Written by Bryan Fitzgerald (Fitz of Horror)
As a fan of horror, I watch it all year around but 2 months out of the year get me more excited than all the rest-October of course and December.
Christmas has spawned one of the most fruitful horror sub genres and with the release of Krampus in 2015, Christmas horror is alive and well again!
I motion that we horror fans take the month of December as our own and make every night by the fire (or space heater) prime time to give one of the many great holiday themed horror flicks a spin!
By no means is the list below definitive, but they are Christmas/Winter related horror movies from my personal collection that I love to watch in the month of December.
At the beginning of this month I was looking for a Christmas horror movie list like this but could never find one, so I’ve made my own, complete with trailers for every film.
Most of these movies can be found on Amazon or eBay, but some you will have to dig a bit deeper for. I have had a great time compiling my Christmas Horror collection so far so if you see any I am missing I would love to know!
Be sure to join me for “A Very Fitz of Horror Christmas” for the month of December over at Fitz of Horror on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
HORROR FANS, LET’S MAKE DECEMBER OURS TOO!!!
Santa’s Slay (2005)
One of my personal favorites and one I also hope gets a Scream Factory release sometime in the near future.
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.
Don’t Open Till Christmas (1984)
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.
A selfish, cynical T.V. executive is haunted by three spirits bearing lessons on Christmas Eve. This one has some scary moments and great practical FX……and Bill Fuckin’ Murray!!
Christmas Cruelty (O’Hellige Jul!) (2013)
From the demented Norwegian minds of Per-Ingvar Tomren and Magne Steinsvoll, Christmas Cruelty is one I highly recommend that you add to your yearly Christmas rotation. Although not for everyone and definitely not for the squeamish, Christmas Cruelty pulls no punches when it comes to taboo subject matter. Lets just say that Christmas Cruelty deserves to be in the conversation with movies like August Underground and A Serbian Film in terms of gore and straight up not giving a shit how the viewer feels about the violence shown on screen.
Check them out on Facebook at Christmas Cruelty
“O’Hellige Jul!” follows both a serial killer as he plans for his next kills, and the next set of victims he has set his sights on. As the group of friends we get to know prepare for Christmas in their own way we also follow the killer as he stalks and does his final research for this years Christmas cruelty. In the last act of the movie he invades the home of our group of friends to execute his twisted little plan as foreshadowed in the first act.
The Dorm That Dripped Blood (1982)
Four college students are stalked by an unknown assailant while staying on campus over the Christmas holidays to help clear out a dormitory which is to be demolished.
Svart Sno (2014)
We all have dark or weak sides. Weak cowards city-slickers, as well as inbred, hateful hillbillies. Steinar doesn’t really know which he is. A sophisticated business man or a country man? One dark Christmas night Steinar tries to find out.
The Gingerdead Man (2005)
An evil yet adorable Gingerbread man comes to life with the soul of a convicted killer – this real life cookie monster wreaks havoc on the girl who sent the killer to the electric chair.
And yes, there are multiple sequels!
Two Front Teeth (2006)
A Christmas horror gem from The Unearthed Films studio!
It’s the night before Christmas and Gabe Snow, a tabloid writer haunted by the Ghosts of Christmas past, is investigating a Yule Tide conspiracy. Gabe knows that Flight 1225 was brought down one foggy Christmas Eve, by a flying creature with a “glowing nose”. Now, a blood-sucking Vampire – Santa Claus – has put Gabe on his list and unleashed the demonic fury of the North Pole. An army of zombie elves, who have no interest in Toys or pointy hats or dentistry, are about to turn Gabe’s white Christmas blood red. Will Gabe find the true meaning of Christmas? Can he stake a heart that’s two sizes too small? What will he find under his tree?
Rare Exports (2010)
This is a great and highly original Christmas horror movie and a must watch for horror fans in general!
In the depths of the Korvatunturi mountains, 486 meters deep, lies the closest ever guarded secret of Christmas. The time has come to dig it up! This Christmas everyone will believe in Santa Claus.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
This may not be considered a “horror” movie but the characters in Halloween Town are things straight out of a nightmare. This is a family favorite from the night we carve pumpkins in October to Christmas Eve in my house.
Jack Skellington, king of Halloween Town, discovers Christmas Town, but doesn’t quite understand the concept.
I have loved this movie since I was a kid and it always seems so fitting to watch it during the holidays!
I’m still waiting to get a Gizmo for Christmas….
