Top 10 Christmas Kills!
Violent Night my fellow Arrow in the Headers! Believe it or not, it's that time of year again. 'Tis the season of frightful weather, family reunions, unwrapping gifts, spiking the nog and getting loose with loved ones. Of course, it's also the time of revisiting holiday horror flicks. In the past, we've venerated everything from underrated Christmas horror movies and naughtiest holiday hotties, right down to sadistic Santas and gnarliest Santa's slays. And guess what, we ain't stopping anytime soon!
This year it's quite simple. Instead of limiting the holiday fear to old Saint Nick, we're celebrating some of our favorite Christmas horror movie kills. Not to omit the jolly old fat man, he will most certainly be seen here as well, but we're opening up the gifts of grue to all stripes, colors and creeds. Not much else to say or do other than kick back, crack a brew, pack a bowl, get comfy and enjoy the hell out of our Top 10 Favorite Christmas Kills. Scary Christmas to all and to all a good fright!
Ah yeah, why not get things going with a little yuletide levity! No, we don't quite mean gassy old Mrs. Deagle appearing to fart sparks above, it's the entirety of her hilariously silly and slapstick demise in the undisputed Christmas horror classic, GREMLINS, that does it. You know the score. When a gang of ghoulish gremlins show up at the old bat's place, the lot of them distract the nasty harridan long enough for one to tamper with the electronic wheel-chair-lift that the woman uses to get up and down the stairs. She cries, apoplectic, before racing back to her chair to take refuge on the second floor. Not to be. She hits the button and goes speeding upstairs, only to eject out of her second-story window and land feet up in the snow!
And you thought being grabbed by the p*ssy by a certain someone was odious enough? How about being sexually assaulted in the shower by a lecherous, lumbering snowman? Sheesh! That was indeed the case for fresh-faced Elizabeth Shannon 20 years ago in the campy Christmastime terror JACK FROST, a flick that has ascended to quasi-cult status as a so-bad-it-can't-be-missed experience. In said scene, a phallic carrot appears in the tub with Liz, and soon a mound of snow erects in the form of Mr. Frost...the giant coal for eyes, the sadistic smirk across his face. He grabs hold of Liz, slams her around, forcefully banging (ahem) her against the bathroom wall, giving her the business so to speak, ultimately dropping her naked body on the cold tile for her to die out.
A bit of newbie added to the fold. Any KRAMPUS fans in the house? Not a bad little holiday horror yarn, is it? One of the things we dig most about the flick is just how much iconic Christmas decor gets used in direct relation to all the death and destruction throughout. A perfect example of this is the demonic Der Klown, a giant jack-in-the-box monster that animates and goes on a relentless killing spree in the Engel family attic. Jeez, just look at those f*cking Predator teeth above! Mortifying on its own, but consider how this sick porcelain ghoul swallows Jordan whole, a child mind you, right in front of her family. Shite's brutal! Props to director Michael Dougherty, who cements his status as the preeminent holiday horror head by summoning KRAMPUS 8 years after the equally devious TRICK R' TREAT!
We've got a proviso to admit here. Since we feted the anthological chapter And All Through the House from the original TALES FROM THE CRYPT (1972) during our Top 10 Santa's Slays a handful of years back, we're going with Bob Zemeckis' TV adaptation from 1989 here instead. This way we avoid redundancy while still celebrating one of our favorite Christmas killings of all time. Besides, with 17 years between versions, Zemeckis was afforded the chance to film a more graphic demise than the original. Go figure. Also, since the murderous wife in the TV show didn't suffer the same grisly fate at the hands of Santa as in the original, the focus now shifts to the ferocious fire-poker-to-the-dome braining old hubby is subjected to. Poor Marshall Bell didn't see it coming it all. Dude's cranium got split in two!
