Here Are Some Alternative Christmas Movies (For When You’re Bored With The Sappy Traditional Ones)

Let’s talk Jen’s Christmas Movies, for those of us who appreciate some ambiguity (and sometimes a little cheesy gore) alongside our peppermint bark.
Publish date:
December 15, 2013
movies, Christmas

I love Christmas. Like, REALLY love it. Somehow, Josh loves it even more than I do, as he insisted on putting up our Christmas decorations the weekend before Thanksgiving this year when we usually do it the weekend after.

And since his birthday was that Tuesday, how could I refuse? He even bought a new wreath for our door and some garland, and tricked me into standing under the mistletoe, which was adorable. I should’ve suspected something, since he veiled it with a, “Can you come over here help me move this heavy box?” Sure honey, if you like holding up one side of a box while I complain.

I also cannot say no to 24/7 Christmas music, or busting out our pine-scented Yankee candle that pretty much makes up for the fact that we can’t have a real tree, lest Penny eat it.

Every year, like many other folks, we have a Christmas-movie marathon. So far, we’ve watched Home Alone, A Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and my personal favorite, Love Actually (P.S. How the hell is this movie 10 years old already?). I love me some traditional Christmas movies; my other favorite is It’s a Wonderful Life.

But I like weird shit too. So let’s talk Jen’s Christmas Movies, for those of us who appreciate some ambiguity (and sometimes a little cheesy gore) alongside our peppermint bark:

Batman Returns

Not only do I love this movie around Christmas time, but I love it in general and will go to my grave defending it as the best Batman movie period.

I’m not as down with this Christian Bale nonsense — like, what is that voice he does? He can’t be serious. I mean, Nolan’s movies are ~better quality~ or whatever (and Heath Ledger will always be my Joker), but I want to see some camp when I watch a superhero movie. If I wanted to watch some serious shit I’d turn on Lawrence of Arabia, and F that movie because it has an intermission. If your pre-recorded movie is so self-important that it begs for an intermission, I don’t want to see it. I can pause a movie to go to the bathroom on my own, thank you. I also realize VCRs were either not around when this movie came out and/or pausing might not have been as easy, but I hate that boring-ass five-hour-desert-walk movie, so whatever. Oscar Schmoscar.

Anyway, what isn’t to love about Batman Returns? Christopher Walken as a psycho with a debonair flair, which is usually if not always the case with his roles; Michelle Pfeiffer as the best Catwoman since Eartha Kitt and Julie Newmar, who is responsible for single-handedly performing the best scene of any Batman movie ever; the Penguin, aka the most disgusting villain who ever lived (with Pee-Wee Herman as his DAD); and this GQMFer. I’m failing to see a downside.


This morning, I asked Josh if he’d ever seen Gremlins, and here’s what transpired:

Josh: “No, but that’s not a Christmas movie, is it?”

Me: “It takes place during Christmas.”

Josh: “OK, but that doesn’t make it a Christmas movie. Christmas movies give you that warm feeling.”

Me: “Gizmo the Mogwai gives me plenty of warm feelings. Plus, you made me watch Die Hard last year.”

Josh: “OK THAT WAS ONE TIME. You have to pick between Gremlins and Batman Returns.”


I should mention that he puts up with my horror-movie fest every October, so during the Christmas season it’s fair that he wants to take it down a notch. However, my notches are very difficult to take down, and when it’s my turn to pick the movie, it’s my turn, damn it.

Gremlins is about this teenager named Billy who gets a weird yet adorable little Mogwai named Gizmo, and he leaves water and food around this thing even though he was expressly told not to get it wet or feed it after midnight (seriously, even without Google, you had the info, man).

He deserved worse than he got, which consisted of surviving AND getting Phoebe Cates. Unbelievable.

I honestly prefer Gremlins 2 even though it cemented my fear of elevators because of this divalicious creature, but the first one has a special place in my heart mostly because Gizmo drives a Barbie car in it. TRY to tell me that isn’t the cutest thing ever.

Jack Frost

Sadly, I’m not referring to the family-friendly version with a Hanson song on the soundtrack and starring Michael Keaton, whom we’ve already established I have an unexplainable-yet-undeniable lady boner for. I’m also not talking about the dude who almost ruins Frosty the Snowman’s wedding, or Martin Short in The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, which is almost as bad as this movie.

No, my friend Casey and I picked up this gem during our weekly perusal of the B-horror section at the now-justifiably-shut-down Movie Gallery in Daytona Beach circa 2001. The only things I really remember about it are that 1. It’s (I think unintentionally?) hilarious, and 2. SPOILER ALERT: I’m pretty sure Shannon Elizabeth ends up naked and dead in a bathtub with a snowman. Or something.

P.S. Don’t watch this. I don’t even know why I included it.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

This one is pretty much the opposite of the previously mentioned movie and is really popular, which makes me happy because it puts my two favorite holidays (aside from St. Patrick’s Day, obviously, but that doesn’t really count) together and still manages to make it appropriate for children, unlike pretty much every other movie on this list that I definitely watched when I was probably way too young and/or intelligent.

The music and animation are fantastic, and the story and backdrop give the perfect combination of merriment and morbidity. This is always a must-watch for me — and a soundtrack I have on repeat. I even can begrudgingly appreciate a lot of the covers, especially Fiona Apple’s version of “Sally’s Song,” though this may be influenced by the fact that I’m not the hugest fan of the original.

What are your favorite less-traditional Christmas movies, xojaners? I have yet to see either version of Black Christmas and I really want to because I love both Olivia Hussey and Mary Elizabeth Winstead.