Black Christmas (1974)
An often overlooked slasher classic, Black Christmas is a must for your collection!
Scream Factory has given us the ultimate collector’s edition with enough extras to hold you over all season long!
The Carnage Collection (2015)
In the vein of some classic horror anthologies, The Carnage Collection features multiple short stories of violence, gore, carnage, and horror.
While not Christmas themed the entire movie, the opening story in this over the top anthology is “Slay Bells” about a murderous life size plastic Santa decoration that suddenly appears out of nowhere to his own little sleigh bell sound and uses nicely wrapped presents to dispatch of his naughty victims.
This has quickly become one of my favorite Christmas themed horror movies. Directed by Michael Dougherty, who also directed the amazing Trick r Treat, Krampus is a horror movie that will be a staple in all horror collections just for the month of December!
When his dysfunctional family clashes over the holidays, young Max (Emjay Anthony) is disillusioned and turns his back on Christmas. Little does he know, this lack of festive spirit has unleashed the wrath of Krampus: a demonic force of ancient evil intent on punishing non-believers. All hell breaks loose as beloved holiday icons take on a monstrous life of their own, laying siege to the fractured family’s home and forcing them to fight for each other if they hope to survive.
Jack Frost (1997)
This classic just got the Vinegar Syndrome blu ray treatment and it’s an amazing upgrade!
Serial killer is genetically mutated in car wreck on the way to his execution. After which, he becomes a murdering snowman hell-bent on revenge for the sheriff who caught him.
Holiday cheese at it’s finest!
Jack Frost 2: The Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman (2000)
As far as bad sequels go, this isn’t horrible but maybe that’s just the egg nog talking..
Jack, the chiller killer is back and he’s mad as hell. When a laboratory experiment goes horrifically awry, the crystal killer is resurrected. This time around, Jack can’t be killed by fire, bullets, or even anti-freeze. With revenge on his mind, Jack sets out to finish off his nemesis, Sheriff Sam, who is vacationing on a Caribbean island. Sam’s balmy paradise turns into a Winter Terrorland when Jack freezes the island and quickly ices everyone around him. No one can stop the chilling killing spree. Just when you thawed it was safe to go back in the fridge… “Jack Frost 2” is a cult-horror gem that is as terrifying as it is hilarious!
Black Christmas (Remake 2006)
I thought this was a damn solid remake. Most people that saw it back in the day didn’t even know it was a remake, so it also did a solid to the classic original by bringing it a new generation of fans!
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.
A Cadaver Christmas (2011)
United by terrifying and bizarre circumstances, the janitor, the drunk, the bartender, the cop, his perp, and the student security guard must fight to undo the professor’s work. A dark force is at work in the cadaver lab this Christmas and this unconventional band of heroes are the only hope the world has against an army of living corpses that are quickly recruiting new members. The undead have been given the gift of life and it’s up to the janitor to take it back.
A Christmas Nightmare (2001)
After witnessing the brutal assassination of presidential candidate Francis Mohan, a young married couple (Edward and Alice Anderson) are taken to a safe house miles from civilization. The Anderson’s bodyguard (F.B.I. Special Agent Simmons) escorts the couple to safety through a dark and stormy night, trying his best to assure the frightened newlyweds they have nothing to fear while he’s on watch. But upon their arrival at the safe house, the trio is shocked to find it abandoned and their stay takes a sudden turn for the worse. Simmons begins undergoing dark and unsettling changes to his personality. Alice begins seeing visions of murder and suspects the agent has been possessed by the spirit of a madman who slaughtered his family in the same house fifty years ago. When she tells Edward they must leave or else be destroyed by Simmons, he disbelieves her and thinks she is losing her mind. Trapped in the middle of nowhere and fearing for her life, Alice Anderson must confront her .
This is a brutal and suspenseful French horror film with one hell of an ending and until I read through IMDB’s Christmas horror article, I never realized that it was a Christmas related film.
Four months before Christmas, Sarah and Matthieu Scarangelo were in a car crash, of which Sarah and her unborn baby were the only survivors. On Christmas Eve, Sarah stays home alone, where she grieves her husband and prepares to go to the hospital the next morning for the delivery. As night falls, a woman knocks on Sarah’s door asking to use the phone. When she refuses, the woman reveals that she knows Sarah and tries to force her way in. Sarah calls the police; they inspect the home and determine the woman has left, but promise to keep watch over Sarah through the night. The woman returns and tries to take Sarah’s unborn child, but Sarah locks herself in the bathroom. The strange woman torments Sarah through the night and kills all who try help her.
