12 Unconventional Holiday Movies You’ll Want to Watch Before Xmas

Love it or hate it, there’s no escaping Christmas.

Right now we’re all getting bombarded by Christmas ads, music and movies. Sometimes it just makes a guy want to be a real Scrooge.

While there a million holiday movies, whether it’s classics like It’s A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story or National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, here’s 12 of them that aren’t your run of the mill holiday flick and that won’t make you dread December.

There’s some you may never have heard of, and some that you would never really associate with this time of year, but all of them are here to spread some cheer and shake up what you consider a Christmas movie.

12. Rocky series


Sly had a thing for incorporating Christmas into probably his most famous character. The original saw the dysfunctional relationship between Paulie and Adrian during the holidays. Rocky III had a brief clip of the Balboas enjoying their fortune during Christmas. The huge international showdown between Rock and Drago took place on December 25.  Rocky V showed the family trying to have a normal, even tacky, Christmas after losing their wealth. Rocky Balboa was released on December 20. Yup, The Italian Stallion loved him some Christmas. Even if that isn’t enough to convince you, we never really need an excuse to watch any of the Rocky films.

11. The Ref (1994)


Ted Demme’s black comedy is for the most part a forgettable film. However, it had it’s moments. The movie stars Denis Leary as a petty crook, who picks the wrong family to hold hostage as tries to make his escape from a failed heist. Leary suddenly finds himself playing ref for the dysfunctional family just to gain some sanity. Eventually, the family, even if it took being held hostage at gunpoint, finds the meaning of Christmas. The movie also has some great actors like Kevin Spacey, Judy Davis, and J.K. Simmons

10. Jack Frost (1996)


No, this isn’t the family flick with Micheal Keaton. This Jack Frost was released two years prior and is about a serial killer, who is genetically altered, after the vehicle taking him to his execution is in an accident with a truck carrying genetic material. Jack Frost then becomes a homicidal snowman, and of course, comical deaths ensue.

9. Scrooged (1988)


There’s so many variations on A Christmas Carol that I can’t keep count. But this adaptation is the greatest. Bill Murray plays Frank Cross, a TV exec that is a pretty horrible person. Our Scrooge like character is obviously visited by three manic ghosts to help him find some Christmas spirit. A true classic as this original update of the Dickens’ tale makes sure to include all the decadence of the 80’s that we all know and love.

8. Black Christmas (1974)


This suffered the fate of having a horrible remake. But, let’s focus on this holiday slasher film. It centers around a sorority house whose members start receiving obscene phone calls. We soon find out that the girls are being targeted by a true psychopath during this time of good cheer.

7. Christmas Evil (1980)


Many consider this to be the greatest of all the Christmas horror flicks. It centers around a boy who loves Christmas and becomes heartbroken when he discovers that Santa isn’t real. The boy becomes a toy-maker and attempts to make Christmas a reality. But after years of putting up with cynics and hypocrites, he snaps and goes on a festive killing spree.

6. Lethal Weapon (1987)


Director Richard Donner must have been in the Christmas spirit in the late 80’s considering that Lethal Weapon was followed by Scrogged on his resume. Anyways, we all know the plot and greatness that is Lethal Weapon. In fact, there’s so much action, that I often forget that it takes place during this time of year. Which is good enough to earn a spot on this list.

5. Trading Places (1983)


One of the greatest comedies ever, in my opinion, starring two of the best comedic actors of their time. Dan Aykroyd plays yuppie Louis Winthrop III whose bosses, The Dukes, make a bet that they could have a bum off the street, Eddie Murphy, take his high profile position. The result is witnessing Winthrop take a nosedive into drugs, alcohol and depression, including a great scene of him dressed as Santa drunkenly snarling at Billy Ray. Eventually, they both team up for some good old fashioned payback on the Dukes

4. Gremlins (1984)


A dad gets his son a strange little creature for a Christmas present after being in New York’s Chinatown. The son breaks one of the rules and chaos follows when he accidentally unleashes gremlins on his small town. Nothing says Christmas like little, green monsters running a muck.

3. Santa’s Slay (2005)


Probably not one of the best Christmas horror films, but the one that I feel is a true classic. It stars Bill Goldberg as Santa, yes, that Bill Goldberg. It turns out that Santa is actually Satan’s spawn, who lost a bet and had to become the Santa that kids look forward to every year. However, this year the bet is done and Santa wants revenge.

2. Die Hard (1988)


Yeah, this one could be considered cliche, but like Rocky, we can always find a reason to watch Die Hard. Besides, seeing a dead terrorist’s body with Ho Ho Ho written on him is some great humor.

1. Bad Santa (2003)


Maybe becoming a classic as well, but for now, it’s still a not-so-typical Christmas movie. Billy Bob Thornton does an excellent job portraying a rotten Santa impersonator who robs the malls where he works. He’s a drunk and prefers banging bigger ladies somewhere that women dread. He’s a real piece of work. Eventually, he crashes with a loser kid and starts to become something of a good person. Even when he’s doing good, he’s still rotten, like beating the crap out of some teenagers after they messed with the kid.

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Leave a Comment

  1. dragonet2 says:

    Donovan's Reef, among the handful of John Wayne movies I enjoy re-watching (along with Hatari, Hellfighters–need to be in a mood and The Quiet Man) is actually a Christmas movie, Just watched it the other night, (These films are darn hard to find on DVD, I found Donovan's Reef at a discount household goods store that had a rack of $5 DVDs of various old movies…)

  2. Superspaceninjaman says:

    Strange Days? It is set in the last week of December 1999.

  3. Am_ says:

    Home alone! the ones with Caulkin in it!

  4. Alex C. says:

    Bad Santa? Black Christmas? Scrooged? How are those "unconventional" when they are specifically about Christmas?

    What about a film like Bergman's 'Fanny and Alexander' or the Harry Potter series?

  5. bdollproject says:

    "Female Trouble" by John Waters and the French foreign movie, "City of the Lost Children" were two of my favorite unconventional Holiday movies.

  6. ForgetfulJones says:

    Goodbye 20th Century and Down n Out in Beverly Hills

  7. magicant says:

    "Go" – awesome film all centered on the Merry X-mas rave.