Yuletide bleedings! We all know the Christmas season can be taxing on your peace: your nephew is having a Leave Britney Alone level shit-fit ‘cause you got him the wrong Yu-Gi-Oh, Uncle Ed’s griping about his fuckin’ lumbar nonstop, and Auntie Cynthia won’t leave you alone about why you don’t have kids yet (I have broken cum, Cynthia! Is that what you want to hear? Enjoy the froth on that London fog.) Sometimes you just need to get away from that action, trade in the humdrum for some humbug and watch motherfuckers kill people on TV for a few hours. No, I’m not talking about the NFL, I’m taking about Christmas horror movies! And so I’ve compiled 10 Christmas Horror Movies To Watch Over the Holidays!

This jolly list is sure to put tinsel on your tits: some so-bad-it’s-good, some legit and a few wild cards. Though I love Antichristmas stalwarts like Gremlins and the O.G. Black Christmas, this list features lesser-known titles you can bring to your group of plucky Xmas defectors. No one wants to be the geek going, “Oh you like horror fillums? Let’s watch Nightmare Before Christmas!” That person needs to be hogtied with tree lights and basted with hot ham grease like there’s no Boxing Day.

1. Red Snow (2021)

Christmassyness: like a conversation you’re having about fishing and the other person goes, “hey isn’t it Christmas next week?” and you go, “Oh yeah. Anyway, about these sturgeon…”

What if I told you there was a movie that did for snow-vampires what Dead Snow did for snow-zombies? And what if you watched said movie and got really mad at me because there were only 3 vampires in the whole thing and it clearly cost a fraction of what Dead Snow cost to make and none of the vampires could act? And what then if I told you that you can’t get mad at a guy whose sperm is so broken it comes out tail-first? This is that movie.

A broke, aspiring Anne Rice type (the bangs are NOTICEABLE) is alone for Christmas when she traps an ailing vampire in her garage. She forges a friendship with him as she nurses him back to health in exchange for his life experience, which she puts towards rewriting her new vamp novel. Red Snow has one foot planted in so-bad-it’s-good territory, but it’s so bonkers, charming and self-aware that you can’t help but proudly shake your head and go, “You did it, you goddamn sonsofbitches: you and your 85-dollar budget made me care what happens to Ol’ Bangs-Head.”

Film’s Gift: what’s the opposite of a full frontal? Anyways, there’s a “full rear-al” shot where the main vampire guy reveals the shortest butt-crack this side of a Ken doll. You could’t squeeze a Tic-Tac between those cheeks (though I’m sure the breath refreshment would be welcome).

10 horror movies to watch on Christmas
What is this, a buttcrack for ANTS?

2. Wind Chill (2007)

Hey! I love your jacket and deformed head! Can I talk to you about Amnesty International for a minute?

Christmassyness: about as Christmassy as a jack-o-latern filled with Easter eggs on Yom Kippur.

It’s hard to pull off Christmas horror movies without them becoming a goofy comedy affair where the main characters wind up dressed as elves, fending off homicidal reindeer with sharpened candy canes and scalding zombie gingerbread men (or zombie gingerbread womyn!) with egg nog lava. That’s why I admire this film’s approach to Christmas movie qualification: mention Christmas once in the opening scene and boom – Christmas horror movie. If Die Hard is a Christmas movie, then this counts too! And so is that home video I have of my hammered dad singing Jingle Bells on the 4th of July right before he pissed in the hibachi.

This film puts Emily Blunt (of Emily Blunt fame) in the jalopy passenger seat of a ride-share driven by a fellow college student who’s supposed to be a nerdy-ass creepazoid, but he’s like this handsome creepazoid they tried to nerd up by giving him those oily matted down emo bangs that make it look like you passed out with your forehead pressed against Hulk Hogan’s chest. Their ride home to Delaware for the holidays goes screwy after the driver takes some questionable backroads and reveals to know a bit too much about Blunt’s personal life. Wind Chill features a few jumps and creeps that are par for the course for its time and is firmly planted in the horror genre.

Film’s Gift: the takeaway is pretty much “stalking is okay as long as you really mean it and also ACAB”.

3. A Creepshow Holiday Special (2020)

“Who ordered warm laps?!”

Christmassyness: more Christmas spirit than the shelves of Dollarama in late September (i.e. oodles)!

The legitimacy of the Creepshow brand fell like an elf off a very tall shelf after Creepshow 2, so I was skeptical when desperate for Xmas content and resorting to A Creepshow Holiday Special. But you know when you walk into a low expectation situation, like a fistfight at a Pier 1 Imports or a visit to the Portuguese dentist, and you walk out mega-pumped even though your mouth is a little bloody? That’s this 46-minute horror-comedy about a tortured man who seeks answers and support from a Shapeshifters Anonymous meeting. Unluckily for this guy, it turns out Santa fucking hates shapeshifters and a war is nigh.

I’m usually nonplussed by horror-comedy, but this plays like an Adam McKay line-o-rama with actually funny, vibrant characters. It has all the hallmarks of a good holiday genre film, including quality practical effects that supersede much of the Creepshow episodic fare and a story that’s less predictable than a Kanye interview.

Film’s Gift: one word – wereturtle.

4. Santa Jaws (2018)

That’s one way to shave the holiday pounds off your ass…

Christmassyness: like day 4 of Christmas vacation when you can’t even look at another Lindt ball.

-hot-dog eating contests
-a monkey wearing a cowboy hat
-self-flagellating with a wet spatula
-Jessica Simpson
-narcoleptic hopscotch
-a potato with googly eyes glued to it
-the nation of Poland

None of the above are in the movie, but all of the above have more creative merit than Sharksploitation films and this Syfy Original is no exception. But this one takes it so far, your bus transfer’ll expire. It’s frankly commendable. Santa Jaws is a great way to start your Antichristmas if you still have one foot in a living room argument with brother-in-law Jerry about why “all lives matter” is not a good tramp stamp idea. And a fun game to play is to look around the room and imagine which mounds of grime under your furniture would give more believable performances than the cast of Santa Jaws.

One thing that’ll put a kink in your popcorn garland is that you’ll probably have to pirate it off an illegal Russian horse betting site ‘cause I can’t find it streaming anywhere right now.

Film’s Gift: It’s easy to underestimate how many Christmas tropes you can tie to a single CGI shark, but I’ll say this: Santa hat on a dorsal fin.

5. The Advent Calendar (2020)

“Merry German Christmas. Please accept my most emotionless and sterile greetings. I bought you a gift. It is one kilo of iodized salt.”

Christmassyness: feels like a makeout session with Ebenezer Scrooge himself.

This is a film that forces you to look at the age-old hypothetical: she’s a 10… but she’s a paraplegic and kills people using a haunted advent calendar. Also she’s Belgian and they’re the only French-speakers lower in the hierarchy than Quebecers. The titular entity is a gift a friend brings back from Germany. Every day, the advent calendar releases a candy that once eaten, grants a wish. Being a German wish machine, it’s beyond me why it doesn’t just offer the eradication of laughter every day.

The lead is in a wheelchair and her dad is catatonic, prompting you to wonder if this family is just really bad with fireworks or something. They bluntly lay out all the heroine’s problems and you can see how she’ll use the advent calendar to screw everything up with hasty wishes. It’s a very effective scary movie even though it leans on several tired tropes: cheap jumps, a blind guy who’s not just “regular blind” but has eyes that look like ice cream loogies, fingernails getting pulled back and the classic drawn-out gunpoint scene where at the last second they cut to an exterior of the house and a muzzle flare flashing in the window. Despite the adherence to convention, the premise carries the film from start to finish.

Film’s Gift: an indirect death by boner pill.

6. P2 (2007)

Christmassyness: like those Reese’s peanut butter cups shaped into Christmas trees. You bite it expecting something reminiscent of that winter magic, but swiftly realize it’s just a fucking peanut butter cup.

Still, you know this is a Christmas movie because it’s about a girl leaving an office Christmas party late at night, a coworker sexually harasses her while wearing felt reindeer antlers, and in one scene the bad guy sings Blue Christmas. It comes from the minds of Alexandre Aja and Gregory Levasseur, who were behind the likes of Haute Tension, The Hills Have Eyes remake and Piranha 3D, so you can rest assured they’ll crank the intensity up to 11. Any filmmaker with the capacity to fire up the screenwriting software and type, “-and then the piranha chews her tits…” is going to give you something memorable. Should note, if you can’t handle seeing dogs getting bludgeoned and impaled to death with a tire iron -BY YOUR PROTAGONIST-… maybe watch Nightmare Before Christmas instead.

P2 stars Rachel Nichols wearing a dress that looks like wax paper someone used to reheat fried chicken. When she leaves the office, she gets abducted by a crazed underground parking attendant played by Wes Bentley. Poor typecast Wes Bentley. He probably walks around pleading with people, “I swear! I’m not a murderous freak who’s attracted to plastic bags!” Then they look at his face for one second and they’re like, “Yeah right. You fuck, stab and eat bags, man.”

A lot of these Christmas horror movies are confinement based (allegory for the shackles of family obligations, anyone?), so that’s why you slide Santa Jaws in the middle to shake things up. But P2 is easy and low stakes! Fairly paint-by-the-numbers. No one’s acting too hard. Even the dog is such a shitty actor that at one point I heard him flub a line and meow.

Film’s Gift: a pervert gets turned to mush by the front end of a sedan.


7. A L’intérieur – aka Inside (2007)

“Susan, it’s your turn to clean the bathroom.”

Christmassyness: like Christmas in Saudi Arabia. You know it’s supposed to be Christmas. You just don’t feel it.

Director duo Alex Bustillo and Julien Maury pumped out this French new wave horror about a widowed expecting mother who’s home alone on Christmas Eve (Christmas horror movie) when a dark intruder begins hunting her throughout the house. We all know, dark intruders only show up to pregnant mothers’ homes for one reason: they want your baaaaaaabyyyyyy! The whole thing feels like a rural Irish maternity ward, complete with catfights, botched caesarians and knitting needle attacks. But the scares and creeps are genuine, brutal and creative. This is a legit horror to put on for a true scare.

Film’s Gift: best shotgun head explosion of all-time.

8. Better Watch Out (2016)

I’m wearing this to the Met Gala.

Christmassyness: as Christmassy as the feeling you get when you put on a sweater you got for Christmas 3 months ago.

Virginia Madsen and Putty from Seinfeld are rich assholes heading out to a Christmas party (Christmas movie: CHECK) so they leave their 12 year-old kid with the babysitter he has an uncomfortable hard-on for (TW: tween boners are explored). So when gun-toting intruders swarm the house, the kid is compelled to set up boobytraps and save the day, proving his virility to the babysitter he so greatly wishes to, I dunno, do? Gotta say, the most horrific part of this film is the unsettling sexual dynamic between a 12 year-old boy and a 17 year-old girl. It’s like going to school in Florida.

The lead kid is basically Home Alone’s Kevin McAllister if he listened to too much Jordan Peterson. You get some twists and kills and the setting is Christmassy enough to fill your heart with holiday churn. I just recommend having a pot of mulled wine on standby, ‘cause you’ll wanna get a little sloppy and mutter “fuck you, you little bastard” at the screen a bunch.

Film’s Gift: swearing kids. That stuff always takes me back to my time as an Angolan child soldier.

9. Christmas Bloody Christmas (2022)

“🎵Making a list, cyborg eye-lasering it twice…🎵”

Christmassyness: the movie is a big ol’ Christmas stocking full of meth!

A great alternate title would have been “Fubar VS Terminator Santa”. A couple of record store skids close up the shop for Christmas just as an animatronic Santa that uses US military firmware becomes sentient and goes haywire, obviously stuck on kill mode. The film is refreshing in its abandonment of structure, yet in lockstep with horror fans’ wants in its wealth of carnage.

And look, I’ve seen a lot of killer Santa movies, but director Joe Begos’ grindhouse/synthwave motif on Christmas Bloody Christmas takes it right to the top of my naughty list. It’s on Shudder right now.

Film’s Gift: a TON of axe kills. We’re talkin’ more hatchet jobs than the NOW Magazine comedy album review section.

10. Fuck it: watch Gremlins or Black Christmas

10 horror movies to watch on Christmas
The phone call is coming from INSIDE THE MOGWAI!

They’re the best two Christmas horror movies. Or not. What do I know? I’m just a childless loser with limping jizz. RIGHT, CYNTHIA?

Hunter Collins is a retired chinchilla breeder with a prolapsed coccyx and little pile of blankets he sleeps on in your shed.

It’s the week of Halloween and everyone is asking me for scary movie recommendations. Something about me just screams “this guy knows where to find things that will make me sick and afraid” (maybe it’s the vomit chunks on my unholstered gun). So I thought I’d make a list. Here are 10 actually scary horror movies you may have never seen that you can stream tonight.

The picks below aren’t for chicken-shit pants-shitting shit-birds. I will lay this out so you can gauge what my fear threshold is: Alien is not a horror movie; Get Out was a fine film but not scary whatsoever; and The Babadook sucks. If you want to watch a mother barely hold back from bashing her kid’s head in while some creepy prick with poor fashion sense looks on with glee, take me to Great Wolf Lodge. The films included here made me want to lock my doors, check under my bed and load the shotgun I keep under my machete rack.

