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10 Best Holiday Horror Films, According to IMDb | ScreenRant

The holidays are a time for loved ones to gather together and fill their houses with laughter and cheer. The lights are brightly shining, dinner table is set, the ornaments are twinkling away on the tree.

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Christmas is such a joyous time to be alive for many, and this makes it a perfect target for exploitative horror films, with a number going on to have a lasting cultural legacy for years.










10 Silent Night, Bloody Night - (1972) - 5.4


While Black Christmas may get most of the credit for kickstarting the slasher genre, Silent Night, Bloody Night came first, and if not for a shoddy release by the notorious Cannon Films, it could have been a contender.

The film was originally released under the name Night of the Full Dark Moon. Legendary critic Leonard Maltin gave the film his seal of approval, but that didn't stop the movie from fading away in the winter of 1972. It was re-released the next spring as Silent Night, Bloody Night, but by then the world had moved on. The film found life on late-night TV and was eventually overshadowed by other slasher genre titans, but it has retained enough of a fanbase to become a cult favorite among horror enthusiasts.

9 Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) - 5.9

Silent Night, Deadly Night falls into the catalogue of films that received a scathing response upon release because critics didn't understand what the movie was trying to do. Consider the elements at play: a man whose PTSD is triggered by Christmas, an evil nun, and an axe wielding Santa Clause. This film is a glorious, gory mess that makes no attempt to have a point, and is all the better for it.

8 P2 (2007) - 5.9

Angela, a young businesswoman in Manhattan, attends an office Christmas party. Before long, she is the only employee remaining in the building... or so she thinks. It is difficult to find an original story to tell in a genre as well worn as horror, and even more so in a sub-genre as niche as Christmas themed horror films, but P2 manages it just fine.

Taking place almost entirely in a deserted parking garage, this film flew under the radar in 2007 despite being given a glowing review by Roger Ebert. P2 deserves more love, as it is one of those low budget projects that manages to do everything right. Starring a then-unknown Rachel Nichols and Hunger Games alum Wes BentleyP2 is a well acted, well paced, claustrophobic thriller that takes familiar elements of horror and reshuffles them

7 The Children (2008) - 6.0

There is something viscerally disturbing about evil children. Combine that with a spooky English estate, a mysterious disease, and a family on a downward spiral, and you have a recipe for a great horror flick.

A family is traveling to Southern England for a reunion at an old abbey. Shortly after they arrive, the children start falling ill and acting strangely. Their strange behavior quickly becomes violent and deranged, forcing the parents to decide what must be done. Symbolically set during New Years, The Children is a British film that didn't get a wide international release, but is generally recognized by critics as a well made thriller, filled with atmosphere and body horror.

6 Krampus (2015) - 6.2

Krampus is the antithesis of Santa Clause: a menacing, horned figure that stalks in Santa's shadow, delivering punishment to naughty children in the same way that Santa rewards good ones.  There are many big screen iterations of the character, but one has become the most universally praised.

Max is a young boy struggling to preserve the Christmas spirit in his household. His siblings have grown up and stopped believing in Santa, and all Max wants is to hold onto that magical feeling of being a kid at Christmas a little longer. In a rage, he tears up his letter to Santa and tosses the pieces to the wind. Lo and Behold, a red-cloaked visitor does arrive on Christmas night... but it isn't Santa. Krampus is a horror comedy delight that dredges up our favorite yuletide clichés and smooshes them underneath its hooved feet.

5 Deadly Games (1989) - 6.4

The French are no strangers to pushing the envelope (Irrèversible comes to mind), and Deadly Games doesn't pull any punches. Many horror filmmakers acknowledge that the very idea of using Christmas as a theme is inherently silly and choose not to take themselves too seriously.

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Not so with Deadly Games. The artists behind this project delight in making their audience suffer, structuring Deadly Games as a massive bait and switch. While the first half is a heartwarming, child-friendly Christmas yarn, the second half pulls the rug out, and the film becomes a visceral blood-soaked masterpiece that only the French could deliver. Deadly Games has received almost universal praise since its release, and has earned numerous awards in Europe.

4 Better Watch Out (2016) - 6.5

Better Watch Out is an Australian film that spends its first act pulling on your parental heartstrings before violently ripping them out and turning the film on its head.

The film centers around Ashley and Luke, a brother and sister left home alone on Christmas Eve when an intruder with a shotgun enters the house. What follows is a twisted genre-bender that somehow manages to be equal parts Home Alone and Children of the Corn. If that isn't enticing enough, the film earned itself a heap of praise from critics and the general public, despite having a relatively small release. It even earned itself a Saturn Award nomination for Best Horror Film.

3 Rare Exports (2010) - 6.7

In Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, A British research team in Finland searching for artifacts uncovers a Samì burial site. What lies buried underneath is not only the answer to the question of whether Santa Clause exists, it is the embodiment of the phrase "never meet your heroes".

Rare Exports is an obscure Finnish gem that received almost universal praise upon its release. The premise doesn't lend itself to being taken seriously, and the film knows this; it never oversteps itself and doesn't lean far enough into its own ridiculousness to become farcical. What this film achieves is a perfect balance between deadpan Nordic humor and genuinely well crafted scares that deserves to be a yearly watch for horror fans.

2 Black Christmas (1974) - 7.2

While Black Christmas did not start the Christmas horror genre, many would argue that this film is the poster child. In fact, some would argue that Black Christmas, which predates John Carpenter's Halloween by 4 years, is the true progenitor of the slasher genre. Most would just say that it's a bloody good film.

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Like many horror films of the era, Black Christmas received mixed reviews upon it's release. Many critics couldn't fathom why the filmmakers had seen fit to use Christmas, our annual mascot for happiness and goodwill, as the setting for a sorority house bloodbath. Thankfully, history has taken the side of the artists. Black Christmas is a low-budget, atmospheric, well crafted slasher that has influenced countless filmmakers in the decades since it's release.

1 Gremlins (1984) - 7.3

When Billy Peltzer receives a Mogwai for Christmas, he is given three simple rules: keep the creature out of the sun, don't let it get wet, and most importantly, don't feed it after midnight. Naturally, little over 20 minutes pass before all 3 rules are broken, and what follows is a warm blanket of a film, packed to the brim with nostalgic 1980's ridiculousness.

Gremlins manages to find a successful balance between horror, comedy, and satire. It won critical acclaim upon it's release, with special mention being given to the effects that brought the Mogwai to life. Released during the "golden age" of horror, Gremlins immerses itself in the typical genre tropes of the time and then, like the Mogwai, gleefully devours them. This sense of self-awareness, combined with the masterfully presented Mogwai, results in a charmingly irreverent creature feature that should be at the top of any Christmas horror watchlist.

NEXT: 7 Thanksgiving Horror Movies to Watch, Ranked According to IMDb

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