We're going two birds, one stone with this one. Let us explain. On one hand, consider this an apologetic makeup call for omitting BLACK CHRISTMAS from our last Top 10 regarding eyeball horror. What the hell were we thinking? On the other hand, while the 2006 version of BLACK CHRISTMAS can't quite hold a candle to its 1974 predecessor, we wholeheartedly appreciate how differently the deaths were treated in the remake. As the killer's MO in '06 was to gorily gouge out the eyeballs of a harem of collegiate hotties, ultimately adorning said peepers as macabre ornamental Christmas tree decorations, we couldn't in good faith leave them out this time. One poor gal in particular gets her eyes stabbed, ripped, pulled out and dangled like a prized piece of jewelry (seen above). Merry merry indeed!
The 1980 Santa-slasher flick CHRISTMAS EVIL is a pretty good watch for all holiday horror completists, and one of the biggest reasons for such is a deadly double-strike homicide going down right in the middle of the story. See, our demented psycho killer actually fancies himself as Santa Claus, and fashions a slew of weapons out of toy soldiers with sharpened tips extruding from their tops. Upon being tormented on the street one snowy night, sick Saint Nick pulls one of his toys, jousts the point into one of the tormentor's eyeballs, thick goopy blood cascades, and then, just to make sure the sucker never walks or talks again, pulls a small hatchet from his coat and brains the sumbitch dead cold! The preppy bastard falls to the ground and decorates the snow in Christmas colors with his deep red blood.
While virtually every wood-chipper scene in a movie post-1996 must climb out of the gargantuan shadow left behind by the Coen brothers' FARGO, we have to hand it to SILENT NIGHT, which took the deviant death-mode from the realm of dark comedy to the vicious world of extreme violence. Holy hell! Have you laid eyes on this decorated centerpiece of gorily resplendent bloodshed? Our maniacal Santa slayer stalks a bustily topless young lass in a Christmas tree grove, picks her up over his shoulder before cramming her fine derriere into a giant limb-thrasher. She writhes, the wriggles, she screams helplessly, and soon her body is masticated from toe to head, her gruesomely liquefied remains paint the killer's face like a Jackson Pollack. Ho Ho Ho!
In what could easily be argued as the most important Christmas horror flick of all, not just in terms of the holiday atmospherics, but also due to its status as the progenitive slasher template for the 70s and 80s, and also in the way it was at the forefront of sorority house horror and prank-calling from inside the house thrillers. It seems we say it every year, but how the late great Bob Clark was able to direct this and A CHRISTMAS STORY a decade apart is nothing short of astounding. As for the kill here, having your head swaddled in a plastic sack and being suffocated to death isn't all that intense on the surface, but the way in which the ambiguous mystery of the film was so integrally wrapped around Clare's death, that's what makes this one so impressive. That final shot of the film is still gifting shivers!
Poor Linnea Quigley. A year before getting foully manducated by a legion of zombie-geezers in RETURN TO THE LIVING DEAD, the sexy 80s scream queen was getting mounted on a goddamn wall by Jolly Saint Nick! In easily a top 3 Christmas horror movie of all time - SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT has no shortage of spectacular fatalities. Dude getting strung up by a strand of Xmas lights is a doozy, so too is the dad from WEIRD SCIENCE catching a mean hammer to the forehead. That said, made during the halcyon days of slasher glory (1984), the one that tops them all has to be Quigley, breasts in full dangle, getting picked up in her Lee jean-shorts and gruesomely impaled on a long pair of sharp buck-antlers. How's that for product placement!
No gift on Earth outdoes the gift of life, unless of course you're that poor expecting French mother-to-be in INSIDE. My word! Actually, we have no words. This movie is not only indefatigably hardcore in its bloody depiction of violence, but goddamn, can you imagine the scenario happening to you? On Christmas eve, a psychotically deranged woman barges into your home, savagely slaughters everyone in sight, only to chase you around the house, pin you down on the staircase, and with a giant pair of cutting shears, proceed to brutally excise your 9 month fetus from your expanded belly? F*ck that! Honestly, I can't even recall who if anyone dies in this sequence, but I'll tell you this, I died a bit inside when first seeing it. Christmastime or not, INSIDE is among the gnarliest and nastiest flicks to drop in the last decade!