Some Christmas films go out of their way to blow as much as possible — which, honestly, can be quite entertaining if done with absolutely zero love or care for children.
As pictured here.
However, when a Christmas film fails so hard that it is not even mildly entertaining, not even accidentally, that’s when it sinks into a deeper realm of cinema comparable to a Bosch painting. These are Christmas films that you can instantly kill a party with; films that shatter whatever Christmas cheer there is in a neighborhood within the radius of a wrecking ball.
7. THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL
It doesn’t matter which version you watch, be it the Academy-Award nominated Disney film or the 1954 version that comes off about as cheery as Lyndon Johnson’s “Daisy” ad. The Little Match Girl is about a dying, starving girl who is too afraid to go home because her dad will beat her. Seriously, just try sugarcoating that.
Forced to stay out in the cold as New Years’ Day approaches, our helpless title character lights her matches and hallucinates about Christmas as hypothermia sets in. Yes, she dies and goes to a happy place, but she still dies. Like, all-dead.
With this in mind, is it any surprise that the film was written by an asshole who didn’t really care for kids unless they were dying in his books? That’s Hans Christian Andersen for you.
We’re pretty sure this man hated children.
THE MESSAGE: Children are out there freezing to death in the cold each Christmas, but they’re going to a better place. In short, deal with it and let God sort ‘em out.
DON’T WATCH IT BECAUSE: It’s as depressing as a dump truck full of puppies being unloaded onto a bonfire of children’s letters to God. Hell, even Hans Christian Andersen would have thought that too generous for the Little Match Girl since she could have used the bonfire to stay warm.
6. THE NIGHT THEY SAVED CHRISTMAS
Set in a North Pole more technologically advanced than the Pentagon, a surprisingly thin Santa played by Norton from The Honeymooners fights for his life against oil companies.
Jesus Christ… Someone give him a cookie.
That’s right. In this film, a malnourished, sickly Santa is at war with big oil in a standoff every bit as much The Santa Clause as it is There Will Be Blood.
Picture this as a Christmas movie.
As such, it remains one of the few films in history to feature a teary-eyed kid sobbing to his father “You’re gonna ruin Christmas forever!” simply for providing for his family.
THE MESSAGE: The same oil your parents heat your house with is slowly but surely killing Christmas.
DON’T WATCH IT BECAUSE: In addition to children seeing their beloved Santa Claus portrayed as a bit of a dick, if the film’s creepy, sci-fi North Pole doesn’t unsettle you, its political commentary will. It is impossible to watch this movie without putting it in context with the Reagan administration, which was probably the filmmakers’ intention all along.
So, unless you family get-together started off as a political shouting-match, expect this film to make your holidays yet another causality of America’s addiction to oil.
5. SANTA CLAUS AND THE ICE CREAM BUNNY
One of the worst movies ever made, and we mean that as a compliment. Seriously, this film has become a “Holy Grail” for bad-movie scholars because it is so equally terrible and trippy.
Directed by R. Winer?
This baby will either confuse the hell out of your kid or treat every Baby Boomer in the room to a one-way trip to Woodstock faster than you can say “Willy Wonka.”
THE MESSAGE: If Santa’s in a jam, stop whatever you’re doing steal an antique fire engine to help him.
Also, for some reason, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn are in this movie.
DON’T WATCH IT BECAUSE: The Santa Claus in this film is such an unconvincing Santa that you’ll probably have to remind any children in the room to stay away from men dressed like him. And naturally, that’s without being forced to address what the fuck an Ice Cream Bunny is. We have no clue either, so unfortunately, you’re on your own with that one.
4. SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS
This Mystery Science Theater 3000-worthy work of madness is the kind of film that should never, ever be watch in its intended format. It features a ridiculous plot, horrific costumes, kidnapped children—which Santa repeatedly makes fun of—and repeated assassination attempt against Santa himself. While such a story could be fun as hell in the hands of a filmmaker like Robert Rodriguez, in its original form, you could clear a whole house with this movie on.
Unfortunately, that’s not Bender.
THE MESSAGE: Santa is too charismatic to be kidnapped or assassinated. Also, kidnapped children are hilarious! Seriously, they bet heavily on this.
DON’T WATCH IT BECAUSE: You’ll have to explain to whoever didn’t leave the room that kidnapping is not a laughing matter and that Santa is not that big an ass in real life. However, if you happen to be watching the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of the movie, kick off your shoes, pour yourself some eggnog and enjoy the mayhem.
3. SANTA CLAUS (1959)
This Mexican-produced, English-dubbed nightmare came from the people who brought you Night of the Bloody Apes, The Robot vs. The Aztec Mummy, and Deal with the Devil. Just to reiterate, this film is not a horror movie, or at least it’s not supposed to be despite featuring a conspiracy against Santa Claus orchestrated by Satan. Some other gems in this monstrosity involve PATRIOT Act-level surveillance on children’s dreams, journeys into Hell, countries getting skipped every Christmas, child-labor, and a climactic showdown between Santa and Satan just something out of South Park, only for real.
The movie poster doubles as a page of LSD.
THE MESSAGE: That some countries don’t deserve Christmas, and that Santa can take on Satan in a fight. Yes, that may sound awesome, but it makes for a surprisingly awful movie.
We understand Mongolia, but Santa, what is your beef with Canada?
DON’T WATCH IT BECAUSE: You’ll have to explain to your children why some Santa Clauses will do worse things to them than Satan while they’re asleep, which may give them second thoughts about sitting on his lap again.
2. AN AMERICAN CAROL
This painfully-unfunny political adaptation of A Christmas Carol features the late and great Chris Farley’s not-so-funny brother Kevin. The film is as thinly-veiled as conservative propaganda gets, which is made all the more bizarre when you consider just how huge an enemy the right considered Michael Moore to be.
We think the Bill O’Reilly intro is actually part of the trailer.
Consider this the most traumatizing Christmas film your family has not seen, and yet another painful reminder of how irreplaceable Chris Farley is.
THE MESSAGE: Vote hard Republican until the day you die, or go to Hell.
Also, that higher education is a liberal conspiracy.
DON’T WATCH IT BECAUSE: It will reduce your Christmas party to yet another political shouting-match even worse than with The Night They Saved Christmas if only because Bill O’Reilly leant his name and face to this one.
1. THE MAGIC CHRISTMAS TREE
Oh Jeeze… Again, this one is not a horror film, yet its trailer boasts more disturbing images than most red-brand previews out there. It has witches, buried bones, talking trees, a “runaway lawmower,” and a truly horrific voice-dubbed giant searching for little boys to “be my slave.”
Oh, and as a parting salvo, this film remains perhaps the only Christmas film in history to personally threaten every child watching it with sodomy. Seriously! That’s the hilarious send-off the giant has in this movie.
Fun for all ages 18 and up.
THE MESSAGE: That witches are good, but seriously, stay the fuck away from giants.
DON’T WATCH IT BECAUSE: It’s a kid’s version of Deliverance disguised as a talking Christmas tree. Instead of sugarplums, every kid who sees this movie will go to sleep with images of an overweight, slave-owning giant dancing in their heads.
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