5 Christmas Family Classics that Could Very Easily be Turned Into Horror Films

Ah, the Holidays. ‘Tis a time for over-priced and under-valued presents, pretending it still snows in December, angry drivers, and repetitive music. I’m complaining, but it’s totally to add the edge factor to this article. In reality, I’ve already caught the Christmas bug. There is no cure for this ailment… apart from watching cheesy Christmas movies on repeat until the last drop of egg nog has been consumed and society returns to hating winter.

But, it is with the eyes of a Horror fan that I watch Tim Allen don a furry red coat. A macabre mind when Kevin thwarts the Wet Bandits. A morbid thought when Clarke has the hap-happiest Christmas this side of the nuthouse.

   

What would it take for a Christmas movie to become a Horror movie?

As you’ll learn over the 5 films in this list… not much.

 

5. The Santa Clause (1994)

The Santa Clause (1994)

In this Christmas staple, divorcee Scott (Tim Allen) has temporary custody of his son (Eric Lloyd) on Christmas Eve. After he accidentally kills a man in a Santa suit, they are magically transported to the North Pole, where an elf explains that Scott must take Santa’s place before the next Christmas arrives. Scott thinks he’s dreaming, but over the next several months he gains weight and grows an inexplicably white beard. Maybe that night at the North Pole wasn’t a dream after all — and maybe Scott has a lot of work to do.

How to Horrorify it

This one doesn’t take much. The inciting incident of this story is that Scott kills a man. We’d keep it the same as the film; in that, the dead dude in the snow would indeed be the genuine article known as Santa Clause. In our Body Horror flick, Scott begins to change. His ear falls off in favor of one with a pointed tip. The skin on his cheeks and nose shed until a rosier, shinier version is revealed underneath..

Time is running out. The Holiday cheer is slowly infecting his brain until the transformation completes on nightfall of the next Christmas eve.. But Scott doesn’t want to become the Santa Clause. So he decides to kill the spirit of Christmas. By slaying and slaughtering every single Santa in sight. You better watch out. 

 

4. Home Alone (1990)

The Santa Clause (1994)

In the John Hughes/ Chris Columbus classic, 8-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) acts out the night before a family trip to Paris, and his  mother (Catherine O’Hara), makes him sleep in the attic. After the McCallisters mistakenly leave for the airport without Kevin, he awakens to an empty house. But his excitement sours when he realizes that two con men (Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern) plan to rob the McCallister residence, and that he alone must protect the family home.

How to Horrorify it

This film doesn’t need our help to become a horror film. Sure, Kevin is supernaturally successful at thwarting his foes.. but if you take off your rose colored glasses, you’ll soon realise: The Wet Bandits are out to kill Kevin. At first, the heist was about scoring the silver tuna, but after a few incidents with a flamethrower and a nail gun – the objective changes.

Also, there’s a nice old man down the street who murders people and mummifies their bodies in snow salt. Let’s do something with that.

 

3. Miracle on 34th Street (1994)

The Santa Clause (1994)

In this remake of the Christmas classic, an old man aptly named Kris Kringle fills in for an intoxicated Santa in the Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Day parade. Kringle proves to be such a hit with the kiddies that he is soon appearing regularly at Macy’s main store in midtown Manhattan. When Kringle surprises customers and employees alike by claiming that he really is Santa Claus, it leads to a court case to determine his mental health and, more importantly, his authenticity.

How to Horrorify it

Kris Kringle is the disguise adopted by none other than the calm, charismatic cannibal Hannibal Lector. After breaking out from maximum security prison, there is no better way for Lector to hide than in plain site. Playing Santa does have its perks; a kiddie buffet of any and every flavor you desire.  ‘I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice candy cane.’

 

2.  Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer (2000 Animated Film)

The Santa Clause (1994)

The cartoon feature is inspired by the 1979 Novelty Christmas Carol of the same name. In the lyrics, a grandmother gets drunk on spiked eggnog at a family Christmas Eve party and, having forgotten to take her medication and despite pleas and warnings from her family, staggers outside into a snowstorm. While on her walk home, she is trampled to death by Santa Claus and his reindeer pulled sleigh.

How to Horrorify it

Not even death can stop Grandma from her Christmas Eve tradition of baking peppermint shortbread cookies. Only, Grandma doesn’t have a taste for peppermint anymore..

“Grandma got run-over by a reindeer,
Eatin’ all our neighbors, Christmas Eve.
You could say you don’t believe in Zombies,
But as for me and grandpa, we believe.”

 

1. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

The Santa Clause (1994)

As the holidays approach, Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) wants to have a perfect family Christmas. Roping in his wife Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo), and children, as he tries to make sure everything is perfect including the tree and house decorations. However, things take a sharp decline when the in-laws starts to arrive. His hick cousin, Eddie (Randy Quaid), and his family show up unplanned and start living in their camper on the Griswold property. Even worse, Clark’s employer secretly cancels the holiday bonus he’s been counting on.

How to Horrorify it

Clarke Griswold has always been two screws short of the nuthouse. As his perfect Christmas starts to unravel, Griswold disappears briefly from the festivities, entering a murderous fugue state. His first victims; Margo and Todd, the snooty neighbours. Clarke disembowels the pair, using their intestines as ribbons on a Christmas package. He leaves behind a perfect vignette; them sitting lovingly on their couch in their tinfoil workout wear, the putrid present resting between them. They are there for days.

Clarke slowly works through those standing in the way of his perfect Christmas. Cousin Eddie gets drowned in his camper toilet. Uncle Lewis gets his stogie dipped in arsenic.  As the Christmas family film slowly dissolves into a slasher worthy rampage, Clarke’s escapades are preceded by a creepy rendition of Mele Kalikimaka in the style of Friday the 13th’s Ki Ki Ki Ma Ma Ma.

Like our content? Support Nightmare on Film Street on Patreon!

KimmiKillZombie

Kimberley is Co-Host and Co-Creator of Nightmare on Film Street. She’s a hair dye addicted, vegetable eating, pin collecting, board game nerd. Her favorite horror films are Creepshow 2, Poltergeist, & From Dusk ‘Till Dawn.