For most people, the Christmas season is a time of comfort, joy and family bonding, including endless reruns of holiday movie classics like It's a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street.
For those of you who view it more as an exercise in rampant consumerism, a season of cornball sentiment or simply feel closer to the Grinch than to Saint Nicholas, however, the holidays can be a rough time, especially where Christmas movies are concerned.
If you're one of the latter, or even if you love Christmas but are wiped from holiday groaners like Jingle All the Way and the seventh sequel to The Santa Clause, don't worry: here's a list of 13 movies set during the holidays that cut through the sugary coating that covers most other films this time of year.
From films that outright hate Christmas to those that simply give a different and darker spin on the holidays, here are 13 Christmas movies for people who hate the holiday season. Enjoy!
1. Bad Santa (2003)
Two con men pose as Santa and his Helper in order to rob department stores. The script is designed to offend anyone who likes Jimmy Stewart movies, Miracle on 34th Street and pretty much everything else to do with the holidays.
From Billy Bob Thornton's Santa beating up paper mache animals to the infamous Plus Size dressing room scene, this movie just barely gets away with an R rating.
Bad Santa Trailer:
2. The Ref (1994)
A cat burglar is forced to take a bickering, dysfunctional family hostage on Christmas Eve when his accomplice abandons him halfway through the job.
Kevin Spacey is hilarious in this movie, and Denis Leary's robber is only matched by the in-laws from hell, who prompt Spacey to say, You know what I'm going to get you next Christmas, Mom? A big wooden cross, so that every time you feel unappreciated for your sacrifices, you can climb on up and nail yourself to it!
Scenes from The Ref:
3. Scrooged (1988)
Sure, the moral of the story may follow that of A Christmas Carol, but Bill Murray plays network exec Frank Cross as so jaded and nasty that even the end message adds a bite to the holiday cheer.
The movie also takes such a hilarious look at TV Christmas programs in general (That looked like the Manson family Christmas special!) that even the biggest Grinch will find themselves enjoying the film throughout.
4. Black Christmas (1974)
We're talking the original here, not the so-bad-it's-terrible 2006 remake. This Canadian horror film has plenty of eye candy, with Olivia Hussey and Margot Kidder in the lead roles, and nothing says I hate the holiday season like a serial killer loose in a sorority house.Black Christmas inspired movies like Halloween as a slasher film with a holiday twist, and it's worth revisiting.
Fun fact: Director Bob Clark, whose Black Christmas would go on to make beloved holiday classic A Christmas Story.
Black Christmas Trailer:
5. Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (1987)
This hilarious, terrible movie centers on Billy, whose parents were murdered by a man in a Santa suit whose work at a toy store during the holidays sends him on his own Christmas killing spree. Complete with horrible killer catchphrase (Naughty!), about a third of the film is just reruns of the first movie.
Perhaps the best part of the atrocious Christmas horror flick, however, is lead Ricky Caldwell's terrible acting, immortalized in a YouTube montage tracking his excessively waggling eyebrows.
Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 Eyebrow Montage:
7. The Ice Harvest (2005)
Billy Bob Thornton returns as a businessman who joins forces with a lawyer (John Cusak) who rips off a mob boss on Christmas Eve. The comedy features such tidings of holiday cheer as Only morons are nice on Christmas, and lends a noir feel to a surprisingly dark holiday movie.
Ice Harvest Trailer:
8. Trading Places (1983)
Less about the holidays than indirectly involving them, this classic satire features holiday scenes that could sour the mood of the biggest Christmas fan.
In one classic sequence, Dan Akyroyd, who's put on a Santa suit to sneak into the office Christmas party, devouring an entire side of salmon on a city bus, stinking drunk as he does it. The movie also features Eddie Murphy as Akyroyd's replacement, in one of the comedian's mercifully pre-Norbit roles.
Trading Places Movie: Down & Out Santa Scene
9. Go (1999)
Three characters tell the story of a California drug deal and Las Vegas party run, including a stop at a giant holiday rave called Mary Christmas. Katie Holmes and Jay Mohr star in one of the few holiday films where absolutely no Christmas lessons are learned, and Timothy Oliphant makes an appearance as a pajama-bottomed, Santa hat-wearing drug dealer.
10. Gremlins (1984)
The horror comedy is better known today for the catchphrase, Don't feed them after midnight! Many viewers forget, however, that the film (produced by Steven Spielberg of all people) is set during the holiday season, balancing rabid monsters that kill little old ladies with family reunions and Christmas festivities.
The movie also features girlfriend Kate's explanation of why she hates Christmas, a genuinely disturbing scene that the studio heads wanted to cut because it was too dark for the season. Merry Christmas, anyone?
Gremlins Movie Trailer:
11. Batman Returns (1992)
Set oddly in the middle of the Christmas season, Tim Burton's last contribution to the Batman universe features the perfect mix of cheesiness and dark Knight undertones. The cast is packed with stars, from Michael Keaton as Batman and Christopher Walken as Max Shreck to Danny DeVito as the Penguin and Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman.
And for those of you waiting in great anticipation for Anne Hathaway's performance this summer in The Dark Knight Returns, there's no better place to look than at Pfeiffer's version of Selina Kyle.
Batman Returns Movie: Kyle Becomes Catwoman
12. Die Hard (1988)
Bruce Willis made a name for himself as cop-who-saved-Christmas John McClane, and Alan Rickman made his own debut to mainstream American audiences as villain Hans Gruber.
Beyond the classic elements of the film itself, however, it's hard not to enjoy the Christmas season when you imagine the holidays as a vigilante New York officer battling terrorists in the Nakatomi Plaza.
Die Hard Trailer:
13. Lethal Weapon (1987)
If you take Die Hard and add a buddy cop movie and some missing Prozac, you'll probably end up with Lethal Weapon, starring Danny Glover as veteran cop Murtaugh and Mel Gibson as his loose cannon partner.
The movie is about redemption and friendship, sure, but it's hardly packed with holiday cheer, and for those who want a break from movies like New Year's Day this winter, Gibson's foreshadowing as a Hollywood nutjob is as good as it gets.
Lethal Weapon Trailer: