When the weather outside is frightful, there's nothing like snuggling up with hot cocoa and watching a Christmas movie. Why not spice it up with a Christmas horror flick? Christmas might be known for gifts and joy, yet somehow the pursuit of a perfect family holiday can easily turn into a horror story!
Whether you want to get a good scare or laugh at holiday-themed monsters, there's a Christmas horror movie for everyone. We've found 10 Christmas horror movies that are holiday staples for horror fans all over America. Our top choice is Gremlins. It's a family-friendly, satirical horror-comedy about how cute little pets turn into murderous monsters. For more of our favorites, please read on! Check out our buying guide for some tips on selecting the perfect movie, too.
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Choosing a horror movie for the holidays can be a daunting (or haunting!) task. You'll need to juggle your audience's tolerance for scary movies and their particular tastes, not to mention sorting through many titles. For the best results, you should consider the movie's genre, rating, and reviews.
Although scary movies are usually horror movies, not all horror movies are super scary. Whether you’re looking for a Christmas movie with horror elements or a scary movie that takes place during Christmas, Christmas horror movies have a variety of subgenres to choose from.
For those who want to be frightened more than anything else, horror is the ideal choice. In a typical horror movie, common elements to expect might be darkness, disfigurement, dismemberment, and death.
Due to its potentially traumatizing concepts, it’s best to ask everyone in your audience if they are all okay with horror before watching it.
Slasher is a subgenre of horror that involves murder and gore, usually with bladed tools. For people who care less about jump-scares but enjoy blood and classic horror elements, a slasher flick is a good choice.
Somewhat similar to horror, thrillers are focused on suspense, surprise, tension, and anxiety. Psychological and supernatural thrillers are usually the most frightening, but many other types of thrillers, such as mystery, can even be enjoyed by people who don't usually like horror.
Horror fantasy usually takes place in a fantasy world with horror elements. Since it has less realism, fantasy is usually less scary and often makes a great horror genre for people of all ages.
Although horror and comedy often have vastly different audiences, these two genres are opposite sides of the same coin. For those that want to enjoy a horror film with less scare, comedy is a good idea.
Just like how some people are more ticklish, some people also frighten more easily than others. Whether you’re watching by yourself or with other people, try to find a movie that won’t negatively affect anyone for more than a few hours.
Children under seven may have trouble distinguishing between fiction and reality, so horror is recommended for ages eight and above.
If a horror movie is rated R, NC-17, or above, believe it. Horror movies that earn these ratings can be traumatizing for anyone under 17. Even some adults might find them too scary, depending on the content.
Certain topics or themes are particularly sensitive for some people and can keep them up at night for weeks.
It is ideal to ask your audience about the things they absolutely cannot see, especially if anyone has a phobia or trauma. For example, if you faint at the sight of blood, you might want to avoid a movie with a lot of gore.
At best, Christmas horror movies can become a holiday staple. At worst, they can be slow and even boring. To make sure you don’t waste your time, try to find movies with above-average ratings on popular reviewing websites such as IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, and Metacritic.
A general rule of thumb is that a horror movie is worth watching if it’s at least a six on IMDb, 60 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, or 60 on Metacritic.
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A Wacky Black Comedy for All Ages
Grant Harvey, Steven Hoban, Brett Sullivan
A Christmas Horror Story
A Zippy and Gory Christmas Anthology
A Festive Slasher With Old-Fashioned Suspense
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
A Tongue-in-Cheek Folklore Comedy
A Grisly Blend of Horror and Humor
A Slow-Brewing Horror of Killer Children
Anna And The Apocalypse
A Christmas Zombie High School Musical
An Underrated Indie Christmas Horror
Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas
A Stop-Motion Musical for the Whole Family
Better Watch Out
A Mean-Spirited Yuletide Home Invasion Story
When a gadget salesman mishandles his cute pet "mogwai," it results in a gang of "gremlins" wreaking havoc on Christmas Eve. This classic comedic movie will not disappoint! Whether you want to enjoy a little nostalgia or introduce your kids to these classic characters, this movie is a great choice.
Even though gremlins kill and some scenes might be disturbing, this movie is suitable for both adults and kids to enjoy. We recommend parental guidance for children under 10.
Many reviewers deem Gremlins a holiday classic. Despite being made in the 80s, it's praised for its special effects and ageless hilarity. Reviewers also like that the original story still holds up years later! They like the contrast between the cute and creepy moments.
Prior to the holiday season, the small town of Bailey Downs is plagued with strange deaths and evil holiday spirits. Meanwhile, Santa is fighting off zombie elves at the North Pole.
A Christmas Horror Story is a festive gore of multiple stories with moderate sexual content, alcohol, severe profanity, and severe violence and gore. This movie is recommended for adults only.
