by Louise Buckler
The nights are long and dark, the cold air is setting in and Santa’s on route! With Christmas just a few days away, there’s no better time than present to dive into Christmas Horror movies. From bad and bloody Santa’s to flesh eating creatures, these holiday horrors will guarantee that everyone involved is firmly on the naughty list and hopefully give you some inspiration for new festive scares to add to your seasonal rotation.
Bloodbeat (Fabrice A. Zaphiratos, 1983)
It’s the holidays and Ted decides to invite his girlfriend Sarah to spend Christmas at is mothers house in Wisconsin. Before long, Sarah starts to feel uneasy and senses a psychic presence and before they know it, a haunting figure in a Samurai outfit begins slashing through the small town! Set in the rural US but mixing in some serious French arthouse flair from director Fabrice A. Zaphiratos, this is a dreamy supernatural Slasher you’ll not want to miss!
Dial Code Santa Claus (René Manzor, 1989)
It’s Christmas eve and rich kid Thomas has been left home with his frail granddad while his mum pops to the office. However a quiet Christmas eve soon turns nasty when a deranged Santa Claus slides down the chimney for a night of terror. Made a year before Home Alone, Dial Code Santa Claus takes the concept of one child battling home invaders and dials it up 11. With oodles of 80s toys and tech – and a mullet that must have been the envy of every schoolyard – this one will keep you pumped til the turkey is served.
Calvaire (Fabrice du Welz, 2004)
On his way home for Chrstmas, Marc (Laurent Lucas), a travelling singer (with the shiniest jackets in town) breaks down in the dark desolate woods. (Un)luckily, Marc is soon saved by (Jackie Berroyer), a local innkeeper who becomes determined to make Marc stay. By any means necessary. As disturbing as it is bleak, this haunting slice of New French extremity that will fill you with festive terror.
Stalled (Christian James, 2013)
It’s Christmas Eve (yes, again!) and a down on his luck janitor (Dan Palmer) is tasked with mundane maintenance and cleaning the ladies toilets in the middle of a wild Christmas party. Things soon take a very different turn when a horde of zombies burst into the toilet, leaving the janitor fighting for his life in the loos. Set in one location, Stalled is a fun holiday romp with bloody bite.
Satan Claus is Coming to Town (Mrs. Claus, 2018)
You’ll have a ho-ho-hoot with this holiday extravaganza from the mad minds at AGFA. Featuring all your favourite festive frights, this mad mixtape features trailers, musical interludes and an endless supply of SOV Santas, there are enough holiday hijinks for every member of the family to find something terrifying to add to their Christmas list next year.
The Leech (Eric Pennycoff, 2022)
Father David (Graham Skipper) is having a tough time. His congregation have near abandoned his Sunday service and he’s losing a bit of faith. After another slow service, David meets homeless Terry (Jeremy Gardner) who is down and out with nowhere to go. As it’s the season of giving, David decides to open his home to this lost lamb – who quickly moves in his pregnant girlfriend Lexi (Taylor Gardner) too. As the couple start to get more and more at home, David’s mission to set the wayward couple back on God’s path becomes more and more difficult as the pair drag him towards their wicked ways. A holiday hoot with great performance from the ensemble cast, Eric Pennycoff’s second feature proves that during the holidays, home is where the horror is.
Stocking fillers: A bonus list of Festive shorts
Need more Xmas madness but want it in bitesize chunks? Here’s some short films for you….
Rare Exports Inc. (Jalmari Helander, 2003)
Before the first snow of winter arrives, a group of hunters with skills passed down from generation after generation, hit the road in search of nature’s most dangerous holiday prey. Part David Attenborough doc, part twisted fairy tale, Rare Exports Inc. brings a Finnish spin on a festive staple. Watch this short and then give the sequel, The Official Rare Exports Inc. Safety Instructions from 2005 a spin.
Black Santa’s Revenge (David F. Walker, 2007)
After a gang of Christmas hating thugs steal all the toys from the local community centre meant for underprivileged kids, down on his luck Santa (Ken Foree) decides enough is enough and takes matters into his own hands. With a shotgun by his side and a sack full of snappy one-liners, this Blacksploitation inspired take on holiday revenge is a joy from start to finish.
Treevenge (Jason Eisener, 2008)
A PSA for poor, downtrodden Christmas trees everywhere, having to endure the yearly tradition of being ripped from the forest to be sold off to decorate homes. But this year the trees have finally had enough and decide to get their revenge! Kicking off with the theme from Cannibal Holocaust and from Hobo with a Shotgun director Jason Eisener, Treevenge is a bloody holiday classic that will make you think twice about picking out that pine tree…
Watch it now:
Holiday Fear (Nicholas Payne Santos, 2017)
Set in the final act of a holiday Slasher movie (and on Christmas morning, go figure!) Bruce tries to work up the courage to impress the final girl, Emily with one last cool kill. Clocking in at just shy of 4 minutes, Holiday Fear is a fun twist on some classic slasher tropes. Make sure to stick around for an end credit treat. Streaming now on ARROW.
Chowboys: An American Folktale (Adam Brooks, Jeremy Gillespie, Matthew Kennedy, Steven Kostanski, and Conor Sweeney, 2018)
The final film from the mad minds at Astron-6 and boy was it a doozy! Set on Christmas eve, 1886 this 9 minute short sees a trio of cowboys lost in the woods on the coldest night in history with only themselves and their Christmas gifts to keep them company. With the group turn on eachother or will a festive miracle see them through the night? Full of humour and absurd mayhem this will be one to keep you warm on a cold winter’s night.
Watch it now:
The Last Christmas in the Universe (Adrián Cardona, David Muñoz, 2019)
It’s December 25th in a desolate, post-apocalyptic landscape. Humanity has crumbled into chaos (and cannibalism) and everything is terrible. So when Santa comes by to give out gifts to the good children – and finds nothing but naughty fiends – he decides to take matters into his own hands and serve up bloody, murderous justice, Santa style. With completely over the top gore and an endless sack of inventive kills, this short throws Mad Max and Brain Dead into a blender with glorious results!