If you’re in the mood for something quirky and different to the usual festive flicks, check out these ten alternative Christmas movies.
From horror to crime dramas to black comedies, there should be something for everyone here:
'The Santa Clause' is to Tim Allen as 'Scrooged' is to Bill Murray. This fresh take on the classic 'A Christmas Carol' sees Murray at his Murray-est as he plays a mean TV exec whose heart is changed when he meets three spirits on Christmas Eve. Movies editor Brian Lloyd says it’s his favourite Christmas movie and that it gives him hope that he can be a better person. That’s quite a recommendation!
'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' tends to be the go-to alternative black comedy crime movie for Christmas. However we’ve chosen 'In Bruges' because it’s a great movie plus it’s good to give the Irish a plug. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson star as two hit men in hiding from Ralph Fiennes’ character. You’d almost forget the film is set at Christmas (other than from its ornate backdrops).
Ok, you’ve probably seen 'Lethal Weapon' before, given its one of the best and most influential action movies of all time. But how many times have you watched it as a Christmas movie? Mel Gibson and Donald Glover star as Riggs and Murtaugh, two mismatched cops who are forced to work together. If you think about it, Riggs goes through a kind of 'It’s a Wonderful Life' development. Initially he contemplates suicide. Then he comes to realise the importance of love and family through Murtaugh. Bet you never thought you’d say ‘Aawww’ about Lethal Weapon, didja?
'Rare Exports'/'Gremlins'/'Black Christmas'/'Krampus'
There are plenty of Christmas horror movies on offer too so we’ve listed a few for you to pick and choose from. 'Gremlins' has of course been a long-time classic. Meanwhile more recent films like 'Krampus' and 'Rare Exports totally turn the traditional portrayal of Santa Claus on its head. If you’re in the mood for something super creepy, 'Black Christmas' is meant to be a gem. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you.
The most Christmassy superhero flick that currently exists is probably 'Batman Returns'. Like 'Lethal Weapon', 'In Bruges' and others in our list, there isn’t a whole lot that makes this film one for the holidays, other than the fact that it is set during Christmas. But sure it’s a lot of fun and looks great, staying true to Burton while effectively utilising a comic book-inspired aesthetic.
Eddie Murphy plays a street hustler and Dan Aykroyd plays a snobby investor in this classic. They switch lives thanks to a bet between Ackroyd’s character’s bosses. Comedy ensues in this beloved holiday-set feature from the director of 'Blues Brothers', John Landis. Fun fact: In Italy, the movie gets shown on Italian TV every year at Christmas, so there you have it.
If you’re in the mood for a comedy that turns the traditional Santa Claus upside down (but in a funny rather than a scary way), then you’ll want to check out Bad Santa. Billy Bob Thornton plays a profane, vulgar con man who disguises himself as a department store Father Christmas so he and his mate, disguised as an elf, can rob a shopping mall. Bernie Mac, Sarah Silverman and 'Gilmore Girls'’ Lauren Graham co-star.
'Eyes Wide Shut'
If you’re in the mood for something erotic and bizarre this Christmas – sure that’s what the holidays are for, right? – check out Stanley Kubrick’s infamous 'Eyes Wide Shut'. Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman play a married couple whose relationship is pushed to new limits when Bill starts to endeavour on sexual exploits. This isn’t exactly one you’d want to be watching with your parents.
Let’s be honest, sometimes the holiday season is so bonkers and stressful that we just want to lose our s*it. Enter Christian Bale’s iconic Patrick Bateman. Aside from Bale, its star-studded cast includes Reese Witherspoon, Chloë Sevigny, Justin Theroux, Jared Leto and Willem Dafoe.
Our second Tim Burton entry on the list (we didn’t see that coming either) is a fairytale-like movie about a man with scissors for hands. Edward (Johnny Depp) brings about great change and chaos in a suburban town after living in solitude all his life. The finale takes place at Christmas and includes a beautiful sequence where Edward brings snow to the town for the very first time. If that isn’t Christmassy, what is?