Tis the time for season’s beatings or would that be a December to dismember? Whichever the case, if you want to celebrate the season with some thrills and chills here is a list of some that are so bad they very well could be good Christmas horror.
The Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020)
Actor and filmmaker Jim Cummings directs himself as an alcoholic, frantic and at times absolutely freaking berserk small town alcoholic police officer who has a werewolf problem. Bloody munched up carcasses start popping up in his winter wonderland which has the townsfolk demanding answers and vengeance. Cummings’ father (Robert Forster in his last role) is the ailing, retiring sheriff Hadley which puts all the more pressure on the perpetually enraged cop. Cummings’ character is so unhinged that he snaps at literally everyone and everything to the point that it becomes so distracting, so awkward and so hilarious all at the same time. The mystery though is one big cheat with no real clues as to who the murderer is until the BIG finale. When all is revealed you will howl with tears in your eyes like one of those rain forest monkeys and not a snarling wolf.
Watch on: VoD, Disk.
I saw only ONE badly constructed elf that looked like a bargain basement Pumpkinhead. So, I ask you, how can you take a filmmaker seriously when they can’t even count? A anti-Christmas Pagan ritual in the woods led by Kirsten (Julie Austin) resurrects the elf of the title. This ain’t your helpful, joyful Santa’s elf either. It is an ancient demon made out of cheap latex and whose lopsided eyes, mouth don’t even move. For the majority of the film though we only see a threatening hand, arm or a claw as it sneaks up on its victims like a Muppet with rigor mortis. A down and out department store Santa (Dan Haggerty of Grizzly Adam’s fame) chain smokes his way to Kirsten’s rescue as the elf becomes the instrument of evil for a group of Nazis who couldn’t organize a pee wee hockey game never mind a global apocalypse. More evil than the dopy Nazis though is Kirsten’s mother (Deanna Lund) who not only confiscates her daughter’s entire college fund just because she borrowed a book from her grandfather’s occult library without asking but drowns Kirsten’s cat in a toilet and buries him in the backyard. Worth watching to see a perverted Santa stand-in get killed by a knife to the groin.
Watch on: The Darkside of the Internet, VoD.
Jack Frost (1997)
This could perhaps be the most outrageous horror movie ever made next to Killer Klowns from Outer Space and Plan 9 From Outer Space. Like something out of DC or Marvel comics, a serial killer’s prisoner transport vehicle collides with a truck carrying genetic research material transforming him into a living, breathing psychotic Frosty the Snowman. Frost (Scott MacDonald before he starred in Dexter and Star Trek: Enterprise) gains the ability to shoot icicles and transform himself into water. At times, the snowman special effects are quite impressive making you wonder how they did it while at other times they will you spitting up your eggnog and Christmas cookies wondering why they did it. Jack Frost is one of those films that has to be seen to be believed.
Watch On: VoD, Disk, The Darkside of the Internet.
The Dorm That Dripped Blood (1982)
This lowest budget thriller has a group of college students with the personalities of cardboard cuts-outs closing down a dormitory during the Christmas holidays. As if working during the holidays wasn’t bad enough the students have to deal with a serial killer and a homeless, crazy man who we know is not the serial killer because the most obvious choice is never, ever the killer. Bad special effects team with bad acting to induce more chuckles than gasps. The film debut of Daphne Zuniga who would go on to star in Melrose Place, Space Balls, The Fly 2, Spin City and One Tree Hill.
Watch On: On Demand, Disk.
Silent Night Deadly Night franchise (1984 – 2012)
How this notorious series stretched to four sequels and a loose remake is beyond my understanding. They are all pretty bad. Billy Chapman (Robert Brian Wilson) is the slaying Santa in the first two films. Chapman is all Alex P. Keaton until he snaps and suffers a psychotic break from childhood trauma. His parents were brutally murdered by a ‘Santa’ on a crime spree. Billy’s brother Ricky assumes the killer Santa suit in the third film. For the fourth and fifth films (Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation and Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker) the producers went the Halloween III: Season of the Witch route ditching the Chapman storyline and presenting completely unrelated stories. In Initiation, a coven of witches led by Maud Adams brews up some trouble courtesy of the fantastic special effects by Screaming Mad George. They are the highlights of an otherwise pedestrian film. Silent Night, Deadly Night 5, is about a killer toymaker and it too is pretty lame.
Watch On: On Demand, Disk.
The Advent Calendar (2021)
Although it has some goofier moments Advent Calendar has more in common with The Ring or The Grudge and is just as good and just as clever. Paraplegic and former dancer Eva (Eugénie Derouand) is given a mechanical, clockwork, steam punk, advent calendar for her birthday. Every day there is a new message and a new candy. Sometimes the daily rewards, choices are joyous and sometimes they are horrendously, fiendish and evil. Inspired by W.W. Jacobs’ The Monkey’s Paw and Asian horror, Advent Calendar is one of the best horror films in the last 10 years. This hellacious holiday horror is not to be missed.
Watch On: Shudder, VoD, The Darkside of the Internet.