Six Christmas Horror Movies To Kill Your Festive Spirit
Originally published on Kendall Reviews December 2018.
It’s no secret that my favourite Christmas film is Die Hard. Who doesn’t want to see Bruce Willis crawling around inside lift shafts in his vest, while a psychotic German terrorist tries to blow up Los Angeles? Yippee-kai-ai motherf**ker!
Anyway, it’s not really a horror film, so I thought, to tie in a bit more with the weird folklore mentioned in my festive serial killer thriller, The Deaths of December, I would delve into a few proper Christmas horror films and see which, if any, would have me ripping the threads off my tinsel…
6. A Christmas Horror Story (2015)
Four interconnecting stories. Started well with a proper jumpscare during a video-taping moment, leading to some very creepy ghostly bits, a creepy old lady with a horrible Krampus figurine and a terrifying changeling. Let down by zombie elves. Partially redeemed by William Shatner.
5. Silent Night Deadly Night (1984)
This started so well. Very creepy grandpa moment, followed by madman dressed as Santa massacring a young boy’s parents. The young boy escapes and is understandably traumatised – even more so when he is abused by nuns in an orphanage. Roll forward a few years, and he is asked to dress up as Santa… and it seems that his trauma is not too far under the surface. Cue ridiculous amounts of fake blood and lots of grotesquely killed (bra-less) females. Leaves you with a feeling of extreme ickiness.
4. Krampus (2015)
Starts out as a dark comedy, throws in a few genuinely creepy moments, goes completely bonkers for a while with rabid gingerbread men and possessed toys… then turns horribly bleak and ends with a brilliant moral twist. Be careful what you wish for!
3. Gremlins (1984)
Aww, who doesn’t love Gizmo? This film is so much fun. I have loved it since I first saw it as a kid. It’s not quite as scary as it was back then, but I can appreciate the perfectly hilarious bar scene now with much more clarity.
2. The Box (2009)
Apart from the weird sci-fi sequence in the middle featuring water tanks and some sort of weird teleportation, this is a perfectly twisted tale of choices and consequences. Just before Christmas, a strange man delivers a box to your house, all it contains is a button. Push it, and you get $1,000,000 – but a stranger has to die. Think of the money though. And strangers die all the time. Except, you’re not the only one who’s going to be given this choice… and you might be someone else’s stranger. Chilling and with a heartbreaking ending, this is definitely worth a watch if you fancy something a bit different.
1. Black Christmas (1974)
This is a genuinely creepy old movie set in a sorority house just before Christmas featuring the classic horror tropes that influenced so many others. The weird krank caller, the madman in the attic and the gradual bumping off vulnerable girls while the police take too long to take it all seriously. Something about the caller reminded me of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and it was great to see a couple of actors who went on to star in more of the classics – Margot Kidder (The Amityville Horror) and John Saxon (A Nightmare on Elm Street). And those carol-singing children. Urgh! Massively underrated and highly recommended for fans of classic horror.
S.J.I. (Susi) Holliday is a scientist, writing coach and the bestselling author of five crime novels, including the Banktoun Trilogy (Black Wood, Willow Walk and The Damselfly), the festive chiller The Deaths of December and her creepy Gothic psychological thriller The Lingering. Her short story Home From Home was published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and shortlisted for the CWA Margery Allingham Prize. Encapsulating her love of travel and claustrophobic settings, her latest novel, Violet, explores toxic friendships and the perils of talking to strangers. All of her novels have been UK ebook number-one bestsellers. Susi was born and raised in Scotland and now divides her time between Edinburgh, London and as many other exciting places that she can fit in.
You can find out more about Susi by visiting her official website www.sjiholliday.com
Follow Susi on Twitter @SJIHolliday
The Deaths Of December
It looks like a regular advent calendar.
Until DC Becky Greene starts opening doors . . . and discovers a crime scene behind almost every one.
The police hope it’s a prank. Because if it isn’t, a murderer has just surfaced – someone who’s been killing for twenty years.
But why now? And why has he sent it to this police station?
As the country relaxes into festive cheer, Greene and DS Eddie Carmine must race against time to catch the killer. Because there are four doors left, and four murders will fill them . . .
It’s shaping up to be a deadly little Christmas.
Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone.
Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is also desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.
When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place.
Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…
A tense and twisted psychological thriller about obsession, manipulation and toxic friendships, Violet also reminds us that there’s a reason why mother told us not to talk to strangers…
Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history
When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…
At once an unnerving locked-room mystery, a chilling thriller and a dark and superbly wrought ghost story, The Lingering is an exceptionally plotted, terrifying and tantalisingly twisted novel by one of the most exciting authors in the genre.