We all know the usual suspects. The go-to Christmas movies many people watch on Christmas Eve or Day, they have stood the test of time to become household names that pretty much everyone has seen, depending on their style of viewership. Elf. Christmas Vacation. Home Alone. Black Christmas. Miracle On 34th Street. Nightmare Before Christmas. Even Die Hard has become one thanks to online efforts and clever memes.
But I'd like to share what I consider 7 of the under-appreciated. Why 7? No idea, they just came to me that way. These are all Christmas movies, and some of them even did very well at the time of their release. But in the ensuing years they've been forgotten, or in some cases never made it into the public zeitgeist at all. And so, on Dasher. On Dancer. On Prancer and Vixen. On Comet. On Cupid. On Donner and Blitzen! Oh and Rudolph, let's gooooooo!
#7 - SCROOGED (1988)
This is probably the most mainstream of the movies in this list. While it was a hit at its release, it has definitely gone by the wayside compared to other adaptations of Christmas Carol (ie; the Jim Carrey one, or the Muppets one).
This darker, though still comedic take on the Dickens tale has some great scenes, some spooky ghosts, and a heartfelt performance from Bill Murray.
#6 - REINDEER GAMES (2000)
A heist thriller that happens to take place on Xmas Eve, this movie has plenty of twists and turns and revelations. An especially menacing performance from Gary Sinise adds to it as well.
#5 - BAD SANTA (2003)
Moving back into comedy, Bad Santa was something of a cult hit that kind of faded over time. This movie pulls no punches with the crass humour, and the character of Thurman Murman provides plenty of memorable moments and laughs.
I'd avoid the sequel though. It didn't have the same amount of laughs.
#4 - KRAMPUS (2015)
A somewhat more recent film compared to others on this list, I feel Krampus is another under-recognized holiday flick. It did well on release, but again, isn't mentioned very often these days.
Krampus has a very Gremlins feel, so fans of those films will get a kick out of this one. There are a handful of Krampus films that have been made, and I'd say the visual design of him on this one is one of the best.
#3 - ERNEST SAVES CHRISTMAS (1988)
When I mention the Ernest movies people often roll their eyes. But I don't care! I most definitely enjoyed them as a kid, and though Ernest Scared Stupid is probably my favourite, the Christmas one has a ton of heart and some cool sleigh-driving scenes for the time.
Jim Varney was a treasure. There, I said it.
#2 - A CHRISTMAS HORROR STORY (2015)
Another somewhat recent film, and also another to feature Krampus, this one is a full-out horror movie.
An anthology film with a number of smaller stories that are woven around a late night radio host (featuring a very phoned-in performance by William Shatner that is both cringey and endearing).
The highlight story is an epic showdown between Santa and Krampus, with a full-on war in the North Pole with elves and demons and pure chaos.
But things may not be as they seem, and that ending is both shocking and incredibly clever.
#1 - BATMAN RETURNS (1992)
NOBODY ever mentions this as a Christmas movie, but it very much is! It all takes place during the lead up to Christmas, with mall shoppers, the Christmas parade, the kidnapping of the ice princess lady, and all culminating on Christmas Eve!
Once I realized this, it instantly became one of my fave Xmas movies, and will indeed be watching this one on this cozy Christmas Eve.
So those are my chosen under-appreciated Christmas films. Do you agree with these choices? Are there others you'd add?
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!