Everyone knows a Scrooge. You know, that guy who gets grumpy when December rolls around. If there's one thing he hates more than eggnog and wrapping gifts, it's those schmaltzy, by-the-numbers Christmas movies where everyone learns a valuable lesson about the spirit of the season. Don't force your personal Scrooge to watch It's a Wonderful Life. One of these movies will make everyone happy.
By Evan Saathoff
When comes to "Christmas" movies that people who hate Christmas movies watch during the holidays, you don't get more classic than Die Hard. Known as the greatest action movie of all time (that's a scientific fact), the story of John McClane's very bad day takes place on Christmas Eve and everyone from the cops to the criminals to Bruce Willis himself acknowledges the holiday between gunfights and explosions.
The Long Kiss Goodnight
If you're the kind of person who celebrates anti-Christmas with a Die Hard screening every year, it may be time for a change of pace. Look no further than The Long Kiss Goodnight, a thoroughly entertaining action movie (written by Iron Man 3's Shane Black) that takes place during Christmas and makes great ironic use of holiday music and imagery. Come for the action, wisecracks and explosions, stay for the story of a badass Geena Davis fighting to save her family during Christmas.
One of the earliest slasher films, Black Christmas is the perfect movie to watch if you want a little blood and guts in your stocking. Although a fairly typical (but effective and entertaining) "serial killer murders his way through a sorority house" flick, the Christmas setting lends it a wonderful and grotesque layer. Because you shouldn't need an excuse to watch horror movies in December.
When it comes to Christmas movies that hate Christmas, you don't get much raunchier or crazier than Terry Zwigoff's Bad Santa. In one of his defining roles, Billy Bob Thornton plays a small-time crook who poses as a mall Santa so he can make off with a fortune in holiday profits. You'd think the introduction of a sad-sack kid would force the movie to get sentimental, but it never does -- Bad Santa knocks Christmas over and never stops kicking it until the credits roll.
Silent Night, Deadly Night
Silent Night, Deadly Night isn't a good movie. In fact, it's one of the trashiest movies ever made, and it's hard to enjoy if you have good taste--which makes it perfect viewing for anyone rebelling against ordinary wholesome holiday entertainment. The film sees a crazed killer (who lost his mind after seeing a man dressed like Santa kill his parents) donning a St. Nick outfit and punishing "naughty" people...with bladed weapons. This is required viewing if you hate Christmas.
If you've already seen Silent Night, Deadly Night and haven't had your fill of stabby guys in Santa suits, you should check out Christmas Evil. Although lesser known (but released first), this movie delivers plenty of bang for your holiday-hating buck, telling the story of a deranged man who convinces himself that he's Santa Claus and embarks on a murder spree, killing people in the name of Christmas. To give you an idea of what you're in for, this is John Waters' favorite Christmas movie.
In the middle of Joe Dante's Gremlins, Phoebe Cates' Kate reveals that her father broke his neck while pretending to be Santa, plummeting to his death while climbing down the chimney to surprise the kids. The scene pretty much sums up the film's entire view on its holiday setting: nothing is sacred. What begins as a movie about Gizmo, the best and cutest Christmas present ever, quickly transforms into a goofy, morbid and giddily entertaining evisceration of everything soft, cuddly and adorable.
A Christmas Tale
Is there anything less appropriate for Christmas time than a two and a half hour long French drama about a family reuniting for the holidays and learning that their mother has leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant if she hopes to survive? This is not your typical "dysfunctional family comes together and discovers the spirit of Christmas" movie. This is a dark movie about wounded, unlikable people and a family that may be broken beyond repair. In other words, it's about a real family.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
Rare Exports is the best Christmas movie you've never heard of. This Finnish cult classic reaches into the folklore of the past, discovers a "Santa Claus" that was not so jolly and brings him straight to the present. It opens with the "real" Santa being discovered buried in a mountain and concludes with...well, you'll just have to see for yourself. This movie is crazy, scary and silly in equal measure, delightfully taking apart the Santa myth and making it into a deranged Frankenstein's monster.
This cynical, bitter and darkly hilarious comedy eventually reveals that it truly believes in and cherishes the spirit of Christmas. Ultimately, it's just A Christmas Carol in '80s clothing, but Bill Murray is so good and the writing so sharp that it transcends being merely another remake of Dickens' classic.