Five More Choices For Holiday Counter-programming
Last year I made a list of five holiday movies to watch that go slightly against the grain of your typical holiday movie. Even in this day and age where action and horror films like Die Hard or Black Christmas are part of the mainstream holiday canon, there are still plenty more to unwrap. Here are five more choices.
Don't Open Til Christmas (1984 Dir. Edmund Purdom)
Filmed over the course of two years because the director and star abandoned the production halfway through, only to return later on to finish, this movie had quite a troubled production- and it shows. Good luck following any type of plot, which should be easy enough since it's just about a serial killer targeting anyone who dresses up like Santa Claus in London during the holiday season. But this one feels as stitched together as a bad Santa coat- which is part of its charm. Watch this one with a few friends, and don't tune out before the WTF ending.
Inside ( 2007, Dir. Alexandre Bustillo & Julien Maury)
The label of "New French Extremism" sounds almost tame in describing this movie- about a pregnant widow alone on Christmas Eve, ready to visit the doctor to induce birth the next day, who receives an unexpected visitor. The woman, named only "La Femme," has alternate plans for the unborn child. What follows is one of the most brutal horror films you'll ever see- absolutely not recommended for anyone without the tolerance for loads of blood and gore, and bodies doing things that bodies really shouldn't be doing. It's about as far from Christmas cheer as you could get, if that is what you are looking for.
The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996, Dir. Renny Harlin)
This is one of the best action films of the 1990's, yet also one of the more unsung. Coming from writer Shane Black, who sets nearly all of his scripts around the Christmas holiday, he joined forces with Renny Harlin (Cliffhanger, Die Hard 2) for this super fun Geena Davis vehicle. She plays a Jason Bourne like super assassin, Charlie Baltimore, who has had her memory wiped clean- but suddenly her badass knife skills come back after she gets a bop on the head in a minor car accident. Samuel L. Jackson comes along playing a detective who helps her sort out her past- and what follows is the holiday action movie you're looking for if you're sick of Die Hard.
New Year's Evil (1980, Dir. Emmet Alston)
After the massive success of Halloween, everybody wanted to make their own Holiday themed slasher (Mother's Day, Christmas Evil, April Fools Day, Friday The 13th), and this is simply another one of those. Produced by legendary producers of tasteless yet entertaining trash, Golan and Globus, this is another on brand film- with awful glam-metal bands playing onstage, loads of gratuitous nudity, and clueless female stereotypes simply waiting around to get stabbed. It's fun to watch with a few friends though- and as far as New Years themed movies go, I imagine it's at least better than Gary Marshall's New Year's Eve.
Rare Exports (2010, Dir. Jalmari Helander)
Made before Michael Dougherty's Krampus, this is a Finnish film that takes a similar approach in unearthing potential evil lurking underneath Christmas folklore. What would happen if Santa was real, but had been buried in a tomb on the Finnish/Russian border eight centuries ago? And what if a team of archaeologists managed to unearth him? What follows is a clever mashup of The Thing and The Santa Clause, that still manages to bewilder and surprise up to the very end. You know you want that.