A Reelhorrorshow Top 10 - The 10 Greatest Christmas/Horror Films.

Deck the halls with gore and bodies, tra la la la la, la la la la…

It’s that time of year again folks and our first Christmas here at ReelHorrorShow. So what better way to celebrate this yuletide than with a rundown of our favourite Christmas themed horror movies.

Christmas. It means different things to different people. Some of you may be fans of baby Jesus and therefore wanting to throw a belter of a birthday bash for the little guy. That’s cool. I’m not here to pass judgement. We live in a world where you are all free to believe what you want. For me personally, Christmas is a time to get fat and drunk.. Well that is pretty much every day, only people look down their noses at me less this time of year.

Christmas, as I like to tell my kids, is the ultimate home invasion movie. You lock your doors, go to sleep, and suddenly some beardy intruder slides down your chimney and starts tiptoeing around, drinking your booze and eating your mince pies. This all seems fine if you stick to the traditional story of why he is there, but what if Santa was having a bad day? What if he recently caught Mrs Claus having a knee trembler with an elf in the reindeer paddock? What if the stress of having to circumnavigate Earth in one night became so overwhelming that Santa went postal and he chose your house for his massacre?

There you are, knocking out Z’s and dreaming about your delicious turkey and then BAM!! “Merry Christmas you filthy animal!”

Now, why can’t I get my children to go to sleep?

Realistically the biggest nightmare at Christmas is having to find the money to fund the damn thing and knowing that my wife is going to make me watch Love Actually again.

However, as I take a break from filling my Amazon basket with stuff I think people would like but probably don’t need, I figured I would compile this list for your viewing pleasure.

As with my other top 10 lists, it’s a matter of opinion. So grab a glass of eggnog. Warm your chestnuts in front of the fire and let’s eat, drink, and be merry as we count down the top 10 greatest Christmas Horror Movies.

10 - ATM (2012)

Directed By: David Brooks, Written By: Chris Sparling, Starring: Alice Eve, Josh Peck, Brian Geraghty & Mike O’Brian.

So, it’s the night of your works Christmas party and you and a few co-workers pop out to an ATM to grab some cash. What you should be doing is photocopying your arse and finger-banging Janice from the accounts department. You should not, however, be stuck in the ATM at the mercy of a hooded serial killer who will slaughter you for sure, should you try to leave.

This is the story of ATM in a chestnut shell. (Yes, there will be Xmas puns aplenty, so sorry about that).

ATM is an effective little thriller from director David Brooks, who made the 2009 short film Gone but strangely has directed nothing since. It’s a single location movie, much like Phone booth (2002) or the Ryan Reynolds starring, Buried (2010).

At first the gang wonder if it isn’t just a prank so Mr Killer slaughters an innocent passer-by to drive home the point that he isn’t dicking around.

While it’s a fairly tight, solid little thriller with a great premise, there is one gaping flaw that niggled me throughout. Our killer is one guy, with an axe. It’s not unreasonable to think that the situation could be resolved fairly quickly if the occupants of the ATM grew a pair, rushed outside and delivered a firm Christmas shoeing to the head and body of their attacker.

Should you find it in your heart to overlook this problem, over this season of good cheer, there is a highly enjoyable movie to be had.

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09 - Wind Chill (2007)

Directed By: Gregory Jacobs, Written By: Joe Gangemi & Steven Katz, Starring: Emily Blunt, Ashton Holmes, Martin Donovan & Ned Bellamy.

Two college students, known only as Guy and Girl for some reason, share a car ride home for the holidays. Guy, convinced he is taking a shortcut, decides to navigate a frozen road. Before you can say “That’s a bad idea,” or “get a real name,” they become involved in a hit and run that forces them off the road.

From that point on, they become trapped in a supernatural time loop involving a crime that took place in 1953. They find themselves the prey to the ghosts of those involved in the crime.

Sounds a bit silly really doesn’t it? Thankfully, due to a great script and a cracker (geddit?) of a performance from Emily Blunt as Girl, the movie rises above the mediocre thriller that it could have been.

Wind Chill also boasts a neat little twist that I won’t spoil for you, but it keeps things interesting and doesn’t slap you in the face like an M Night Shyamalan film would.

The film is a fairly goreless affair but makes up for it with some decent frights. Like ATM, it's another isolated location movie, but it’s definitely worth checking out if you haven’t already seen it.

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08 - Jack Frost (1997)

Directed By: Michael Cooney, Written By: Jeremy Paige & Michael Cooney, Starring: Scott MacDonald, Christopher Allport, Stephen Mendel & F. William Parker.

Wait until you hear the plot synopsis for this late 90s corker. Serial killer, Jack Frost is on his way to be executed when he becomes involved in a car wreck that see’s him exposed to a material that genetically mutates him. Mutates him into what I hear you ask? Well, a homicidal snowman of course.

