Most Christmas movies are heartwarming, sentimental, and festive, giving you a fuzzy feeling inside. However, if that doesn't sound like your thing, there is an alternative.
Horror movies have long expanded into Christmas territory, with some of the best scary films and seasonal offerings being Christmas horrors.
In this piece, we'll take you through what we believe are the 20 best Christmas horror movies ever made.
20. Silent Night (2021, Directed by Camille Griffin)
Silent Night is an apocalyptic comedy horror about a group of friends who decide to reunite for one final Christmas together, as an environmental apocalypse will imminently wipe out all of humanity.
Outstanding Ensemble Cast
It has an outstanding ensemble cast that includes Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Roman Griffin Davis, Annabelle Wallis, Lily-Rose Depp, and Lucy Punch. It's a dark movie with plenty of existential horrors and silly humor in equal measure, and Knightley is utterly charming in the film's lead role.
19. The Lodge (2019, Directed by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala)
The Lodge is a psychological horror movie about a soon-to-be stepmother stranded at a rural lodge at Christmas with her fiancé's two children. While there, they experience several unexplained occurrences that seem to have links to her past.
The movie really shines with recognizable faces like Riley Keough, Jaeden Martell, Richard Armitage, and Alicia Silverstone. It's darkly atmospheric and deeply upsetting, and it avoids cheap scares, which is admirable. Its famous cast performs excellently.
18. The Advent Calendar (2021, Directed by Patrick Ridremont)
The Advent Calendar is a French horror thriller about a paraplegic woman who receives a strange advent calendar on her birthday during the festive season. The terror unfolds as the quirky gifts inside the calendar get scarier and bloodier.
A Horror Delight
With an abundance of nasties behind its doors, The Advent Calendar is a horror delight. It features stunning performances from its leads and provides plenty of chills and frights. The film's tone and mood are almost hypnotic.
17. The Day of the Beast (1995, directed by Álex de la Iglesia)
The Day of the Beast is a Spanish-Italian black comedy horror movie about a Basque priest's unorthodox efforts (he teams up with a metalhead and an occult fraudster) to avert the birth of the Antichrist in Madrid during Christmas Eve.
It's Sinister, Demented, and an Absolute Blast
If the “Christ” part of Christmas bothers you, this is the perfect movie. It's sinister, a little demented, and an absolute blast. It's highly original, provocative, and subversive, and it's a big shame that not many people outside of mainland Europe have heard of it.
16. A Christmas Horror Story (2015, Directed by Grant Harvey, Steven Hoban, and Brett Sullivan)
A Christmas Horror Story is a Canadian anthology horror movie comprised of four grisly tales. All of them are interwoven and tied together by a framework story featuring William Shatner as a radio DJ named Dangerous Dan.
Has Something for Everyone
With segments featuring ghosts, changelings, Krampus, and zombies, A Christmas Horror Story has something for everyone. Obviously, there wasn't a big Hollywood budget for this movie, but that adds to its charm. It's thoroughly entertaining, and Shatner only adds to that with his undeniable charm.
15. Krampus (2015, Directed by Michael Dougherty)
Krampus is a comedy horror based on the eponymous character from Austro-Bavarian folklore. In the movie, the squabbling between dysfunctional family members results in a young boy losing his Christmas spirit. That unleashes the demonic Krampus, and the family must band together to save themselves from its wrath.
Feels Chilling and Christmassy Simultaneously
It's a wonderfully atmospheric movie that feels chilling and Christmassy simultaneously. Krampus' most significant strength is its cast, which includes Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner, and Conchata Ferrell. If you're looking for a non-traditional Christmas movie, you can do much worse than this one.
14. Silent Night (2012, Directed by Steven C. Miller)
Silent Night is a slasher movie, a loose remake of 1984's Silent Night, Deadly Night, and the sixth installment in the Silent Night, Deadly Night franchise. In the film, a remote Midwestern town is terrorized by a killer Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, and the town's police force must hunt him down.
