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Take a Look at the Best Christmas Horror Movies!

Some movie fans find it hard to go from “spooky season” to “the most wonderful time of the year.” One month you’re bathing in blood, and the next, it’s all candy canes, hot cocoa, and being with your family. Sure, most of us like at least one old Christmas movie. But there is a large group of people for whom eating sickly sweet holiday cheer just makes their stomachs hurt.

So instead, we decided to spread some good old-fashioned holiday fear. Christmas-themed horror movies aren’t a very big subgenre, but if you look hard enough, you can find enough scary ones to break up all the holiday cheer and get you through the season. Prepare for murderous Santas, killer gingerbread men, evil snowmen, and even a zombie musical set in the winter. These 18 scary Christmas movies are a gift for the bloodthirsty Scrooge in all of us.

Black Christmas (1974)

Ten years before he made A Christmas Story, director Bob Clark made a holiday classic that was nothing like that movie. Many people think of Black Christmas as the first modern slasher movie. It came out four years before Halloween and is one of the few Christmas-themed horror movies that doesn’t try to be funny.

It’s really scary, even though the simple plot—a group of college girls stuck at a sorority house over winter break are terrorized by a killer they can’t see—has been copied over and over again for decades.

Rare Exports A Christmas Tale

This Finnish movie is a creative and, well, pretty crazy take on the “evil Santa” trope. It says that the real Santa is a wild, carnivorous beast that feeds on the world’s bad behavior. We shouldn’t say too much more because we don’t want to ruin the fun, but let’s just say that it’s a hell of a good time, with scary moments and wide-eyed wonder straight out of an Amblin movie from the 1980s.

Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

Its sequel is better known now because it has become a popular internet meme, but the first “Murderin’ Santa Claus” movie is still a good piece of bloody B-movie cheese. After seeing a man dressed as Santa kill his parents with an axe, a young orphan grows up to repeat the crime, complete with a red suit and a white beard that doesn’t look very convincing.

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Better Watch Out (2016)

In this twisty, darkly funny independent horror movie, a babysitter (Olivia DeJonge) has to protect herself and the pre-teen boy she is watching from a home invasion at Christmastime. It’s kind of like Funny Games meets Home Alone, and at one point it answers a question that every ’90s kid has asked: what if Kevin McAllister’s attacks on the Wet Bandits were based on how the human body works?

Christmas Evil

This Christmas slasher is happy, goofy, and knows it’s stupid. It’s more like a send-up of the Santasploitation movies that became a subgenre after Black Christmas, but its self-awareness makes it better than a lot of the movies it makes fun of. Like in 1984’s Silent Night, Deadly Night, a childhood trauma makes a young man obsessed with Christmas, which turns into a killing spree against the bad people of the world.

Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)

Are you the middle person in the Venn diagram who likes zombie movies, Christmas comedies, and musicals all the same amount? Then you should watch this movie! During the Christmas season, shambling brain-eaters take over the world, which messes up the holiday plans of a young British woman named Ella Hunt.

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She and a group of other survivors have to fight off the horde of zombies to get back to their families, and they decide to sing about it. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re the kind of person it’s made for, it’s a lot of fun.

Krampus

In European folklore, Krampus is the opposite of Santa Claus. He is a horned beast that punishes people who lose their Christmas spirit. In this small, but still fun throwback B-movie, he finally gets the lead role. It is helped a lot by a cast that is much better than expected. Adam Scott and Toni Colette play the heads of the wealthy Engel family, whose problems bring out the wrath of the holiday demon in the title.

Red Snow (2021)

This darkly satirical send-up of supernatural romances is a mix of Misery and Twilight. It lives up to its title by splattering blood all over its winter setting. A struggling paperback author decides to spend the holidays alone in her late mother’s remote Lake Tahoe cabin so she can get her writing mojo back.

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To her surprise, a handsome vampire named Luke shows up at her door. From there, it does a good job of poking fun at multiple genres and doesn’t hold back on the artery spray.

A Christmas Horror Story (2015)

This collection of horror shorts in the style of Tales from the Crypt is just called Tales from the Crypt. It’s a kind of peppermint-scented take on the Halloween-themed anthology film Trick R Treat. William Shatner plays a cranky radio DJ whose interludes link the stories.

It’s not nearly as good as Trick or Treat, but it does have its moments, like the ending where a mall Santa faces off against the winter demon Krampus.

Santa Claws (1996)

This is yet another movie in the “guy dressed as Santa Claus kills people with a knife” genre, but at least this one has more to it than just gore. John Russo, who wrote and directed Night of the Living Dead, uses the plot and style of exploitation to look at obsessive fandom, especially as it affects so-called “scream queens” of B-movie horror.

Frequently Asked Question

What Christmas Movie is Scary?

In our list of the 31 best and worst Christmas horror movies, the killers include jilted psychos (Black Christmas), monsters (Krampus), and even a not-so-jolly Santa Claus.

What is the Best Scary Movie of All Time?

the best scary movies 1. The Exorcist (1973)

Can a 10-year-old Handle Krampus?

Parents need to know that there is a lot of violence and bad language in this movie. Krampus is good for kids 13 and up, but it depends on the child.

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