Well, you try to do something nice for the holiday season and what happens? You get banned from preschools across the country, that’s what!
At The Hard Times, we’re all about giving back. That’s why we went on a 50 preschool tour spanning coast to coast screening holiday classics for children, for free mind you! Now, okay, was the guy we sent to program and run the screenings a bit of a horror head? Yes. Did he have priors? Sure, but for some totally non-violent stuff!
At the end of the day, we did show the kids Christmas movies, as promised, and we really don’t see how a well-intentioned gesture of holiday cheer, however poorly executed, warrants such slander as “Get out of our school you monsters,” “You should burn in hell for this,” or “We are suing you for reckless child endangerment and corruption.” all we hear is “Bah humbug,” and it makes us sad.
Well, in any event, here are the top 50 Christmas horror movies that, in retrospect, may have been a bit much for a bunch of preschoolers.
50. Krampus: The Reckoning (2015)
Not to be confused with the other, and far more popular 2015 Krampus movie (which also got us into trouble) “Krampus: The Reckoning” was one of those b knockoffs that tries to coast on a better movie’s popularity. The effects are terrible, the pacing is horrendous, and it was so boring that we were barely even told never to return to Bright Horizons Pre-K under threat of arrest.
49. Jack Frost (1997)
Not to be confused with the Michael Keaton movie of the same name (which is disturbing in its own right) the kids were super excited to see a movie about a talking Snowman! Unfortunately, that’s all the preamble we gave them. No one mentioned that it was a snowman containing the soul of a sadistic serial killer hell-bent on revenge. The kids quickly turned on the movie, and frankly, we’re with them, this one is pretty tasteless. Many of them also urinated, however, and we don’t think that’s appropriate no matter how bad a movie is.
48. Santa Claws (1996)
This is the first movie on our lists to get us in hot water because it contained a lot of graphic nudity. It will not be the last. We really gotta fire our movie guy, this is a lot of lawsuits even by Hard Times School Tour standards.
47. Puppet Master vs Demonic Toys (2004)
Possibly the most lopsided franchise in all of horror, we should have known their later-day Christmas effort was one for the naughty list. Was it the fact that the distinction between living puppets and demonic toys is too subtle for 5-year-old minds to grasp? Were they put off by the hammy performance of Corey Feldman? Or is it that showing R-rated violence to children is simply a bad idea no matter how holiday-themed it is? Who’s to say? All we know is that none of those kids will ever hold a doll of any kind ever again.
46. Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (1987)
“Garbage day!” Blam! Yes, this movie is where the popular .gif comes from, and if the kids can’t respect it, that’s not our problem, #knowyourmeme. Honestly, we really don’t see what the big freakout was about here. Half of this movie is just clips from the first “Silent Night, Deadly Night” and who the hell hasn’t seen that? In the lowest-ranking installment of the franchise on our list (unless you include part 4 which didn’t even make the cut,) the brother of the killer Santa from the first movie recalls pretty much that whole movie before going off on his own killing spree, because apparently he also has the killer Santa gene? All around pretty lazy, and any claim that we “scarred children for life” is a pretty absurd exaggeration. Half of those kids didn’t even cry.
45. Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out (1989)
The franchise takes a turn into the supernatural for this third installment, which sees Ricky (Hey kids, it’s Bill Moseley!) awaken from his coma and stalk a blind woman with whom he is somehow psychically linked. It’s pretty cornball stuff, so we’re pretty puzzled by how much child vomit it inspired. Maybe the kids recognized Eric DaRe from “Twin Peaks?” Leo Johnson is pretty scary.
44. Night Visitors (1987)
It’s sort of like “Funny Games” but with a fun holiday twist, and nowhere near as good as “Funny Games.” Actually, when the screening turned into a shit show, we did show them “Funny Games” thinking that would smooth things over. It didn’t.
43. Slay Belles (2018)
Okay, we really tried on this one! This movie has tons of stuff kids are into—cosplaying, YouTubers, Barry Bostwick, the list goes on! If you ask us those kids each woke up that morning and said to themselves “I’m going to devolve into an inconsolable crying mess no matter what movie gets shown today!”
42. Don’t Open ’til Christmas (1984)
Okay, yes, a Santa Claus gets his dick cut off in this one, which is hard to watch at any age, but the key word is “a” Santa Claus, not “the” Santa Claus! It was just one of his HELPERS who got his dick lobbed off while taking a piss so that one kid’s scream of “Oh my God they cut off Santa’s wee wee!” and the ensuing riot that followed was way, way off base.
