It’s that time of year, and I’ve decided to get into the spirit by watching all the Christmas horror in my collection. There are plenty of sequels and remakes to come, but I begin with 3 completely non-related films.
CHRISTMAS EVIL (1980)
As fast as the slasher genre began to flood the market, filmmakers tried to bring something fresh to it, one way being to have us follow the killer around the entire time.
Christmas Evil does just that. While it’s loaded with eerie holiday lights, pulsating horror music, blips of tension, and a body count, it seems it was just pigeonholed as a slasher for marketing purposes. It’s really a character study of poor Harry, who saw his mother doing more than kissing Santa underneath the Christmas tree when he was young. As in all these classic 80s horror movies, we learn that exposure to sex makes you a crazed killer.
We watch Harry work at a toy store, have a strained relationship with his brother (who would decades later become Dale on The Walking Dead, minus the rockin’ body), eat cereal, watch TV, and stalk little children to make sure they’re being nice and not naughty.
Eventually, he slips into the old Santa suit, begins stealing presents from the homes of the bad boys and girls, and brings them to the needy children. Doesn’t seem like such a bad guy, right? But then he’s harassed by some parishioners outside a church, which really spoils his holiday (because all God-fearing people get the senseless urge to torment men in Santa suits right after midnight mass).
Harry drives around in his truck with a big Santa sleigh painted on the side, Harry breaks into houses and kills people violently, Harry makes the news. A lynch mob takes to the streets with torches—really. Harry is now a fugitive and scared out of his wits. Are we supposed to feel for anyone in this film?
The lynch mob catches up to Harry, he veers his truck sharply off a bridge, and then—does he die or does he fly? Why did they wait so long to bring in the comedy? This final scene is pure Christmas joy. Truly uplifting.
SANTA’S SLAY (2005)
This is the “big budget” horror comedy flick of the bunch. The opening scene features James Caan, Fran Drescher, Rebecca Gayheart, and Chris Kattan getting massacred during a Christmas dinner! That alone makes this a must see movie.
Santa’s Slay is a cross between a Christmas horror movie and a family Christmas special. It’s loaded with campy Christmas references, jolly moments, boobs, and blood. We even learn in a classic holiday stop animation flashback scene why Santa is suddenly hell bent on murder.
Wrestler Goldberg is Santa, which would explain why I was oddly hot for St. Nick, especially when he takes off his coat and reveals bulging muscles. He even looks right into the camera and says “Who’s your daddy?” Swoon. Also in the cast are veteran actor Robert Culp and the Bob & Doug McKenzie guy (not Rick Moranis…the other one).
Santa flies around in a one-bison open sleigh, visits a strip joint to enjoy the boobage and beat the bouncers (not the boobs—actual bouncers), kills a Jew with a Menorah, and slaughters and kills gentiles. Only Robert Culp, along with his grandson and his girlfriend, can stop Santa. It’s fun for the whole family!
TWO FRONT TEETH (2006)
From the minute I began watching this movie and saw the “A Roast Beast Film” opening logo, I knew I was going to get an overload of awesome classic Christmas references. Two Front Teeth is a Christmas bonanza, ripe with holiday atmosphere given the old horror twist, with the warm Christmas glow used perfectly as eerie red Argento-style lighting.
This is low-budget campy horror at its best. The main character is a tabloid writer who hunts down stories of evil Christmas urban legends. The lead actor’s performance and facial expressions seem inspired by Bruce Campbell and Jeffrey Combs, and even the frequent close-ups on his face and the overall tone of the film give off that Evil Dead II vibe.
The film starts off effectively creepy with some carefully orchestrated suspense and even some jump scares that totally got me! The tabloid writer’s wife is at home cheating on him on Christmas night when she and her piece of man ass are attacked by ghoulish elf creatures in black leather. Tabloid hubby arrives on the scene and the film begins to show its true tone. He and his cheating whore are on the run—then on the hunt with a bad ass monster killer.
Two Front Teeth is packed with over-the-top splashing blood and horror, cheesy laughs, ninja nuns, and a battle to the death between Santa and the tooth fairy. The only thing missing is nudity—but who cares? It’s Christmas after all, you perverts! Most importantly, there are flashbacks of Christmas past that are done in classic holiday cartoon style.
If you appreciate a low-budget movie that was made with complete dedication regardless of production limitations, you’ll want to show this one at all your Christmas horror parties.
Here’s my video of loads of Christmas horror flicks you can check out: