Holiday Horror, Action & Fantasy Movies? Are You Sure?

Not all Christmas movies are It’s a Wonderful Life or A Christmas Carol. While classic, not everybody likes movies that are absolutely dripping with Christmas spirit, décor and music. Even if you do, watching the same movies year after year can go from cute tradition to blasé replay just like that. 

So how do you keep the holiday spirit in your hot-chocolate-movie-watching without watching Elf for the 15th time? Here’s a list of movies you might not have noticed are about Christmas. And no; we’re not starting the list with Die Hard. Everybody knows that one.

Horror Movies for a Screaming Good Christmas

Scary movies? Probably not on your radar when you’re picking a movie to stream during that December countdown to Christmas. But any horror movie buff knows there’s no wrong time of year for a thriller. Here are 6 horror movies with the “most wonderful time of the year” ironically in the background:

American Psycho (2000)

In this thriller laden with dark comedy, Christian Bale plays an investment banker who is also a psychopathic serial killer. In fact, something that happens on Christmas that inspires him to plan his next murder.

Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)

In this quirky zombie horror-musical-comedy, zombies siege a small Scottish town during the Christmas season. This is a great one for people who liked Zombieland or Shaun of the Dead.

Inside (2007)

A French slasher film? Yes, please. In this super-gory scary movie, a heavily pregnant woman is visited by someone who wants to steal her baby right out of her womb. 

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)

This movie is not for the faint of heart; even horror buffs had a hard time with this one. The plot begins on Christmas, and the film was also released on Christmas, marketed as “the feel-bad movie of Christmas.”

The Shining (1980)

The Shining probably didn’t come to mind when you were adding flicks to your holiday movie queue. Stanley Kubrick took the tired family goes on a Christmas vacation, something goes awry, dad tries to keep it together storyline, and turned it on his head in this absolute classic horror film. Well, actually, Stephen King did it first in the book, but Kubrick’s adaptation really nailed it.

The Silent Partner (1987)

What initially seems like a heist movie, this thriller opens with a Christmastime bank robbery. But as things unfold, this robber-turned-Santa-clad-psychopath goes on a brutal rampage.

Fantasy Movies with Christmas Easter Eggs

Sure, most of the Christmas-y Christmas classics also fall within the Fantasy genre. After all, if snowmen really did come to life, well, then we’d be back in the Horror section. No need; there are fun, family-friendly Fantasy movies that you might not have noticed are actually pretty Christmas-y. Here are our favorite 5:

Edward Scissorhands (1990)

An iconic role for Johnny Depp, perhaps just after Captain Jack Sparrow, this story of an engineered boy with scissors for hands and his quest to become whole is set during the Holidays.

Ghostbusters II (1989)

Set in the ephemeral space between Christmas and New Year, this goofy sci-fi sequel will give you 1980’s nostalgia while keeping the whole family laughing.

Harry Potter (2001-2011 – all of them)

Ever notice there’s a Christmas celebration in every movie in the Harry Potter series? Sounds like a perfect movie franchise to binge on a snow day.

Hook (1991)

While it seems like a Peter Pan movie about finding your inner child, the plot of Hook bears many similarities to A Christmas Carol, and is also set at Christmastime.

The Princess Bride (1987)

It’s wrong not to love this classic not-so-much-of-a fairy tale. Portrayed as a portrayal of a story a grandfather is reading his grandson, you’ll notice the Santa decorations behind him during the storytelling scenes. Oh, and the book itself was a Christmas gift to his grandson.

Action Movies & Holiday Superheroes

Does anyone really watch a Marvel movie because they’re in the holiday spirit? Maybe after this section you will. Here are 4 (not Die Hard) action/superhero movies that hint to the Holidays:

Batman Returns (1992)

Set at Christmastime, this is probably the least Christmas-y movie in here, purely for its dark and absolutely brutal portrayal of a classic DC comic book.

Iron Man 3 (2013)

On the other side of superhero holiday movies is Marvel’s Iron Man 3: a fun action/adventure movie full of Christmas-centered humor and hijinks.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

There’s really nothing about Christmas in this super-dark comedy/action/adventure flick, but if you look closely, the backdrop for most of the movie includes Christmas lights and décor.

Lethal Weapon (1987)

Part comedy, part action movie, Lethal Weapon weaves Christmas decorations, movies, music, and lights in throughout this best-friend-cop story.And there you have it. Now you’ll probably notice holiday themes in a tonne of movies. You might even start to wish you didn’t know all this. But until then, make the best use of time with your loved ones – and your media room – with picks from this list!