17 Scary Christmas Movies: Nightmare Before Christmas: Touchstone Pictures
Let's be real: the last few months of the year are most definitely the best. You have burgeoning fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas all in a span of four months. What could be better? With those holidays comes the influx of holiday movies. Halloween brings the scarier fare, while Christmas brings family-friendly movies full of joy. But there's also another category of movies perfect for anyone who loves the holidays but doesn't want to leave the scares of Halloween behind: Christmas horror. Bringing you frights and delights from fall into winter!
Scary Christmas movies are the perfect genre of film for anyone who wants to get their Christmas season started before Halloween while still reveling in the seasons of terrors well through December. Some of these scary Christmas movies are predictably silly, but many will actually leave you up at night wondering if you even want to put a Christmas tree up this year! These films allow you to get the best out of the two greatest holidays of all time. What could be better? Here are some Christmas movies scary enough that you can start watching them before Halloween!
Storm Vision Entertainment
Most holiday movies are all about the joys of childhood and the wonder kids have around Christmastime. But this film may make you rethink everything you know about kids. Luke (Levi Miller) is in love with his older babysitter Ashley (Olivia DeJonge) and tries unsuccessfully to woo her. What starts as a precocious 12-year-old with a crush on a teen quickly turns into a game of survival as we learn Luke is crazy. He ties her up with Christmas lights, threatens her and her loved one's lives, and even makes some violent moves in his quest for her heart. Not every kid is a little ball of joy around the holidays!
This film is what happens when Sharknado meets Christmastime! When a young boy wishes he could spend the holidays alone à la Home Alone, he gets his wish granted in a very unlikely way. Santa Jaws, a killer shark, appears in his life and starts eating up his family members in a sick and twisted way to fulfill the kid's wish. Complete with a candy-cane-colored horn and a Santa hat on its tail, this shark is treating people like milk and cookies!
VIP Medienfonds 1
This reimagining of Santa's origins reveals that he may just be the antichrist. Santa (Bill Goldberg) was apparently produced by a virgin birth much like Jesus, but this one was brought on by Satan! It turns Santa into a cold-blooded killer, taking out anyone on his Naughty List. With the help of his "hell-deer," he terrorizes people and slays them in his sleigh. Luckily, this demonic Santa loses his powers once Christmas is over, but you better watch out next year because he's coming to town!
The gremlins themselves have become such big pop culture figures that it's easy to forget that Gremlins is a Christmas movie! A young boy receives a Mogwai as a pet for his Christmas gift. While the little thing named Gizmo is adorable at first, the young boy soon breaks many of the cardinal rules for owning a Mogwai and ends up with multiples of them. When they eat after midnight, it's game over and the lovable little creatures turn into hell-spawn gremlins. The Christmas gift that keeps on giving, apparently! The film blends horror and comedy expertly, making it perfect for when you want some laughs and scares!
Slayride Productions inc.
Not everyone grows up having great Christmases. Billy (Robert Brian) had a very traumatic Christmas as a young child when his parents were murdered around the holidays. After being raised in an abusive Catholic orphanage, he pretty much wants nothing to do with the religious holiday. But instead of staying inside and not putting a tree up like normal people who hate the holidays, Billy prefers to go on a killing rampage dressed up as Santa. The film caused an uproar in the '80s due to parents thinking their kids would come to fear Santa Claus due to the film's marketing. As a result, the movie was pulled from theaters after only a week but has gone on to gain a huge cult following!
FS Film Oy
This Finnish horror story tells the tale of a group of explorers who believe they found the tomb of the real Santa Claus. Turns out, Santa isn't as cheery in real life as he is in legend. What do you do when Santa is a crazed mad-man lifted from the depths of hell? As terrifying as this version of Santa and his elves are, the movie is also a great action flick, full of explosions and battles. When all is said and done, the explorers take a herd of elves and train them to be mall Santas so there's also a hilarious ending!
We're talking the creepy Jim Carrey version here! While The Grinch is, in general, one of the most beloved Christmas stories ever, this movie is actually pretty scary! A green monster breaks into peoples homes trying to ruin their holidays, and never wears pants in public! What's scarier than that? He's also a jerk to dogs, so he's an actual monster. Sure, his heart grows by the end of the tale and he reforms his wicked ways. But there's no making up for the terror he causes on the way to getting there!
