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Happy horror-days: Christmas horror films

Created by Ariana Powell on Dec. 3. Photos by James Superschoolnews and Brett Sayles on Pexels.

A lot of people believe October, “spooky month,” is the month for horror movies due to its spooky themes, almost every holiday has some scary movie made in its name.

One such holiday being society’s beloved Christmas. Over the years, multiple horror movies have been made by taking Christmas’ festive and joyful themes, and turning them into something terrifyingly horrible, and sometimes funny.

Here are some horror films that will be great for your Christmas season … and, no, “Die Hard” is not one of them:

“The Nightmare Before Christmas,” 1993

While the film might technically start on Halloween, this stop-motion classic is Christmas-spirited. 

After another year of spooky, creepy fun, the King of Halloween-Town grows tired of the community’s gruesome ways and finds his way to Christmas-Town, where he finds “Santa Claws” and becomes determined to steal his identity and holiday.

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” is not technically a horror film, but it undoubtedly adds some spookiness to the traditional tinsel-filled films that populate the holiday market.

“Holidays,” 2016

This anthology feature film is composed of eight horror short films based on different holidays. Each one defies the traditional themes linked to the various holiday-genre media.

The seventh short film dives into the terror of last-minute Christmas shopping. A desperate dad goes to an extreme to get a special gift for his son. The gift, a type of virtual reality goggles, is accessible to not only the young boy but also, his parents. Through the gift, the couple learns dark secrets about each other.

This short film takes a “Black Mirror” approach to the Christmas season and marriage.

“Anna and the Apocalypse,” 2017

Continuing with the humorous side of Christmas-horror, “Anna and the Apocalypse” is a zombie Christmas musical full of Disney-knock-off songs, cringey gore and a hilariously heartbreaking storyline.

High school seniors and best friends, Anna and John, find themselves stuck in the middle of a zombie apocalypse with some of their other classmates. As they fight to get back to their families, they discover hidden feelings, a terror they’ve never known … and zombie Justin Bieber.

The film is full of meta-humor and critiques of society’s media obsession; it’s sure to leave you laughing and crying.

“Krampus,” 2015

Over a dozen films and TV show episodes have been made depicting bastardized versions of the Krampus legend of a half-goat, half-man who punishes naughty children during Christmas-time.

“Krampus,” directed by Michael Doughtery in 2015 is the least horrible of these versions.

A large, highly dysfunctional family finds themselves besieged by a crazy snowstorm as they gather for Christmas festivities. As the night goes on, they find themselves picked off by strange creatures as ugly truths surface.

The film is missing some relatability and character development, but the jump-scares and animated inanimate objects are dream-haunting.

“Better Watch Out,” 2016

“Better Watch Out” brings a new spin to a calm Christmas night between a middle schooler and his babysitter. With some backward “Home Alone” themes, this Christmas horror film adds a truly disturbing twist part way through the film.

Babysitter Ashley, her ward Luke and his friend Garrett find themselves trapped during what Ashley thinks is a home invasion, but is so much more.

The film lulls the audience into complacency with a stereotypical boy-crushes-on-babysitter storyline but twists it into a too-realistic night of terror.

“The Mean One,” 2022

This “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” parody takes the residents of Whoville and places them in Newville, a small town in the mountains plagued by “The Mean One,” a green creature who hates Christmas.

As a young girl, Cindy You-Know-Who sees her mother murdered by “The Mean One,” and returns to Newville years later at the behest of her therapist. However, after seeing the creature continuing to ruin Christmas in gruesome ways, she becomes resolved to stop the green monster.

While the Grinch may have become a grouchy, but beloved character, that’s all destroyed in this dark comedy.

Ariana Powell can be reached at [email protected] or [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Ariana Powell
Ariana Powell, Editor-in-Chief
Ariana Powell is in her fourth year at Chico State as a media arts (criticism) and journalism (news) double-major. Now in her fourth semester on The Orion and having assumed the editor-in-chief position, she is prepared to continue helping upcoming journalists and endeavors to continue building her repertoire of multimedia and writing skills. In her free time, she enjoys writing, watching and analyzing films, reading and spending time with her loved ones.

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