41. Santa’s Slay (2005)
Did you know that Santa is actually Satan’s only begotten son? And that he only gives out presents because he lost a bet with an angel, and now that the terms of the bet are settled he’s here to kill everybody, even if they’re nice? Well, the kids we showed this to sure didn’t and they did not handle it well.
40. Black Christmas (2006)
For the love of God, stop crying! It’s basically just “House on Sorority Row” with Christmas stuff! You would think these preschoolers had never watched a bunch of college girls get picked off one by one by a deranged lunatic before, jeesh!
39. Dead of Night (1945)
This one was going relatively fine for a while. The kids weren’t paying a ton of attention because the movie was in black and white, but they weren’t crying or anything. Even the teacher, though a little puzzled as to why we thought children would be interested in an anthology movie from 1945, didn’t seem to have any serious objections. And then the dummy showed up. Holy hell. What is it about old ventriloquist dolls that just strikes the hearts of children with fear dead center?
38. The Brain (1988)
Okay, we got a little fast and loose with the Christmas theme here but “The Brain” is at least set during Christmas time, and honestly we thought it would be a good message for the kids! It’s the story of a mad scientist who uses a giant mutant brain to brainwash people through a popular TV show. We were hoping it would teach kids to be weary of propaganda, but they were too busy getting all freaked out watching a giant brain murder people. We tried to calm them down! We were all like “Look kids, it’s David Gale, the guy who played the severed head who goes down on that lady in “Re-animator,” isn’t that cool?!” Didn’t help.
37. Blood Beat (1982)
It’s a tale as old as time. Boy meets girl, boy invites girl to Christmas with his family in Wisconsin, girl gets possessed by the spirit of an ancient samurai and kills off boys family one by one until a final showdown with boy’s psychic mother. If the kids weren’t ready for this one, and judging by how many of them are still catatonic they weren’t, that’s not us. Blame Common Core for failing them, this is practically Romeo and Juliet.
36. Christmas Bloody Christmas (2022)
Pretty standard killer robot fair with a holiday twist. Okay, we know these kids are five, but if they are going to get all weepy and vomity over a movie about a killer robot Santa, are they really prepared to grow up in the age of AI? Plus the movie exhaustively goes out of its way to establish how hip the main characters are by having them talk about bands for like 20 minutes and the references went right over their little heads. Preschool? More like Poserschool, amiright?
35. The Gingerdead Man (2005)
If you haven’t seen “The Gingerdead Man,” it’s exactly what you think it is, plus the evil gingerbread man is voiced by Gary Busey. We can only assume it was the calming, familiar voice of Busey that kept the kids from going full catatonic. Well, most of them. Anyway, we didn’t screen any of the sequels cause Busey’s not in them. See? We’re responsible.
34. I Trapped the Devil (2019)
This is basically just a feature-length holiday-themed version of the “Twilight Zone” episode “The Howling Man,” but somehow it scared the shit out of these kids figuratively and, for several of them literally. It’s like they aren’t familiar with ’50s television or something!
33. Night Train Murders (1975)
This movie has been described as a holiday set version of “Last House on the Left” on a train and… yeah, okay, this one was on us, it was a bad call. We apologize for this screening, but the flack we got for every other film on this list is bullshit!
32. Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker (1991)
Was there ever anyone more ridiculous than Mickey Rooney? When the original “Silent Night, Deadly Night” came out back in 1984 he was leading the charge of public outcry, condemning the movie as tasteless exploitive filth and demanding it be boycotted. Then, seven years later, he shows up in one of the sequels! Isn’t that funny? We sure think it is. The room full of children we showed it to didn’t quite grasp the humor of the situation though. They were more transfixed by the idea that toys can murder you.
31. To All A Good Night (1980)
Okay, I’m sorry, but this is the most typical middle-of-the-road slasher fair you can imagine only the killer is dressed as Santa, okay? Horny transgressive teens are picked off one by one by a maniac, we’ve all seen it 100 times, and you can sue us for your kid’s therapy all you want, we’re not paying a fucking dime. If anything we should be suing you for not raising your kids to appreciate genre films!
30. The Day of the Beast (1995)
Everything was going fine until one of the kids asked “What’s an anti-Christ?” and we paused and explained it. St. Catherine’s Pre-K has agreed not to sue us provided we each do 12 Hail Marys and give up horror movies for lent, an offer we refused. Come at us motherfuckers!