Have a scary Christmas! 6 holiday horror movies to watch this year.
It’s the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, AKA the most wonderful time of the year — but it’s also the time of year where you have to rewatch the same Christmas movie for the umpteenth time. I get it, I can only stomach watching Will Ferrell eat that notorious candy-covered spaghetti in Elf once per holiday season, and don’t even get me started on It’s a Wonderful Life (I just don’t feel like crying into my eggnog this year!). Enter: the glorious film genre of Christmas horror.
If you’ve always been a die-hard “Die Hard is a Christmas movie!” person, then you’ll probably appreciate these picks below. Whether you want to spend the rest of this holiday season pondering the apocalypse or get into the spirit with a good old fashioned slasher movie, I’ve got you covered. Here are six Christmas horror movies to check out this holiday season.
Black Christmas (1974, 2006, 2019)
Black Christmas, some say it’s the slasher franchise that started it all (and inspired Halloween!), so if you’re a horror fan and you haven’t seen any of the three iterations of the film, ‘tis the season! The movies follow a serial killer targeting sorority sisters around the holidays. If you;re a first time viewer, I recommend starting with either the 1974 original or the 2019 film, which pretty much disregards the original plot. Then, only if you’re a fan of the 1974 film, would I recommend the often-criticized 2006 sequel, Black X-Mas.
You know the drill: they’re cute, they’re quirky, just don’t feed them after midnight! Gremlins follows a family struggling to adjust to their new suspiciously-sourced pet, a mogwai, around Christmas time. There are only three rules when caring for a mogwai: do not expose it to sunlight; do not get it wet; and above all, do not feed it after midnight! This classic campy ’80s horror movie is currently streaming on Max.
It’s a pretty simple premise: You stay jolly and positive around Christmas time, you get Santa Claus. You start to lose your Christmas spirit? You get Krampus. When one family loses sight of the true meaning of the holiday season, a violent horned beast pays them a visit. Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner and Allison Tolman star in Krampus, which you can currently watch on Peacock.
Alternatively titled Safe Neighborhood, this psychological horror film follows a teenage babysitter tasked with tolerating her 12-year-old assignment who clearly has a crush on her. When some uninvited guests arrive for a visit, things go awry, Home Alone-style. Better Watch Out is filled with great scares and tons of Christmas spirit, plus enough twists to keep you on the edge of your seat all Christmas Eve.
No, not the 2023 thriller film playing in theaters right now or Silent Night, Deadly Night, the 1984 slasher series. Silent Night (2021) is an apocalyptic black Christmas comedy(ish) film starring the always-lovely (but especially lovely in an apocalyptic comedy) Kiera Knightley alongside Matthew Goode, Roman Griffin Davis, Annabelle Wallis, Lily-Rose Depp, Sope Dirisu, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Lucy Punch and Rufus Jones.
Faced with a sort of ambiguous impending apocalypse, a married couple in England host their old school friends for their classic annual Christmas party. Things obviously get messy — and deadly — but first, the film is sentimental and, dare I say, downright festive! Silent Night is currently streaming on AMC+ (which you can get free for 7 days through Amazon Prime Video) and available to rent or buy on Amazon.
A wealthy family is held up by a team of violent mercenaries on Christmas Eve, but have no fear, because Santa Claus is here. This movie is bloody, the action in it is (at times) brilliant, and you’ll have a jolly good time watching it. David Harbour stars in the horrifying but heartwarming Violent Night, currently available to stream free on Amazon Prime Video.
When Jack Skellington, the beloved pumpkin king of Halloweentown, starts feeling like something is missing in his holiday rituals, he heads out in search of more, and winds up in Christmastown. After experiencing the wonder of Christmas, Jack decides he’d like to have Santa Claus’ job. Tim Burton’s iconic holiday film is available to stream on Disney+.