Before you settle down to watch Scrooge, The Snowman or The Great Escape for the hundredth time, check out our alternative festive films, courtesy of guest blogger Louisa.
Black Christmas (1974)
If you prefer blood spatters to schmaltz, this film’s for you. Set in a Canadian sorority house, Black Christmas is the first slasher movie. During a party – which the film opens on – a sinister figure spies through the window. Soon after, a resident goes missing and housemates start getting obscene phone calls. Black Christmas is pretty gruesome. And the juxtaposition of carollers warbling merrily and bloody murder is somewhat unsettling – and thrilling.
The yuletide season can’t jolly things up for Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce). As an employee of the Ministry of Information, he helps maintain the rigid existence he wants to escape from. And he frequently does, to his own dreamscape where he becomes a winged angel. The colourful Christmas lights fight against the dreary environment of Brazil. Director Terry Gilliam has imagined a nightmarish, retro-future world where bureaucracy rules supreme and plastic surgery is mandatory.
Die Hard (1988)
The quintessential anti-Christmas movie. Bruce Willis stars as New York’s finest, John McClane, who travels to his wife’s workplace, Nakatomi Tower, for her office Christmas party. Led by besuited Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman), a group of terrorists take over the tower and hold the employees hostage. Little do they know, there’s a barefoot badass in a vest in the bathroom upstairs. With shoot-outs, explosions aplenty and dodgy accents, it’s the ideal antidote to holiday schmaltz.
In Bruges (2008)
Two Irish hitmen, Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson), are sent to Belgium after a disastrous job. They have no idea what’s in store and await instruction from boss Harry (Ralph Fiennes) who speaks like he’s reciting a John Cooper Clarke poem. To kill time, the two take in the sights, overindulge in local beer and antagonise American tourists. The film’s dark humour is set off nicely against the beautiful snowy backdrop and angelic score.
Rare Exports (2010)
In Finnish Lapland, little Pietari is mocked by his friend for believing in Santa Claus. He’s fascinated with the legend and pores over folklore in his attic bedroom. The books reveal Santa was in fact an incredibly menacing and depraved creature who lived close to the family home. Soon after, a vicious and dangerous old man is found in the snow. Could he be Santa Claus? Don’t let the kids see this one (unless they’ve been really bad).
Did we miss any? Tell us your favourite alternative Christmas film…