Christmas horror movies to watch from Gremlins to The Nightmare Before Christmas

The best scary Christmas horror movies

Ever since Charles Dickens wrote about a ghostly trio peer-pressuring a pensioner into philanthropy, horror and Christmas have been the oddest of generation-spanning bedfellows. Countless festive ghost stories were written during the 19th and 20th centuries, then the tradition translated to the realm of film. Granted, Christmas horror flicks are often cash-grab B-movies, but we’ve fumbled through the best (and the best of the worst) to find you the essential picks of cinema’s spooky stocking stuffers.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Who among us didn’t watch this movie so much, it could be recited verbatim by our teen years? A classic, no matter how predictable. Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloweentown, is mired in an existential crisis when he discovers the existence of Christmas(town). Iconic for its incredible score by Danny Elfman, stop-motion animation, and one of the greatest weirdo love stories of all time.

The Curse Of The Cat People (1944)

1942’s Cat People was a genius psychological horror. Produced by the king of Golden Age Hollywood’s B thrillers, Val Lewton, it told the story of a woman paranoid that she’s cursed to become a murderous panther at night – whether or not it’s actually true. It also had the first true jump scare in cinema history.

Ghost story sequel The Curse Of The Cat People was lambasted by critics upon release, but has matured into a cult classic. Master filmmaker Robert Wise makes his directorial debut, which follows the original protagonist’s step-daughter as she too starts behaving erratically. With a climax set at Christmas, this is an underrated, enigmatic and well-acted follow-up eagerly awaiting discovery.

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