The First Day of Christmas: A Brief History of Christmas Horror

By: Kimbit

What do you think of when you think of Christmas? Santa with a bloody axe? Me too.

gremlins_christmasOkay and Gremlins.

Horror movies may not be for many Christmas movie audiences but for some they are a holiday favourite. The earliest horror movies I could find based around Christmas came out in 1972, which considering how old the Christmas holiday and traditions have been around, is not very old. Both Home for the Holidays (TV movie featuring a young Sally Field!) and Silent Night, Bloody Night were released in November that year and had the Christmas holiday in common as a part of their setting.

home-of-holidays-and-silent-night-bloody-nightWith posters like that it’s hard to believe these didn’t become classics!

While both of these movies had Christmas themed movie titles, the first horror movie with Christmas actually in the title was Black Christmas released in 1974. Black Christmas also had stronger Christmas themes in its setting but all 3 movies didn’t necessarily have a Christmas motivated plot.

It wasn’t until the 1980’s until we saw murderers dressed up as Santa Claus. In the early 1980’s there was a surge of holiday oriented movies covering other celebrations including Valentine’s Day, April Fool’s Day, and Mother’s Day but Christmas movies were by far staying the most prominent. The most well-known movie to emerge from this time period was Silent Night, Deadly Night which also spawned 4 sequels.

leatherface-jokeNot counting remakes and prequels that’s more
than the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies!

There were practically no Christmas horror movies (not including the 2006 remake of Black Christmas) until the last 5 or so years. Most recently there appears to be many films being written about Krampus, a half goat, half demon, from ancient European folklore. In a little over a year, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) lists 4 movies based on Krampus.

krampus100% more effective in making your kids behave.

Only one of the Krampus movies saw a wide release and it was fairly well received for its comedic elements and practical effects. I had the pleasure of seeing Krampus last December and while I overall enjoyed the movie I found its climatic scenes to be lacking and wished there was a bit more blood.

So if you like horror movies, check out a Christmas horror movie this season (many older releases are available on YouTube at the time of this post). has a great list of Christmas horror movies listed here.



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