Christmas is such a magical time of year, but for horror fans, films like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snow Man, Elf or any of the other titles on the endless list of feel-good Christmas films just won't cut it. For most, the only horror they want to experience during the holiday season is Black Friday, and since that real-life horror show is over, let's switch over to a little good old-fashioned cinematic holiday gore. Here are 25 horror films to watch this holiday season.
25. 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' (1993)
Plot: Jack Skellington, king of Halloween Town, discovers Christmas Town, but doesn't quite understand the concept.
Why: This may not be a gorefest (or even all that scary for that matter), but this was the introduction to the mashup of Christmas and horror for many younger fans. It has become a holiday classic for both Halloween and Christmas throughout the years.
24. 'Santa Claws' (1996)
Plot: A B-horror movie actress is stalked by a deranged fan bent on claiming her for himself.
Why: It's a slasher film meets drunken #Christmas party. Most holiday horror films are based on urban legend and most likely could never happen, but the story of the obsessed fan that snaps could happen (and it already has).
23. 'Calvaire' (2004)
Plot: A stranded singer falls victim to a dangerously unhinged innkeeper who is determined to keep him captive.
Why: Who doesn't want to see an updated version of Misery with a holiday twist?
22. 'The Children' (2008)
Plot: A relaxing Christmas vacation turns into a terrifying fight for survival as the children begin to turn on their parents.
Why: Nothing says Merry Christmas quite like children infected by human rabies, right? This film mixes Christmas tradition with a modern zombie/virus horror quite nicely.
21. 'Tales From The Crypt' (1972)
Plot: Five strangers get lost in a crypt and, after meeting the mysterious Crypt Keeper, receive visions of how they will die.
Why: Much like the television series by the same namesake, this film is an anthology of stories. One story in particular, "And All Through the House," is perfect to get you in the mood for carols and eggnog.
20. 'Treevenge' (2008)
Plot: Christmas trees come to life to exact revenge on the lumberjacks that cut them down and the families that decorate them.
Why: One of the most obvious symbols of Christmas — the tree — comes to life and murders people. Nothing will traumatize your family more than watching this gem by the glow of your tree and a nice fire.
19. 'Feeders 2: Slay Bells' (1998)
Plot: Aliens invade Earth over the Christmas holidays, and it's up to Santa Claus and his elves to save the world.
Why: It's not the obvious killer Santa movie. It's funny, corny and everyone enjoys and alien invasion around the holidays.
18. 'Home For The Holidays' (1972)
Plot: An ailing man summons his four daughters home for Christmas and asks them to kill his new wife, whom he suspects is poisoning him.
Why: Everyone thinks their family is dysfunctional (especially around the holidays), but after watching this movie, your family will seem like the Cleavers.
17. 'Dead End' (2003)
Plot: On his way to celebrate Christmas Eve with his in-laws and family, Frank Harrington decides to try a shortcut for the first time in 20 years. It turns out to be the biggest mistake of his life.
Why: The film itself is good, but the cast makes it fantastic. Ray Wise and Lin Shaye make Dead End worth the watch.
16. 'Sint (Saint)' (2011)
Plot: A horror film that depicts St. Nicholas as a murderous bishop who kidnaps and murders children when there is a full moon on December 5.
Why: Krampus and Krampus-related stories are always a winner within the horror community. While this is not exactly Krampus, it still follows the same basic principle. It's killer Santa bumped up a notch. Downfall: You will have to read subtitles.
15. 'Jack Frost' (1997)
Plot: A serial killer dies, comes back as a snowman, and wreaks havoc.
Why: It's Chucky as a snowman, what's not to love? Word of caution though — do not get this confused with the 1998 film that stars Michael Keaton by the same name, you will have some traumatized children on your hands.
14. 'To All A Good Night' (1980)
Plot: A group of teenagers at a party find themselves being stalked by a maniacal killer in a Santa Claus costume.
Why: The '80s are responsible for some of the best slasher films, and this one is no exception. The killer is wearing a Santa suit instead of a hockey mask or a glove with knives, but it's a great slasher movie nonetheless.
