In most cases, Christmas movies end in heartwarming fashion, with the likable protagonists getting their happy endings. But it's not always smooth sailing for them along the way.
The good characters tend to have their lives made difficult by evil antagonists, most of whom end up getting their comeuppance by the time the movie comes to a climax.
In this piece, we'll take you through a dirty dozen of Christmas movie antagonists that we all love to hate. Bah humbug, indeed!
12. Oogie Boogie (The Nightmare Before Christmas)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) is a stop-motion animated musical dark fantasy movie conceived by Tim Burton. It's about Jack Skellington, the King of “Halloween Town,” who inadvertently ends up in “Christmas Town” and plans to take over the holiday.
Oogie Boogie is the infamous bogeyman in Halloween Town. Voiced by Ken Page, he loves gambling and has a rivalry with Jack. He resembles a large burlap sack and, upon his defeat, is revealed to be full of bugs. In the movie, along with other dastardly deeds, he kidnaps Santa Claus.
11. Clyde Northcutt (Fred Claus)
Fred Claus (2007) is a comedy movie with a great cast that includes Vince Vaughn, Paul Giamatti, Miranda Richardson, Elizabeth Banks, Rachel Weisz, Kathy Bates, and Kevin Spacey. It's loosely based on Donald Henkel's poem “A legend of Santa and his brother Fred” and sees Santa's bitter older brother forced to move to the North Pole to help Santa and his elves prepare for Christmas.
Clyde Northcutt is an efficiency expert who heads to the North Pole to assess the situation and takes great pleasure in issuing “strikes” for dwindling performance. He's resentful for being put on the naughty list when he was younger. Played by Kevin Spacey, it turns out Northcutt endured bullying as a child, which caused him to become troubled.
10. Krampus (Krampus)
Krampus (2015) is a comedy horror movie based on the eponymous character from Austro-Bavarian folklore. In the film, a dysfunctional family squabbling in the leadup to Christmas causes a young boy to lose his festive spirit, and Krampus' wrath gets unleashed.
Naughty or Nice?
A fearsome, horned demonic beast in ancient European folklore, Krampus punishes naughty children and those without festive spirit at Christmastime. The creature has appeared in several movies over the years, but this is the most explicit depiction. Luke Hawker acts as the in-suit performer for the beast.
9. Walter Hobbs (Elf)
Elf (2003) is a comedy movie with a brilliant cast that includes Will Ferrell, James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen, and Bob Newhart. It's about a human named Buddy, raised as an elf by Santa's elves, who heads to New York City to meet his biological father after learning his true origin.
Where is Dad?
The late great Caan plays Walter Hobbs, a children's book publisher and Buddy's biological father. He's a neglectful father who cares more about his work than his family, and he rejects Buddy unequivocally when he first meets him. However, by the movie's end, he sees the error of his ways and softens.
8. Henry F. Potter (It's a Wonderful Life)
It's a Wonderful Life (1946) is a fantasy drama movie based on Philip Van Doren Stern's 1943 short story and booklet The Greatest Gift (which is, in turn, based on Charles Dickens' 1843 novella A Christmas Carol). It's about George Bailey, who has given up his dreams to help others in his community and whose suicidal Christmas Eve thoughts prompt Clarence Odbody, his guardian angel, to intervene.
Henry F. Potter, played by Lionel Barrymore, is a villainous robber baron who seeks to dissolve Bailey's family business in the town of Bedford Falls, New York. He's disabled, elderly, and miserly. In the movie's alternate timeline, in which Bailey is no longer alive, the town gets renamed Pottersville. At the movie's conclusion, he appears to get away with his horrible actions.
7. Ted Maltin (Jingle All the Way)
Jingle All the Way (1996) is a family comedy that borrows its title from the lyrics of the popular Christmas song “Jingle Bells.” It's about two rival fathers, Howard Langston and Myron Larabee, as they desperately try to purchase a Turbo Man action figure for their respective sons on Christmas Eve.
The Neighbors Know
Ted Maltin is a divorcee and the neighbor of Howard and his wife, Liz. He's a total sleaze and attempts to move in on Liz when Howard is out shopping while also trying to convince her that her husband is a waste of space. He's played brilliantly by the late, great Phil Hartman.
