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I'm Dreaming of a Black Christmas

Date posted: 20.12.2010

Bored and tired by the usual Christmas offerings of family films? Producer Sandy Lieberson, who steps down as Chairman and founder of Film London after seven years of dedicated service, offers his own top selection of films for a truly alternative holiday season. Let the fun begin this Christmas Evil!

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993). dir Henry Selick
Tim Burton's Christmas classic is a captivating stop motion fantasy. The film, which started life as a poem Burton wrote while he was an animator at Disney at the start of his career, tells the story of Jack Skellington, an unlikely skeletal hero from 'Halloween Town' who discovers Christmas. Burton's regular composer Danny Elfman wrote the score for the film and even provided the voice to Skellington.

(aka Sint) (2010) dir. Dick Mass
The ultimate chiller this Christmas, Mass's Saint is a horror Dutch spin on the legend of bishop Santa Claus which has delighted audiences in its native country. In the film, far from his chubby present-giving image, Saint Nicholas is a blood-thirsty killer in the lookout for young victims and revenge.  Currently unavailable in the UK, let's hope this horror gem is snapped up by a savvy distributor soon.

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
(2010). Dir: Jalmari Helander
Another chilling tale with an evil Santa at its heart. This time from Finland, on Christmas Eve Santa Claus is discovered by some archaeologists, an event that is shortly followed by the inexplicable disappearance of children. A father and his son resort to capturing Santa, kick starting the action in this film which won first prize at Sitges Fantastic Film Festival. Rare Exports is now available at cinemas in the capital.

Bad Santa
(2003) (dir. Terry Zwigoff)
Starring Billy Bob Thornton and produced by the Coen brothers, Bad Santa is an American screwball comedy about two conmen who use the festive season to work at shopping centres as Santa and his elf. However, rather than spreading good cheer, the duo's motive is to rob each establishment, something that becomes tricky when a clever 8-year-old gets in their way.

 (1989) (dir. Jeffrey Mandel)
When an 'Anti-Christmas' pagan rite goes wrong, a teenager becomes the focus of an evil nazi plot involving selective breeding and summoned elves in an attempt to create a race of supermen. She and her friends are trapped in a department store with an elf, and their only hope for salvation is an alcoholic ex-cop-turned-shopping-centre- Santa.

(1984) dir Joe Dante
Another classic to revisit this Christmas, one that captivated the imagination of a generation and became the source of endless merchandising. Executive produced by Steven Spielberg, the film is about a young man who gets a strange creature as a pet. If not cared for properly, though, the cute and cuddly thing spawns other creatures who transform into the 'gremlins' of the title - small, destructive, evil monsters.

Santa Claws (1996) dir. John Russo.
B-movie genre at its best, Santa Claws tells the story of a man who becomes obsessed with the figure of Santa Claus after an incident in his youth. Years after, deluded into thinking he is Father Christmas, he stalks Raven, an erotic horror film star, played by genre favourite Debbie Rochon.

Black Christmas (1974) dir. Bob Clark
Based on real-life murders in Quebec, Canada, the film is a stylish horror set in an American university sorority where season celebrations are underway. The peace and merriment is soon disturbed by a psychopath making obscene phone calls and stalking the house. This is allegedly metal singer Alice Cooper's Christmas favorite!

Jack Frost
(1996) dir. Michael Cooney
Not Michael Keaton's family film but American horror comedy starring serial killer Jack Frost (Scott MacDonald) set in the fictional town of Snowmonton. When a freak accident leaves Frost turned into a genetic mutation half human-half snow, he -inevitably- becomes a killer snowman.

The Hebrew Hammer
(2003) dir. Jonathan Kesselman
A hilarious filmic Christmas-Hanukkah 'face off', it features Jewish superhero 'Hebrew Hammer 'in a mission to save the Jewish celebrations from being sent to oblivion by the evil son of Santa Claus, who plots to make everybody celebrate Christmas.

Santa's Slay (2005) dir. David Steiman
Another top Christmas black comedy involving yet another sadist Santa looking for blood this season. Truly gory and featuring a number of cameo roles, the job of saving the world from evil Santa falls on a teenage couple and the grandfather of the boy.

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