After posting the 12 horrors of Christmas, I’ve decided to help us get over the post-holiday/winter blues by keeping the Christmas spirit alive (correction—dead) in a handful more holiday horror movies! You can also check out my full list of holiday horror here.
SILENT NIGHT (2012)
Silent…but not deadly this time. Amazingly, the 1984 classic Silent Night Deadly Night I recently blogged about has been remade! Some argue that it isn’t a remake, despite the fact that particular kills are recreated (the antler kill) and an entire section of dialogue is recycled (crazy grandpa babbling about the evil of Christmas). However, instead of being “NAUGHTY!” this time, the killer mixes things up and accuses bad boys and girls of being “NOT NICE!”
I guess you could say this is an homage to the original, or perhaps a “reimagining.” You know, like Rob Zombie “reimagined” Halloween. Ironically, Malcolm McDowell (aka: Sam Loomis in the Halloween reimagining) stars in Silent Night!
Silent Night is a sort of slasher/whodunit, unlike the original, in which we knew from the start who the killer Santa was and why he put the axe in aXe-mas. This new Santa wears a really creepy mask, which intensifies the slasher creepiness. And there’s no nasty Mother Superior to make anyone feel guilty about sex. Instead, there’s a perverted priest. How times change.
This film is gore-ific and loaded with Christmas spirit. The kills are a bloody good time, there are boobs, and there’s an awesome chase scene—which was lacking in the original. This chase begins in a Christmas tree lot…and ends in a wood chipper. GNARLY. But the absolute best part has to be when a deputy sings a Christmas carol to Malcolm McDowell and he gripes, “What do you think this is? GLEE?”
SAINT NICK (2010)
This Belgian film is my favorite “Santa” slasher. It proves that it’s very easy to make a gem in the genre if you just pay attention to what made the best slashers so good! Saint Nick seems to have it all: Christmas atmosphere (with plenty of snow), tension and suspense, killer POV, blood-tastic kills, a creepy and could-be iconic killer, kiddy kills (always a plus), and a cast of teenagers (including a babysitter!). It’s the perfect recipe for a fine Halloween clone. But….
The downside is, it ends up being a hybrid of Halloween and The Fog. Some also don’t like the take on Saint Nick as a nasty character out for revenge. But who CARES? It’s a fictional movie. The writers can create whatever the hell legend they want! Geez! Just enjoy the horror of it or go watch Silent Night, Deadly Night to see your beloved cliché Santa Claus hacking up people.
After an intense and spooky opening with some scrumptious intro kills, the first half of the movie is a delightful, cozy little slasher film. Except for the weird, seemingly unrelated introduction of kills on a boat out at sea….
Unfortunately, the boat becomes part of Saint Nick’s back story. The film shifts gears and the fricking army is called in! Okay, it’s not the army, but Amsterdam police look like army soldiers, and my number one rule for a good horror movie? DON’T call in the fricking army (which I now extend to include cops who look like army soldiers).
Since the film was so on the track of a traditional slasher, the boat plot twist threw me. I was hoping a “final girl” was going to face off against Saint Nick by a Christmas tree in the warm glow of the fireplace. Instead, after an awesome (and kind of magical) chase through the city with Saint Nick riding his horse across the rooftops, we end up on the boat with a legion of vengeful zombified ghosts. The saving grace of this weird turn of events is some awesome fricking slaughter.
Note that there’s a surprising and random “black face” situation (in 2010???). Also, the wonderfully effective final scare comes a few minutes too early! They should have ended it there, but they went a little further, resulting in a really cheesy ending (okay, even cheesier ending).
A CADAVER CHRISTMAS (2011)
Grindhouse greetings! Think of a low-budget version of Planet Terror set at Christmas and you’ve got A Cadaver Christmas. It begins in what’s essentially a bear bar; there are only two men in it, but they’re beartastic! Another dude comes in covered in blood, and soon after, the zombies follow.
The small cast is virtually all male (my favorite kind), and they’re all pretty cute no matter what your taste in guys, from the corpse-loving frat boy type to the cop with the great porn stache. This is pure low-budget camp and cheese that completely works because of the charming cast.
The dialogue is slow and deliberate and the action is far from machine gun rapid, but this pacing actually makes it feel like a genuine zombie grindhouse film from the 70s or a direct-to-video indie from the early 80s. Perfect if you appreciate that kind of film. Plus there’s fun splatter gore, subtle humor, plenty of Christmas garland, eerie holiday lights, traditional zombie moments, and boobs.
Here’s my video of loads of Christmas horror flicks you can check out: