The Top 5 Required Horror Christmas Viewing List

November 1st is always the worst day of the year for horror fans. Fall is quickly hardening into winter, and the creepy goodness of Halloween becomes just a memory as the more feel good holidays turn those grand creepy store displays into ones of green and red jolliness.

I am not saying that horror fans don’t enjoy Christmas, because I know a good portion do. But for many horror fans, it is easy to see the macabre blueprint for terror in December 25th. Saint Nick himself can go from benevolent toy bringer to horrifying entity of evil with just a change of light.

So, if you are like me, you enjoy a little dark undercurrent to the cheery festivities. I have compiled a list of the top five dark Christmas films for the horror fan to enjoy and counter that syrupy goodness of December 25th.

And I am going to start with an Honorable Mention that is not a movie, but an episode of a television series:

Honorable Mention: The Aquabats! Super Show! Holiday Special 

The Aquabats vs Krampus
The Aquabats vs Krampus

The Aquabats is a BRILLIANT kid’s show on the HUB network that centers around a rock band/superhero team and if you were a fan of the cool, off the wall freakiness of the late 60’s/early 70’s kid’s TV, you have to check this show out. I enjoy it as much as my six year-old, and he loves it. This episode makes the grade because of the smack down battle between Santa and his evil counterpart, Krampus!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
How the Grinch Stole Christmas

 

 

5. How The Grinch Stole Christmas

 

No, not the Jim Carrey film. I am going back to the original 1966 animated special. Voiced by horror legend, Boris Karloff, the Grinch is a black-hearted monster out to destroy what he feels is the central fabric of Christmas. Of course, realizing that the holiday goes much deeper that the rampant consumerism associated with it, the Grinch’s tiny heart grows and he finally understands the true meaning of Christmas. For many children who grew up with this holiday classic, this is the first holiday special with a sinister air.

Gremlins
Gremlins

4. Gremlins

 Joe Dante and Steven Spielberg’s outrageous creature feature that was the first film to earn the PG-13 rating for its cartoon-ish violence. Filmed in 1984, Gremlins is a black comedy set near Christmas that concerns a young man receiving a strange pet from his never around father. Gizmo, the adorable Gremlin, is given to Billy Peltzer (Zach Galligan) with a specific set of rules. Of course, all are broken and in no time several evil reproductions of Gizmo run amok.

 

Black Christmas
Black Christmas

3. Black Christmas

 

Bob Clark’s extremely effective and moody 1974 chiller hits number three on my list. A sorority house is targeted by a psychopath who makes threatening phone calls and then begins murdering the sorority sisters. This film features an early performance by Margot Kidder and genre favorite John Saxon stars as well. Black Christmas is considered one of the earliest works to feature two horror film conventions: one, the slasher, and two, the killer calling from inside the house.

 

Silent Night, Deadly Night
Silent Night, Deadly Night

2. Silent Night, Deadly Night

 

If you notice, this is the only psycho Santa film featured on this list, and that is because I consider it to be the most memorable of Christmas/Santa slasher films. I am not saying it is a masterpiece, but for holiday horror fans, it is as necessary as mistletoe.  Charles E. Sellier Jr.’s cheap B-movie tells the story of Billy, a troubled teenager who witnessed the brutal murder of his parents at the hands of a psycho in a Santa suit (played by one of my favorite character actors, Charles Dierkop). Billy of course eventually dons the red and white suit and begins creating his own naughty list. Linnea Quigley appears in a very memorable death scene involving antlers.

 

The Nightmare Before Christmas
The Nightmare Before Christmas

1. The Nightmare Before Christmas

 

Okay, it is not a horror film, but nothing speaks to the horror fan around Christmas time like this classic Tim Burton animated film. It is a love letter to those of us who die a little inside every time we hear a Christmas song before Thanksgiving. You can take me to task over declaring Jack Skellington’s attempt to reshape Christmas for the lovers of the macabre as my number one pick, but I will insist that nothing warms my black heart as much as this classic.

Horror veterans Lynn Lowry and Debbie Rochon star in North Woods

North Woods poster
North Woods poster

Horror veterans Lynn Lowry (Shivers, The Crazies) and Debbie Rochon (Tromeo and Juliet, American Nightmare) star in North Woods, a motion picture of unrelenting terror. Inspired by the likes of Phantasm, The Evil Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, North Woods aims to bring the grindhouse horror ethos to a modern setting.