Many reviewers found this movie to be playfully entertaining and have something for everyone. They enjoyed the slow-burn unraveling of the multiple stories, too.
While Riley and her sorority sisters prepare for a holiday party, one of her friends goes missing, and another local girl is murdered. Little do they realize that the culprit is hiding right underneath their noses!
Black Christmas is an influential holiday slasher with mild sexual content, violence, gore, profanity, and drugs. It is recommended for adults only.
Reviewers believe that this film is underrated and praise this film for being the pioneer of modern slashers. They also enjoy the talented cast and the performance of Olivia Hussey. Many reviewers say this film is unforgettable and enjoy rewatching it every year.
In northern Finland, an archeological dig has just dug up Santa Claus. However, this Santa is the monstrous opposite of the popular legend of the cheery Saint Nick. Watch in suspense as the protagonists take on this menacing holiday creature.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale is a humorous and odd folktale with mild nudity, moderate gore, and a good amount of violence. This movie is recommended for ages 16 and up.
Reviewers believe that this movie could easily become a classic holiday movie. They love the film's unique mixture of humor and horror. Reviewers also say that the suspense and good acting make this scary movie very engaging!
When Max's dysfunctional family causes him to lose his Christmas spirit, the Krampus comes to punish the naughty children. As the Krampus attacks their home, Max and his siblings must band together to save each other.
Krampus is a delirious satirical horror with mild profanity, mild drug usage, and moderate violence; it's recommended for ages 13 and up.
Many reviewers enjoy the film's unpredictability and its creative take on Christmas and horror tropes. They also praise the film's message and well-rounded ending. They also appreciate the star-studded cast, particularly the performances of Adam Scott and Toni Collette.
While two families gather at an upscale English estate for the holiday weekend, one of the children becomes sick. Before the adults know it, all the children have contracted a disease that has turned them into psychotic killers.
The Children is a disturbing child-centric horror with some profanity, a bit of alcohol, and severe violence and gore. So, this is probably best for adults!
Many reviewers praise this film for its suspense and terrifying display of rabid children. Although there is criticism for the film's adult characters, reviewers thoroughly enjoy the movie's effective and disturbing scares.
In the sleepy town of Little Haven, a zombie apocalypse threatens Christmas. With civilization falling apart around them, Anna and her friends must slash and sing their way to survival together.
Anna and the Apocalypse is a creative zombie musical with mild sexual content, moderate profanity, and severe violence and gore. This movie is recommended for ages 16 and up.
A few reviewers said that the pacing seems off, with certain parts of the movie feeling too slow. However, many reviewers praise the wonderful performances of the cast and fresh twist on the gore genre. They love the movie's catchy tunes and Anna's emotional arc.
On Christmas Eve, Frank Harrington and his family are on their way to their in-laws. Frank takes a new shortcut on a road only to later realize his hellish mistake. The film takes you on twists and turns, always leaving you doubting what is real.
Dead End is a low-budget but well-filmed horror thriller with mild drug usage, moderate profanity, some sexual content, and some violence and gore. This film is probably only suitable for older teenagers and adults due to its intense content.
A few reviewers found the plot confusing or a bit thin. However, many reviewers first caught this film through DVD and regret not watching it sooner. Although some of the dialogue is silly, many reviewers enjoyed the characters and absurdity.
Bored with tricks and treats, Jack Skellington, Halloween Town's beloved Pumpkin King, sets out to kidnap Santa Claus and spread the joy of Christmas. However, Jack soon discovers that his fellow Halloween Townspeople have a hard time getting it right!
Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas is a wonderful animated musical for adults and children alike. Due to its creepy aesthetic, we recommend parental guidance for children under seven.
Many reviewers state that this movie is a holiday staple that they routinely watch every Halloween and Christmas. They enjoy the magical scariness, the charming characters, and the memorable soundtrack. Plus, the stop-motion animation is gorgeous!
During the holidays, Ashley goes to the Lerner's home to babysit their son, Luke. When an intruder breaks into the house, Ashley discovers that this is no normal home invasion.
Better Watch Out is an ingenious shocking tale with mild sexual content, some drugs, moderate violence, and severe profanity. Some reviewers were surprised by the very traumatic content, so this movie may not be suitable for everyone.
Reviewers like that this film is a malicious twist on the popular family comedy Home Alone. They praise this movie for its superb twists and incredible emotional acting of Olivia DeJonge.
Christmas is not the only time for a good scare! Whether you like ghost movies or spooky novels, there's a horror story for everyone.
No. 1: Joe Dante | Gremlins
No. 2: Grant Harvey, Steven Hoban, Brett Sullivan | A Christmas Horror Story
No. 3: Bob Clark | Black Christmas
No. 4: Jalmari Helander | Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
No. 5: Michael Dougherty | Krampus
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