Dismembering Christmas (2015)
“Deck the Halls… with lots of bodies”
At a vacation winter lake house, seven high school seniors are attacked by a madman out for revenge.
Christmas Evil (1980)
This is a true cult classic that continues to gain followers every holiday season and at the time of this article it is fetching a high dollar demand on Amazon!
Vinegar Syndrome gives another Christmas horror classic the blu ray treatment it deserves!
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.
All Through the House (2015)
A deranged masked Santa-Slayer comes to town for some yuletide-terror. He leaves behind a bloody trail of mutilated bodies as he hunts his way to the front steps of the town’s most feared and notorious home.
To All A Goodnight (1980)
It’s Christmas break at the Calvin Finishing School for Girls, and the students are planning a big party while the president of the school is away. A group of boys show up and the fun begins, until mysterious killer starts bumping off couples one by one. The police show up and promise to keep everyone safe, but they prove ineffectual against the crazed psycho. Could the killings have anything to do with the girl who was killed in an initiation stunt at the school a few years earlier?
It’s great to see this forgotten gem get a proper blu ray release. Directed by David Hess (Krug from Wes Craven’s Last House on the Left).
The Conjuring 2 (2016)
Director James Wan recently was quoted as saying that he felt that The Conjuring 2 is definitely a “Christmas horror movie”, and after watching it again I agree!
In 1977, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren travel to London, England, where single mother Peggy Hodgson believes that something evil is in her home. When Peggy’s youngest daughter starts showing signs of demonic possession, Ed and Lorraine attempt to help the besieged girl, only to find themselves targeted by the malicious spirits.
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
I put this on the list because Edward Scissorhands is Tim Burton’s tribute to Frankenstein, his favorite film growing up. Burton tells a demented story splashed with pastel colors and unlikable characters that comes across more as a family friendly telling of how snow came to a small suburban town than a “Horror” movie but, for the win, he cast Vincent Price in his final role as a mad inventor that creates Edward.
This one came highly recommended by multiple friends and it doesn’t disappoint!
An original and delightfully gruesome slasher film, Saint reimagines jolly old Saint Nick as a bloodthirsty bishop fulfilling a grisly prophecy every 32 years under the Christmas full moon. The film’s titular saint was in fact a murderous medieval marauder, ultimately slain by the villagers he tormented, only to swear a ghostly revenge on their descendents every December 5 the anniversary of his death. Centuries later, the story has settled comfortably into innocuous folklore, until a bloody encounter with the ghoul himself forces local teen Frank to believe in Santa all over again. Teaming up with a fellow believer, discharged conspiracy-theorist cop Goert, it will be up to Frank to save the city of Amsterdam in an all-out bloody battle against the wrathful “Sinterklaas” and his minions. Dick Maas, the director of classic Dutch horror films The Lift and Amsterdamned, delivers a fun chiller full of creative yuletide horror played out across the decked halls (and roofs) of snowy Amsterdam justly earning Saint’s spectacle of thrills, chills, and kills the title of highest grossing Dutch film of the year.
A young woman discovers that she is the focus of an evil Nazi experiment involving selective breeding and summoned elves, an attempt to create a race of supermen. She and two of her friends are trapped in a department store with an elf, and only Dan Haggerty, as the renegade loose-cannon Santa Claus, can save them.
Yeah, it’s out there and the FX are cheesy but it’s a Christmas horror staple!
The Shining (1980)
Another title that may be suspect when it comes to the “Christmas horror” category but this is always a great winter time watch for me. The whole movie just seems to give off an overall chill, and what a gift Jack Nicholson’s performance is!
A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil and spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.
You Better Watch Out! (2013)
This is a Christmas horror anthology with great heart and story telling on a budget. Definitely a worthy addition to the collection!
The Storytellers are gathering on Thanksgiving for their yearly get together. This years assignment: Rich, Steve and Lori each tell a horror story based on a holiday. You’ll get serial killers and creepy old houses. A priest on a mission finds out the truth about Santa. Finally, be there to witness old man new year’s last stand.
P2-A New Level of Terror (2007)
It’s Christmas Eve, when even the most voracious corporate climbers generally head home by dinner time. But not ANGELA (Rachael Nichols). She’s the last one left at the office, determined to close one more deal before the holiday. The long hours she keeps will have an impact, but not the kind she’s been hoping for.