Although they are marvellous and effective fright films, you won’t find titles like The Conjuring or Hereditary on this list. These are slightly deeper cuts, and they cut hard. In fact, they cut like a gun that shoots knives (which I also own – it’s called a “gknife”).

Last thing before I list these flicks: if you love horror, do yourself a solid and sign up for Shudder. It’s 60 bucks for the year and they keep pumping out more content than you could shake a monkey’s paw at. Also when the pandemic ends, come see my live horror/comedy show at Comedy Bar in Toronto called Guts For Laughs. Follow us on Twitter and IG at @GutsForLaughs. Do it, or else. Keep in mind I own firearms and this website tracks your home address. Here we go:

The Witch In The Window (Shudder)

Tiny cast. Hack first few minutes. A screw-up dad is trying to regain the love of his family by fixing up a haunted-ish house you know there’s gonna be a witch of sorts inside of. But it takes a mind-bending turn, packs some wicked jumps and pulls the rug out from under you with several switcheroos before it’s all over. Plus, If you’re Shudder and chilling, this movie is 70 minutes in & out, so you can swiftly get to the part where you say, “Hey, did you know there’s also a witch in the window of my zipper? Check it out…” and get to gettin’ fresh. That line works for everyone regardless of your sexual orientation.

Special distinction: only movie I’ve ever seen that has an honest to cripes Magic Eye painting scare.

Terrified (Shudder)

Not to be confused with Netflix’s shameless gore-porn horror “Terrifier” starring a clown with teeth like the inside of a Crunchie bar. This Argentinian offering presents three subsequent stories that tie together. Three neighbours are experiencing some paranormal bull-shit: I can’t write about the first guy without spoiling it, but it’s one of the most memorable horror scenes I’ve ever watched because it goes on for so long and you are forced to sit in the horror of it and watch powerless as evil runs amok. Like the presidency. Second one is about a guy who sets up a camera after his furniture keeps moving around in the night and the last one is about a dead kid. And yeah: they show you the dead kid. And it ain’t just some child actor with corn syrup on his forehead. This is South America. They might have used a real dead kid. But it’s important to note this isn’t a true anthology like Creepshow. The driving throughline about investigators trying figure out what in the horny Christ is happening in this ‘hood flows smoothly in and around the intertwined tales.

Special distinction: the way director Demian Rugna frames his scares often mimics the viewpoint of a natural human eyeline, producing a stripped-down air of realism that leaves you feeling like this is what it would actually look like if your life got absolutely FARKED by malevolent forces.

Belzebuth (Shudder)

Don’t get turned off by the poster! Although it depicts a creepy baby carriage, this isn’t one of those movies that shovels out the ol’ convention where a woman is pregnant with a baby but the baby is also pregnant with a demon or some shit. It’s actually an ambitious, $3.6M Mexican production that in its essence is a possession whodunnit, where a skeptical cop is trying to track down the demon who killed his child. It alternates between Spanish and English and boasts a tasteful CGI evil Jesus scene. The film kicks off with a scene so despicable, it feels like a joke a racist cabbie told you at an off-track betting bar in Cincinnati. This isn’t much of a jumpy one, but it is profoundly disturbing. Think Sinister on crank and tequila.

Special distinction: Probably the highest and most unforgiving infanticide rate of any movie I’ve seen.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (Shudder)

This film is contained to a small rural coroner’s office but it tells such a huge story. A father and son coroner duo cut into this lady and hoo-boy! Her insides are more fucked-up than the shelves at K-Mart on Boxing Day! The journey through the autopsy generates so many questions about how this woman died and even though she’s dead, you start getting the impression she doesn’t want to get autopsied ‘cause some next shit starts going down with the other corpses in this spooky-ass old coroner building. Quality jumps throughout this one too.

Special distinction: expertly frightening despite having a main antagonist who is completely inanimate.

Dead Birds (Prime, Shudder)

Another poster that makes the movie look like it cost 38 bucks and whole lotta favors to make. I swear, there’s a scene at the beginning where a guy sees a dead bird and goes, “Huh, there’s a dead bird,” and then they don’t mention birds, dead or otherwise, for the rest of the movie. Dead bird content dearth aside, this is an unconventional film that places a group of Civil War era bank robbers on a farm overnight while on their way to Mexico with a big sack of stolen gold. But this farm makes Robert Pickton’s look like Baskin-Robbins! There’s gross critters and other evils abound that start picking these stinky cowpokes off one-by-one. And what a cast of stinky cowpokes they are! Every minute a different big name pops up, including Michael Shannon, the fat beardy guy from 30 Days of Night, Elliott from E.T. and Isaiah Washington. This is probably the least scary movie on the list, but there’s so much originality and genre-bending to this creature feature paranormal haunted house western, that I thought it belonged.

