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Saturday, December 16, 2023

10 Holiday Horror Movies for Anyone Who Hates the Holidays [12 Days of Creepmas]

The 12 Days of Creepmas continues on Bloody Disgusting, with the tenth day getting into the anti-festive spirit for all the holiday grinches out there. This is for those that approach December with a “bah humbug” attitude and prefer any iconography or holiday theming to be kept to a minimum when it comes to horror. Most of these ten horror titles are technically set on or around Christmas, but can’t muster up enough cheer to really embrace the holiday spirit. Many of which don’t even bother with Christmas at all, beyond a quick scene or mention.

If you’re already sick of Santa Claus, and all things holiday related, here are ten holiday horror movies – technically – that would rather just cut straight to the horror.

Keep track of the 12 Days of Creepmas here.


The Brain

The Brain

Dr. Anthony Blakely (Re-Animator’s David Gale) uses his TV show and a giant meatball of a mutant brain to brainwash his audience. It’s up to a plucky teen prankster to save the day. Director Ed Hunt and screenwriter Barry Pearson aim for the self-help/self-esteem craze of the period by way of low-budget sci-fi horror that feels apropos of the atomic ‘50s. It’s wacky, “anything goes” type of cheesy fun. While the abundant Christmas décor makes it clear what time of year this story takes place, the holiday never factors into the plot in any meaningful way.


The Conjuring 2

THE CONJURING 2 | image via Warner Bros.

Ed and Lorraine Warren travel to North London to help a struggling family deal with one terrifying haunting. James Wan’s sequel dials up the terror and introduces a few memorable ghosts. That includes the scene-stealing demonic nun, Valak. As if that’s not enough, it happens to be the holiday season. Ed and Lorraine may be busy fighting evil here, but they also make time to spread some holiday cheer. At least for one quiet, super sweet holiday serenade.


Dawn of the Dead

dawn of the dead

Nothing screams the holidays more than consumerism, right? George A. Romero’s second entry in his Dead franchise sees a small group of survivors seek refuge in a shopping mall from the zombie apocalypse. While the film isn’t intended to take place over Christmas, Romero and crew filmed in Monroeville Mall during Christmastime. Because it was a functioning, busy mall, filming could only happen after working hours. That meant a lengthy job for the crew in disassembling the holiday decorations before filming, then putting them back up again before the mall opened in the morning. If you look closely, you can spot a store holiday display or two in the background.


The Day of the Beast

The Day of the Beast

Set on Christmas Eve, a Catholic priest teams up with a metalhead and a television occult specialist to stop the Antichrist’s birth, which will trigger the apocalypse. The lengths the trio is willing to go to thwart the end of the world brings the laughs, but the horror equally matches the humor. A sort of spiritual cousin to the earlier works of Sam Raimi but with Alex de la Iglesia’s unique sense of humor, this one should have a bigger audience than it does. The Day of the Beast also made evil goats trendy long before The Witch. While Christmas is vital to the plot, the holiday spirit isn’t, so expect a heavy metal horror ride ahead.


I, Madman

I, Madman

When Virginia (played by Near Dark’s Jenny Wright) receives a package containing pulp horror novel I, Madman, reading it brings the villainous madman into her world. The lines between fiction and reality blur as Virginia becomes the killer’s target and the body count rises. I, Madman was directed by Tibor Takács (The Gate and Gate 2: The Trespassers). The Gate’s SFX artist Randall William Cook provided the stop motion animation and played the monstrous madman. Creatures, kills, and a pulpy feel make this ’80s horror movie a unique slasher. It also happens to offer one of the more covert entries in holiday horror.


Inside

Inside 2007

Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury’s debut is one mean sucker punch of a movie. It’s a ruthless entry into home invasion horror that doles out punishment and pain, a peak of New French Extremity. The plot sees a very pregnant but depressed woman forced to fight off another woman determined to claim her unborn baby at any cost. It’s grim and gruesome and happens to be set over Christmas. Does Inside get into the holiday spirit beyond a few tell-tale signs of the setting? No, but you’ll be too busy holding your breath to notice.


Maniac Cop 2

Maniac Cop 2

From writer Larry Cohen and director William Lustig, this sequel wastes no time dispatching the protagonists of the previous entry. That means a new pair of heroes to battle undead maniac cop Matt Cordell (Robert Z’Dar), and this time he’s enlisted an ally in the form of a serial killer. Expanded mythology, new characters, and double the baddies are the tip of the entertaining iceberg here. It’s a sequel that manages to top the original, and in true ’90s style, Maniac Cop 2 even comes with a rap theme song. All set over Christmas, of course.


Prometheus

Prometheus holiday horror

Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel follows an ill-fated crew as they travel to distant moon LV-223 in the hopes of discovering humanity’s origins. Instead, they awaken humanity’s greatest threat. Noomi Rapace leads the all-star cast in this bonkers sci-fi horror movie that sees scientists paying the ultimate price for their mistakes. Expect all sorts of weird alien threats here, save for the iconic xenomorph as we know it. That the crew lands on the moon in December 2093 means that Christmas does briefly enter the equation.


Rabid

Rabid 1977

After Rose (Marilyn Chambers) is severely injured in a motorcycle accident, her boyfriend Hart (Frank Moore) brings her to a nearby clinic, where the doctor performs experimental plastic surgery. It results in the bizarre development of an armpit stinger and an unquenchable thirst for human blood. Rose’s victims wind up becoming blood-thirsty zombies. The outbreak is peripheral, as the focus always remains on Rose’s struggle with what she’s becoming. It’s an engaging, tragic vampire story in only the way David Cronenberg could deliver. The holiday connection is minimal, a memorable and horrifying scene occurs at a mall with Santa Claus.


Sole Survivor

Sole Survivor

The lone survivor of a plane crash is dealing with a severe case of survivor’s guilt. Haunted feelings of unworthiness become literal when Death comes to finish what it started, sending undead corpses after her. This eerie, atmospheric creepfest plays like a cross between Final Destination and Carnival of Souls, and it’s set during Christmas time. The holiday spirit isn’t alive and well in this atmospheric downer, however.

The post 10 Holiday Horror Movies for Anyone Who Hates the Holidays [12 Days of Creepmas] appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.



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