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The Advent of Holiday Horror: Creature Classic Viewing Recommendations

Gremlins holiday horror

Welcome to the first installment of December’s Advent of Holiday Horror! Leading up to the new year, we’ll be sharing some recommendations to help make your socially-distanced holiday season more entertaining.

In the inaugural edition of this feature, we’re revisiting some (mostly) B-rate classics. Do you enjoy a laugh with your scares, or maybe you like your horror so bad it’s good? Then have a look at this list to find a movie (or book) that’s up your alley. 

Gremlins (1984)

We’ll start with a classic that’s a genre-bender. Is it horror, comedy, or just a Christmas movie? This film really blends all of those genres and is a must-see for anyone who’s never viewed it. Even if you’ve seen it before, chances are if you loved it, it’s on repeat at least once per year during the holiday season. The adventure begins with a cute critter given as a gift, and it’s all downhill from there once the creature multiplies. Gremlins is arguably the most well-done film on this list, and its sequel is a fun follow-up.

See Also: How Gremlins Became the Ultimate Family Horror Movie

Jack Frost (1997)

They bear the same name, but this is not the family film featuring Michael Keaton that was released around the same time. It’s a late ’90s gem that was somewhat overlooked, but shouldn’t be missed by fans of B-movie horror. This flick is full of great one-liners and gory, creative kills and is popular for a reason. If you’re a fan of the “murderer reincarnated as an inanimate object” trope, check this one out. In many ways it’s reminiscent of Child’s Play, only it features a killer reborn as a snowman, as opposed to a doll. The humor involved may remind viewers of Freddy Krueger, but even with these similarities, it’s a unique story that has amassed a bit of a cult following.

Related: Looking Back on Campy Christmas Slasher Jack Frost

Jack Frost poster

Blood Beat (1983)

This seems to be lesser-known, but it’s a true B-rate holiday horror film. Set in Wisconsin, it follows a family dealing with possession by a spirit. That spirit is a samurai warrior. This may not technically count as a “creature feature” but it’s certainly so bad that it’s good. Add it to your viewing list if you want to be entertained. This is a zany tale with laugh-out-loud moments, low budget effects, and a score that is both distracting and grating. A must-see for fans of trashy holiday horror.  

Blood Beat sword

Elves (1989)

Lastly, we have another ’80s treasure that viewers won’t soon forget. It’s bad in so many ways, but like those listed before, full of laugh-out-loud scenes, and some that’ll leave the viewer wondering why they’re still watching. It’s not short on taboo topics; the film follows Kirstin, who discovers she’s been bred for a purpose… to mate with a Nazi elf and create a super race. Yes, there is only one evil elf in the movie despite the title, and it’s an abominable looking creature. There are some great blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moments where the elf shows up in the background, and plenty of head scratching moments, if that’s not already clear from the description. 

Elves bathtub scene

Also See: Horrible Films for Horrible People: Elves (1989)

Bonus: For those who are interested in some holiday horror literature, check out Hark! The Herald Angels Scream, a 2018 anthology of short stories, featuring names like Josh Malerman and Tim Lebbon. It’s a solid collection with something for everyone. 

Stay tuned for next week’s suggestions featuring holiday legends and folklore!

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