10 Most Disturbing Christmas Movies Ever

Christmas is great, and anyone who says it isn’t is trying to be cool, has a heart of inadequate charcoal or has probably been involved in a Christmas story akin to some of the ludicrously mood-killing movies mentioned below. Yes, that’s right, it’s that time of year and we’ve decided to go ahead and list for you our very own top ten list of the most messed up Christmas movies. (And before you go and giddily open our little present, try and imagine for a second how different our list might have looked if the Joe Pesci character in Home Alone could be swapped with the Joe Pesci character in Goodfellas.)

10. Jack Frost

Probably one of the more obtusely terrifying Christmas movies ever made, the critically panned horror-comedy Jack Frost had some totally classic moments. The premise is pretty incredible in itself: serial killer Jack Frost is being driven to his place of execution in a prison van on a snowy Christmas night, when the vehicle inadvertently collides with a truck carrying hazardous materials on the icy roads. Jack makes his escape but is hampered by the chemical ooze which proceeds to generally mess him up, fusing his body with the surrounding snow. Cue amalgamation into psychopathic snowman mutilator hell-bent on wreaking havoc and exacting revenge on the local townspeople, who by total coincidence happen to be under the jurisdiction of the very sheriff that sent him down in the first place. Perhaps one of the most bizarre parts of the movie is the unhinged and self-questioningly enjoyable death/snow rape scene involving a partially nude Shannon Elizabeth. And in case you were wondering, Jack finally meets his demise courtesy of – you guessed it – antifreeze.

9. Black Christmas

Unlike Jack Frost, Black Christmas is not ‘so bad it’s good’ but so very, very bad it isn’t even campy and entertaining. But it certainly is gory. Incredibly gory. In fact, so gory it received complaints upon its release, which we didn’t even think happened any more in this age of YouTube bullying and visual desensitization. When re-watching this, we made a little collective gasping noise during one particularly grizzly scene where a young girl’s eye is popped out of its socket. Ask yourself honestly – when did you last have that reaction to cinema violence? The premise is actually quite cool, so it’s a shame it was so badly portrayed: a young boy kills his rapist mother and impotent stepfather at Christmas after pulling his sister’s eye out. Scroll forward ten years and he escapes dressed as Santa Claus to a sorority house with the eyeless sister and together they inflict increasingly brutal levels of violence upon the occupants. Merry fucking Christmas.

8. Christmas Evil

Also known as Terror in Toyland and You Better Watch Out, this 1980 slasher film is everything Black Christmas isn’t, i.e – quite enjoyable. A young Harry catches his mother being sexually delighted by his half-cut dad dressed as Santa. The combination of seeing his parents engaging in pre-coitus and the realization that Santa is as real as Cher’s face makes the wee laddie run upstairs and cut himself with a shard of glass from a snow globe. We now fast-forward to the adult Harry 30 years later, working a dead end job at a toy factory. Clearly the childhood memory hasn’t escaped his festering mind, as in the privacy of his own home he believes he is the next true Santa, which he uses as an excuse to spy on local children so as to decide who has been ‘naughty’ or ‘nice’. From then on the film becomes a whirl of festive bloodiness akin to setting about a plump turkey with an angle grinder as Harry decides to go on the rampage in an increasingly shoddy looking Santa outfit. The film has garnered cult status and even has a celebrity fan in director John Waters.

7. Silent Night, Deadly Night

Despite being yet another slightly generic ruin-Christmas-by-killing-stuff-a-thon, this movie isn’t too bad. For a start it features one of the most awesome and genuinely unsettling scenes in bad movie history, when little Billy gets told the truth about a deranged Santa by his mentally deteriorating grandfather (seemingly portrayed by a kind of post-stroke Ernest Hemingway figure). YouTube it. The soundtrack has that retro horror vibe which makes it perfect ironic viewing when cuddled up around the Christmas tree. Just don’t let your little cousin watch with you or you might end up inadvertently being the newspaper headline as the inspiration for a budget Christmas horror movie yourself in a few years time.

6. Gremlins

Much like the very gift given to the son in the film, this movie shouldn’t really have been aimed at children. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the premise by now: a boy is given a cute, furry monster for Christmas, which spawns other more unpleasant monsters when it makes contact with water. Then, when fed after midnight, the fuzzy cute things rapidly become green, scaly monsters hell-bent on tearing up the neighborhood, and chaos ensues. The thing about Gremlins is its humor was so damned dark. Remember the speech about the girl’s father breaking his neck when he fell down the chimney dressed as Santa? It was so littered with unsuitable bits and pieces that its classification had to be reviewed in many countries as it was essentially being released as a kid’s movie. Win!

