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It’s the most wonderful time… of the yeeeeearrr – but you’re probably sick to death of the same 20 ‘classic movies’ being played on mega-rotation on every TV channel? Here’s a rundown of the best Anti-Christmas movies for people who fancy something a little different this festive season.

Bad Santa Terry Zwigoff. With Billy Bob Thornton, Bernie Mac, Lauren Graham, John Ritter

Bad Santa: any such list that doesn’t start (or end) with this film isn’t worth reading. Billy Bob Thornton plays an alcoholic, sexually deviant Santa that uses his mall access to loot the place on Christmas Eve. It takes a slightly simple 8-year-old and a normal woman (with a Santa fetish) to show him the true meaning of the holiday – in a film that’s bursting with great characters and laugh-out-loud jokes. Adults only. (After years in development hell a sequel looks to finally be on the cards!!!)

Bruce Willis, John Mclean, Alan Rickman, Hans Gruber, Bonnie Bedelia, alexander godunov, hart bochner, Robert Davi

Die Hard: not just a great XMas film, or Anti-Christmas movie, but one of the best films ever made. Period. It never gets old. It never gets boring. And you should never pass on an opportunity to watch it. Everything about Die Hard (characters, action, direction, script…) is solid gold. What’s more christmassy than watching an all-American action hero throw evil European shitheads out of exploding skyscrapers?!?!? Special mention to Die Hard 2; which actually has snow and shit.

The Ref Hostile Hostages Denis Leary Judy Davis Kevin Spacey Robert J. Steinmiller Jr. Raymond J. Barry Christine Baranski

Hostile Hostages / The Ref: In one of his earliest leading roles Kevin Spacey (in a precursor to Lester Burnham) and his cheating wife get taken hostage by a down-on-his-luck burglar, who winds up becoming their marriage counsellor. Sharp and snappy dialogue, entertaining performances (especially from the three leads), and a send up of the big suburban family Christmas make this a memorable festive outing.

Gremlins Cinema Zach Galligan Phoebe Cates Hoyt Axton Polly Holliday Frances Lee McCain

Gremlins: set against the most Christmassy of small-town American backdrops, and hitting the ultimate sweet spot between comedy, festivities, horror, gore, and stupidity – Gremlins is one of the few festive films that everyone can enjoy. If you didn’t want a Gizmo for Christmas as a child please check in with a head-doctor, because you’re probably dead inside.

Michelle Monaghan Santa Suit Costume Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Shane Black, and starring Robert Downey, Jr., Val KilmerKiss Kiss Bang Bang: Robert Downey Junior and Val Kilmer romp around L.A. in a Christmas Crime caper. The festive vibes are definitely more of an undertone, until Michelle Monaghan pops up in a saucy little Santa suit and gets her twins out – which, as a man, is probably better than any present you’ll actually get on the 25th. Weapon’s grade entertainment from two of Hollywood’s comeback kings.

Rare Exports (A Christmas Tale): a group of hunters come across a large burial site with a slightly familiar occupant. It’s all well-connected with festive mythology; set in the Korvatunturi mountains (the original home of Santa Clause – or ‘Christmas Goat’ as the Finnish so lovingly call him). However, it blends this with some horror, gore to fully shirk off the “jolly-fat old-guy-with-a-beard” image, big time.

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas Todd Strauss-Schulson John Cho, Kal Penn, Neil Patrick Harris

A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas: the one Christmas film you didn’t know you needed to see. This was one of the biggest surprises of 2011 for me –  an upliftingly festive Christmas movie about two stoners looking for a replacement magical Christmas tree. Surprisingly funny, and equally offensive to every and all age/race/belief – this is  hands one of the best modern Christmas films.

Shannon Elizabeth Jack Frost Snowman bath horror Carrot shower sex

Jack Frost: A serial killer dies, but gets re-incarnated as a murderous snowman. Obviously, this isn’t the 1998 Michael Keaton ‘Jack Frost’. And even more obviously, this isn’t a good film by any stretch of the imagination – but you do get to see a bunch of comedy-horror deaths, topped by American Pie boner heart-throb Shannon Elizabeth‘s movie debut, as a hot babe that gets humped in a shower… by a randy snowman, like a hoe hoe hoe. Two death scenes in this clip.

Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, John Saxon, Marian Waldman, Andrea Martin, Bob Clark

Black Christmas: one of the first true ‘slasher‘ movies, there’s something ace about the idea of a 18-rated gore-fest being centered around the most festive and upbeat of holidays. Violent, eerie, atmospheric – it’s still unsettling to watch today as the camera bobs in and out of the house, stalking each victim before they meet their grisly demise.

HO… HO… HONORABLE MENTIONS

TrollHunter: The final third is very, very snowy and it’s got that magical fantasy vibe riff that defines the best Christmas films.

Cobra: set at Christmas. Although pretty much no mentions of it for the duration of the film.

Dumb and Dumber: Lloyd Chhistmas – duh!

The World is Not Enough: Dr Christmas Jones – who comes more than once a year. nudge nudge wink wink eh boys!?!? LOL.

Hardcore: blueprint for Taken that starts at Christmas family meal; and ends with  sex dungeons and snuff films.

Sex and Fury: “a butt-naked lady chopping her way through a gang of swordsmen in snow” (I’m not even trying now)

In Bruges: set over Christmas, but nothing much more than some symbolic snow. Any excuse to put this on a list really, you inanimate fucking object!

The Life of Brian: it’s not set at Christmas, but has a cameo from the main man himself, Jesus Christ.

21/22 Jump Street: Korean Jesus? Vietnamese Jesus? I give up…

RELATED:   (ANTI) VALENTINES DAY MOVIES
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Hardcore 2004 Katerina Tsavalou, Danae Skiadi, Ioannis Papazisis, Omiros Poulakis, Andreas Marianos, Dimitris Liolios, Konstadinos Avarikiotis, Yannis Stankoglou, Yannis Stefopoulos, Vyzantia Guy Pyriohou Movie Greece Dennis IliadisHardcore (2004): two young prostitutes meet in a brothel and help each other through their tough lives. Packed full of nudity, sex, prostitutes, guns, cars, drugs and lesbians – it feels like it’s going for an overly-outrageous/sensational DVD-shifting Baise Moi vibe, although this is far less nasty. The story’s quite unique in that it’s about young girls that aren’t forced into the sex trade, which makes the two central ladies feel more rounded. I think the film would have worked better if they switched the roles around as they made the prettier girl ‘frumpy/damaged’ and the more average lass ‘sexy manipulator’. However, the person that shines most is the director, who uses a lot of tricks and techniques to make the film more visually interesting, and some hard & fast editing to hold your attention. Despite this it’s all fairly average; the melodrama and ridiculouness gets heaped on heavier and heavier until the Open Your Eyes/Vanilla Sky style finale. Best Greek film I’ve seen? Probably, but I’ve not seen any others.

Score: 4/10

Hardcore 2 2004 Katerina Tsavalou, Danae Skiadi, Ioannis Papazisis, Omiros Poulakis, Andreas Marianos, Dimitris Liolios, Konstadinos Avarikiotis, Yannis Stankoglou, Yannis Stefopoulos, Vyzantia Guy Pyriohou Movie Greece Dennis IliadisHardcore 3 2004 Movie Greece Katerina Tsavalou, Danae Skiadi, Ioannis Papazisis, Omiros Poulakis, Andreas Marianos, Dimitris Liolios, Konstadinos Avarikiotis, Yannis Stankoglou, Yannis Stefopoulos, Vyzantia Guy Pyriohou, Dennis IliadisClick here for the 1979 George C Scott film Hardcore

Hardcore: when his daughter disappears on a school trip a successful businessman does what he can to find her. Can’t remember the last time I saw a film go from one extreme to the other; opening with smug church folk at Christmas and finishing in a seedy world of snuff, prostitution and worse. The main (George C Scott) is superb as a moral father,hulking out, realistically kicking ass, and doing whatever he can to find his daughter – Peter Boyle (a.k.a. Young Frankenstein) also nails his role as a perverted detective. Despite being +30 years old this is still relevant and hasn’t aged a bit (beyond the flares) – so much so that Taken is just an updated re-make. While it’s quite an ugly film, and not the easiest to watch, the focus on a powerful story make this too easy to relate with. It also opens the viewer’s eyes a bit to the world of prostitution, how it was – and probably still is – run, where the money goes, what makes the business tick etc. Definitely a (genital) warts and all depiction of the down and outs in the sex industry. The writer/director did the screenplay for Taxi Driver, and it’s quite similar territory. It’s a great film, powerful story, superb acting by the leads and totally underrated / overlooked. The original Taken / 8MM.

Score: 7.5/10