6. B.Z. (Santa Claus: The Movie)
Santa Claus: The Movie (1985) is a fantasy adventure movie. It tells the story of the origin of Santa Claus before depicting a modern-day adventure in which Santa must save one of his elves from being manipulated by a large toy company's nasty CEO.
Money, Money, Money
B.Z. – which is all the character is ever referred to as – is the nasty CEO in question. Played by John Lithgow, he's stingy, unkind, and sleazy, and his only concern is making more money. In the end, he gets his just desserts, as he floats off into space uncontrollably after eating several of the magic candy canes he forced the elf mentioned above to produce.
5. The Gremlins (Gremlins)
Gremlins (1984) is a black comedy horror movie that draws on legends of mischievous folkloric creatures that cause malfunctions in electronic devices. It's about a young man who receives a strange but cute creature as a pet on Christmas Eve, and the pet then spawns other creatures who transform into destructive monsters that wreak havoc all over town.
Crazy Little Ones
The gremlins are those havoc-wreaking monsters – and they get up to some crazy shenanigans. They drive a snow plow into a house, cause a woman's stair lift to malfunction to the point that it fires her through a window, and torture Gizmo (the cute pet that accidentally spawned them).
4. Hans Gruber (Die Hard)
Die Hard (1988) is an action movie based on Roderick Thorp's 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever, and it's the first of five films in the Die Hard franchise. In the movie, New York City police detective John McClane gets caught up in a terrorist takeover of a Los Angeles skyscraper on Christmas Eve while visiting his estranged wife.
$640 Million Heist
Hans Gruber, played by the late great Alan Rickman, is the ruthless leader of the terrorists. Gruber is a German radical whose plan is to steal $640 million in negotiable bearer bonds. His initial attack on the skyscraper interrupts an office Christmas party, and he takes the attendees hostage. Ultimately, he gets his comeuppance when he falls from the building to his death.
3. Harry and Marv (Home Alone)
Home Alone (1990) is a comedy movie and the opening installment in the six-strong Home Alone franchise. In this one, Macaulay Culkin's Kevin McCallister has to defend his suburban Chicago home from burglars after being accidentally left behind when his family heads to Paris on their Christmas vacation.
Harry and Marv – played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, respectively – are the dimwitted thieves who try to rob Kevin's house, only to find he's more than a match for them. They call themselves the “Wet Bandits” as they flood every home they burgle. They deservedly get apprehended by the police at the end of the movie.
2. The Grinch (How the Grinch Stole Christmas!)
The Grinch is a character created by Dr. Seuss, who has appeared in several movies over the years. Some examples include the year 2000's How the Grinch Stole Christmas, in which Jim Carrey played him and 2018's The Grinch, when Benedict Cumberbatch voiced him.
Why So Much Hate
In every depiction, the Grinch tends to be the same. He's a pot-bellied, furry, snub-nosed creature with a cat-like face and cynical personality. He hates Christmas due to having a heart “two sizes too small” and does his best to ruin the festive season for the residents of Whoville. He usually does end up redeeming himself and embracing Christmas.
1. Ebenezer Scrooge (A Christmas Carol)
Ebenezer Scrooge is a character created by Charles Dickens as the main character in his 1843 novella A Christmas Carol. Countless versions of the story made it to film, including 1992's The Muppet Christmas Carol, in which Michael Caine played Scrooge and 2009's A Christmas Carol, when Jim Carrey voiced him.
Scrooge is a cold-hearted miser who despises Christmas. He gets typically depicted as having a pointed nose, shriveled cheeks, and a stiffened gait. He works as a banker and is wealthy but pays his staff poorly. He is so notorious that “Scrooge” has become synonymous with stinginess and misanthropy. His catchphrase, “Bah, humbug!” is often used to express a dislike of the festive season. In his story, Scrooge gets visited by three Christmas spirits who want him to change his ways, and, in the end, he does.
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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Kev is a UK-based sport and entertainment writer - a job he's been doing full-time since 2013. He's produced content for a wide variety of websites and publications all over the world. He's a huge movie fan with a particular love for horror, superhero movies and 80s movies. For his sins, Kev is a fan of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.