The 1986 iteration of this classic tale stars Drew Barrymore as Lisa, a young girl transported to Toyland on Christmas Eve. There she befriends Mary (Jill Schoelen) and Jack (Keanu Reeves), two people who belong together but Mary is being trapped into marrying Jack's uncle Barnaby (Richard Mulligan). While this sounds like the standard "unite true love on Christmas film," it takes a dark turn when Barnaby unleashes his true colors. Soon the bad guy is revealing he has an army of trolls that he's going to use to take over Toyland and attempts to kill our heroes with the very same monsters. So, yeah, not exactly a Christmas love story. Good thing a little help from Santa saves the day!
If you love the anthology horror series American Horror Story, then this is the movie for you! The film tells multiple interwoven stories involving murderous ghosts, Krampus, and creepy changelings. All of it is woven together by William Shatner as a radio DJ sharing the stories throughout his broadcast. The movie shares multiple different scary scenarios and is the perfect film if you want a ton of different stories in a short span of time!
This Dutch telling of the Santa Claus story centers on Sinterklaas, the Danish character on which the jolly old man is based upon. In this story, though, Sinterklaas isn't the benevolent toy-bringer we know and love. Instead, he's a murderous ghost whose rage comes out when his celebration night coincides with a full moon. Soon people start dying left and right and the ghostly Sint and his gang are to blame. This version of Santa can stay with the Dutch because he seems pretty terrifying!
A-Pix Entertainment Inc.
We're not talking the Rankin/Bass version or the Michael Keaton classic. We're talking the version where Jack Frost is a deranged murderer who dies and comes back to life as a snowman! After serial killer Jack Frost's caravan crashes into a truck carrying genetic materials, his dead body melds with the snow and he is reborn as a murderous snowman hellbent on revenge. This one is, honestly, a little more unintentionally funny than it is scary, but we're still pretty terrified at the idea of snow coming to life. Jack's ability to kill his victims in quite creative ways due to his genetic makeup means we'll just be over here scared to ever take a bath again!
Slasher film meet Christmas film. In this holiday horror story, a sorority is terrorized by their house's former residents days before Christmas. The cast is a whos-who of mid-'00s famous ladies like Michelle Trachtenberg and Lacey Chabert, who are perfect as sorority sisters. The girls are picked off one-by-one as they try to escape the house and the horrors happening within it. One of the murderers takes full advantage of the holiday setting, butchering a girl with a pair of ice skates. This sense of Christmas-murder irony comes back to bite the killers in the ass, though, when one is impaled on a Christmas tree-topper! Poetic justice.
This is a modern retelling of the classic Charles Dickens tale A Christmas Carol. Except, in this iteration "Scrooge" is Frank Cross (Bill Murray), a selfish TV exec who is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve. While A Christmas Carol has always been a bit of a dismal story, it's never been this scary! When Cross is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Future, it's revealed to be a grim-reaper apparition. In the future flashes, things become much darker and scarier, right down to the cinematography. While the movie ends on a positive note, there are definitely some things that will keep you up at night!
Buffalo Gal Pictures
As part of the Silent Night, Deadly Night franchise, it's easy to see where this movie is going: killer dressed as Santa Claus terrorizes a town. But somehow the "killer Santa" premise is still absolutely terrifying. The true horror comes from the fact that films like these are rooted in realism. It's not really Santa, its a guy dressed as him. That means that this could happen anywhere during the holidays — all someone needs is a Santa suit. The scariest stories are always the ones that could happen to you!
Krampus has shown up in a few of these Christmas horror films but this is a film he gets all to himself! The well-done horror film depicts the Engel family, who has just about lost their Christmas spirit. That's the impetus for Krampus coming to murder your family so soon he shows up and begins causing havoc with the help of his mischevious elves and haunted toys. The true horror comes from the ending, but because we're not going to spoil it, you're going to have to watch this flick ASAP to find out.
This one isn't jump-scare scary, it's extensionally scary! George (James Stewart) is feeling defeated by life and is going to commit suicide on Christmas Eve. Suddenly, his guardian angel Clarence (Henry Travers) appears and shows him how his deeds over the years have made the lives around him better and convince him to embrace life again. While this one has a happy ending and is pretty much a family-friendly movie, there are some underlying scary things. The idea that despite his good fortune and loving family and friends, George can still be so unhappy and blind to it all is a terrifying reality. This one is a bit too realistic!
This is the ultimate Christmas and Halloween hybrid. In fact, it's so beloved that there is often debate over what kind of holiday movie it actually is. (Spoiler alert: it's both!) Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon) is the "Pumpkin King" of Halloween town. But when he discovers Christmas Town, he becomes obsessed with the holiday and kidnaps Santa so that he can take his place. He takes St. Nick's place, but his Halloween Town-style gifts aren't exactly what all the kids are wishing for - thus, chaos ensues. The film is fun with some amazing musical numbers, but it also has some scenes that'll keep you up at night!