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Alternative Christmas Movies

With Krampus hitting the movie theaters alternative Christmas movies are back in season. So I thought I could repost my movie list for those who don’t like the traditional kind. Enjoy and Happy Holidays everyone!

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”. Well, not for everyone. Nowadays, stores are putting up their Christmas decorations even before Thanksgiving, the grocery stores are filled with snowman and reindeer items, while all the other stores are playing Christmas music almost 2 months in advance. I myself feel slightly annoyed when I get my Thanksgiving groceries and have to listen to Wham!’s Last Christmas. I am sure I am not alone. By the time we are supposed to get in the Christmas spirit it is hard to even put on a happy face. Christmas has lost its magic, and has become yet another event for businesses to make more money. And while it seems to be Christmas everywhere, the last thing I want sometimes is coming home and watch a traditional Christmas movie, even though they are great.

So I have created a top ten list of movies that keep the idea of Christmas and a little bit of its spirit, but in a non- traditional sense. I call them Alternative- Christmas movies, because they are not quiet and peaceful, but definitely naughty.
Join me, let’s forget about all the phoniness around us, and hopefully while watching all this naughtiness we find our spirit again… or not. Either way it is going to be a welcome change to all the foolishness that is going on right now.

The Ref
1.The Ref (1994)

Category: Comedy
Rated: R
Duration: 93 min
Actors: Denis Leary, Judy Davis, Kevin Spacey, Christine Baranski

After a heist goes terribly wrong, a burglar is forced to kidnap a couple that is on their way home to prepare a Christmas Eve dinner for the family. What he doesn’t know is that the couple just came from their therapist because they have serious marriage issues, and won’t stop fighting.

The Ref is a treat that no one should miss. It’s dark, crude, sarcastic, and lots of fun. It’s the proof that marriage counselors shouldn’t even exist, because all they do is ask question like “How do you feel about it”, and get paid for having people fight in front of them. What couples really need is confrontation and an open discussion without sugar coating the issues. The Ref is a bitter sweet dosage of reality and gives us an important message: Don’t let anyone interfere in your relationship, otherwise it is doomed to fail.

Die Hard
2. Die Hard (1988)

Category: Action
Rated: R
Duration: 131 min
Actors: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson

John McClane has to safe his wife and many other people who have been taken hostages during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.

I have never heard that anyone didn’t enjoy Die Hard, even my mother loves it, and she doesn’t watch action movies. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, even though it is longer than two hours. It is a no- brainer, no doubt about that, however, it has a sharp storyline, a great hero and villain, and lots of explosions. Part one and three are my favorites out of the whole franchise. As a matter of fact, I think I am going to pop it in right now. Get the popcorn ready and save your seat on the couch, it’s blockbuster time!

Bad Santa
3. Bad Santa (2003)

Category: Comedy
Rated: R
Duration: 91 min
Actors: Billy Bob Thornton, Bernie Mac, Lauren Graham, Tony Cox, Brett Kelly, Bernie Mac

Two criminals are on a road trip to a small town mall, dressed up as Santa Clause and his elf, so they can hide up in the department stores and rob them. But things don’t go as they have planned. A chubby eight year old boy who is convinced that this Santa Clause is the real deal follows them, and won’t leave until Santa got his spirit back.

Billy Bob Thornton is hilarious as he portrays a guy who simply doesn’t give a crap about life. He is drinking, cursing, has sex with random women and thinks life is okay that way. But it’s the entire cast who make this movie a winner and must- see for everyone who likes a dark and crude sense of humor. And I love Bernie Mac. May he rest in peace.

4. Gremlins (1984)

Category: Fantasy
Rated: PG
Duration: 106 min
Actors: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton

Billy gets a Mogwai, a cute fury pet from his father for Christmas. But to prevent something bad from happening he has to follow three rules. Don’t put him into direct sunlight, don’t feed him after midnight, or let him get in contact with water. But soon one of the rules is broken.

This movie takes me back to my childhood. I always wanted to have a little Gizmo, and knew I would take so much better care of him. It was definitely something special for that time, especially the the way the gremlins looked. And, yes you have read correctly, it got a PG rating, even though it would have been better of with a PG-13 rating. Gremlins and Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom, which was also rated PG, have been the reason for the additional PG-13. Before, they only had a PG or X rating, but since parents complained about the huge amount of violence in these two PG movies, they changed it.

The Long Kiss Goodnight
5. The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)

Category: Action
Rated: R
Duration: 121 min
Actors: Geena Davis, Samuel L. Jackson, Yvonne Zima

8 years ago Samantha was found pregnant and heavily injured on a beach in New Jersey, and nobody including her knows what happened to her. Now she is a perfect suburban house wife with a seemingly normal life. After a car accident she starts to establish knife and fighting skills that might be a clue to her past life. Together with a private investigator she tries to uncover the truth that her mind has been trying to suppress for far too long.

Even though The Long Kiss Goodnight hasn’t been a huge success at the box office I think it is one of the best spy movies ever made, especially since we have a female lead. Geena Davis is a bad ass and Samuel L. Jackson is a good supporting actor, and proves that he doesn’t always have to be the lead in order to shine. It is packed with action and can compete with any other action movie. This could have been an awesome franchise.
Oh, and it takes place around Christmas, which is why it got a place on this list.

