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10 Best Anti-Christmas Movies For A Different Holiday

21 December 2012 | Features, Film Lists, Guest Posts | by David Zou

dark christmas

Think of classic Christmas movies and you immediately think of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’, ‘Home Alone’ and ‘Miracle on 34th Street’. But not all Christmas movies make you feel all warm and fuzzy at the end, and some movies have become Christmas classics even though they don’t contain a healthy dose of seasonal cheer and goodwill to all men. Here is our rundown of 10 anti-Christmas movies to look out for over the festive season.

1. Gremlins


Ever since Gremlins was released in 1984, Christmas just would not be the same without cute and cuddly Gizmo and the plague of monstrous and mischievous creatures he unwillingly spawns. This darkly comic Christmas movie is guaranteed to find its way onto the box sometime over the festive season.


2. Die Hard

die hard

Violence, terrorists, executions – Die Hard does not have the makings of a Christmas classic on the outside, but it is set on Christmas Eve and it is one of the greatest action movies of all time, making it easy to see how it has become a popular alternative festive film. In recent years its become a staple on the Christmas TV movie schedules which has helped to secure its place on our top 10 of alternative Christmas classics.


3. Scrooged


If you are sick of all of the faithful reproductions of ‘A Christmas Carol’, sit back and enjoy Bill Murray’s modern interpretation. Funny and scary in equal measure, it makes for a refreshing take on Dickens’ Victorian classic.


4. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale


It’s called ‘a Christmas tale’ but this 2010 movie from Finland is not one that you are going to be watching with the family after Christmas dinner. Instead of the fat, jolly figure we all know and love, in this movie Father Christmas is a strange monster fond of punishing bad children. A dark take on the origins of Father Christmas, this one is certainly not for the kids.


5. Black Christmas

Black Christmas

Christmas and slasher movies don’t usually go together that well, but this film from 1974 has a good go at it. Based on a true story, it features a deranged serial killer preying on a gang of students in a sorority house, and provides a quick cure for anyone fed up with too much Christmas cheer.


6. Trading Places


Although not obviously a Christmas movie, 1983‘s ‘Trading Places’ does have a depressed Santa, the right setting and a happy ending meaning it is now an alternative Christmas favourite.


7. Bad Santa


The Santa portrayed by Billy Bob Thornton is everything that your standard Santa isn’t. He smokes, drinks and steals his way through Christmas, robbing the shopping malls where he and midget elf Marcus work. It was a toss up whether this one could make the list of unexpectedly classic Christmas movies – yes it’s a Christmas movie at its heart but its dark comedy make it alternative and the fact its become a classic is certainly unexpected!


8. Brazil


Christmas is referenced throughout this dark satire from Terry Gilliam, which is especially critical of the modern consumerist habits of the festive season. If you think Christmas has lost its real meaning, this could be one to watch.


9. Lethal Weapon


The Christmas tree scene in this classic Mel Gibson action places it firmly in the festive movies category, even though you may not think of it as a standard Christmas movie. And even if you’re not convinced, it is a fantastic action no matter what time of the year you watch it. Why not play this as a double header with Die Hard for a Christmas night action movie marathon!


10. Batman Returns


Another of Tim Burton’s classics wraps up the list, and this is about as dark a version of Christmas as you can imagine, what with Danny DeVito’s terrifyingly grotesque Penguin and the grim Gotham City setting. If Christmas is all proving to be too warm and cosy for you, rent out this classic instead, the newest incarnations of the Batman on the big screen have taken none of the shine off the 1992 outing.


Enjoy a Different Type of Christmas

The above movies can all be considered Christmas classics, but it’s fair to say that they are not the standard classics you expect to see over the festive season. If you want something a little bit different this year, keep your eyes open because most of these are certain to crop up on your TV screens.

Amy is a feature writer working with Youview – a new catchup TV service in the UK which is perfect for recording all your favourite movies over Christmas!




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  • Steven Flores

    With the exception of Rare Exports and Black Christmas as I had never seen either of those films. I can say yes to all of these films. Here’s something that I always recommend watching at Xmas. A remake of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as if it was created by Martin Scorsese called Raging Rudolph.

    • David Zou

      Hilarious animated Christmas spoof of Scorsese films GoodFellas and Raging Bull? That interests me!