If you’re watching the W channel in Canada this month, there are plenty of fluffy movies about Christmas, and the lessons taught by the holiday no matter what religion you are.
There’s always a good ending, and an epiphany of sorts for the main character. Aside from the D-List Christmas flicks on W, the George Baileys, Clark Griswolds and Ralphie Parkers aired on the major networks all make their characters memorable.
Still, what of the films that treat Christmas as a backdrop rather than the crutch? For the films that shock us while celebrating the biggest Christian holiday of the year, well, they need recognition too.
Krampus, in its campy glory, is a film that needed to come out now. With the world so up in arms, fighting with each other over nuances, raging to be heard, but not listening, the pagan beastie is a necessity.
The following five films are not anti-Christmas in the sense they’re against the holiday, but more in the sense they have a wry sense of humour, or twist the holiday.
||Movie: Black Christmas
Director: Bob Clark
Cast: Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, John Saxon, Andrea Martin and Art Hindle
Release: October 11, 1974
Why: Edgy Canadian slasher with the final girl having more baggage than Santa Claus on his night shift.
Director: Michael Dougherty
Cast: Toni Collette, Adam Scott, David Koechner, Allison Tolman, Conchata Ferrell, Emjay Anthony and Krista Stadler
Release: December 4, 2015
Why: A pagan demon, dark elves, carnivorous toys and masochistic gingerbread men shape this Labyrinth-style film, which teaches those with hate in their hearts a damn good lesson.
Director: Joe Dante
Cast: Hoyt Axton, Corey Feldman, Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates and Frances Lee McCain
Release: June 8, 1984
Why: A bunch of troublesome creatures run amok in Norman Rockwell, small-town America during the yuletide, thanks to a traveling salesman.
||Movie: Die Hard
Director: John McTiernan
Cast: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson and Robert Davi
Release: July 20, 1988
Why: John McClane went out to the coast, got together with his estranged wife, had a few laughs all during Christmastime. Then some verruckt Germans goose-stepped into Nakatomi Plaza.
Director: Richard Donner
Cast: Bill Murray, Karen Allen, Bobcat Goldthwait, John Forsythe, Carol Kane and Robert Mitchum
Release: November 23, 1988
Why: So it’s not exactly an anti-Christmas movie, but it turns the classic Dickens tale on its ear and gives a good twist. Antlers on mice heads, cat kicking and oafs brained by toasters. This is the VCR under your tree during the holidays.