A teaser trailer for the film has been released and can be viewed on YouTube: http://youtu.be/Hs7ZvuhjqQU
The opening sequence, in which Rochon showcases her scream queen talents, is also available: http://youtu.be/U4ILX0ooAlg

North Woods is in its final 48 hours of crowdfunding on Indiegogo to raise money in order to complete production. To encourage last-minute donations, prices have been slashed. Backers can get autographs from Lowry and Rochon, a DVD, a poster and more in one package for as low as $15. Other perks up for grabs include screen-used props, producer credits and even percentages of the film’s profits.

The film is directed by Chris Moore, who co-wrote the script with Jason Kasper and stars alongside Lowry and Rochon. The cast also includes fresh faces Sarah McCraw, Andrew Roach, Amanda Grussaute, Brittany Mahaffey and J.K. Michaels.

“North Woods is the kind of horror film that people have been looking for,” explains co-writer/editor Jason Kasper. “But it’s also everything that they’re not expecting. It genuinely feels like a ’70s and ’80s horror film in the way that it’s executed, giving you a nostalgic familiarity. However, it takes the tropes and cliches of the genre and completely turns them on their heads.”

Official Synopsis:

Debbie Rochon
Debbie Rochon

From within the woods, a blood splattered young man, John Prescott, runs out in front of a car, terrified and muttering gibberish. Enter Dr. Pamela Alley, an esteemed psychiatrist, and Detective Morris, her contact and partner from the local police force, who have just been assigned the boy’s case. As the teen begins telling his diabolical tale of a local weekend vacation gone horribly wrong, it becomes clear that nothing is ever what it seems when a very troubled substitute teacher, with a webbed past of nightmares, emerges as the center of the proceedings. What keys does she hold to the nearly phantasmic events surrounding the area for the last several years?

Presented by Macabre Pictures and Flowtac Entertainment, North Woods will be released in 2015. For more information, North Woods can be found on FacebookTwitter and Indiegogo.

Check out the North Woods official teaser trailer:

TV Series: SLEEPY HOLLOW Overview & Season 2 Premiere

Sleepy Hollow
Sleepy Hollow

The first season of Sleepy Hollow aired in September, 2013 and presented a decidedly polished Ichabod Crane (portrayed  with charm and deadpan humor by Tom Mison) about 250 years into a future where he falls under the protection of an insightful Officer Abby Mills (Nicole Beharie) who breaks police protocol to protect her town. The plot reveals a peculiar link between Ichabod and the Headless Horseman who reclaimed his  murderous post, searching for his head.

The creepy horseman is not the only menace to invade, however.

The sleepy town is populated with demons, witches, and secret societies stretching back to the American Revolution. Much of what they believed is couched within untruth, and the pair must scramble to solve the mysteries before more death visits the populous and ultimately the world.

People they trusted prove unworthy. Others find vindication within what is revealed. History itself is redefined. Time continuums are explored. Folk and religious beliefs are investigated. All while Ichabod navigates the perplexities of modern living.

Other than the names of some of the characters, there is little resemblance to the classic Washington Irving book found within his early 1800’s “The Sketch Book.” For example, Ichabod in the show served in the Revolution, a Brit who turned coat and became a spy for the Americans under General Washington.

His polish and demeanor in no way resemble the awkward, half-starved school teacher mooning after his plump and lovely student. In the television show, his wife is Katrina, whose secrets propel much of the convoluted plot. The captain is named “Irving.”

 However, using Mr. Washington Irving’s familiar creepy vibe and expanding it to cross genres and touch on adventure, the supernatural, and mystery with intriguing visuals and excellent camera work add to the marketability of the show.

 The second season of Fox’s “Sleepy Hollow” premiers in the USA on Monday, 22 September, 2014 at 9PM/8c. The entire first season is available on such sources as VUDU or DVD.

Tales of Poe Premiere Video and Interviews

Tales of Poe Premiere Video

On August 20, 2014, we were invited to the Tales of Poe World Premiere at the the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, California. We were highly impressed by the work of directors Alan Rowe Kelly and Bart Mastronardi. We were able to interview some of the cast and crew of this great horror anthology based on Edgar Allen Poe’s  work. It was a fun, chaotic and LOUD night! You must see this film when it is officially released! More info for Tales of Poe here! And check out our review!