Full of Gore, Silliness, and Dark Humor
It stars many recognizable faces, including Malcolm McDowell, Jaime King, Donal Logue, and Ellen Wong. Silent Night is full of gore, silliness, and dark humor. McDowell is outstanding in this one, as he humorously commits fully to the nonsense. Some of the death scenes are admirably creative.
13. The Curse of The Cat People (1944, Directed by Robert Wise and Gunther von Fritsch)
The Curse of the Cat People is a psychological fantasy horror about a young girl who befriends the ghost of her father's deceased first wife, Irena, a Serbian fashion designer. Irena descended from a race of people who could turn themselves into cats. The movie takes place over the Christmas period.
Touching and Disturbing
While it wasn't initially highly thought of, The Curse of the Cat People now has a much better reputation. It's touching and disturbing in equal measure, and it now gets used as source material in some college psychology courses. It feels very much like a dark Disney fairytale.
12. Dead End (2003, Directed by Jean-Baptiste Andrea and Fabrice Canepa)
Dead End is a French horror movie about a family en route to a Christmas Eve gathering. When they take a shortcut down a dark road that isn't on their map, an eerie sequence of events involving a woman in white and a hearse signal trouble ahead.
A Good Mix of Scary and Fun
This movie provides a chilling atmosphere, but it's a good mix of scary and fun. Its intimate cast of actors is very talented, which helps. There's plenty of tension, and the humor is commendable. Its scale makes it feel a little like an extended television episode, which adds to its charm.
11. Santa's Slay (2005, Directed by David Steiman)
Santa's Slay is a comedy slasher that reveals Santa Claus is a demon who lost a bet with an angel, which resulted in him becoming the Santa we know and love. However, in this story, he returns to his evil ways. This one stars professional wrestler Bill Goldberg as Santa Claus.
You'll Laugh Your Stockings Off
You could use so many seemingly contrasting words to describe Santa's Slay. It's ridiculous, intelligent, wholesome, rude, festive, and bloody. Overall, however, it's a lot of fun. There are some seriously cheesy lines, the characters are weird and wonderful, and you'll laugh your stockings off at it.
10. Inside (2007, Directed by Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo)
Inside is a French horror movie about a home invasion on Christmas Eve. The victim is a pregnant woman whose husband had been killed four months earlier in a car crash she survived. The home invader is someone with ties to the accident.
While this movie is hard to watch due to its nastiness, it's also a brilliant horror. There's tension and gore galore, with some of the gore being very inventive. What separates it from most horror films is that it's very character-driven, and the small cast of actors does a brilliant job.
9. Christmas Evil (1980, Directed by Lewis Jackson)
Christmas Evil is a psychological horror about a deranged and disturbed man so obsessed with Santa Claus that he goes on a murderous rampage while he's dressed in a Santa suit.
Was Seized and Confiscated in The U.K.
This movie was once on the United Kingdom's list of “video nasties” and was seized and confiscated under an obscene publications act, so you know it's good. It stars Jeffrey DeMunn of The Walking Dead fame. It looks great, is brilliantly edited, the music is excellent, and its dark humor is great.
8. Red Snow (2021, Directed by Sean Nichols Lynch)
Red Snow is a comedy horror movie about a supernatural romance author in Lake Tahoe who, after saving an injured bat that turns into a handsome man, finds herself battling vampires during the holiday period.
Dennice Cisneros is outstanding in the lead role of Red Snow, and her chemistry with Nico Bellamy is perfect. This movie is cleverly satirical, bloody as hell, and highly entertaining. The balance between horror and comedy is undoubtedly impeccable and works well.
7. Anna and The Apocalypse (2017, Directed by John McPhail)
Anna and the Apocalypse is a British musical zombie movie. In the film, a Christmastime zombie apocalypse threatens the sleepy town of Little Haven, forcing Anna and her friends to fight (and sing) for their survival and ensure the safety of their loved ones.
