Which Christmas movie are you going to watch this year? You could choose a holiday classic like It’s a Wonderful Life, a new classic like Elf, or a suddenly popular movie that isn’t really about Christmas, like Die Hard. You could do that, but we think you should think of something different. This year, why not watch a sci-fi Christmas movie?
Since the beginning of movies, holiday scenes have been a favorite way to set the scene for the stories they tell. It makes sense. Since they are liked by a lot of people, their presence gives the show a sense of unity and makes it seem like the people on screen are not so different from you, the viewer.
Each holiday has its own set of easily recognizable tropes, and many also have their own set of problems and complications that can be used to add depth to a story. How many times have we seen a Thanksgiving family gathering where people who don’t usually spend time together fight, either in real life or in a figurative sense? Instead, why not watch a sci-fi Christmas movie together because you both like the genre?
Christmas is the most popular holiday, so it’s no surprise that it has the most holiday-themed movies. Science fiction movies don’t stay away from the holiday movie fun.
We’ve put together a list of the best Sci-Fi Christmas movies because December 25 is coming up again.
Send A Baby By Basket With Batman Returns
Even though Batman Returns isn’t really about Christmas, it takes place during the holiday season, and because it was directed by Tim Burton (who also directed another movie on this list), it does a great job of making you feel like you’re in a snowy Christmas city being attacked by a penguin-shaped bad guy.
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It also has a lot of strange hidden references to stories from the Bible (in particular Christ and Moses). Penguin is put in a basket and sent down a river to his new family. I was surprised that Charlton Heston didn’t make an appearance.
Batman Returns is also just a really good movie. It might be one of the most underrated superhero movies of all time. Everyone loves the first Tim Burton Batman movie, but the second one might be even better in its way. It’s a great way to start watching a science fiction Christmas movie.
Spend Christmas In Brazil
Brazil is Terry Gilliam at the top of his game as a director. It is part sharp political satire and part slapstick dystopian nightmare. At its heart, it is a sci-fi Christmas movie. The battle to get the movie to the big screen is almost as epic as the movie itself, with Gilliam playing the hero who kills the studio executives, who are like monsters.
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Brazil is the story of Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce), a low-level office worker with an overactive fantasy life who breaks all social norms and rules to maybe save a made-up damsel in distress. The story takes place during Christmas in an overly materialistic and overly bureaucratic society.
Gilliam’s Brazil rips apart institutional and social norms with a razor-sharp wit, creating a world that is both completely foreign and all too familiar. A scene early on in Lowry’s office is eerily like what most of us do at our day jobs.
Feel The Sharp Power Of Christmas With Edward Scissorhands
What kind of story is Edward Scissorhands? Is it science fiction, fantasy, or just weird? Most likely, it’s all three. Tim Burton, who made The Nightmare Before Christmas, a holiday movie that everyone agrees is a classic, also made this strange Johnny Depp Christmas movie.
Even though he is weird, Burton gets Christmas and comes back to it a lot. This is the second of two movies by Burton on this list of Sci-Fi Christmas movies.
This one, unlike Batman Returns, is more openly about the holidays and what it’s like to have sharp hands. The movie Edward Scissorhands is all about the power of Christmas, and you’ll feel it by the end.
Get Drunk On Eggnog With Idris Elba In Prometheus
If you’re like us, and I think many of you are, Christmas is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the Alien universe. Those slobbering, acid-blooded xenomorphs remind me of the holidays more than anything else in science fiction.
Ridley Scott’s adventure movie Prometheus, which came out in 2012, takes this into account, and most of the action happens around Christmas. Even though Prometheus wasn’t the game-changing event that many fans hoped it would be, I think it got a bad rap. Are there problems, and are they big ones? Certainly. It has some of the worst movie choices since the Hangover movies, but you’ll still enjoy it.
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Even just seeing the scene with Idris Elba drunk and the Christmas tree is worth watching. You might not want to watch it on the holiday itself, though, because the scene with the alien-fetus abortion could make for some awkward dinner table talk, especially if you’re with family. Family gatherings are already stressful enough without adding a Christmas movie to the mix.
Be Traditional With Scrooged
Most people put Scrooged in the category of a straight-up Christmas movie since it’s based on the classic story of A Christmas Carol. But this version is about a tough TV executive and has a lot of strange high-tech images. One of the ghosts is made of TVs, which is a pretty cool idea. Another ghost looks more like a zombie from The Walking Dead than a real ghost. The result is the version of “A Christmas Carol” that feels most like science fiction.
Scrooged is also one of the best Christmas movies ever made and should be on any serious list about the holiday. So we put it here, in an odd place among a bunch of other Christmas movies that are more about science fiction.
Get Stuck In A Chimney With Gremlins
Gremlins taught us a lot about life, but the most important thing we learned was that when a wise old man in a mysterious hole-in-the-wall shop gives you very specific instructions about how to feed and care for a strange pet you just bought, you should follow them to the letter.
You don’t get it wet, no matter how bad it smells. Even if it looks hungry and makes cute “I’m hungry, please feed me even though it’s after midnight” noises, you don’t feed it after midnight. Not at all. No, you should listen to that wise old man because he is wise, old, and knows what the hell he is talking about.
Now, I know you’re a snot-nosed teen and you think you know everything, but come on, there’s a reason he’s an old wise man and you’re just a punk kid. Also, be careful about what you give as presents during the holidays. Even though it’s not like giving a hyperactive kid a drum set, a house full of Gremlins will probably bite you in the behind.
So, before you dress up as Santa and drop down your chimney to surprise your kids with gifts, make sure you watch Gremlins and listen to the worst Christmas story ever…
Celebrate The Birth Of A Savior With Children Of Men
Christmas is all about remembering the birth of the baby who grew up to save everyone. In Alfonso Cuaron’s film Children of Men, which came out in 2006, there is a birth that many people want to stop. The birth of a child could be the key to keeping the human race alive. Do you think it’s a coincidence that the holiday is the setting for the dystopian drama?
Even though I love his other movies, like Y Tu Mama Tambien and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, this Christmas-themed sci-fi movie is by far my favorite. I think his stunning visual style is even more impressive here than in Gravity. The themes are complicated and the tone is almost perfect.
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Children of Men is one of those rare movies that is both bleak and hopeful at the same time. But isn’t that what this time of year is all about? Dealing with harsh realities and trying to find hope wherever you can?
Celebrate Christmas In Space With Santa Claus Conquers The Martians
This one pretty much tells you what it is, but we had to include it. With a title like “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians,” you know you’re on the right track. This sci-fi Christmas movie from 1964 isn’t very good. The fact that it’s on so many lists of the worst movies ever probably gives that away.
But still, what a thought! The movie is just what the title says it will be: a happy fat man in a red suit fighting aliens. Why you may ask? That’s why: for the kids. You can see that Santa cares about more than just the kids on Earth. Oh no, he’s everywhere, and if the kids on Mars need help getting away from their strict, overbearing parents, who better to help them than Saint Nicholas?
You might want to watch it with the RiffTrax turned on. The movie has also been changed by Cinematic Titanic and MST3K, so you have choices. If you decide this is the sci-fi Christmas movie for you, do yourself a favor and watch one of these versions. I’d hate to be the one to ruin your holiday spirit.