10 Best Christmas Horror Movies to Binge this Holiday

Toy of Jack Skellington on black and white background from The Nightmare Before Christmas movie.

It’s time to grab your loved ones, curl up near the fireplace…and get ready for the bodies to hit the floor! Christmas horror movies might not be your great-aunt’s cup of eggnog, but they’re a perfect way to kick off the season.

After all, you’ve got cheery red blood, ol’ Saint “Knick,” festive holiday screams, and pesky psychotic killers triggered by all the caroling, Christmas spirit, and bell-ringing Santas.

If you’re bummed Halloween is gone and ready to get jolly, check out this killer list of the best Christmas horror movies. Some are a bit obscure, but guaranteed to slay.

 

 

Red Christmas (2016)

What horror fan doesn’t love Dee Wallace? Written, directed, and produced by Craig Anderson, Red Christmas is an Australian horror film about love, loss, and abortions.

A cloaked and bandaged stranger interrupts a dysfunctional family Christmas.  He wants nothing more than to read a letter addressed to his mother and hear someone tell him they love him…but when things don’t go as planned, he seeks revenge on the family.

This fun and gory flick has a lot of heart.  (Also, there’s a pretty interesting scene involving a blender.)

Rent or buy on Prime here.

 

Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

Every Christmas needs a lot of cheese and even more controversy.  Silent Night, Deadly Night is an American horror film starring Robert Brian Wilson and Lilyan Chauvin.

At five years old, Billy Chapman witnessed a man in a Santa suit murder his parents. Thirteen years later, he suffers a psychotic break when forced to wear a Santa suit one fine Christmas.  Thus, a killer Santa Claus is born.

This low-budget slasher hit theaters the same day as A Nightmare on Elm Street, and spawned four sequels and a 2012 remake.  Due to…ahem…creative ad campaigns (posters and commercials featuring a killer Santa Claus), protests and boycotts against the film abounded. Parents claimed the jolly home invader now terrified their children.

Rent or buy on Prime here.

 

Unholy Night (2019)

Unholy Night is a Canadian Christmas horror anthology film about a sweet, under-appreciated nurse, and an elderly patient with a scrapbook of three delightfully twisted Christmas tales.

First, audiences meet an eccentric family, their unusual tradition, and some magic mushrooms.  The next story involves two sisters, their best friend, and Drunk Dead Debbie.  Finally, the film comes full circle with a well-constructed twist full of self-awareness and enlightenment.

Rent or buy on Prime here.

 

Dead End (2003)

This dark comedy, written and directed by Jean-Baptiste Andrea and Fabrice Canepa, stars Ray Wise and Lin Shaye.  Almost all of the film takes place during a family’s Christmas road trip to Grandma’s. The father decides to take a shortcut, but the trip only grows longer when they encounter a mysterious woman and her infant in the forest.

Watch free (with ads) on IMDb TV here.

 

Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)

The town of Little Haven receives an apocalypse for Christmas.  It’s time to dance and sing…and kill the undead in a fight for survival.  Do Anna and her friends have what it takes?

With enough gore to merit an R rating (and a wonderfully upbeat soundtrack), this British zombie musical from director John McPhail is fun, gross, and a delight to watch.

Rent or buy on Prime here.

 

Secret Santa (2018)

From the inventive, gore-tastic minds behind Jason Goes to Hell and Texas Chainsaw 3D, this guilty pleasure of a Christmas horror-comedy puts the fun back in dysfunctional.

The Popes are a family Jerry Springer would love…especially after someone drugs their holiday punch with truth serum.  Hilarity ensues, with shocking revelations, heated insults, and a family bloodbath with the perfect mix of quips and kills.

Rent or buy on Prime here.

 

Black Christmas (1974)

This Canadian slasher draws from the urban legend of the babysitter and the killer upstairs. It’s often hailed as one of the greatest horror films of all time.

Not to be confused with the 2006 underwhelming origin story, nor the 2019 female empowerment movie, 1974’s Black Christmas is said to have influenced John Carpenter’s Halloween.

Before leaving campus for the holidays, a group of sorority sisters begins disappearing after receiving menacing phone calls.  Eventually, the remaining young women realize a demented killer is stalking them.

Rent or buy on Prime here.

 

A Christmas Horror Story (2015)

Typical anthology movies include stories that have a beginning, middle, and end before moving on to the next one.  A bigger story often plays out between the shorter ones, as well.

A Christmas Horror Story, however, is more like Crash and 11:14. It features four interwoven tales that take place in Bailey Downs.  As the movie progresses, each story starts to make more sense, culminating in a crazy yet satisfying ending that most viewers admit they never saw coming.

Watch on Prime here.

 

Krampus (2015)

This 2015 American horror-comedy features impeccable performances from Adam Scott, Toni Collette, David Koechner, and Conchata Ferrell.

During a disastrous and dysfunctional family Christmas, young Max loses his Christmas spirit…which summons Krampus, the demonic equivalent of Santa Claus.  Satisfy your killer appetite with this delicious blend of gore and humor, a dash of salt, and some spilled tea.

Find it on Prime here.

 

Better Watch Out (2016)

Cleverly written and very well-acted, this psychological horror flick stars Olivia DeJonge (The Visit) and Levi Miller (Pan).

For babysitter Ashley and her intelligent yet immature charge, Luke, a creature is stirring—and it isn’t a mouse.  Easy on the gore but heavy on the tension, this expertly paced film portrays a home invasion gone very wrong.

Watch it on Prime here.

 

via GIPHY

These Christmas horror movies are sure to lift your holiday spirits when you’re sick of claymation reindeer and predictable holiday rom-coms.

For more movie recommendations, check out the best horror reboots, the funniest moments in scary films, or the best horror anime.