So maybe you’ve had it up to here with the sweet, happy Christmas specials and need something a little more dark and twisted (and/or slightly raunchy). Or perhaps you want to torture your relatives who have spent all day asking you when you’re going to get married and why you skipped work to see that stupid Star Wars movie. Either way, here are some non-classic Christmas classics for your viewing (dis)pleasure. From the stoners known as Harold and Kumar to the cute but vicious Gremlins, Christmas is the setting for many genres of movies. Whether it is superhero films that begin with a Christmas light-adorned home being blown up or a glimpse at an alcoholic Santa Claus, there seems to be no boundaries when it comes to the types of Christmas movies that can be on the naughty list this holiday season.
Our favorite stoners, Harold & Kumar, are back for a third outlandish adventure. This time, it’s during the most wonderful time of the year. Though the movie opens with the duo now leading separate lives, they are united by a quest: replacing a Christmas tree they accidently burned down from a discarded, mysterious blunt. The tree belongs to Harold’s father-in-law, Mr. Perez, played by Machete himself, Danny Trejo (don’t miss the GeekRoom blog on his not to miss movies!). As always, their adventures escalate hilariously, and are so politically incorrect, it’ll be a perfect dessert following Christmas dinner with your relatives. You better go hide some Christmas cookies now, for future munchie emergencies.
But if you're not into following the antics of Harold and Kumar, opt for a fun, creepy campy film that takes place during Christmas. There are some warm, fuzzy moments between Mogwai Gizmo and his new owner Billy. But when those three famous rules are not followed, all hell breaks loose in the small town of Kingston Falls. The nasty gremlins kill a science teacher with a syringe, blast a mean old cat lady out the window and run a sweet couple down with a snow plow. They get as good as they give from Billy’s mother, a badass who kills three in quite disgusting ways. Hey, that’s what they get for not staying out of her kitchen! Oh, and Phoebe Cates sob story about why she hates Christmas is enough to make viewers “open their wrists.”
Before Tim Burton twisted Christmas to his dark ways with The Nightmare Before Christmas, he hinted at it in his sequel to Batman (The Dark Knight Before Christmas?). The opening action sequence has the Red Triangle Circus Gang wrecking the halls at Gotham City’s tree-lighting ceremony. Batman saves the day, but it’s only beginning. Penguin and Catwoman have come home for the holidays, and Max Shreck (Christopher Walken in a Winter Wonderland) is doing his best to pull their strings. The Batmobile may not lose a wheel, but it does go on a wild, almost slaying ride, through Gotham.
It’s only fair to have a Marvel property on this list, since a DC film is also included. Personally, this is my favorite of the Iron Man movies. While some people were angry about the Mandarin reveal, others that it was brilliant. And though it does has a bratty, know-it-all kid, but Tony Stark gives him a run for his money. But it’s also a Christmas movie. After Stark’s holiday decorated house is blown to smithereens (along with Pepper’s Christmas present), he ends up in the middle of a snowy nowhere. From there, Tony Stark has to find himself and fight the big bad without the help of JARVIS or his Iron Man suit. So in a sense, it is kind of like theIt’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol of the Marvel movies. Including the bratty little kid getting a generous gift from Stark at the end. So, yeah, I’d say it’s a touching holiday movie where lots of things (and people) blow up.
It’s basically about a man who wants to bring his family home for Christmas. Granted, in the process he’ll shoot a few people, blow up a few floors of an office building, and come up with the franchise’s tag line: “Yippee-ki-yay, motherf***er,” but all’s well that ends well. Until Die Hard 2. Oh, and Alan Rickman rocks!
But this is a fun, family film, why is it on the naughty list? Well, it deals with negligent parents, crooks that want to hurt a child, and a kid who continuously tortures them. Makes me wonder what kind of Christmases director Christopher Columbus had, since he also directed the above mentioned, Gremlins. Yeah, it’s every kids dream to have the run of the house, especially around Christmas time, and I probably should take it with a grain of salt. But after Home Alone 2, I really wanted to call child protective services on the McCallister.
Billy Bob Thorton re-defined the Christmas movie with this dark comedy. Willie T. Stokes is living far from a wonderful life. He’s an ex-con con man, a hopeless drunk and an all-around gross guy. His yearly job is at a department store where he dresses as Santa, and for some reason, parents will let their kids near this guy. Bad enough, he and his elf pal Marcus (Tony Cox), rob the stores they work at on Christmas Eve. But this year, things do not go according to plan. This is certainly the anti-Tim Allen. Thorton’s Santa does many unsuitable things. If you want to offend the relatives this holiday season, sit them down to watch this one.
“You made it through Halloween, now try and survive Christmas.” That sounds like what most of us have to go through every year, dealing with crazy relatives, but that was actually the tag line for this 80s slasher flick. This time, instead of a Captain Kirk or hockey mask, the killer dressed like Santa. In this day and age, it may look tame, but back in the 80s, it was shamed out of the movie theaters. If you think a guy in a Santa suit did bad things in Bad Santa, just wait until you see what one does here. It’s blood, gore and a whole lot more.
A constant contender for “Worst Film Ever Made,” this sci-fi (supposedly) comedy is a great way to torture naughty children or relatives you hate. It has aliens, Santa and kid heroes! So it has to be great. Right? Wrong. The plot is the leaders of Mars are advised to let their children have more fun so they will be less distracted by Earth television. To do that, they opt to kidnap Santa Claus. For a movie whose plot revolves around bringing fun, there is a lack of it here. But fear not, Mystery Science Theater 3000 has a version of it that brings the funny to this Turkey. That may be the only way a human could sit through this mess.
If you have been naughty all year, then this is the worst punishment I can think of. This schmaltzy cheese fest about America’s former favorite family is almost unwatchable. Mike and Carol Brady decided to pay for all the kids to come home for Christmas, and they bring with them all sort of TV-movie-of-the-week baggage. Don’t worry, they all have happy endings that will make you want to throw up your Christmas ham. But it will make you happy to have a messed up family, rather than a disgustingly sweet one.