Has the endless tirade of Christmas television and forced familial interaction done some serious damage to your peace, love and goodwill to all men?
Does the idea of indulging in festive cheer make you throw up in your mouth a little? Boggled by the insidiously universal embrace of bad taste, baubles and brussel sprouts?
If you answered yes to any of those questions then you probably have nothing but a cold, dark and empty chasm where your heart should be and that’s okay. I do too. Therefore I know that if there’s one thing you hate more than pulling crackers and extended family, it’s a good old paint-by-numbers, schmaltzy Christmas film.
Whether it be people in knitted jumpers falling in love on ice rinks, or a tiny Mara Wilson teaching us the true meaning of family and ‘just being nice’; the Christmas film is the most formulaic and, dare I say it, tedious. You might say tradition, I say it’s time for something a little different.
So whilst there’s little that can be done about the impending onslaught of yuletide nonsense, there can be some solace found in the choosing of great, alternative ‘Christmas’ movies to lose yourself in this holiday season. So here I am, helping you out with a carefully compiled selection of movies to hopefully remedy having your emotions relentlessly tickled with tinsel by yet another sickly sentimental Christmas film.
Black Christmas (1974)
One of the earliest in the slasher movie canon and definitely not one for the kids, Black Christmas has everything a good Christmas movie should if you count copious helpings of gore, death and sorority sister ‘off-ing’ as a seasonal essential. Just make sure you watch the 1974 original and not the 2006 remake.
A wickedly heart-warming black comedy that cheerfully takes its name from the small hill on the outskirts of Jerusalem where Jesus died. Religioso enough to feel suitable for the season and set alongside the beautifully rugged West Irish coast, ‘Calvary’ is a darkly funny whodunnit that even your Nan will enjoy.
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman play a Jewish couple, yes Jewish, in this bizzaro piece of Christmas erotica. Theologically, Christmas is about birth, culturally it resonants with rebirth or returning home. Hence why a movie about a bored suburban couple trading in their vanilla lives for an erotically charged journey of self-discovery and orgies is the perfect holiday choice. Don’t watch with parents.
The Shining (1980)
If you’re looking for a disturbingly honest portrayal of familial relationships and the potential dangers of spending too much time together this Christmas, look no further than Kubrick’s The Shining. It’s a horror classic with a wintry landscape that gives a nod to the Dickensian tradition of the Christmas ghost story.
The Red Turtle (2016)
Profound, thought-provoking and heart-achingly beautiful, The Red Turtle carries all the thematic tropes of a Christmas film; love, family and altruism yet does so with such sublime elegance and sincerity. A collaborative, family-friendly creation from animation powerhouse Studio Ghibli and Dutch director Michael Dudok De Wit, this movie will stay in your heart for a very long time.
Can you think of any other films to watch over Christmas? Leave a comment in the box below.