Forget top 10 lists, it's all about top 7s - Okay, I'm just saying that because I'm being particularly picky with this list and didn't want to include any duds. So consider yourself lucky; I've only included the very best (IMO), of course if you disagree don't forget to leave a comment! Without further ado, in no particular order...
Hailing from the Netherlands, this modern Christmas Horror tale depicts Saint Nicholas as a murderous Bishop complete with a dangerous looking staff and almost permanently on a horse no less, whose creepy silhouette can be seen against the beautiful snowy backdrop on December 5th; The very same night he kidnaps and murders the bad kids. Thoroughly enjoyable, and one of my new favourite Christmas Horror films.
Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
Perhaps the ultimate Christmas Slasher movie - After witnessing the gruesome murder of his parents (by a man in a Santa costume), traumatised Billy is taken into care and faces the wrath of the lunatic Mother Superior. Years later Billy gets a job as a store clerk and memories of his traumatic childhood come flooding back when his boss puts on a Santa costume at the work Christmas party, with devastating effects. On it's initial release the film received a lot of criticism because the murders were being carried out by Santa Claus, or at least a deranged homicidal maniac dressing like him. I was first in line for the uncut Region 2 release which came out in 2009, and it remains one of my top slasher films to watch at Christmas/ New Year.
Black Christmas (1974)
Noted by some as the first Slasher movie (released four years before Halloween), Black Christmas starts in a similar way to When A Stranger Calls, with a prank phonecall. Set primarily in a Sorority house, one by one the college girls are picked off by a mysterious, almost Giallo-like killer. A tense and chilling movie with plenty of genre in-jokes, inventive deaths and John Saxon – What more could you want? A Final Destination of it's time.
Black Christmas (2006)
Introducing the Hollywood remake, 32 years after the original was released. An altogether more glossy affair with unnaturally beautiful stars (go figure), and death scenes with more dramatic build up and pay off. The film, in general,is lacking the heart of the original, that said, it's still a fairly good effort and remains mostly faithful to the original script.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)
The first and best Finnish Christmas Horror movie, Rare Exports originally started life as a spoof short film made in 2003 about three hunters who are employed by Rare Exports Inc. to capture and tame the most dangerous creatures known to man ready for the festive season to work as Santas. Following the success of the short, the Director decided to turn it into a feature film. I won't spoil it for you but there are some fantastic ideas executed here including a demonic horned creature and a stampede of naked Santas! A cult Christmas classic if ever I saw one.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
One of many family favourites to watch at Christmas, Nightmare has it all: beautiful animation, great characters and fantastic songs. The story is centred around Jack Skellington, the King of Halloweentown, who accidentally stumbles upon Christmas Town but doesn't understand it – We then follow his magical journey of discovery and try our hardest not to sing along to the impossibly catchy musical numbers. Ignore the PG rating, anything written by Tim Burton is horror.
Dark, festive chaos – That's what we like to see! You'd be wrong if you think it's a straight up family Christmas film, oh no, this is thinly veiled horror at it's best, and works just as well outside of the Christmas period as the perfect hangover movie! Billy Peltzer has everything; a good job, a nice girl, and loving parents. When he receives an unusual pet as a Christmas gift from his folks, and breaks the rules about caring for it, all hell breaks loose. Gremlins has everything you could possibly want from a fun horror movie: tension, comedy, fantastic action sequences, awesome puppetry and some pretty gruesome methods of dispatching the little blighters too (hence the 15 rating). If you haven't watched it yet this year, do so now.
….And a special mention goes to my favourite Festive Short: Treevenge – which can be seen in all it's gory glory on Youtube (NSFW/ NSFC)