16 Dec 2021

The best and worst Christmas horror films

From Nights, 7:35 pm on 16 December 2021

Gremlins and The Nightmare Before Christmas are good scary Christmas movies for kids...

but if you're after something more like "Taxi Driver with a guy who thinks he's Santa", horror writer and RNZ sound engineer Denver Grenell can hook you up.

1984 classic Silent Night, Deadly Night

A scene from the 1984 film Silent Night, Deadly Night  Photo: Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

Black Christmas (1974) 

Tagline - If this movie doesn't make your skin crawl it's on too tight

Black Christmas is a well-made slasher film set in a sorority house. An absolute classic.


Christmas Evil (1980)  

Tagline - Better Watch Out... Better Not Cry... Or You May DIE!

This film is "Taxi Driver with a guy who thinks he's Santa Clause". Another absolute classic.


Silent Night Deadly Night (1984)

Tagline - You've made it through Halloween, now try and survive Christmas

Silent Night Deadly Night is a "lurid, sleazy violent slasher" that manages to handle the trauma-fed downward spiral of the killer Santa character quite well.


Gremlins (1984)

Tagline - The Gremlins Are Coming! Don't get him wet, keep him out of bright light, and never feed him after midnight.

Denver saw Gremlins in the cinema as a 7-year-old and says it probably set him up to be a fan of Christmas horror.

It's a funny satirical film that mocks and celebrates Christmas at the same time.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

A ghoulish tale with wicked humour & stunning animation.


Inside (2007)

Four months after the death of her husband, a woman on the brink of motherhood is tormented in her home by a strange woman who wants her unborn baby.

This stylish French film is as intense, gory, bleak and dark as it gets.

Krampus (2015)

Tagline - You don't want to be on his list. You Better Watch Out. When the Christmas spirit is lost, he arrives.

This funny film about a horned half-man, half-monster is "like Gremlins but amped-up a bit more and scarier".

It's set in America but was shot in Wellington - look out for the first scene in a Mitre 10 store.

Better Watch Out (2016)

Tagline -  You Might Be Home But You're Not Alone

This film is like a fun slasher version of Home Alone, but with a teenager babysitter and a 12-year-old boy on Christmas Eve.

Anna & The Apocalypse (2017)

Tagline - Oh, the weather outside is frightful...

Teenagers might enjoy this Scottish zombie musical about a group of high school kids putting on a Christmas show.