Christmas With the Dead (2012)
From the creator of Bubba Ho Tep, this is a surprisingly good Christmas zombie flick, not that there are many Christmas zombie flicks, but this a low budget good time that deserves a watch. It kind of reminds me of Night of the Comet as far as the zombies go.
In his quest to fulfill a promise made to his wife, Calvin sets out to right his wrongs and make it the best Christmas ever. If only it weren’t June, and the majority of the population, including his wife and daughter, hadn’t returned from the dead as flesh-eating snappers in search of hot human lunches, he’d be in pretty good shape. Driven by guilt in a race against the apocalyptic clock, Calvin teams up with G.M., a wily ex-garbage man turned undead slayer, as together they attempt to deck the halls during the most magical time of the year. It’s Christmas in June. And snappers be damned… The lights and decorations are going up.
Cannibal Claus (2016)
Starring a Bob Glazier as the cannibalistic sex crazed Santa Claus and directed by Sean Donohue, This shoestring budget Christmas horror movie is sure to shock, offend and gross out anyone who has the privilege to watch it.
They reached out to me last week about reviewing this movie so there will be a full review to come, until then enjoy the trailer and look for info on how to get yourself a copy on the Cannibal Claus Facebook page.
Silent Night (2012)
Although it is decidedly a Christmas horror movie, The laughs and over the top gore are enjoyable all year around!
In 1984, the slasher classic Silent Night, Deadly Night stunned audiences, was banned across America, and remains the most notorious Christmas movie in history. Now, Santa is back, and he’s got a brand new bag of tricks. As their small Midwestern town prepares for its annual Christmas Eve parade, Sheriff (Malcolm McDowell of Halloween) and his deputy discover that a maniac in a Santa suit is murdering those he judges as ”naughty.” Their sins? Porn, adultery, greed… And he will make sure they rest in heavenly pieces.
Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
This has always been one of my favorite horror movies due partly to the huge amount of controversy it caused upon it’s release.
November 1984 – One film was released that set off a firestorm of controversy from parents groups because the ad campaign made significant emphasis on the killer being dressed as Santa Claus. Large crowds (mostly angry families) formed at theaters and malls around the nation to protest the film. TriStar Pictures, its original distributor, pulled all ads for the film six days after its release (November 15). On its opening weekend, the film outgrossed Wes Craven’s landmark slasher A Nightmare on Elm Street, which also opened the same day. That film was SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT. 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.
Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 (1987)
The now-adult Ricky talks to a psychiatrist about how he became a murderer after his brother, Billy, died, which leads back to Mother Superior.
Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out! (1989)
Not to say the SNDN franchise is solid after the original but this one was bad.
The comatose Ricky Caldwell reawakens and begins to stalk a blind woman, with whom he shares a psychic connection.
Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation (1990)
At this point they are really churning them out in this franchise and getting further from the first.
A reporter investigating the bizarre death of a woman who leaped from a building in flames finds herself mixed up in a cult of witches who are making her part of their sacrificial ceremony during the Christmas season.
Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker (1991)
I have always loved the cover art for this movie and the movie itself. Something about Christmas and killer toys makes me all warm inside!
A young boy sees his father killed by a toy that was anonymously delivered to his house. After that, he is too traumatized to speak, and his mother must deal with both him and the loss of her husband. Meanwhile, a toy maker named Joe Peto builds some suspicious-looking toys, and a mysterious man creeps around both the toy store and the boy’s house…but who is responsible for the killer toys?
Volumes of Blood:Horror Stories (2016)
I was drawn to this because former Scream Factory artist Nathan Thomas Milliner was the director of the Christmas themed segment “Fear, For Sinners Here”, and there is also a segment directed by Justin Seaman (The Barn)
This critically acclaimed anthology sees a young couple planning to purchase an old home, but would like one last tour before the closing. They’re guided around the estate by a realtor that may have more in store than they bargained for. Searching floor by floor, they begin to discover seven tales of terror, that will leave you asking…How many stories does your home have?
Red Christmas (2016)
A new movie in the Christmas horror category starring the badass Dee Wallace, this one had me at “Cletus the Fetus” as the murderous psychopath out for revenge!
Synopsis-It’s Christmas in Australia as Diane, played by the Dee Wallace, brings together her estranged family for a chaotic holiday gathering. A 20 year old decision literally comes back to haunt her when the ghost of Christmas past comes knocking at her door and is invited inside the family estate. Festivities quickly turn blood red, when the stranger is revealed to be Cletus, Diane’s aborted fetus, all grown up, very much alive and ready to terrorize his long lost mother. Diane must face her past and explain the hideous truth that is trying to kill them all, especially to Jerry, her Down Syndrome son, before it’s too late.
