When it comes to the festive season, there’s a dirth of films to fulfill our various Christmas traditions, some of them good (Home Alone being the perennial favourite) and some not so good (I’m sorry, but Tim Allen’s The Santa Clause doesn’t hold up so well when you’re an adult). But the common theme linking all these films together is the so called ‘power of the Christmas spirit’, some kind of moral the film is trying to teach us all. But what if you don’t want to be taught a lesson? What if you just wanted to be entertained at Christmas, but don’t actually enjoy the saccharine preaching that goes along it?
Well it just so happens there’s an alternate list of Christmas movies which one can turn to in their time of anti-festive need. The following movies spread across several genres that fluctuate between action, comedy and horror, but the one thing they have in common is their shared disinterest in explaining the meaning of the Holiday season, and only two of them actually have Christmas in the title.
Now on to the countdown!
The first entry on this list is also the most recent, with the nightmare tinged comedy Krampus, named after the popular figure of German folklore. Its hard to believe the whole thing was brought to life by Peter Jackson’s WETA workshop, usually praised as the dream factory, in this case the nightmare factory.
Batman Returns (1992)
“Jingle Bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an eeeeeegg!”
Ok, so we’ll admit this is a bit of a left field choice, but many forget Tim Burton’s second dark foray into the DC world took place in a wintry Gotham, complete with killer Christmas ornaments and rocket mounted penguins. As you might expect, its not the only appearance from Burton on this list.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)
A truly terrifying Finnish film that’s part horror-part fantasy, featuring the Saint Nicholas of your nightmares. This should help stem the ever growing need to kill that seems to bubble its way to the surface at this time of year, and ensures your anger is channeled safely away from annoying family members.
Trading Places (1983)
This films premise actually involves two men (Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy) who live opposite lives, unknowingly swapping circumstances to frequently hilarious effect. But the holiday setting, and one classic scene involving Aykroyd’s character getting hilariously drunk at a Christmas party while dressed as Santa, are reason enough for us to add this comedy classic to our list.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
This one might seem like a bit of a no brainer, but in reality it functions as more of a hybrid Halloween-Christmas film. Its pretty light on plot and the songs aren’t all as good as that killer opening number, but its off kilter character design and dark colour palette are a good antidote to the bright and happy visuals you’ll get from more festive fare. Plus at 76 minutes, it doesn’t overstay its welcome, never a bad thing when attention spans are in short supply post Christmas lunch.