I was not a fan. I'll admit there's a clever twist here, but the performances are weak, and the script is childish. This could've been great! But it's not for me.

The Blackcoat's Daughter

Now Streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime

Matt: Throwing a shout-out to "Film Twitter" here because while I'm rather lukewarm on The Blackcoat's Daughter, so many writers I respect and follow champion Oz Perkins' slow-burner like the second coming. You'll recognize Sabrina aka Kiernan Shipka, along with stars Emma Roberts and Lucy Boynton. Perkins' cast and disturbing winter break darkness singe the screen, which helps substantiate dawdling plotlines that I find too stretched, but others praise incessantly. I'm a minority voice here and own that scarlet letter. Who am I to rob the rest of you from what could be a massively underseen horror gem just because my tastes don't align?

Chris: Forget Sabrina – this is the horror-based title featuring Kiernan Shipka you should be watching.

Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime

Matt: By no stretch of logic will I claim Michael Cooney's Jack Frost sequel is a *good* movie. So why recommend it? You'll be hard-pressed to find a more incomprehensibly bonkers horror sequel, *especially* among Christmas themed titles. Stock the fridge with Ashai, start chugging, and treat your most adventurous B-movie brethren to a killer snowman goofer that takes place at a sunny resort. Snowball fights turn deadly and actors keep getting spiked with icicles – including Doug Jones – as Frosty unleashes his children thanks to the film's upped-ante. Adorable little fuzzy puppets who gnaw through flesh like glazed ham. It's cheapo, sleazy 2000s late-night absurdity chilled to the core. I'll even start you off with a drinking game rule to get your creativity going: drink every time you question if Club Dread yanked "inspiration" from Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman.

Chris: I've seen the first Jack Frost, but not this sequel. I'm sure it's really good, though.

Bride Of Chucky

Now Streaming on Netflix

Matt: Ready for my justification? Bride Of Chucky could squeak into December marathons based on themes of family and Chucky's identity as a child's plaything. Don Mancini's magnificent franchise pivot hit Netflix not too long ago, therefore it's my Tiff-appointed duty to alert as many readers as possible of such wonderful news. Consider this a Christmas present to yourself. By and large the greatest Child's Play entry, now available to watch any time the mood strikes. The definition of a Christmas miracle if you ask me, just with more Martha Stewart jokes, voodoo serial killer souls, and the game-changing addition of Jennifer Tilly to Chucky's canon. Hot Topic would never be the same after 1998's October movie season.

Chris: Child's Play is my favorite horror franchise. I'll always prefer the earlier films (Child's Play 2 is my favorite), but Bride of Chucky is a hell of a lot of fun. And sure, why not watch this for Christmas? Why not?

Black Christmas

Now Streaming on Shudder and Kanopy

Chris: Nothing says "the holidays" like a group of sorority sisters being stalked by an obscene prank caller. While John Carpenter's Halloween often gets credit for being the first horror film to use a holiday as a backdrop, Bob Clark's 1974 Black Christmas did it first. But Halloween and Black Christmas are very different films. Black Christmas is more of a mystery, with a group of college girls tormented by an unseen killer lurking around their sorority house around Christmas time. Clark gets great mileage out of an ever-mounting-sense of dread, and also his cast, which includes the late Margot Kidder as a hard-drinking sorority sister who really doesn't have time for all this stalker bulls***. As a fun bonus, Black Christmas is one of two very different Christmas films helmed by Bob Clark – he also directed A Christmas Story. Only one of the two films has a character shouting "Let me lick your pretty piggy c**t!", though. Try to guess which one!  

Matt: Black Christmas is one of my favorite slashers not for what it shows, not because of vicious Christmas deaths, but the bloodcurdling tension in every scene. Those phone calls are nightmare fuel. You can keep our Rankin/Bass rewatches. Bob Clark's seasonal slasher is my December classic.

Let The Right One In

Now Streaming on Hulu

Chris: Let The Right One In proved that there was still some life left in the vampire genre. Set in a snowy, wintry (Christmasy??) landscape, Let The Right One In focuses on a lonely boy who befriends a girl who just moved into his apartment complex. But the girl, Eli, is no normal girl. She's a rather old vampire trapped in a young girl's body. An unlikely friendship blossoms between the two – with bloody consequences. Creepy, melancholy, and masterfully directed by Tomas Alfredson (who would later direct The Snowman!), Let The Right One In is a reminder that any old genre can be revitalized. Really, though, Let The Right One In is loaded with holiday spirit. The holidays are about togetherness. They're also about drinking! Sure, technically you'd probably be booze instead of blood, but just go with it.

Matt: Aw, childhood romance. What could be sweeter? Two outcasts caring for one another, or the taste of fresh blood? Both, apparently! One of the better vampire films of the 2000s.

12 Monkeys

Now Streaming on Starz

Chris: Merry Christmas! Everyone is dead! 12 Monkeys is another one of those secret Christmas movies – the opening scenes find Bruce Willis wandering around a deserted, snowy Philadelphia, stumbling through an abandoned department store still decorated for the festive season. As it turns out, a virus wiped out most of humanity right around Christmas time in 1996 Willis lives in the future year of 2035, but scientists are able to send him back in time to try to trace the source of the virus. The clock is ticking, and like a last-minute shopper scrambling to purchase the gifts on his list, Willis scrambles around the past, desperate and frantic. This is one of Terry Gilliam's best movies (it's actually my favorite of his films), blending a twisted sense of humor with an existential dread. Brad Pitt, right before his superstardom, steals most of the movie as a mental patient Willis runs into.

Matt: Alright, Chris. Getting real ambitious on us now. Good thing 12 Monkeys is some of Terry Gilliam's best work and I agree with you.

Jacob’s Ladder

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Chris: Christmas is primarily a time of joy, but it can be a time of sadness as well. The past can creep up on us, reminding us of things we might have been better off forgetting forever. That's the case with Tim Robbins in Jacob's Ladder, a Vietnam vet who still grieves for the death of his young son. But he has other problems, too. He's either suffering from the worst case of PTSD in history, or he's being tormented by actual demons roaming around the city. Whatever the answer, it's scary as hell. And it also takes place during Christmas time! The Christmas season isn't highlighted too much here, save for a scene where a Salvation Army Santa picks Robbins' pocket. Jacob's Ladder is the perfect scary film to take the edge off as Christmas draws closer and closer.

Matt: Nothing says Christmas like deceased children, PTSD flashbacks, and a severe case of dissociation! Jeez, Chris. Not sure I want to spend the holidays at your household.

Maniac Cop 2

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Chris: Believe it or not, Maniac Cop 2 is a Christmas movie! The film is set during a dirty, filthy Christmas in New York City, when zombie cop Matt Cordell (Robert Z'Dar) comes back from the dead yet again to kill people. Along the way, he teams up with a serial killer. Better than the first Maniac Cop in nearly every way, Maniac Cop 2 is exploitation at its finest, and the script, by the legendary Larry Cohen (It's Alive), is smarter and funnier than you might expect a movie called Maniac Cop 2 to be. So when you and your family have gathered around on Christmas Eve, why not put on Maniac Cop 2? Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Matt: Sure. Why not. We've come this far. Maniac Cop 2 for Christmas. I haven't seen it, but you might as well take Chris' word if you've come this far.