Despise schmaltz and kids singing and people learning the true meaning of the season? Of course you do, you’re only human.
So while the family is crowded around the telly cooing at something heartwarming, tuck into our viewing suggestions for those who hate Christmas, and with no sign of Bad Santa, Die Hard and Gremlins…
1974’s Black Christmas is a grimy, stalk and slash horror of a style that will be familiar to fans of John Carpenter’s 1978 breakthrough hit Halloween.
Margot Kidder, Olivia Hussey and their sorority sisters are bothered during the festive season by a psychopath with a nice line in obscene phone calls.
Grittier and with a more real-world tone than later slasher films, including a focus on the police investigation into the killings, it’s a fine example of the genre at any time of the year.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
A Finnish flick in which a scientific expedition to a historically significant burial mound uncovers Santa.
Or more specifically, they uncover the brutal cannibal who punished and ate naughty children, deploying his elves to bring the misbehaving brats right to him, thus inspiring the somewhat more benevolent mythos of the right jolly old elf himself.
An absolute treat for the seasonal misanthrope.
The Stone Tape
Nigel Kneale’s still-terrifying supernatural thriller was shown on BBC Two in 1972 as part of their successful annual “Ghost Story for Christmas” strand.
Kneale’s play bypasses Christmas almost completely as a group of engineers move into an abandoned estate, Taskerlands, to research a new recording medium and discover ghosts recorded into the fabric of the building itself.
So influential was this play that a branch of parapsychology is named after it. The play’s only sop to the season is a terrified note to Father Christmas left by a prior tenant of Taskerlands: “What I want for Christmas is please go away”.
Santa Claus: The Movie
We realise this is a strange choice given that much of the first hour of this film depicts elves dancing with each other while cheery music plays and Dudley Moore gurns with the face of a man desperate to be loved by American audiences.
However, from the moment Dexter villain John Lithgow shows up as amoral toy magnate BZ and we see his successful capitalist stranglehold on the festive season it becomes one of the most unpleasant of the “normal” Christmas movies.
And, to top it all off, it ends with a man clearly about to asphyxiate in deep space. Well played.
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