Dead End
6. Dead End (2003)

Category: Horror
Rated: R
Duration: 85 min
Actors: Ray Wise, Lin Shaye, Mick Cain, Alexandra Holden

On Christmas Eve a family is on their way to the their relatives to celebrate the holidays. The shortcut they choose turns out to be their biggest mistake, because besides the road that doesn’t seem change, very strange things start to happen.

Dead End caught me by surprise because I really didn’t know what to expect. It starts off quiet, but soon it gets weird and mysterious. Things don’t seem to make sense, and at the end, I was actually a little confused, but once I got it, I thought it was a very cleverly constructed mystery horror movie.

Black Christmas
7. Black Christmas (1974)

Category: Horror
Rated: R
Duration: 98 min
Actors: Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder

A sorority is being terrorized by a stranger, who keeps calling their house to scare them. On Christmas the sorority sisters have to realize that it is not just a creep playing pranks, but a sick and gruesome killer.

The voice of the killer on the phone still gives me chills, it sounds really frighting and sick. Black Christmas is a classic horror movie from the 70’s, which is over the top violent, has a lot of screaming and is definitely lacking in Christmas spirit. After this movie you will be ready to let the peace in your heart.

There was also a remake released in 2006, which wasn’t needed at all. But despite the horrible reviews that tore it apart, I don’t think it was bad, but obviously made for the younger generation.

Home Alone (1990)

Category: Comedy
Rated: PG
Duration: 103 min
Actors: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, Catherine O’Hara, John Heard

What would Christmas be without Home Alone, Macaulay Culkin’s only successful role? I don’t think this movie needs any introduction. It is annoying but entertaining at the same time. God, how much I always hated Kevin’s mean brother and the cousin who pees in the bed.

This movie takes me back to a better time, where presents certainly played a big part, but what the gathering of the family around the Christmas tree, the special home cooked meals during the holidays, and the love that was in the air. We used to watch it every year for Christmas. Good Times.

While She was Out
9. While She was Out (2008)

Category: Thriller
Rated: R
Duration: 88 min
Actors: Kim Basinger, Lukas Haas, Craig Sheffer, Leonard Wu

Della lives in an abusive relationship and the only reason why she stays are her two children. She quietly takes the verbal and hurtful punches from her husband every other day to keep the peace in the house. But this Christmas Eve she is going to blow some steam off. And it all starts with a heated argument with 4 youngsters who threaten her at a mall parking lot.

While she was Out has such a simple, almost non existing storyline, but Kim Basinger plays that role so well, and all I wanted was seeing her survive this horror. She gets chased by these guys and is forced to get out of her shell and fight back. To me this is a very entertaining movie about a strong woman, even though certain parts don’t make sense.

Santa's Slay
10. Santa’s Slay (2005)

Category: Comedy/Fanatsy/Horror
Rated: R
Duration: 78 min
Actors: Bill Goldberg, Douglas Smith, Emilie de Ravin, Rebecca Gayheart, Fran Drescher, Chris Kattan

Santa Clause is a demon who has lost a bet with an angel, making him the giver of all gifts on Christmas. But this year the bet is off, and he doesn’t care who is naughty and who is nice. He is ready to kill them all.

This movie is ridiculously funny and tacky. The storyline doesn’t need any acting skills, nor is there any significant quality to this movie, but it works. If this Santa is in town, I definitely won’t be around!

Bonus Recommendation:

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)

Category: Fantasy/ Horror
Rated: R
Duration: 84 min
Actors: Jorma Tommila, Peeter Jakobi, Onni Tommila

Rate Imports is a movie from Finland (with subtitles) and takes a different approach to Santa Clause: Right before Christmas, an excavation team discovers something in the core of a mountain, that seems to be a grave. Excited about this discovery the head of the corporation hands out a list of how to behave from now on, because he is sure no one wants to be naughty any more. In the meanwhile a boy is trying to find out why all his friends are disappearing.
It is very dark and mysterious, but it could have been executed with a more compelling storyline. Nonetheless, it is an interesting watch.


  1. Really? No Muppet’s Christmas Carol? That’s my favorite. Though I guess it’s not really an alternative sort of movie. I like the Ref, of course all of the Die Hards, and if you don’t like Home Alone you pretty much have no soul. But I don’t like any scary Christmas movies, because Christmas is supposed to be a time of magic and cheer and sparkly lights, and I don’t want that ruined for me. Although my husband is already wanting to go see Krampus, and I’m like hell no. Plus I just hate scary movies.

    • I have to admit I have never seen the Muppets Christmas Movie, but now I will. However, like you said, it wasn’t on my radar as an alternative movie. I understand your issues with watching scary movies or thrillers on Christmas, but it’s a common fact that dramas and horror movies make us appreciate our own life even more, so maybe you get even more in the spirit?! I heard Krampus is not too much of a horror but a horror comedy so I am sure it won’t be too traumatizing. Why don’t you give it a try and review it? Link or tag me in it if you want.

      • If it is a horror comedy I might check it out. I can usually get through those better because they have the balance of humor with them as well. But if you haven’t seen the Muppet’s Christmas Carol you should, it’s everything that is great about the Muppet’s and Christmas.

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