Special distinction: a young Michael Shannon throwing around racial slurs. Yup – that one. Washington was able to keep the slurs to himself this time, however.

Veronica (Netflix)

Spanish director Paco Plaza, who also made the REC series, peddled this out in 2017. It’s rife with heavy-handed allegory about the coming of age of womyn (the fyuture is fymale), but in the horror world, I’m like, what isn’t, dude? Technically Godzilla is a girl’s coming of age tale when you consider that Godzilla’s mouth-lasers are a metaphor for menstruation. Zappy, blasty menstruation. In this film, a teenager in a working class neighborhood has to take care of her younger siblings, but this foolish, stupid, naive, female, lady girl puts her dumb double-X chromosome’d hands on a Ouija board DURING an eclipse! You put your whole family in danger by opening a demonic eclipse portal, you idiotic womb-haver! But el patriarcado aside, this movie is loaded with jumps and taut tension and even though it’s about a teen, it doesn’t strictly cater to a younger audience the way Slender Man or Ma did. There’s a nun with milky eyes, shadowperson apparitions galore, and it features the “creepy naked man scare” a full year before Hereditary did it, and a full two years before my dad did it at a local figure skating meet and we never saw him again.

Special distinction: based on a true story where a Spanish girl mysteriously died in the 90s after using a Ouija board. Second leading cause of death in Spain after pronouncing your Zs like a t-h to death.

Channel Zero (Shudder)

This is a TV show where each season of six episodes is based on a different creepypasta. Episodes are 45 minutes long, which is so little to commit to. But the reason I recommend this show is that it’s light enough that you can watch it during the day and the stories are so loose and ethereal that you can have it on in the background while you I dunno – make soup or harass former lovers over the phone. The seasons are hit and miss (season one revolves around a little boy made of human teeth who eats teeth and there we go, I got fed up just typing that), but the fourth and latest season is about a woman (Miss Denmark 2008 Maria Sten) who descends into madness after rediscovering her homicidal imaginary friend, the latter of which is portrayed by a stupendously talented contortionist. There are loads of practical gore effects that’ll make you turn away and at one point they barely explicably shimmy in an army of little people dressed as crayons.

Special distinction: It’s all shot in Canada and it looks like it isn’t.

Man, I hate Tooth-Boy.

The Possession of Hannah Grace (Crave)

I was super skeptical of a “The Possession Of” movie and maybe my low expectations are what led me to enjoy this so much. In this story about a disgraced police officer (ACAB) who becomes a security guard (ASGAB) at a morgue, a stiff is dropped off that somehow, instead of just sitting there, appears to get healthier. You can imagine where this leads (they fuck – JK), but the lighting and the sound design seamlessly team up to drive a multi-sensory screwdriver into your nervous system. The creeps take their sweet-ass time and this polished production is all-in-all jumpier than bullfrogs on a griddle.

Special distinction: maybe the only film whose title starts with “The Possession/Haunting of” that is legitimately frightening.

POD (Prime, Shudder)

The key to this 2015 gem is that instead of having the terror stem from a guy in a monster suit, it comes from the unravelling mind of a schizophrenic man trying to convince his brother that he has a captured alien in his basement. The performance of this mentally unstable dude is so convincing, you can picture him asking a cashier at Taco Bell for the nuke codes. The film does an admirable job of keeping you guessing whether there’s a basement alien or not. Pod is a testament to how solid a film you can make with a wee budget, as long as you have a sturdy premise and some decent actors. Plus it’s only 76 minutes! So if you’re Shudder and chilling, it won’t be long before you can be like, “Hey did you know I also have a ‘pod’ behind this zipper?”

Special distinction: It’s got to be challenging to pull off an alien horror movie that’s actually scary, because aliens are inherently jovial visitors who just want to meet your leader and give you a hearty bumming.

Garden State (in the garbage somewhere hopefully)

It is absolutely beyond horrifying that someone gave money to Zach Braff for a script that’s just a bunch of people going “aren’t I weird?” for an hour and a half.

Special distinction: none. This movie is is pure bowel cancer for your heart, mind and eyes.

Hunter Collins is an industry pariah who makes his home in a nest of soiled egg cartons in Toronto’s toxic waste district.
Twitter: @hunter_collins | Instagram: @huntercomedy