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: 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!!!)
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.
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: 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.
Kiss 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: 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.
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.
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.
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.