As the weather started to turn cold, tonight’s Chucky season 2 finale showcased true Christmas cheer with a blood-soaked Christmas conclusion. For decades, the happiest date on the calendar has been a breeding ground for horror stories.
Why? Perhaps because it’s so easy to turn our collective notion of delicious feasts, gifts under a decorated tree, and joy in the world upside down with the arrival of supernatural entities and bloodthirsty maniacs. When the hacking and slashing begins, Santa’s coat isn’t the only thing that’s red… if you know what we mean. Now that Chucky’s second appearance is over, here are 11 Christmassy genre features that are guaranteed to go down the chimney with a sack full of frights!
RELATED: “Chucky”: A sneak peek at the classic horror movie references in Season 2, Episode 7
Black Christmas (1974)
A full four years before Michael Myers showed up in Haddonfield, Black Christmas got the slasher train rolling. The Bob Clark-directed Christmas/horror classic follows a group of college girls who are being pursued by a vicious killer. Who could ever forget the image of the girl in the rocking chair with a plastic bag pulled over her head? cool stuff Less than a decade later, Clark directed the much more family-friendly film A Christmas Story. It’s all about balance folks!
Along with Die Hard, Gremlins is often considered the quintessential genre strip set against a Christmas backdrop. Director Joe Dante’s love of classic cartoons certainly shines through in this B-movie showup about a horde of tiny creatures wreaking havoc in a small town. The comedy, horror and festive atmosphere make for the perfect vacation viewing experience.
The nightmare before Christmas (1993)
What is that?! What is that?! A rare film suitable for both Halloween and Christmas, the stop-motion classic directed by Henry Selick (executive producer Tim Burton) continues to be a paragon of the animation genre. Jack Skellington’s desire to escape the monotony of Halloween Town makes us eternally grateful for the changing seasons.
No, we’re not talking about the Michael Keaton film of the same name, which opened a year later. Jack Frost is a curly masterpiece and perhaps the closest thing to Chucky on this list. When a convicted murderer’s DNA accidentally mixes with a patch of snow, the island town of Snowmonton is attacked by a murderous snowman. It’s the definition of camp, and the 2000 sequel – Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman – is even crazier. Look up the table of contents when you get a chance. It’s wild!
Rare exports (2010)
You better watch out and definitely better not cry. Similar to Krampus (see below), this horror trip from Finland reimagines jolly old Saint Nick as a malevolent entity buried deep in the depths of a snowy mountain. We’ve seen John Carpenter’s The Thing enough times to know where this is headed. Some things are better left frozen.
Director Michael Michael Dougherty’s take on the infamous monster of European folklore (Krampus is portrayed as a mischievous shadow of Santa Claus) is shaped in the same vein as Gremlins, deftly blending horror and comedy into a Dante-esque romp that sheds light on the heavy emotional Stress from raises family reunion for the holidays. Killer Gingerbread Men and Man Eating Jack-in-the-Boxes await!
Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)
If you fancy something lighter, check out this offbeat musical that sends roast chestnuts into the zombie apocalypse genre. Not something you see every day but definitely worth your time. Also, the screenplay was co-written by the late Ryan McHenry, the forerunner of those classic Ryan Gosling videos that defied spoonfuls of cereal videos.
Horror films inspired by Jewish tradition are hard to come by. Writer-director Eben McGarr saw a totally untapped market and grabbed it by lighting all eight candles of the menorah with a brutally violent homage to iconic 1980s slasher titles. To further underscore his throwback intentions, McGarr brought in Friday the 13th composer Harry Manfredini and a supporting cast of genre icons like Sid Haig (The devil’s denials), Dick Miller (gremlins), Caroline Williams (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2), PJ Soles (Halloween) and Charles Fleischer (A Nightmare on Elm Street). Fry some latkes, unwrap some gel and enjoy as the aptly named “Hanukiller” picks up a group of sex-obsessed youngsters.
The cottage (2019)
Imagine: a cozy hut in the middle of a snowy winter landscape. This idyllic vacation spot is transformed into the sinister in this chilling offering from Goodnight Mommy co-directors Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, about an expectant stepmother trying to reconnect with her fiancé’s two children. “With the house, we also wanted to create that in-between world where it’s in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the snow, so it feels a bit surreal,” Franz explained in 2020.
silent Night (2021)
Led by Keira Knightley (Pirates of the Caribbean), Matthew Goode (Watchmen) and Roman Griffin Davis (Jojo Rabbit), Silent Night unfolds on the eve of doomsday. If we’re all dying from an unstoppable cloud of poison gas, you might as well spend it with your closest loved ones, right? Writer-director Camille Griffin was inspired by the paradoxical nature of the holidays: “We try to think of all the people we haven’t spoken to and the friends we’ve left or the family we’ve fallen for should take care of, all of these people who have no homes and need food,” the filmmaker said last December. “It’s the time everyone comes in and goes, let’s be better people. It’s a fantasy in a way because then we’re kind of our shitty selves again for the rest of the year.”
violent night (2022)
Violent Night hits theaters everywhere on December 2nd, reminiscent of Die Hard with a badass Santa (played by stranger thingsDavid Harbour), who kicks the ass of a group of mercenaries trying to rob a wealthy family’s home on Christmas Eve. The project comes from director Tommy Wirkola, who has long since proven his talent for genre mashups with films such as dead snow and Hasnel & Gretel: Witch Hunters.
The full first season of Chucky is now streaming on Peacock. If you want to watch part of the new season for free, click here for our guide to watching three episodes for free.