You think that sounds stupid? There is a scene in which Shannon Elizabeth (American Pie) is taking a bath, when Jack shows up and decides to rape her by using his carrot nose as a makeshift penis. I’m not making this up.

Jack Frost is a movie that knows it’s cheap and knows that it’s silly but has fun with it, anyway. I had fun with this movie. The comedy aspect outweighs the horror, but that doesn’t matter. It was never destined to succeed as a scare movie. Jack looks ridiculous for one thing. Just don’t confuse it for the Michael Keaton film of the same name or you will be disappointed.

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07 - The Dorm That Dripped Blood (1982)

Directed By: Stephen Carpenter & Jeffrey Obrow, Written By: Stephen Carpenter, Jeffrey Obrow & Stacey Giachino, Starring: Laurie Lapinski, Stephen Sachs & David Snow.

With their dormitory due to be demolished, (try saying that after a few sherries), four college students stay on over the Christmas holidays and help clear up ready for the demolition. Not the wisest of ways to choose to spend the silly season as they find themselves at the mercy of a killer. A killer with a love for power tools.

The Dorm That Dripped Blood is an 80s slasher movie through and through. It uses every slasher trope in the book, from creepy character red herrings to ‘lets use everything, including the kitchen sink to kill these kids with’. They don’t actually use a kitchen sink, but they do use a pressure cooker. That’s a kitchen item, so close enough.

It’s a fairly cheap movie and some of the acting is a little wooden, but it’s the movies ending that puts it so high on this list and saves it from 80s slasher obscurity.

It’s also the film debut of Daphne Zuniga who went on to star in Mel Brooks Spaceballs & The Fly 2, so stick that in your pipe and smoke it, fact fans.

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06 - Krampus (2015)

Directed By: Michael Dougherty, Written By: Todd Casey, Michael Dougherty & Zach Shields, Starring Adam Scott, Toni Collette & David Koechner.

Krampus came out of nowhere to become an instant holiday favourite, in much the same way as Gremlins did back in the 80s. ‘You’re comparing Krampus to Gremlins?’ I hear you ask. Well, yeah, kinda.

Much like Gremlins, Krampus mixes its horror and comedy to deliver just the right amount of both at just the right times. Also, just like Gremlins, it became a cult classic, almost straight away.

Starring that guy from Piranha 3D, Muriel from Hereditary and Todd Packer from The Office, Krampus is the story of a young boy who having had enough of his bickering family, disowns Christmas. This act of festive defiance accidently summons a demon in the form of Krampus who terrorises the family with the help of an army of evil gingerbread men. Can they survive the night? Can they survive each other?

Krampus succeeds by knowing when to be light-hearted and when to be genuinely horrifying. The film has a real 80s vibe to it, which is probably why I enjoy it as much as I do. I could see myself watching something like this all those millions of years ago when I was just a wee whippersnapper.

Krampus is a film that should be on anyone's annual watch list.

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05 - The Children (2008)

Directed By: Tom Shankland, Written By: Paul Andrew Williams & Tom Shankland, Starring: Eva Birthistle, Stephen Campbell Moore, Jeremy Sheffield & Rachel Shelley.

Children are horrible little bastards. There I said it. Why we come into this world such spiteful, hateful, selfish little bundles of snot and misery is baffling, but we do. I was in a shop the other day and there was this kid and he was an awful, obnoxious, walking advert for pro-choice. I wanted to fill pockets with bricks and throw him in a river. The only thing that stopped me is that I’m too pretty for prison.

I’m not sure which dark recess that came bubbling out of.. Anyway, back to the movie. A Family gets together in a remote house to spend the new year. Everything is fine until one by one the children become sick. This isn’t a normal childhood sickness bug, however. Something far more sinister is happening to these brats. Eventually, they turn their new found homicidal tendencies towards the adults. The adults must seek shelter and figure out how to survive the onslaught as their once cherubic offspring want them very dead.

The biggest dilemma faced by the parents in The Children isn’t whether they can survive. It’s whether they can fight back and actually kill their kids. As a parent myself, I can, without doubt, say yes, absolutely. Want me to prove it?

The Children is an effective, but not so jolly, festive movie. The kids, to be fair, all play their parts brilliantly and Im always a bit ‘meh’ about kids in movies. It’s definitely worth a watch if you haven’t already seen it.

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04 - Christmas Evil (1980)

Directed By: Lewis Jackson, Written By: Lewis Jackson, Starring: Brandon Maggart, Jeffrey DeMunn, Dianne Hull & Andy Fenwick.

