Merry Christmas to all! Well, actually, it is a little early for all that, but not for a Christmas film list, or excessive amounts of Egg Nog. That being said, another part of many Yuletide celebrations is Christmas films, and everyone has one. There is a lot of traditional films, both really old, really new, and somewhere in between. This is not your typical list. Unorthodox, bizarre, occasionally based an old timey classic, and sometimes creept, bur here is 11 films you shoulder consider every Christmas.
1) A Christmas story
Classics are classics, whether they be a song or film, overplayed or never heard, nothing changes the fact. A Christmas Story is like most classics, but also carries those cult classic, memorable one-liners as well. Some are sick and tired of this classic, and DVD have probably tanked since the television station TBS started their 24 hours of A Christmas Story marathon, but it still remains an important classic. Albeit, sometimes, a bit overplayed.
2) Tales from the crypt: All Through The Houses
There are two adaptation of this EC Comics story, if you did not know. A 1960s Amicus film anthology, which was also entitled Tales from the Crypt, and utilized as its first story, All Through the House. The ’90s Horror Comedy Tales From The Crypt, that most people are aware of, has the Larry Drake mental Santa Claus. Both versions are quite good and worth watching. It just all depends on what mood you’re looking for, Horror Comedy or Horror Terror, and what accent…
3) Twilight Zone: Night of the Meek
Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone is known for its dark and Science Fiction subjects, but every now and then, its creator threw in some light-hearted ensembles. Night of the Meek was A Twilight Zone Christmas aka Christmas in the fifth dimension. Do not be turned away by its sentimentality, as it is, and all Serling written pieces are, quite well written and thought-provoking.
4) Tales from the Darkside: Seasons of Belief
Tales from the Darkside was occasionally hit or miss in quality, but this one isn’t a complete miss. E.G. Marshall, of Night Gallery and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation fame, leads a far less recognizable cast. The Tale of Grither, an evil Christmas creature that returns when you say is name multiple times, and his story, and his song are told, is the plot of this quick little episode of terror. The talents of Michael McDowell are seen here, prior to his other Horror related, named based terror…Beetlejuice.
5) Gremlins 1
The first Gremlins film does not have a numerical value, but it is the first one, so it helps to differentiate. Gremlin 2 wasn’t a bad film, but the first is always best, and it felt like a heavier dose of the season was on display. If you’re looking for horror and terror in a yuletide stocking, and a little Gizmo cuteness, you have chosen the right stocking stuffer.
For some reason, it seems that you either love or hate the dark Christmas dramedy Scrooged. Bill Murray stars in a modern depiction of the Charles Dickinson classic A Christmas Carol. Murray really pulls off the modern Scrooge, while still bringing his fans the same comedy they have come to expect from the master comedic actor. The ending is a little too much like PSA of sentimental claptraps, but you expect this from Dickinsonian style films. Scrooged is still filled with memorable characters, actors, scenes, and lines. Ignore the Scroogy critics, check it out.
7) The Santa Clause
It takes some time to become a classic, but some films are just very memorable within your own family, and become familial classics. Case in point, The Santa Clause is one such film for this writer. Tim Allen’s The Santa Clause was a refreshing change from the typical tired tropes of past Christmas films, and it is really quite humorous. Tim Allen was truly “on point” back then, or whatever it is they say these days.
8) The original …Grinch Stole Christmas
One must say “the original” because Ron Howard chose to make a live-action redoing with mixed success. The original, to add to the horror of The Grinch, and if you did not know, was voiced by Boris Karloff. Ironically, only the narration is. The timeless classic of the old, green miser turning his miniature heart from pea to Titantic by seeing that Christmas was more than just presents and consumerism, never ceases to thrill all ages.
9) Batman Returns
Batman and Christmas might not seem like they go together, unless it is some silly children’s animated special, but Tim Burton, Batman, and Christmas do. Perhaps, some don’t remember, but it was Christmas time in Tim Burton’s epic, Batman Returns. Even the famous Max Shreck ball was a Christmas party. It may not carry the timeless classic Christmas story or characters, but for Batman aficionados it is their Christmas classic, and just maybe some underlying philosophy to be taken from it for the season.
10) Home Alone 1 & 2
It may be odd to group them, but it is essentially, a two-part story. Well, sort of. The timeless John Hughes tale of Kevin McCallister, his cartoonish villains and clever means of defense, never gets old. Who didn’t want to live both of Kevin’s vacation from his family?
11) It’s a Wonderful Life
It might seem cliche at this point, but this last, but never least, classic is just that an immortal classic. It is true that it carries the A-typical A Christmas Carol tropes about a man reflecting back on his life, but George Bailey is no Scrooge, he just needed to be reminded of what he had. It’s a Wonderful Life is a timeless story that works for any decade or century, and Director Frank Capra and Actor Jimmy Stewart are still some of the best that Hollywood ever brought to the world’s attention.
Hopefully, you had a little nostaliga, terror, excitement, and a few more flicks and TV shows to add your Christmas list. Enjoy.
[Images Via Their Respective Films/Production Companies]