Top 5 Alternative Christmas Films

by on 21/12/2013

‘Tis the season to be jolly, blah blah blah and all the rest. Bah humbug. With the Christmas season well and truly upon us, full of painful reminders of just how close it is, how about a little festive spirit. That’s right, the time is nigh for the endless hoards of angry shoppers prepared to bash your brains in to get little Timmy the very last one of whatever stupid fad the kids are asking for this year. Not that I’m cynical or something. Honest.

arnieNow, don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the occasional Christmas movie. Take Jingle All the Way for example, who doesn’t love Arnie as a stressed out parent who’s left his shopping until last minute and needs to get his hand on that one toy? I mean, that’s what Christmas is all about isn’t it?

I’ve found that this year I’m completely lacking the Christmas spirit. I’ve been pretty busy as of late, with moving house and becoming addicted with Boardwalk Empire and talking like a 1920s mob boss. Maybe it’s that, or the fact that whilst folk are opening presents and tucking into turkey, I’ll be working. Either way I thought it would be fun to run through the best alternative Christmas films to watch over the holiday season.

Before we begin, I’ll run through a few films that narrowly missed out on one of those sought after top five spots. There’s Lethal Weapon, because what’s more Christmassy than Mel Gibson and Danny Glover kick ass? Then there’s Elf, which can be seen as a little alternative but it’s still far too jolly for me. American Psycho does have a Christmassy tone and what would make a better sequel than a sort of mash-up between that and The Grinch? Imagine Patrick Bateman deciding to take on Christmas, replace that raincoat with a Santa suit and you’ve got a seriously sinister holiday adventure right there.


There’s also some great little horrors such as the Finnish Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale and the original Black Christmas that are worth a watch if you fancy giving that Christmas cheer a miss. Now, for our fabulous top five. These are in no particular order, because that just required too much thinking and some sort of reality TV talent show showdown weighing up the pros and cons between kicking ass and creepy carolling critters.



Batman Returns, 1992

I thought I’d get the list off to a start with my favourite caped crusader and Tim Burton’s first mention on the list. Burton’s Batman sequel is indeed a Christmas film, complete with a snowy Gotham and the warning of deadly misteltoe. The film introduces Michelle Pfeiffer’s iconic Catwoman costume and Danny DeVito’s rather creepy Penguin. Batman Returns is definitely a fun alternative Christmas film for us geeks.


diehardDie Hard, 1988

Looking for an action blockbuster this Christmas? John McClane will sort you out, with the assistance of terrorist attacks and machine guns. There’s nothing more festive than Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman battling it out at a Christmas party. There’s even a chick named Holly. Die Hard always seems to be on at some point during the holiday season, so you’ve got no excuse to miss out on this awesome action-packed Christmas hit.


gremGremlins, 1984

How about some Christmas creepiness now and something to make you reconsider asking for a pet this Christmas. This 80s horror-comedy surely deserves a spot on the list as one of the most bizarre yet memorable festive films around. Also, it’s got carolling gremlins. What’s not to love?




edEdward Scissorhands, 1990

That’s right folks, more Burton with another example of his beautifully gothic snowy settings. The film kicks off with an elderly lady telling her granddaughter a tale about where snow comes from and the climax of the plot is based around Christmas as well. Johnny Depp’s Edward is charmingly awkward and it really is a great cult classic. Edward Scissorhands is without a doubt one of my favourite Christmassy films and I really do adore Tim Burton’s use of snow in his gothic settings.



The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993

Finally, it’s the most popular alt Christmas hit that’s the most festive flick you can get away with watching once it hits October. The Nightmare Before Christmas is a pretty obvious choice, but it’s a well-established classic that strays pretty far from the the goings on of 34th Street. Now, this top five may seem a little Tim Burton-tastic, but people tend to forget that master of gothic cinema didn’t actually direct this one. Based on Tim Burton’s story, Henry Selick managed to create a timeless classic complete with all kinds of nightmare nasties, whilst still retaining plenty of Christmas spirit. With that, The Nightmare Before Christmas finishes off my list, taking it’s unquestionable spot as my all time favourite Christmas film.


Now here’s some carolling gremlins for you to enjoy. Happy holidays!