After learning that Santa isn’t real (hate to be the one to break it to you folks), a young boy suffers a complete mental episode. As he grows up, he dedicates his life to making christmas awesome and becomes a toy maker, obsessed with making the very best gifts that he believes children deserve. Sadly, it’s a cynical world we inhabit and even the most cheerful of souls can be beaten down eventually, which is exactly what happens, causing the toy maker to have a psychotic break and go on a yuletide murder spree.

Christmas Evil is as much a tale about what a miserable bunch of A-holes we really are as it is about anything else. With only a limited amount of time on this spinning mud ball you would think we could find it in our hearts to fill every day with a little joy and positivity but we don’t. We are never content unless we are pulling things apart and shattering other people's happiness. Christmas Evil just puts a comedy/horror spin on this subject, and the result is glorious.

It really is a good, fun slice of holiday hokum. There is even an early appearance of Jeffrey DeMunn of The Walking Dead fame. Not that I’m sure anyone even watches that show anymore.

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03 - Gremlins (1984)

Directed By: Joe Dante, Written By: Chris Columbus, Starring: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Corey Feldman & Dick Miller.

We all know the rules now, right? Don’t get them wet. Don’t expose them to sunlight. And most important of all, don’t feed them after midnight. That last rule always bugged me. It’s too vague. When is it ok to feed them again? Technically, everything is after midnight.

Gremlins is unquestionably a horror film. Anyone who says otherwise should be put into a microwave and cooked until they explode. It has violence, murder, and jump scares. Sure it’s also a comedy, but it’s way too dark to be considered a family movie.

I don’t need to go over the plot do I? Anyone who hasn’t seen Gremlins is either a fetus or doesn’t have eyes. I toyed with putting Gremlins higher up the list, but ultimately I’m happy with where it landed.

Gremlins is a blast from start to finish. It’s bonkers, brilliantly inventive and boasts the greatest bar scene since Star Wars - Episode 4.

Seriously, if you haven’t seen Gremlins you need to question exactly what the hell you are doing with your life. Hang your head in shame.

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02 - Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

Directed By: Charles E Seller Jr, Written By: Paul Caimi & Michael Hickey, Starring: Lilyan Chauvin, Robert Brian Wilson & Toni Nero.

Released the same year as Gremlins but not nearly as popular, Silent Night, Deadly Night took a more traditional slasher movie approach to the christmas horror tale.

Poor little Billy witnesses his parents being murdered by a lunatic dressed as Santa and is then shipped off to an orphanage. On top of the murder he has already witnessed he then spends the rest of his childhood being subjected to abuse from the mother superior. You can only imagine what this is doing to Billy’s fragile mind.

Well, eventually, as they do, little Billy grows up, and what does Billy want to do with his newfound adult freedom? Why, be Santa, of course. So he pops out, gets himself a Santa suit. Gets himself an axe and embarks on a killing spree of his own. Billy has a score to settle with the orphanage and as Wham once sang, it might be their Last Christmas... (sorry about the Wham thing!)

Silent Night, Deadly Night is actually a pretty dark, fucked up story. Billy witnesses things that no kid should have to see and it's no wonder it drives him round the bend. It’s also very 80s. There is gore. There are boobies. There are people being gored for showing their boobies.

Billy is one Santa whose naughty list you wouldn’t want to find yourself on.

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01- Black Christmas (1974)

Directed By: Bob Clark, Written By: Roy Moore, Starring: Margot Kidder, Olivia Hussey, John Saxon & Keir Dullea.

While I had to think about the order that most of this list would go in, Black Christmas was always destined for the number one slot. It’s the ultimate festive slasher movie. Plus, it has a great cast including Lois Lane herself, Margot Kidder and Nancy’s dad, or Bruce Lee’s mate, John Saxon.

The plot is simple. Over Christmas a bunch of sorority girls are stalked and eventually picked off by a psychopath. Like I said, it’s a simple plot, but it's the delivery that makes Black Christmas stand head and shoulders above the rest.

It’s a genuinely creepy film. The slow stalking of the girls is deftly handled. There is the odd humour break to relieve the tension, but it doesn’t take long to bring the heebie jeebies back.

It’s not unreasonable to suggest that Black Christmas is the blueprint for all the slasher films that followed. Even Halloween (1978) which is often credited with kick-starting the slasher genre owes a credit to Black Christmas.

Black Christmas was remade in in 2006, starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, but like most remakes, it's best avoiding. Blumhouse pictures are also producing a remake, but from what I understand, it's going to be PG-13. That in itself sounds horrific. My advice would be to simply seek out the original instead.

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So there we are. This is my pick of the top 10 Christmas/horror movies. As usual, if you don’t agree with me then please feel free to comment and debate in the comments section below. In the meantime, from all at reelhorrorshow, have a merry Christmas and a happy new year. We will see you at the Kidney Dialysis Unit in January.