Anti-Christmasby karlee1981 | created - 07 Jul 2014 | updated - 3 months ago | Public
Movies taking place at Christmas that are guaranteed not to leave you jolly.
These are sorted by genre; Drama, Action/Thriller, Crime/Mystery/Noir, Comedy, Horror, TV
I'm not counting movies where only a scene or two or only an early segment of the film take place around the Holidays. It has to be at least a good chunk of the movie and/or the big climax.
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1. The Lion in Winter (1968)
PG | 134 min | Biography, Drama, History
1183 A.D.: King Henry II's three sons all want to inherit the throne, but he won't commit to a choice. They and his wife variously plot to force him.
Votes: 27,905 | Gross: $22.28M
What shall we hang, the holly or each other?
Henry examines his wrapped present:
It's heavy... Oh Eleanor, you've brought me my tombstone! You spoil me!
2. Brazil (1985)
R | 132 min | Drama, Sci-Fi
A bureaucrat, in a retro-future world, tries to correct an administrative error and becomes an enemy of the state.
Votes: 180,797 | Gross: $9.93M
3. Fanny and Alexander (1982)
R | 188 min | Drama
Two young Swedish children experience the many comedies and tragedies of their family, the Ekdahls.
Votes: 54,138 | Gross: $4.97M
4. Tangerine (2015)
R | 88 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
A hooker tears through Tinseltown on Christmas Eve searching for the pimp who broke her heart.
Votes: 24,857 | Gross: $0.70M
5. Ordinary People (1980)
R | 124 min | Drama
The accidental death of the older son of an affluent family deeply strains the relationships among the bitter mother, the good-natured father, and the guilt-ridden younger son.
Votes: 44,348 | Gross: $54.80M
6. The Apartment (1960)
Not Rated | 125 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
A man tries to rise in his company by letting its executives use his apartment for trysts, but complications and a romance of his own ensue.
Votes: 153,335 | Gross: $18.60M
While the ending is happy and heartwarming (...spoilers, I guess), the sequence taking place at Christmas is anything but.
7. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
R | 133 min | Drama
A criminal pleads insanity and is admitted to a mental institution, where he rebels against the oppressive nurse and rallies up the scared patients.
Votes: 870,459 | Gross: $112.00M
8. The 400 Blows (1959)
Not Rated | 99 min | Crime, Drama
A young boy, left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime.
9. My Night at Maud's (1969)
GP | 105 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
The rigid principles of a devout Catholic man are challenged during a one-night stay with Maud, a divorced woman with an outsize personality.
10. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
R | 159 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
A New York City doctor embarks on a harrowing, night-long odyssey of sexual and moral discovery after his wife reveals a painful secret to him.
Votes: 285,778 | Gross: $55.69M
11. Wake in Fright (1971)
R | 109 min | Drama, Thriller
After a bad gambling bet, a schoolteacher is marooned in a town full of crazy, drunk, violent men who threaten to make him just as crazy, drunk, and violent.
Votes: 9,322 | Gross: $0.05M
12. Die Hard (1988)
R | 132 min | Action, Thriller
An NYPD officer tries to save his wife and several others taken hostage by German terrorists during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.
Votes: 752,851 | Gross: $83.01M
13. Lethal Weapon (1987)
R | 109 min | Action, Crime, Thriller
Two newly paired cops who are complete opposites must put aside their differences in order to catch a gang of drug smugglers.
Votes: 227,483 | Gross: $65.21M
The first of several movies written by Shane Black that are scattered throughout this list.
14. The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)
R | 121 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A woman suffering from amnesia begins to recover her memories after trouble from her past finds her again.
Votes: 70,179 | Gross: $33.33M
15. Batman Returns (1992)
PG-13 | 126 min | Action, Crime, Fantasy
Batman returns to the big screen when a deformed man calling himself the Penguin wreaks havoc across Gotham with the help of a cruel businessman.
Votes: 263,572 | Gross: $162.83M
16. In Bruges (2008)
R | 107 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
Guilt-stricken after a job gone wrong, hitman Ray and his partner await orders from their ruthless boss in Bruges, Belgium, the last place in the world Ray wants to be.
Votes: 376,322 | Gross: $7.76M
17. Three Days of the Condor (1975)
R | 117 min | Mystery, Thriller
A bookish CIA researcher finds all his co-workers dead, and must outwit those responsible until he figures out who he can really trust.
