Sunday, December 01, 2013

Horror movies with Christmas in them

Do you love horror movies? Are you looking for a good cinematic scare while also getting into the  mainstream American spirit of this season? I've been absolutely binge-ing on horror movies over the Thanksgiving weekend, so here's some guidance. Many horror movies that take place against a background of twinkling lights and decorated evergreens don't mention the yuletide in their synopses, so it's always a wonderful surprise when I come across a film that combines creepiness with Christmas. Here are a few horror movies with storylines that take place around December 25th I've watched recently:

The Pact (2012) - stars Caity Lotz as a woman who returns to her dead mother's home to attend her funeral. None of the characters refers to Christmas so I couldn't tell if this was pre- or post-December 25th, but there are decorations up throughout the film. Good scariness and a satisfying ending, although during just one watching I couldn't figure out what "the pact" was.

ATM - (2012) - stars Brian Geraght, Alice Eve and Josh Peck as three stock traders who leave a holiday party together and end up trapped in an ATM booth by a hooded stranger. I can see why this film was panned by many, but I liked it.

 P2 (2007) -stars Rachel Nichols as a woman on her way to her sister's Christmas Eve celebration, but who never gets out of her office building where she has worked late (patriarchal message about women not belonging in high powered jobs?). I admit, I only watched part of this because I thought it would be a spooky cat-and-mouse chase with some killer who's only revealed at the end. Actually, the wacko gets a hold of the woman early on and the rest of the movie is about him terrorizing her and her attempts to get away. Not interesting to me. (BTW: the name of the film refers to the underground parking garage level the woman parks on.)

The Clinic (2010) - Tabrett Bethell stars as a pregnant woman driving with her fiance on Christmas Eve to visit her mother. They never make it. Disappointingly, the holiday is only referred to at the beginning of the movie when Bethell is writing out a card and in one other scene where a holiday song is playing in the background, and no decorations appear anywhere. I like more festive markers than that in my horror movies. The main action of the film takes place on December 25th in fact, but Bethell is so deep in the thick of really bad things that take place on an abandoned farm that I almost forgot it was supposed to be Christmas.

You might have picked up on the pattern that I prefer movies that star women or at least have strong female protagonists. The Pact and The Clinic actually have more female than male leads, which is rare and impressive. Other horror movies I've watched recently with strong women leads are Hunger (2009) which I liked, Airborne (2012) which I also enjoyed, The Ward (2010) which ripped-off the plotline of Identity, and American Mary (2012) which I loved, but none of them had Christmas in them. If you're okay with scenes of surgery (of a sort), I recommend American Mary. The gory and twisted story of a med student who enters the world of body modification isn't jump-out-of-your-seat scary, but it's certainly horrifiying. It was great.

NO Xmas theme, but still good
If you know of horror movies that include Christmas please let me know, but not movies like Silent Night, Deadly Night or Jack Frost. I'm talking about movies that have Christmas in them, but don't use it as a major plot device. These movies won't come up on a "Christmas horror movie" search. They're billed as straight horror, but happen to have decorations in the background.

Also, if anyone wants full synopses and endings for these movies just say the word. I love reading movie summaries with endings because it saves so much time and I'm glad to provide the service (but don't want to spoil anything if that's not what you're looking for). Merry Christmas!


Mick said...

I can safely say "I've never seen any of the movies you mention" and can't think of any Christmas horror movies at all.

Regina Rodríguez-Martin said...

Mick - just keep me in mind if you ever do come across a horror film with a plot that takes place during my favorite holiday!

Mick said...

check out the following :-
12-24 (2008)
Black Christmas (two films same name 1974 & 2006)
The Blackout (2009)
THe Children (2008)
The day of the beast (1995)
Dead end (2003)

Mary Joyce said...

Have to find American Mary, love the title!

Regina Rodríguez-Martin said...

I watched American Mary on Netflix.