5. The Muppet Christmas Carol

Okay, it may seem strange that we’re including this particular movie on a list of fucked up Christmas films. It is after all a classic. Who could resist the genuine comedy of the lovable Muppets juxtaposed with a genuinely excellent performance from screen legend Michael Caine? Add to this the thousands of little jokes (Fozziwig’s rubber chicken factory gets us every time) and the irritatingly catchy menagerie of songs. After Home Alone it could well be the best Christmas movie of all time. But if there were ever a better reason to dub a film ‘disturbing’ it’s the genuine terror that struck our little hearts when Scrooge meets the ghost of Christmas yet-to-come. Surely this bastard shouldn’t have been allowed in a film which was clearly labeled as suitable – nay, aimed at – children? It definitely wins the award for most terrifying Muppet ever, and still sends a chill down our spines when we recall his horrifying, shadowy hooded ass.

4. Don’t Open Til Christmas

A 100 percent perfect example of a film that is deeply, enjoyably bad. Don’t Open Til Christmas has it all: totally camp British acting, an unavoidable early 1980s style, gruesome murders, amusingly poor dialogue and bikini clad babes of dubious beauty wearing Santa-style overcoats. The interesting slant to this peach of a movie is that the freakishly masked killer in the story doesn’t dress as Santa, but attacks people who do! No Father Christmas is safe on the streets of London, which makes for the best/worst premise for a jolly old blood-fest ever. It even has a guest appearance from ex-bond starlet Caroline Munro! Who?! Just Google the trailer and remember to send us a Christmas card saying thank you.

3. Elves

A teenage girl cuts her hand whilst messing around with some hokey pagan ritual (classic horror movie stuff) thanks to her hatred of Christmas. Her blood causes a demented Christmas elf to rise from the dead and try to put together a half-elf, half Aryan master race – concocted by none other than Hitler himself. The girl becomes embroiled in the plot as she is the last Aryan virgin on earth, and has a former Nazi for a grandfather. It turns out her grandfather is also her father, thanks to a bit of careful inbreeding. Suffice to say this is a pretty messy movie, but if you’re completely (and we mean completely) soaked on cheap Christmas whiskey, it might just be The Elf’s grand plan is to inseminate the girl so as to begin the master race, which leads to a bizarre and irritatingly ambiguous ending involving a fetus – despite it being made fairly apparent that the plot to get the girl pregnant failed.

2. Santa’s Slay

Being huge fans of shitty puns, we knew we were sold just from looking at the title of this dog’s dinner of a movie. Add to the mix the classic tagline, “He’s making a list, pray you’re not on it” (!), and you surely have a win. Or at least a winning kind of fail. It’s not all bad, though. As with most of these kinds of films, the imaginative nature of the Yule-related murders makes for occasionally comedic viewing: man choked on chicken leg, girl drowned in eggnog, spoiled little boys callously disintegrated by explosive Christmas presents, you get the idea. It’s the cheesy lines and ridiculous plot that generally tend to split opinion on this Christmas romp, but if you have a soft spot for federation wrestling – and we do – then the fact that it stars Bill Goldberg should sway your judgment.

1. Night Train Murders

Easily the most fucked up ‘Christmas’ film of all time, the Italian video nasty Night Train Murders sees a couple of wide-eyed young women taking a night train through Europe to be home for the Christmas holidays befriending two seriously unhinged Italian dudes. What generally follows is a deviously messed up combination of messy sex scenes, knives being put in increasingly imaginative places, excessive heroin abuse and alarmingly unruly murders. The two young girls don’t exactly make it home in one piece, which leads the anxiously waiting father into a revenge-tinted murder spree of his own – maiming one protagonist by over-injecting his needle and repeatedly caving his face in with a chair leg, and the other by blowing his features off with a shotgun from pointblank range. If you have a dark – and by that we mean criminally insane – sense of humor, put this one on the list for Christmas eve at the in-laws. It was outright banned in about a million countries.

Bonus Entry: Santa With Muscles

This stinking turd of a movie makes it onto the ass end of the list because it is truly disturbing that anybody ever scripted, paid for, directed or acted in it. When you consider the synopsis on its own – Hulk Hogan gets amnesia and becomes Santa, utilizing his body builder guns to physically assault a horde of bad guys in order to save an orphanage – it sounds as if at the very least it might be a nice slice of ironically bad cinematography to enjoy while smoking the last of your stash under the fairy lights on Christmas Eve. It isn’t. It is a pile of steamy, mushy, fly-covered proverbial. You would have to be under 6, or sufficiently lobotomized so as to induce the day-to-day characteristics of an under 6-year-old, to enjoy this movie. Actually, if you look at it like that, maybe stoners will like it after all…

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Julian