Top 4 Holiday Horror Picks
By Lynn Sorel
The holiday season has more to offer for horror fans than one might think. There are various Christmas and Santa themed horror films out there to choose from, many of which are enjoyable and are worth watching year after year. Here are my picks for best holiday horror films for the Christmas season!
Silent Night (2012)
Synopsis: The police force of a remote Midwestern town search for a killer Santa Claus who is picking off citizens on Christmas Eve.
Our Thoughts: My favorite Christmas horror title is the film Silent Night from 2012. It is a very loose remake of the 1984 film ‘Silent Night Deadly Night’, however I think “inspired by the original” would be a better way to describe this film. A murderous Santa goes on a rampage on Christmas Eve and it’s a up to a small town Sheriff, played by Malcolm McDowell and his deputy, played by Jaime King, to stop him. The killer is able to hide in plain sight due to so many Santas filling the streets in the annual Christmas Parade. For a film about a killer Santa, the story is actually really intriguing and the special effects are top notch. The acting is also very good, with great performances by both McDowell, King and the rest of the cast. I think the film is very underrated and many would probably pass over the title thinking it’s just a cheesy terrible new Santa horror, however the case is far from it and it’s a great horror film on all levels.
Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
Synopsis: After his parents are murdered, a young tormented teenager goes on a murderous rampage dressed as Santa, due to his stay at an orphanage where he was abused by the Mother Superior.
Our Thoughts: A must-see holiday horror film, ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night’ is the original film about a Santa going on a killing spree on Christmas. Billy Chapman witnesses his parents murdered by a Santa. Growing up he was heavily influenced by an abusive nun. This turns out to be a lethal combination and and as an adult, when Billy is forced to dress as Santa for work, he snaps and goes on a rampage dressed as Santa, set out on punishing the naughty. The film is your classic 80’s slasher, complete with over the top scary music, gratuitous nudity and bad acting. While it isn’t the greatest slasher by any means, it’s quite amusing to watch a man dressed as Santa, shouting “Punish!” while killing people in gruesome ways. It is the original Santa slasher and no Christmas horror movie marathon would be complete without it!
Black Christmas (2006)
Synopsis: An escaped maniac returns to his childhood home on Christmas Eve, which is now a sorority house, and begins to murder the sorority sisters one by one.
Our Thoughts: Another film very loosely based on the original from 1974, that I actually found to be better than the original film. For some reason the original could never keep my interest and I’m not a fan of it. This film is full of black comedy, gore and cannibalism. It’s extremely dark and funny. A boy named Billy Lenz, who has liver disease and severe jaundice, is kept in an attic by his mother as a child by an abusive mother. He eventually kills his mother and step-father one Christmas and as a result is put in mental asylum. Years later his hold home is now a sorority house, filled with bitchy college girls. He escapes the asylum and goes on a killing spree, heading to his old home. This makes for an entertaining horror film with a festive Christmas setting. The story is more taboo than a lot of horror films and includes incestuous rape. Combined that with the fact that it is centered on Christmas, it makes the subject matter oh-so-wrong. However it is another reason I like it so much. The film is one of my favorite slashers and the gore and kills are very creative. The film has some great acting with stand out performances by Katie Cassidy, who plays Kelli Presley, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who plays Heather Lee-Fitzgerald, and a very creepy performance by Robert Mann who plays Billy Lenz. If you have a horror loving family like I do, this is one to watch all together on Christmas Day, which I actually did last year, for a few dark laughs, your whole family will enjoy.
Saint Nick (2010)
Synopsis: Niklas, a sinister cleric, returns to avenge his death by killing innocent kids. Now a lad named Frank and a disgraced cop must stop the rampage.
Our Thoughts: Known as ‘Sint’ in Europe, Saint Nick is a dutch horror film. IFC produced the American dubbed version that is currently on Netflix. The dubbing is bad, but the film is still quite enjoyable. In European countries Sinterklaas is their version of Santa. The film starts in December 5,1492, on the full moon when villagers take up arms against Niklas, an ex bishop who regularly loots and kills the people their people. After this, every full moon that falls on December 5th, Niklas and his crew come back as murderous ghosts, with the government and the church covering up the incidents. The last time this happened was 1968, and the film takes places present day, 2010 in this case, when the moon is falling on December 5 again. Much like Santa Claus, adults don’t believe in Saint Nick and they teach kids that he is good. Goert, a survivor of the last Saint Nick attack, tries to warn of his coming and no one believes him. Saint Nick comes back to town killing teenagers and children left and right. No one believes teenage Frank either when all his friends are killed, so Goert and Frank team up to fight Saint Nick. For me the film reminiscent of ‘The Fog’ in many ways, with the ghosts portrayed a bit more like zombies. The special effects are very effective. With lots of bloody murders and gore, Saint Nick is an entertaining European Christmas slasher, and a great pick for your holiday horror line up!