I like Christmas eve as much as the next guy, especially if the next guy is an unrepentant weirdo with an utterly skewed sense of humor and a sense of irony as deep and cold as the Loch Ness. Keep your Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life. I’d rather celebrate with a few holiday classics of my own. I’ve listed a few and divided them into “grown-up” and “child-friendly” sections for your perusal:
For the Grown-Ups:
Christmas Evil (1980)
Deranged toy factory employee Harry dons his Santa drag, grabs a knife and decides to spread a little Christmas “cheer” his own way, leaving presents for good boys and girls and terminating the “naughty” people in his town with extreme prejudice. Credit is due to master of sleaze cinema John Waters for introducing me to this film. It’s Ho-ho-ho-horrible!
Black Christmas (1974)
It’s Christmas time, and a deranged serial killer is stalking the residents of a sorority house. Notable for the killer dispatching one victim with a unicorn ornament. Really. By the way, don’t bother with the 2006 remake. Rent it via YouTube or your favorite streaming video service. I’ve got my own copy…
Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
The very epitome of grindhouse cinema, infamous among even this dubious company. Silent Night, Deadly Night features another child traumatized by Santa who grows up to become a mass murderer.
For the Children:
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)
(In)famous for being featured on cult comedy show MST3K, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians has been confusing and, honestly, nauseating theater-goers for almost fifty years. From its stomach-churning pink and green color palette to its asinine naming conventions (”Momar” for “Mom Martian”), Santa Claus Conquers the Martians will have you hitting the eggnog early and often if you want to make it through to the end. Bonus: it’s in the public domain, you lucky soul, you. Watch it now:
The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)
Starring the original Star Wars cast along with Art Carney and Bea Arthur…and Chewbacca’s son, “Lumpy” and his dad “Itchy.” Nothing can redeem this film. Nothing. What can I say about this that hasn’t been said before? Oh, I know: it’s like if Jar Jar Binks took a “poodoo” in your Christmas stocking. It was out of print for a long, long time, but you can watch it (for now) on Google Video. Or maybe you shouldn’t. Like Judd Crandall said in Pet Sematary, “Sometimes dead is better.”