Feeling just a little bit cynical about the Christmas season by now? Sick to death of sweet seasonal flicks like It's a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story and, um, Bad Santa? Ready for a few choice chestnuts full of yuletide terror? Well unfortunately there are very few Christmas-based horror flicks that are actually, y'know, good movies. Most of 'em are low-rent horror knock-offs that are barely worthy of the celluloid they're stored upon, but hey, it's an amusing little sub-genre nonetheless. So let's get ready for a little late-night stocking stuffing and tons of creepy coal.

Silent Night, Deadly Night
-- The first one is the flick that caused all that nasty controversy back in 1984, yet when you look at it today ... the thing's almost embarrassingly bad. But once you've seen a few of the sequels -- Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (1987), Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out! (1989), Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation (1990) and Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker (1992) -- the original doesn't seem quite so rotten anymore. (Actually, it is.)

Christmas Evil -- Also known as You Better Watch Out and Terror in Toyland, this 1980 cheese-fest benefits from an odd sense of humor (and the presence of longtime character actor Jeffrey DeMunn) but struggles to fill its overlong running time. It's basically another "looney in a Santa costume" schpiel desperately hoping to ape the success of Halloween, if not its attention to quality.

Silent Night, Bloody Night
-- Just like the original Black Christmas was a forefather of Halloween and Friday the 13th, so too is this semi-starchy 1974 thriller a forefather of ... the original Black Christmas, kinda. It's about a guy who inherits an old mansion (one that used to be a lunatic asylum, natch) during the holiday season and must contend with, yep, a local psycho. Patrick O'Neal, Mary Woronov and John Carradine add a little color to the affair.
categories Features, Cinematical