Votes: 45,069 | Gross: $41.51M
18. Stalag 17 (1953)
Not Rated | 120 min | Comedy, Drama, War
When two escaping American World War II prisoners are killed, the German P.O.W. camp barracks black marketeer, J.J. Sefton, is suspected of being an informer.
19. The Wild Geese (1978)
R | 134 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
A British banker hires a group of British mercenaries to rescue a deposed African President from the hands of a corrupt African dictator.
20. On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
PG | 142 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller
James Bond woos a mob boss' daughter and goes undercover to uncover the true reason for Ernst Stavro Blofeld's allergy research in the Swiss Alps involving beautiful women from around the world.
Votes: 75,795 | Gross: $22.80M
21. Blast of Silence (1961)
Not Rated | 77 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
A hired killer from Cleveland has a job to do on a second-string mob boss in New York. But a special girl from his past, and a fat gun dealer with pet rats, each gets in his way.
22. The Thin Man (1934)
TV-PG | 91 min | Comedy, Crime, Mystery
Former detective Nick Charles and his wealthy wife Nora investigate a murder case, mostly for the fun of it.
23. Lady in the Lake (1946)
Approved | 105 min | Crime, Film-Noir, Mystery
The lady editor of a crime magazine hires Philip Marlowe to find the wife of her boss. The private detective soon finds himself involved in murder.
24. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
R | 103 min | Action, Comedy, Crime
A murder mystery brings together a private eye, a struggling actress, and a thief masquerading as an actor.
Votes: 207,894 | Gross: $4.24M
25. The Ice Harvest (2005)
R | 92 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
A shady lawyer attempts a Christmas Eve crime, hoping to swindle the local mob out of some money. But his partner, a strip club owner, might have different plans for the cash.
Votes: 22,779 | Gross: $8.82M
It's a perfectly fine bleak Film Noir. The problem is that it was marketed to the masses as a wacky comedy (every humorous moment from the movie is in the trailer).
26. Cash on Demand (1961)
Not Rated | 89 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
A charming but ruthless criminal holds the family of a bank manager hostage as part of a cold-blooded plan to steal 97,000 pounds.
27. Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)
R | 94 min | Comedy
Born on the original Christmas in the stable next door to Jesus Christ, Brian of Nazareth (Graham Chapman) spends his life being mistaken for a messiah.
Votes: 350,530 | Gross: $20.05M
28. The Ref (1994)
R | 96 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
A cat burglar is forced to take a bickering, dysfunctional family hostage on Christmas Eve.
Votes: 22,646 | Gross: $11.44M
It's like Christmas Vacation and American Beauty had a baby. Not a perfect movie. It's biggest flaw is a subplot that, thanks to a last minute change to the film's ending, seems to be simply forgotten half way through (and thus probably should've been edited out entirely).
29. Black Christmas (1974)
R | 98 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
During their Christmas break, a group of sorority girls are stalked by a stranger.
Votes: 30,601 | Gross: $4.05M
A great film and the originator of the slasher genre (though I suppose that's not really something to be proud of).
Yes, there are plenty of Christmas-themed horror movies out there. I'm only putting good ones on MY list. Deal with it.
30. Better Watch Out (II) (2016)
R | 89 min | Comedy, Crime, Horror
On a quiet suburban street, a babysitter must defend a twelve-year-old boy from intruders, only to discover it's far from a normal home invasion.
Votes: 26,540 | Gross: $0.02M
DON'T WATCH ANY PREVIEWS. DON'T READ ANY DESCRIPTION LONGER THAN ONE SENTENCE. THEY GIVE TOO MUCH AWAY.
Just look at the Rotten Tomatoes score and jump the f@(k in!
%91 on Rotten Tomatoes
My biggest complaint; the movie our protagonists were watching should've been Black Christmas. 'The calls are coming from inside the house' would've been great foreshadowing!
31. Krampus (I) (2015)
PG-13 | 98 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
A boy who has a bad Christmas accidentally summons a festive demon to his family home.
Votes: 59,201 | Gross: $42.59M
32. A Christmas Tale (2005 TV Movie)
Not Rated | 71 min | Horror, Thriller
In 1985, in a coastal town, the friends Koldo, Peti, Tito, Eugenio and Moni stumble with a woman dressed like Santa Claus trapped in a hole in the woods. While to boys go to the police ... See full summary »
Culminates with an axe-wielding criminal in a Santa suit chasing a gang of kids through an abandoned amusement park at night! ...Why are you still sitting there?
33. Christmas Evil (1980)
R | 100 min | Horror, Thriller
A toy factory worker, mentally scarred as a child upon learning Santa Claus is not real, suffers a nervous breakdown after being belittled at work, and embarks on a Yuletide killing spree.
80% on Rotten Tomatoes
Please go look at the film's Wikipedia and Rotten Tomatoes pages to see some professional reviews.
I guess I can understand why (sneer) IMDb voters gave this movie such a low score. They were drawn in by a premise and a poster that seem to promise a gory holiday romp, and instead were treated to a slow-moving psychodrama about a stunted, naive man being gradually pushed to his breaking point, then stripped of his ideals and illusions. They didn't appreciate the sad tone, skilled writing and direction (at least for a low budget horror movie), or the Psycho-esque suspense, wherein a murderer encounters obstacles which make law-abiding audience members worry for his safety and his success.
Light-years better than Silent Night, Deadly Night.
34. P2 (2007)
R | 98 min | Crime, Horror, Thriller
A businesswoman is pursued by a psychopath after being locked in a parking garage on Christmas Eve.
Votes: 30,606 | Gross: $3.99M
Don't ask me why it has a %35 on Rotten Tomatoes or 37 on Metacritic, I think it's a perfectly decent kidnapped by delusional loner/escape/cat-and-mouse game/ suspense movie. Like a violent lowbrow Misery or 10 Cloverfield Lane.
Roger Ebert gave it 3 of 4 stars
35. Rare Exports (2010)
R | 84 min | Adventure, Fantasy, Horror
In the depths of the Korvatunturi mountains, 486 meters deep, lies the closest ever guarded secret of Christmas. The time has come to dig it up. This Christmas everyone will believe in Santa Claus.
Votes: 25,049 | Gross: $0.26M
36. A Christmas Horror Story (2015)
Not Rated | 99 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery
Interwoven stories that take place on Christmas Eve, as told by one festive radio host: A family brings home more than a Christmas tree, a student documentary becomes a living nightmare, a Christmas spirit terrorizes, Santa slays evil.
The stories vary wildly in both quality and tone. It's no Trick 'r Treat.
It has a %78 on Rotten Tomatoes (though I think that's being generous)
37. Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (1972)
PG-13 | 91 min | Horror, Thriller
A demented widow lures unsuspecting children into her mansion in a bizarre "Hansel and Gretel" twist.
38. The Children (2008)
R | 84 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
A relaxing Christmas vacation turns into a terrifying fight for survival as the children begin to turn on their parents.
%73 on Rotten Tomatoes
39. Dead End (I) (2003)
R | 85 min | Adventure, Horror, Mystery
Christmas Eve. On his way to his in-laws with his family, Frank Harrington decides to try a shortcut, for the first time in 20 years. It turns out to be the biggest mistake of his life.
40. Calvaire (2004)
Not Rated | 88 min | Horror
Marc, a traveling entertainer, is on his way home for Christmas when his van brakes in the middle of a jerkwater town with some strange inhabitans.
Votes: 11,200 | Gross: $0.00M
...Yowza. ...Yow. Za.
41. Inside (2007)
R | 82 min | Horror
Four months after the death of her husband, a woman on the brink of motherhood is tormented in her home by a strange woman who wants her unborn baby.
All the Yowzas. All of them. In the world.
After watching this I swore to never watch another French Horror movie again. Of course I did.
42. Silent Night, Bloody Night (1972)
R | 81 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
A man inherits a mansion, which once was a mental home. He visits the place and begins to investigate some crimes that happened in old times, scaring the people living in the region.
It's true, it ain't Shakespeare. But any patient fans of spooky mysteries should get some enjoyment out of this atmospheric proto-slasher.
43. The Day of the Beast (1995)
R | 99 min | Action, Comedy, Crime
Bent on committing as many sins as possible to avert the birth of the beast, a Catholic priest teams up with a Black Metal aficionado and an Italian connoisseur of the occult. Now, he must become an unrelenting sinner. Is there still hope?
Votes: 16,451 | Gross: $0.02M
44. Gremlins (1984)
PG | 106 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror
A boy inadvertently breaks three important rules concerning his new pet and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town.
Votes: 187,715 | Gross: $148.17M
45. Treevenge (2008)
16 min | Short, Comedy, Horror
Christmas trees ripped out of their forest plan revenge against people enjoying the holidays.
It reminds you why the short film is still a vital necessary. I can just imagine the kind of cheap, stupid, schlock we'd get if they'd tried to stretch this to feature length.
46. Home for the Holidays (1972 TV Movie)
73 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery