Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer
It’s that time of year. When the holidays hit you one after the other. For some of us Diwali was a couple weeks ago. Thursday in the United States, it was Thanksgiving (Happy belated Turkey Day folks!). And before you can even digest that turkey, Christmas will be sliding down your chimney (sorry, didn’t mean to make that sound so dirty). Yes, it’s the holiday season and if you’re like me and love any excuse to fit horror movies in the mix, have I got the perfect list for you!
Let’s be clear though. I’m not saying these are all good movies, just really fun ones.
Here are my TOP 5 FAVOURITE HOLIDAY-THEMED HORROR MOVIES:
It’s about a homicidal turkey that kills kids off during their Thanksgiving break, so if you’re taking a movie like this seriously, you’re doing movies wrong. Thankskilling sits squarely in the so-bad-it’s-good section at the video store (or streaming site for you youngsters). The kind of movie my friends and I gleefully devour during our “Bad Movie Limes” (for my non-Trini readers, lime=get-togethers) just so we can point out all of the insanity unfolding before our eyes.
Cheaply made, poorly acted and arguably the best Thanksgiving movie you’ll ever see, their poster tagline was “Gobble Gobble M$#%r F&^r!” That should tell you everything you need to know about Thankskilling.
Also, did I mention the turkey talks? Because the turkey talks!
#4 April Fool’s Day (1986)
The title of this movie does give away the ending to some degree, but it didn’t stop teenage me from enjoying every minute of this 80s slasher flick the first time I saw it.
The plot follows a group of college students vacationing during, you guessed it, April’s Fools Day weekend, when they start getting bumped off one by one by an unknown assailant.
I haven’t seen this one in sometime so I’m not sure how well it holds up. And I did check out the remake, which doesn’t have the same charm as the original. But I do remember the first film being genuinely suspenseful and mostly well-acted. As it goes, I’m giving it props just for coming up with a cool and fun premise based around the one day of the year it’s officially okay to prank the hell out of your friends and family.
#3 End of Days
Bet you didn’t think this was a holiday movie, did ya? But it most certainly is. End of Days stars the Terminator as he tries to prevent one of The Usual Suspects from conceiving the Antichrist with one of the witches from The Craft before the New Year rings in.
I’m actually a big fan of this movie. It’s Arnold in a role we don’t normally see him play. He’s a drunk and a suicidal mess of a cop who has lost all will to live, but stubbornly holds on to his existence and actually finds his faith by the end. It’s also an action-packed horror movie with genuine scary moments, and Gabriel Byrne hamming it up as Satan. What’s not to like? After a year where we had to deal with a worldwide pandemic, murder hornets and fire tornados, at least you didn’t have the devil pissing gasoline, fondling your wives and blowing up subways. Silver linings folks, silver linings.
Set against the feast festival (celebrations that accompany the summer solstice) Midsommar is not the kind of horror movie that appeals to broad audiences. But that doesn’t take anything away from this disturbing tale of grief, cults and disrespectful tourist getting their comeuppance.
Coincidentally, this isn’t even the first horror movie set against the festival. There was a 2003 movie called Midsommer (the spelling here is closer to that of the actual celebration) with that version being set in the United States. Either way, Midsommar is one of those movies that’s more unnerving than it is scary. The kind of story that makes you think twice about travelling to unknown places, or at least unknown places where people celebrate the holidays by feeding you hallucinogenic mushrooms while they fit your boyfriend into a bear costume and throw their old folks off cliffs. Maybe just stay in the hotel next time?
#1 Silent Night, Deadly Night
Christmas-themed horror movies alone could’ve made up this entire list, but I had to give it to the first one I’ve ever saw. This controversial Santa slasher is one of the best Christmas-themed horror movies out there. What on the surface seems like a straight up slasher flick is actually a much deeper tale of trauma and the damage that can be done when said trauma is left untreated.
Telling the story of Billy Chapman, who was traumatised after witnessing the brutal rape of his mother and murder of both his parents by a man dressed in a Santa suit, Billy is all grown up now and is trying to have a normal happy life. Working at a retail store during the holidays, Billy is tortured by his memories. And after being forced to dress as Santa for work, he snaps and decides to throw out the “nice” list as he deals out lethal punishment to those he deems “naughty”.
Hated upon its release, as the idea of a murderous Santa Claus didn’t sit well with parents, Silent Night, Deadly Night has risen to cult status, spawned a few (awful) sequels and has a loose remake called Silent Night. But the original will always be the best of the bunch and one of my favourites to revisit when I’m in that festive holiday mood. What? It still counts as a Christmas movie, so stop looking at me like that!
Happy Horror Holidays you beautiful people!
So what’s your favourite holiday-themed horror flick? For a list of five non-traditional Christmas movies you can click here.
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
Double Tap Baby!