What is usually the spookiest, creepiest, horrifically horrible holiday of the year has suddenly taken a turn for a more Winter Wonderland-type weekend. Yes, this Halloween weekend, instead of enjoying costumes and camaraderie with my fellow garage-loving geeks out there, I am stuck inside because of the suddenly snowy weather in late October.
Don’t pity me, friends. Rather than take the opportunity to mope my way into the regular Halloween marathon of classics, this weather really put me in the mood for some of the finest B-movies about Christmas (and the Christmas spirit!) to ever come down the chimney. So enjoy your candy comas while viewing some of these B-movie stocking stuffers!
Don’t Open Til Christmas (1984)
Something a little unusual from the opposite side of the pond, Don’t Open Til Christmas is essentially the story of Jack the Ripper, but instead of killing prostitutes, the murderer in question kills men dressed as Santa Claus. And not just mall Santas and Salvo Army bell ringers — anyone adorned in red and white gets cut. And, as according to the story of Jack the Ripper, Scotlan Yard is baffled as to who, or why, someone would be of so little Christmas spirit that they would go about killing Father Christmas.
Jack Frost (1997)
Like Don’t Open Til Christmas, this direct-to-video cult classic also doesn’t have an original bone in it’s body, but it certainly have some interesting ideas. So, take Child’s Play and put it in the Christmas spirit, and you have Jack Frost, the story of a serial killer who, for some reason, turns into a snowman and has powers that he suddenly has an incredible mastery over in the course of, oh, hours, of him turning into a sentient, possessed snowman. And, like most thematic horror of the 1990’s, this one can’t help but ignore the cheesier deaths imaginable, including (but not limited to), beating an old woman with her own ornaments before stringing her around her Christmas tree. But this particular film gained notoriety in particular for featuring a pre-fame Shannon Elizabeth in a notoriously stupid rape and murder scene. I won’t post the video here, but YouTube has it readily available.
Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
Alright, even the trailer scares the ever-loving bejesus of me. Not that I’m afraid of Santa, or even serial killers — but some of the images are just some of the most gruesome in all of horror, in my opinion anyway. And if my reaction isn’t enough, then trust the massive protest effort that wanted the movie removed on the sheer basis of Santa being depicted as an axe murder. It spawned four sequels, most of which were direct to video (and the second having one of the most notoriously awful line readings ever); but it speaks to the uniqueness of the original at the time.
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964).
Okay, far from scary — and definitely geared more toward the little ones, but I couldn’t ignore this B-Grade (hell, maybe even below Z-Grade) flick wherein Santa Claus is kidnapped by jealous martians (along with two kids who unfortunately get caught up in the mix). Simple enough, right? Scares the kids — you know, in that this year there may not be no Christmas — as well as the adults — there are other adults who willingly watch this on a regular basis? (I do, shut up).
Happy Christoween!/Happy Hallomas!