So Christmas is approaching … what's the strangest, festive film full of fear that you can see with kids this year?
Apart from the traditional argument about whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie or even The thingWith Kurt Russell surrounded by a lot of snow, you could probably watch a lot of films with snow and play them towards the end of the year – without a traditional Christmas theme. Almost three decades later, Kurt Russell's most recent film, Christmas Chronicles 2, may be a more traditional fodder for the kids.
What's the least traditional on-screen Christmas, especially for kids? You probably don't have to look any further than the ones with deadly Christmas trees and electric shock lights Gremlins. This 1984 comedy horror could probably qualify as one of the weirdest seasonal films for kids, considering that Kate's father experiences a bloody death in the family chimney as Santa Claus. An angry old woman flies out a window at her in Snowy Death, someone else is stabbed in the buttocks with a syringe and gremlins are killed in inventive ways, including in a blender and microwave. There's also the great anti-Christmas line where the grumpy old woman hears some festive singers outside just before she dies: “I hate Christmas carols. Little snoopers with screeching voices. "
Next year came another even stranger Christmas movie for kids. The young Sherlock Holmes (1985). This Spielberg film shows snow, presents, festive dinners and Christmas carols. This PG fantasy also features cakes that attack and a turkey meal that its owner eats rather than the other way around. There are also human sacrifices, poisonous arrows, fatal hallucinations, and characters who believe they are buried alive. As in GremlinsAnother victim falls out of a window to reveal a snow-covered corpse in loving close-up (possibly an '80s theme).
When choosing films with a creepy festive theme, The Wizard of Oz might be a contender as there is artificial snow falling on a sleeping Dorothy, Toto, Scarecrow, and Tin Man to send them to sleep. Another could be J-horror Antique bakery, with a Santa Claus driving through the snow to deliver seasonal goodies but also revolving around a child killer.
The psychologist Donna Dawson says Christmas in 2020 is more important than ever for everyone as celebrating (safely) with family and friends becomes an even more important part of the season.
"Just in case this year wasn't scary enough for you, it might be good to turn to a slightly more scary Christmas on screen to make you feel more secure," she suggests.
She mentions that the reason we like a scary movie this Christmas goes back to 19th Century.
“The appeal of horror at this festive time could be traced back to horror writer MR James, who was telling a ghost story to students and staff at this time of year. Christmas can be too "nice" too, so finding the darker side of the season is a natural reaction. "
Are we more receptive to creepy coworkers this time of year? Dawson thinks so. "Short, dark days with snow-covered things and muffling noises – all of this gives us an air of mystery and uncertainty and reminds us of things that were left out in the cold."
It indicates that we are also surrounded by "bats, owls, ravens, cats and other creatures of the winter night".
“It's also the end of the year that creates a psychological pull, an introspection that deals with endings, changes and alternatives – all coherent for the horror genre. Christmas horror also feels like an extension of Halloween, which isn't far from Christmas. And when Santa Claus is a fairy tale, he leaves the door open to other fantasy stories.
“The Christmas horror allows us to regain control. Instead of being passive recipients waiting for Santa's visit, we can become active agents in our own horror.
“Long, dark evenings let the imagination flare up and snow reminds us of ghosts and creates a spooky, surreal world. Monsters don't necessarily go away this time of year just because we give each other gifts. They are waiting for us in the shade. "
Sums up Dawson, "No matter how strange this year was, at least you won't get serenaded by a lot of gremlins dressing up a killer Christmas carol singer!"
So stay safe while you enjoy this holiday season with these Christmas deals of kid-friendly (un) friendly movies. It's not really the best time of the year. Even without the screeching little glue sniffers.
About Nina Romain
Nina Romain is living proof that young Alabama kids shouldn't be treated like sugared little ghouls in the 1980s – they tend to be obsessed with the creepier side of Halloween! Her horror shorts are typically shot half on the sour side of Los Angeles and half on the darker side of the UK, including the UK's "busiest" village at Fright Corner.
This year she advertised on a Covid-safe Rom-Com and created three microshort horrors. These range from a short film from LA to a Valentine's Day in an abandoned zoo going terribly wrong, to a pandemic nightmare in Lockdown London (www.raindance.org/shooting-in-a-ghost-town) and finally a party nobody goes early … or lives. More information is available at: www.girlfright.com