Ten holiday movies (2021 edition)

Well, we skipped last year when we did our list of Christmas movies to ruin the holiday. Sure, we gave you ten in 2018 and ten in 2019 — as well as a Letterboxd list of seasonal sleaze — but let’s see what we can do this year.

1. Two Front Teeth: Clausferantu — a demonic vampire anti-Santa Claus — has unleashed zombie elves, demonic snowmen and an army of ninjas known as the Silent Nights. Look, if you don’t watch this, do you even have a heart?

2. Tales of the Third Dimension in 3-D: The whole reason you should watch this anthology film is for the last segment, Visions of Sugar Plums. Two kids are left in the care of their grandmother, who has run out of her medicine and ends up singing Christmas carols about puking all over the place and killing Santa with a brick before she brines the cat. Then things get really weird.

3. Last Stop on the Night TrainLeave it to the Italian exploitation industry to make a Last House on the Left rip off into a Christmas story where two girls are victimized, murdered and forced into suicide while their parents attend a dinner party and speak on the violence of society, then come face to face with the idea of revenge. Also: Macha Méril and the score by Morricone are two gifts you won’t bring back.

4. Santa’s Christmas Elf Named Calvin: If you hate kids, then treat them to this slice of sheer hell, which features an elf who is so brutalized throughout this movie that even the narrator continually reminds us of how ugly he is. Barry Mahon, you are a menace and I love you for it.

5. I Come in PeaceI can’t tell you how strong the urge to say, “And you go in pieces!” is every time I hear the title of this movie. Look — we’d all be better people if we forgot our differences and got together to kill aliens. Be like Dolph Lundgren and do it. Keep the good holiday feels going with a double feature of director Craig R. Baxley’s other magnum opus, the Brian Bosworth battling bikers saga Stone Cold.

6. Legend of the Christmas WitchI can hear you now: “This is a stupid kids film Sam and it’s obviously foreign and the dubbing…” and then I say, but look under the title. Regia di Michele Soavi. So shut up. Shut up and realize this is made by the same madman who showed up to be an extra in a Joe D’Amato movie because he had a motorcycle and ended up keeping Italian horror alive with movies like Cemetery Man and The Church. Buon Natale!

7. Prancer: The same director who made Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, John D. Hancock, made a movie that ends with either a reindeer leaping to its death or flying off to reunite Santa and Hancock left that up to you, the viewer. He also gave you Sam Elliott — for the ladies and the men too — and Rutanya Alda too.

8: To All a Good Night: Before the glut of slashers, there was this one, which has Harry Reems as a pilot and look out — David Hess leaving that final house on the opposite of the right and settling down in the director’s chair.

9. Santa Visits the Magic Land of Mother GooseSanta is tacked on here, as he reads about Mother Goose and it’s so interesting he promptly passes out and sticks us with this movie, which is a spookshow Christmas stage play filmed with a single camera by Herschell Gordon Lewis! What!?!

10. Santa’s Summer House: David DeCoteau. Family Christmas movie. Chris Mitchum. A whole bunch of martial artists not doing any fighting, like Cynthia Rothrock playing Mrs. Claus. Consider this my service to any parents reading this. Now you can say, “If you kids don’t settle down, we’re all going to watch Santa’s Summer House as a family!” You’ll have little cherubs in no time.

Look, I know the world outside our TV screens isn’t all that fun, but at least we can watch movies. Thanks for reading the site all year and keeping me inspired. I wish you only the best of the season and a much better 2022 to come.

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