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Friday, December 15, 2023

11 Holiday Horror TV Episodes to Deck the Halls This Season [12 Days of Creepmas]

Almost every television series gets in on the holiday spirit and sometimes that Christmas celebration arrives in the form of horror. Luckily, there’s no shortage of stellar horror TV episodes that deliver killer Santas, folkloric monsters of Yule, holiday ghosts, and more.

The 12 Days of Creepmas continues on Bloody Disgusting, this time with 11 holiday horror episodes of television that aren’t afraid to deck the halls with blood.

Keep track of the 12 Days of Creepmas here.

NOS4A2 – “The Shorter Way”


Technically, the entire series qualifies here regarding holiday horror fare, but the premiere episode sets the eerie Christmas tone in this adaptation of Joe Hill’s novel. Ashleigh Cummings (Hounds of Love) stars as Vic McQueen, a high schooler with dreams of attending art school and leaving her town of Haverhill. Her home life is a bit of a mess, compounded by a unique ability to find things through an interdimensional bridge called the “shorter way.” It puts her in the crosshairs of Charlie Manx (Zachary Quinto), who begins the pilot as a creepy older man with his equally unnerving Rolls Royce Wraith as he lures his victim, a child, into the backseat with Christmas songs and presents. He tells the child he’s come to whisk them away to Christmasland, and the cheerful holiday has never felt so menacing. What happens to them is even creepier.

Grimm – “The Twelve Days of Krampus”

Grimm Krampus

This season three holiday-themed episode begins with a pair of teens caught mid-theft by the now iconic horned Christmas beast of lore. That’s right, Krampus is on the prowl this Christmas, and he’s ensuring all the naughty children get punished. In true Grimm fashion, this version of Krampus kicks butt over the holiday season, but for the rest of the year, he’s an average guy who just happens to blackout in December. In other words, this Krampus is a bit like a werewolf. That he’s played by Derek Mears (Friday the 13th, “Swamp Thing”) makes him even cooler. 

Doctor Who – “Last Christmas”

Doctor Who

The long-running British sci-fi series Doctor Who has an annual, highly anticipated Christmas tradition: the Doctor Who Christmas special. Every year since the revival series began, you can count on the Doctor and his current companion to travel through time and space to battle imaginative foes in a holiday-themed episode. For horror fans, “Last Christmas” is a ghoulish delight. This episode is what happens when you combine Alien, a smidge of The Thing, a lot of Inception, and jolly old Saint Nicholas (played by Shaun of the Dead’s Nick Frost). The Doctor, his companion, and Santa Claus team up to save a research station at the North Pole from face-hugging aliens that send their victims into a deep dream state while they feast on their brains. It’s creepy, weird, and so much fun. You don’t have to be an invested fan of the series to enjoy this episode.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina – “A Midwinter’s Tale”

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Christmas holiday horror

The special one-off episode of Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a holiday-filled episode that sees the Spellman family celebrating the Winter Solstice, a festive but Satanic take on Yule. Poltergeists, changelings, yule witches obsessed with orphans, and more get highlighted in this holiday horror episode that serves up a Yule-themed monster of the week episode. The fact that it spotlights Gryla, an ogress that loves to feed on children, makes it worth watching for the rare holiday horror bestiary on display.

Love, Death, & Robots – “All Through the House”

Love Death Robots All Through the House

Volume II of Tim Miller’s animated anthology series introduces a quick seven-minute episode set on Christmas Eve. Directed by Elliot Dear and written by Philip Gelatt, it sees two young children awakened by strange sounds downstairs. Expecting Santa Claus, they instead find a monstrous creature. “All Through the House” ultimately winds up in the charming, feel-food category of holiday horror fare, but with an underlying sense of danger. More importantly, it offers the most unhinged concept of Santa Claus imaginable in the best way.

American Horror Story: Asylum – “Unholy Night” 

American Horror Story - Unholy Night

The eighth episode of season two delivered some of the grimmest holiday fare in “Unholy Night.” Like a popular episode of Tales from the Crypt, “Unholy Night” focuses on a volatile mental patient donning a Santa suit. Unlike Tales from the Crypt, AHS digs into the patient’s backstory to reveal grotesque trauma and suffering during a prison stint post-holiday massacre. Ian McShane plays the Santa in question, and delivers one unsettling performance in an already unsettling season of horror TV.

The X-Files – “How the Ghosts Stole Christmas”

The X-Files Christmas

This season six monster-of-the-week episode sees Mulder call on Scully to investigate a haunted house on Christmas Eve. He explains to his skeptical partner that a pair of lovers haunt the house every Christmas Eve after having killed each other in a lovers’ pact on Christmas in 1917, just so they could spend eternity together. Once inside, they’re trapped by the ghosts of Maurice (Ed Asner) and Lyda (Lily Tomlin), who turn the agents against each other, building to a very bloody Christmas finale. Though much more darkly mischievous than overtly scary, this episode is a throwback to the forgotten tradition of holiday ghost stories, and its guest stars revel in their twisted roles.

Black Mirror – “White Christmas”

Black Mirror White Christmas

This British sci-fi anthology series is a deep well of bleak, technology-based terror, and the holiday-themed episode “White Christmas” is further proof. An anthology within an anthology, this episode follows two men at a remote outpost in the middle of a snowy wilderness as they tell each other about their lives to pass the time. Starring Jon Hamm and Rafe Spall (The Ritual), their stories are broken up into three segments, and they get bleaker and bleaker the more we learn about the men. It’s depressing, thrilling, and often very creepy. This episode is just as much a reflection on technology addicted culture as it is on humanity, and for those that want their Christmas themed viewings void of sickly-sweet holiday themes, well, this is for you.

Inside No. 9 – “The Devil of Christmas”

Inside No 9 the devil of christmas holiday horror

British dark comedy anthology series Inside No. 9 is a must-watch on its own, and this Christmas special episode proves why. The season three episode is a recreation of ’70s anthology programming, complete with authentic filming equipment that lends that grainy, full-screen aesthetic. The plot follows a family vacationing at an Austrian Alpine chalet, who is soon plagued by the presence of Krampus. The viewer soon learns that this is a film within a film, though, as voice-over narration from the director gives insight into the making of the episode, and we discover that there’s something far more sinister happening for the unwitting star. It’s truly dark stuff.

The Twilight Zone – “The Night of the Meek”

The Twilight Zone Night of the Meek

If Black Mirror’s Christmas episode left you feeling blue, this season two holiday themed episode of the classic anthology series The Twilight Zone will lift your spirits and leave you feeling warm and fuzzy. Henry Corwin is a down-on-his-luck drunk who happens to be a department store Santa. When he shows up to work plastered on Christmas Eve, he’s fired. All he wants is for the meek to inherit the earth and to give the hungry children on his street a merry Christmas. When he stumbles upon a large burlap sack that can produce anything a heart desires, Corwin’s dreams become a bumpy reality as he becomes Santa for the less fortunate.

 Tales from the Crypt – “And All Through the House”

Tales from the Crypt All Through the House

The second episode of this quintessential horror anthology series adapts a familiar story from the comic The Vault of Horror and sees a woman terrorized by an escaped mental patient dressed as Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. Never mind that the woman had just committed murder herself. Directed by Robert Zemeckis from a script by The Monster Squad’s Fred Dekker, it’s considered one of the most unforgettable episodes for a reason. Look for horror stalwart Larry Drake as the homicidal Claus doling out holiday karma on Christmas.

The post 11 Holiday Horror TV Episodes to Deck the Halls This Season [12 Days of Creepmas] appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.


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