The Big Movie House's Top Ten Christmas Films

I love Christmas time. I have ever since I was a kid. I think it has to do with the fact that my mother loved it too. There is just something magical about seeing all the houses decorated with lights and plastic reindeer on the lawn. There is a feeling that this time of year has that isn't replicated any other time of the year.  I decided that I would rank my favorite Christmas films and tell you why I love them so.

10. Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) I did not see SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT until I was an adult, so I don't have the nostalgia for it like a lot of people do, but I can tell you that this is not only one of the best Christmas slashers (we have another one on the list), it is also one of the best slasher films out there. It has everything that a slasher film fan needs: a great slasher villain, a very inspired setting (Christmas time), and it also has enough T&A for even the most hardcore slasher fan. Hell, the kills are great here as well, which we would know isn't always the case, especially in more recent times. There are so many memorable scenes here, from the Santa killing Billy's parents to the deadliest sled rid ever, to our killer saying naughty whenever he sees something that isn't to his liking like he needs permission from himself to kill. 

9. Anna and the Apocalypse (2018) This is the most recent film on the list by almost three decades, but it is such a good one. The Christmas setting plays well with all the blood and guts and the songs don't feel as out of place as one would think. The songs are very memorable with them getting some serious rotation around Christmas time every year and the dance choreography is rather good. There was even more gore than I thought there would be which is always nice. This is one of the rare recent zombie films that made me feel for the lead characters. None of them were jerks in the end even if they started out that way and we feel for them when they die. This has been getting regular viewings in my household every year since it came out. 

8. Gremlins (1984) How much more does there need to be said about Gremlins? I mean, this AND GHOSTBUSTERS were both released on the same day, a summer release for a Christmas film, and they are both fondly remembered. I mean, that doesn't happen all that often so it is always amazing when it does happen. GREMLINS is such a good film back when a PG-rated film could hang with it's R-rated big brother and no one would kick it to the curb. GREMLINS is a fun and mean horror film with some of the most inspired creatures to come in a long while. They are really here to do anything but what they want to do. They drink, smoke, harass people, and kill them. They also just want to watch a film in the town's local cinema. Is that too much to ask for? Did you really have to kill them all in one of the happiest places on earth? I guess if you have to go, go with a smile. 

7. Trading Places (1984) TRADING PLACES is the first film on this list that reminds me of the feeling of Christmas. Setting a film at Christmas is one thing. Anyone can do that. Getting that feeling of Christmas is not. TRADING PLACES gets that feeling. It is also a film that has played on TV sometime during Christmas time every year as far back as I can remember. I remember watching this countless times every time it would show up on TBS or USA. The film is incredibly funny and contains some of the best performances Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd, and Jamie Lee Curtis have ever given. There are so many reasons why this film is a classic, but it feels like Christmas to me.

6. Die Hard 2 (1990) I wanted to put the first DIE HARD on this list, but that film doesn't really feel like a Christmas film. Sure, it takes place at Christmas time, and there is a huge Christmas party at the center, but it never feels like a Christmas film. Why? Because it takes place in L.A. and there is no snow, amongst other things. DIE HARD 2 rectifies that ordeal by placing the action at one of the busiest places of all around Christmas time: an airport. Outside of malls (in the 80's and 90's, not now) and department store, airports are incredibly busy around Christmas time. Everyone wants to go home or see relatives. There is also a lot of snow here which helps it feel like a Christmas film. The look of the film and the frustrations of passengers and employees alike give us the closest feeling of Christmas yet. This is also an amazing action film that is smart and clever and we all love it. 

5. Black Christmas (1974) Being one of the first slasher films wasn't big enough for BLACK CHRISTMAS. It also had to be the first Christmas slasher film, which is also a really big deal and the film does it without ever making it look hard. The film is filled with the bright lights that we associate with Christmas as well as the darkness that we don't ever want around Christmas. This is a dark film about a killer who's face we never see, who breaks into sorority house, hides in the attic, and kills off the girls who live in the house one by one. He also calls them and talks dirty to the girls and yells about his sister, Agnes. This stuff is pretty unsettling even by today's standards. It is also the film that did the whole "The call is coming from inside the house" thing that WHEN A STRANGER CALLS made popular five years later. There is some nice police work done here and the kills, while not graphic, are memorable.

4. A Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) I am not the biggest fan of the muppets. I like them fine, but I am not going to get excited when they do something new. A MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL is different. This is my favorite adaptation of the Charles Dickens' novel and the songs are so catchy. I like that the film didn't shy away from being dark, which is something these newer films don't know how to do right, and it's a G-rated film. Michael Caine is outstanding as Scrooge and the muppets are all really good too. They also fit this story pretty well. Nothing ever seems out of place with them in this setting. Sometimes they do feel out of place in other films or tv shows, but not here. 

3. Lethal Weapon (1987) I can still remember watching LETHAL WEAPON for the first time. My parents had gone somewhere and I was babysitting. I was sitting on the floor in front of the tv in the family room and LETHAL WEAPON came on HBO. I sat there and watched the whole thing. Didn't plan to do that, but that is how good the film is. This is the one film that actually feels like Christmas despite the lack of snow. I think it's because this was a staple of Christmas time showings on basic cable. I can't count all the times I have seen LETHAL WEAPON because it is always playing around the holidays. The film includes a lot of Christmas hallmarks like Christmas carolers and Christmas trees. The characters also talk a lot about Christmas. The first scene where we are introduced to Riggs, he is "buying" cocaine from a guy who runs a Christmas tree lot. 

2. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989) There was a time that happened every year when I was in school. We would leave school at the end of the day on the third Friday of December and we wouldn't return until the first Monday of January. We called it Christmas Vacation back then, but have since removed Christmas from it and they call it Holiday Vacation or something like that. There was a special feeling in the air when you opened your eyes on that Saturday morning and realize that you have nothing to do for the next two weeks. You didn't have to go to school. You could sit around all day and do nothing. It was the best time of the year. NATIONAL LAMPOON'S CHRISTMAS VACATION gets that feel down to a "T". The feeling of how the days looked during those two weeks and if you ever had family stay with you during that time, then you know how the conversations all sounded like. This is one of the films I most associate with Christmas. 

1. Home Alone (1990) My mother LOVED HOME ALONE. She saw the film in theaters at least five times, possibly more. I remember when it hit the second run theater we had in town and we went to see the film again, despite seeing it in theaters at the first run theater already. I didn't understand the love she had for the film until a few years later when I got into film full time. If there was any film that I could put you into so that you would understand what I mean when I say it feels like Christmas, it would be HOME ALONE. The confusing nature of a lot of family members in a house all at once, the way sunlight looks when there is snow on the ground (this is one of my favorite things out of all things), and how a small town looks when it snows. The film was shot in my neck of the woods, so the filmmakers were shooting in the real deal. They got so many things right here and the film is really great too.

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