(All available trailers were in Spanish. This is the trailer dubbed with a brief review.)
13. 'Dead Of Night: The Exorcism' (1972)
Plot: Four friends gather for Christmas dinner at an old cottage. Suddenly, there's a power failure and the phone goes dead. Their wine turns to blood and the turkey makes them violently ill. Then things really get strange!
Why: Everything that could go horribly wrong in the sense of evil invading your holiday does.
(There were no available trailers)
12. 'The Melancholy Fantastic' (2011)
Plot: A strange and gripping holiday tale of grief, love, and the horrors of loneliness.
Why: For some, the holidays bring out the worst of our emotions, and this film is no different. This is a perfect fit for those that prefer the real side of the genre.
11. 'Silent Night, Bloody Night' (1972)
Plot: A man inherits a mansion that was once a mental home. He visits the place and begins to investigate some crimes that happened back when, scaring the people living in the region.
Why: The suspense of Psycho and the cinematic creativity of the early slasher films.
10. 'Krampus' (2015)
Plot: A boy who has a bad Christmas ends up accidentally summoning a festive demon to his family home.
Why: This isn't the normal version of the Krampus story we're used to. It is more of a comedic take on the most popular of Christmas legends.
9. 'Silent Night, Deadly Night' (1984)
Plot: After his parents are murdered, a 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.
Why: It's like Batman with a dark twist. What is scarier than a person using an innocent symbol of Christmas to disguise a murderous vendetta?
8. 'Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale' (2010)
Plot: In the depths of the Korvatunturi mountains, 486 meters deep, lies the closest guarded secret of Christmas. The time has come to dig it up! This Christmas, everyone will believe in Santa Claus.
Why: Not quite #Krampus, but Santa is not painted in a very good light. Humor, horror and Christmas spirit combine to make an entertaining film.
7. 'Don't Open Till Christmas' (1984)
Plot: Somebody with very little Christmas spirit is killing anyone in a Santa suit one London holiday season, and Scotland Yard has to stop him before he makes his exploits an annual tradition.
Why: The Purge meets The Grinch in a pretty amazing '80s Christmas slasher.
6. 'A Christmas Horror Story' (2015)
Plot: Interwoven stories that take place on Christmas Eve, as told by one festive radio host: A family brings home more than a Christmas tree, a student documentary becomes a living nightmare, a Christmas spirit terrorizes, Santa slays evil.
Why: Trick-r-Treat for Christmas. Horror anthologies are becoming quite the trend, but most of them tend to lean towards the obvious, Halloween. It's nice to see Christmas get a genre anthology.
5. 'Santa's Slay' (2005)
Plot: Santa Claus is actually a demon who lost a bet with an angel, so he becomes the giver of toys and happiness. But when the bet is off, he returns to his evil ways.
Why: Comedy and horror are always a great combination, but when Bill Goldberg plays an evil Santa, it's even better.
4. 'Christmas Evil (You'd Better Watch Out)' (1980)
Plot: A toy factory worker, mentally scarred as a child upon learning Santa Claus is not real, suffers a nervous breakdown after being belittled at work, and embarks on a Yuletide killing spree.
Why: The entire point of this list is celebrating the combination of horror and Christmas, and what says horrific Christmas like a killer Santa?
3. 'Silent Night' (2012)
Plot: The police force of a remote Midwestern town search for a killer Santa Claus who is picking off citizens on Christmas Eve.
Why: Yet another killer Santa, but what makes this one even better, it is based on true events. Read the story of the real-life killer Santa here.
2. 'Black Christmas' (1974)
Plot: During their Christmas break, a group of sorority girls are stalked by a stranger.
Why: Black Christmas, in the opinion of many, is the film that sparked the Christmas horror film craze. The film was remade in 2006 (the original is a lot better).
1. 'Gremlins' (1984)
Plot: A boy inadvertently breaks three important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.
Why: Gremlins has become a holiday classic. True it is not the scariest of films, but who can say they go an entire holiday season without watching #Gremlins at least once?
Whether you prefer Krampus, a killer Santa story, or Gremlins, there are plenty of terrifyingly festive films for you to watch this season.