12 Movies that Embrace a Darker Holiday Spirit

Are you tired of It’s a Wonderful Life? Has the Elf plummeted from the Shelf? I’ve gathered some darker Christmas fare—from Krampus tales to explorations of addiction, from Hideous Laughing Reindeer to machine guns—so allow me to fill your stocking with some twisted holiday classics!



The best thing Chris Columbus ever wrote was this script, which Joe Dante subsequently turned into the best thing he’s ever directed. We open on an idyllic town in the Hudson River Valley, positively glowing with snow, and ringing in the Christmas season with one of the greatest carols of all time, “Baby Please Come Home.” But as we zoom in we learn that the town is failing, the people are struggling, and one Potter-esque miser is strangling what few independent businesses remain. And that’s before the monsters show up. The Gremlins themselves are gleeful agents of chaos, truly vicious and evil, ...