by Alicia Glass, contributing writer
Terry Pratchett’s The Hogfather
Anyone familiar with Pratchett’s Discworld book series is honor-bound to watch this amazing, offbeat story. Anyone unfamiliar with the Discworld should watch the film anyway, for it is a fantastic show. It’s Hogswatch in the Discworld (that’s their equivalent of Christmas) and the Hogfather has gone missing, prompting Death to temporarily take his place while sending his granddaughter Susan to go find the Hogfather! The film can usually be found on Netflix.
Ah, the original film, back when Bruce Willis had (some) hair. Still, it is indeed a winter holiday movie, as evidenced by McClane’s adorable gestures, like the HO HO HO painted in blood on a dead bad guy. And don’t forget, the film is also an earlier Alan Rickman role, and so should be required watching for any gang of guys in the food coma after Christmas dinner!
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Tim Burton crashes the party with his singular style and flair! Only the team of filmmaker Burton and his composer partner Danny Elfman, could bring to life a claymation story of a mashup between Christmas and Halloween, and not only get away with it, but make a classic movie beloved by kids and adults alike everywhere!
Hey look, it’s another Burton and Elfman movie! Featuring some of the sharpest villains of Catwoman, Penguin, and even Max Schreck, this second Batman installment is indeed set during Christmas time. The Red Triangle Circus Gang explodes out of a huge present box, bats engulf the Gotham plaza Christmas tree, and epic star-crossed lovers words are uttered under the mistletoe – twice. And, legend has it the Tree-Lighting Girl that Penguin took out had to be glued into her outfit.
We all know the story, don’t we? Billy gets this cat-raccoon-alien mashup he isn’t supposed to get wet or feed after midnight (who gives pets like these as presents anyway?) and next thing you know, reptilian Gremlins are running around ruining Christmas in Billy’s small town!
Eyes Wide Shut
This is a very very dark one. Darker than anything else on this list, frankly. In theory, the film explores the themes of betrayal and morality, somehow interwoven through a rather black sexual odyssey of self exploration. In layman’s terms, this means Tom Cruises character finds out his wife once cheated on him and goes off to this highly ritualized and formal orgy, all directed by the redoubtable Stanley Kubrick, and all during Christmas time. Best of luck if you try to make sense of it.
Yet another Burton masterpiece! Is anyone surprised? Johnny Depp as a gentle little Goth boy with scissors for hands, falls in love with Winona Ryder’s strawberry blonde character, but a misunderstanding town is contriving to keep them apart! I know technically the movie involves more than the winter holiday season, but the most beloved scene of the entire film IS in winter and around Christmastime. Edward makes an Angel ice sculpture, and Kim dances under the snow his hands carve off; it’s lovely.
Oh look, another Kubrick film too. Arguably the eccentric director’s masterpiece, the film is set during the winter months, as the Torrance family takes over the caretaker-ship of the Overlook Hotel. Scary twins, elevators of blood, a mood and setting that hasn’t been matched before or since, the film is the ultimate haunted and ghost story. And the final scenes, with Jack hunting his family through a frozen and snowing English maze before freezing to death and being subsumed himself, haunts the audience long after the movie is over.
The fanatical obsession of “your number one fan” comes across in a mighty disturbing Kathy Bates way for this Stephen King piece. Torrid romance author Paul Sheldon wants nothing more than to branch off into other books when his car does a 360 into a snowbank and he’s rescued by pig lady Annie Wilkes. Giving snow and blocked roads and such as perfectly viable reasons for keeping Paul to herself, Annie proceeds to lovingly torture the author of her dreams to try and ensure he never leaves her. Not a Holiday film by any means, but it was Winter and snow that caused this terrorizing mashup in the first place!