Refreshing Take on The Zombie Genre
This movie is a refreshing take on the heavily saturated zombie genre. It has a lot of heart, is fun, and features characters for whom you want to root. There's enough gore for horror fans, a few laughs, and the musical numbers are, somewhat surprisingly, pretty good.
6. The Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020, Directed by Jim Cummings)
The Wolf of Snow Hollow is a comedy horror movie set during Christmas. It's about a small town in Utah seemingly falling victim to attacks by a vicious werewolf – but not everything about the situation is as it seems.
Scary and Funny
It's less of an explicitly Christmassy horror movie than most movies on this list, but there are flashes of colorful Christmas imagery and excellent uses of festive music. The Wolf of Snow Hollow is suitably scary and funny, and it features an accomplished final performance from the brilliant late Robert Forster.
5. Black Christmas (1974, Directed by Bob Clark)
Black Christmas is a slasher movie inspired by the urban legend “the babysitter and the man upstairs.” It focuses on a group of sorority sisters at Christmastime as they find themselves the targets of an increasingly unstable individual who terrorizes them, starting with threatening phone calls and ending with brutal murders.
A Highly Influential Movie
It's now considered a highly influential movie with good reason. It was the first film to introduce the ‘calling from inside the home' trope. Plus, Black Christmas is full of seasonal suspense and shocks. The cast – including Margot Kidder and John Saxon of Superman and A Nightmare on Elm Street fame, respectively – perform excellently.
4. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993, Directed by Henry Selick)
The Nightmare Before Christmas is a dark fantasy stop-motion musical produced by Tim Burton. It's about Jack Skellington, the King of “Halloween Town,” as he inadvertently ends up in “Christmas Town” and concocts a devious scheme to take over the festive holiday before ultimately falling in love with it.
A Movie You Can Watch With Children
While it's not an outright horror movie by any stretch, The Nightmare Before Christmas contains some horror elements typical of Tim Burton, and we wanted to include at least one movie you could watch with children. It looks gorgeous, is incredibly atmospheric, brilliantly performed by its voice cast, and doubles up as a Halloween movie as a nice bonus.
3. Better Watch Out (2016, Directed by Chris Peckover)
Better Watch Out is a psychological horror movie set on a quiet suburban street over the festive period. It's about a babysitter forced to defend a twelve-year-old boy from intruders, only to discover the home invasion in question is far from ordinary.
Dark, Sinister, Twisted, and Unhinged
The talented young cast of this movie makes it so good – they all perform brilliantly and go above and beyond to make it work. It's dark, sinister, twisted, and unhinged. What more could you ask for in a Christmas horror movie?
2. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010, Directed by Jalmari Helander)
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is a Finnish movie with fantasy, action, comedy, and horror elements. Based on the 2003 short film Rare Exports Inc. and its 2005 sequel Rare Exports: The Official Safety Instructions by Jalmari Helander and Juuso Helander, it's about an American and British research team digging up the true secrets of Christmas in Lapland. What they find isn't pretty.
A Mix of Horror and Deadpan Comedy
Its mix of pure horror and deadpan comedy is perfect. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is an ambitious movie that's refreshing and wonderful made. Everything from the sets to the acting and directing. Despite its status as a horror movie, it'll also, somewhat bizarrely, make you feel very Christmassy.
1. Gremlins (1984, Directed by Joe Dante)
Gremlins is a black comedy horror about a small American town that gets invaded by little monsters spawned from a cute pet on Christmas Eve. It draws on legends of mischievous folkloric creatures that would meddle with machinery going back to World War II.
Enjoyable From The Beginning to The End
It's an absolute blast and one of the best Christmas movies ever. It's funny, scary, has a great cast, and is enjoyable from beginning to end. The Gremlins are all created using practical effects and are highly impressive. We recommend this one if you only want to watch one Christmas horror movie.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.