Good Tidings (2016)
I discovered this gem via an Indigogo campaign to raise funds to bring it to Blu ray and DVD and I’m glad I did! Good Tidings is currently streaming on Amazon and is free with a Prime membership.
A homeless war-veteran with a checkered past must rely on a side of himself once thought buried when he and his companions are targeted by three vicious psychopaths wearing Santa suits on Christmas Day.
Dead End (2003)
Christmas Eve. On his way to his in-laws with his 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.
The Children (2008)
A relaxing Christmas vacation turns into a terrifying fight for survival as the children begin to turn on their parents.
She Was So Pretty:Be Good for Goodness Sake (2017)
Probably the newest offering to the Christmas horror world is She Was So Pretty:Be Good for Goodness Sake, the follow up to the indie hit She Was So Pretty (2016). Directed by Brooklyn Ewing and starring Jerry Larew, these two movies guarantee that you be seeing much more from the Dirt Candy Productions crew!
In 2016 Ewing brought us a look into the dark world of serial killer, Alfred James Ellis III. In 2017 we will get to join Alfie during the Christmas season, and a new partnership with the pyscho cop, Detective Baldwin. Alfie’s search for the ultimate dream girl seems to be on hold, until he returns to one of his favorite holiday hangouts.
Better Watch Out (2016)
Being hailed as one of the best horror movies of 2017 and earns this praise. Being called a fun and brutal mix of Home Alone and The Strangers, this will be a fun watch all year around.
Ashley (Olivia DeJonge) thought this babysitting job was going to be an easy night, but the night takes a turn when dangerous intruders break in and terrorize her and the twelve-year-old boy, Luke (Levi Miller), she’s caring for. Ashley defends her charge to the best of her ability only to discover this is no normal home invasion.
Silent Night, Bloody Night (1972)
Wilford Butler returns home on Christmas Eve and his house had been turned into a mental institution for the criminally insane. But the day of his return, he is set on fire and dies. The towns people believe his death was an accident, and the institution-house is later closed down. Wilford leaves the house to his grandson Jeffrey. A few years later, Jeffrey finally decides to sell this grandfather’s house, but the towns people including the Mayor have mixed feelings on keeping people away from the house, especially when a serial killer escapes from another institution and finds refuge there. The killer makes frightening phone calls and kills anyone coming near the house. But what does the killer have in common with what happened to Wilford Butler years before?
Silent Night, Bloody Night: The Homecoming (2013)
This Hadn’t been on my radar until this year but it looks like it could be some great and violent holiday fun, I mean, just look at the way those deadly weapons are photo shopped so flawlessly into the madman’s hands!
The abandoned home of Wilfred Butler, a wealthy but troubled man who committed suicide in 1987, has been willed to his grandson, Jeffrey. The house has sat in disarray since Wilfred’s death, standing in the way of developers who want to turn the property into residential homes. Just before Christmas 2012, many years after Wilfred’s death, Jeffrey and his lawyer appear in town to negotiate the sale of the property. But an Axe wielding maniac has set up residence in the house, and he doesn’t take kindly to strangers.
Tales From the Crypt (1972)
Another great anthology featuring a Christmas themed segment that could have easily been it’s own feature film.
And All through the House: On the Christmas Eve, Joanne Clayton kills her husband expecting to receive his insurance. She hears on the news that the police are seeking-out a serial-killer posing of Santa Claus. When the man knocks on her door, she can not call the police since the body of her husband lays on the living room, and Joanne locks windows and doors. When she looks for her daughter, she has a lethal surprise.
A Christmas Horror Story (2015)
I saved this for last because I was blown away by how good it was.I have heard a few of my horror loving friends say that they have passed this up for one reason or another but let me tell you, WATCH THIS MOVIE!!
It is a perfect Christmas horror movie to go right along side the classics.
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.
This concludes my Christmas horror guide for the year, so run grab yourself a twisted Xmas horror flick and a nice cup of rum with a splash of egg nog and relax by the light of your Christmas tree and until next year…..LONG LIVE THE HORROR!!!!
Honorable mentions-Child’s Play, The Thing, Dead Snow, Dead Snow 2, Misery, Troll Hunter.
-Some plot synopsis for the films are from Amazon or iMDB
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