Two things: 1. New post category! Who knows how far I can take it! Labor Day horror? MLK Day horror?! The world is my oyster! 2. I do know that everybody is doing a Christmas horror list/post. I’m doing this anyway because I can only take so many “Did you see that NPR article about Christmas horror?” questions from my well-meaning co-workers and loved ones. Now, I can say, “Did you see MY Christmas horror list?” (getting those unique site visitor numbers up!) My list is going to be different though. You know why? Well, I’ll tell ya. I’m not going to include movies that have anything to do with Christmas. What?! That’s right. Fuck Christmas lights, Santa costumes, and racist neighbors yelling about their foreign-made tractor parts. (i’m listening to Sid Vicious’s “My Way” while i write!) My parameters are: 1. The movie must have snow in it (i’m from the Midwest and snow makes me think of xmas, alright?). 2. It must not be about or set during Christmas. 3. That’s pretty much it.
John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982)
Obviously. As soon as I mentioned snow, you should have assumed that this would be at the top of my list. Besides the snow, which is pervasive, there is at least one ugly sweater, a Christmas staple now. (the oversaturated ironic joke wear that EVERYBODY loves!) Synopsis: A group of men stationed at an arctic research station discover an alien lifeform that devours and replicates other lifeforms. Paranoid mayhem ensues. The Final Cut: It’s fucking rad. Make it Christmas-y: When Garry says his iconic, “I know you gentlemen have been through a lot, but when you find the time, I’d rather not spend the rest of this winter TIED TO THIS FUCKING COUCH!” (looked it up to verify, and i was off by 3 words. damn) you can imagine he’s saying, “I know you gentlemen have been through a lot, but when you find the time, I’d rather not spend Christmas TIED TO THIS FUCKING COUCH!” Now it’s a Christmas movie!
You don’t think this is a horror movie? Tell that to the insane body count! AND there are zombie(ish) characters who can burrow into the ground. And the snow. There’s a shitload of it in the final showdown, which is straight-up bonkers. Synopsis: Ogami Itto and his toddler continue their quest for vengeance on the road to Hell, encountering those weird zombie-looking dudes and a deadly woman. Their journey brings them to a mountaintop where Lone Wolf KILLS AN ENTIRE ARMY SINGLE-HANDEDLY! The Final Cut: The whole movie is pretty ridiculous, but it’s a lot of fun. Make it Christmas-y: Imagine that one of the baby cart’s Bond-like gadgets is a string of Christmas lights that can be used as a whip!
Let the Right One In (2008)
This may be another movie-with-snow no-brainer, but I would be remiss if I didn’t include it. It’s a beautifully horrific tale of friendship/manipulation in the snowy environs of Sweden. Synopsis: Oskar is a bullied loner who meets Eli (ell-ee, not ee-lie), a vampire in a child’s body. They bond and Eli kills some people. The Final Cut: Brilliant. (The U.S. remake, Let Me In is pretty good too.) Make it Christmas-y: That super-fragile gold sphere could be an ornament. Or maybe pretend Eli is drinking mulled hot cider instead of blood.
The Shining (1980)
This is it – the snowiest of snowy backdrops – The Overlook Hotel. The film has plenty of snow. And masked sexual activity. And old scabby naked ladies. And axe murder. You know, Christmas stuff. Synopsis: The Torrence family assumes caretaking duties for the Overlook Hotel while it is snowed in for the winter. The isolation gets to daddy and he loses his mind. Also, ghosts. The Final Cut: It may be paced a bit slow, but it is iconic and pretty generous with the scares. Make it Christmas-y: Danny is already wearing ugly sweaters. Just imagine he’s wearing xmas-themed ugly sweaters!
(apologies for the terrible MacReady Santa hat hack job)