Why Are There So Many Bad Christmas Movies?
A list of the worst Christmas movies ever made
Along with extra crowded airports there are a few other sure things we can expect each holiday season. Among them the fact that someone will manage to get offended whether we say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays,” and that for every one hit wonder that releases an ill-advised cd of Christmas classics, complete with hard rock covers of “Silent Night,” or rap versions of “Away in a Manger,” there will be several ill-advised Christmas movies. Actually there will be several terrible ones. Sometimes we get really lucky and the Santa of bad taste delivers multiple gifts in one: a bad Christmas movie featuring a soundtrack filled with bad Christmas covers too.
Before anyone begins typing “Bah-Humbug!” in the comments section, let me say for the record that I actually love Christmas movies—good ones. I don’t even have a preference for a particular type. Watching the Christmas classic “It’s a Wonderful Life,” is just as much of a holiday tradition for me as watching “The Ref,” the dark Christmas comedy featuring a hostage taker that’s become something of a cult classic over the years. And then there’s my other all-time Christmas favorite “Die Hard.” Yes you read that right. Though some forget that the action classic (which was named the greatest action film of all time by “Entertainment Weekly”) is actually a Christmas movie, it was in fact dubbed the greatest Christmas movie of all time by Empire magazine.
But for every “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Die Hard,” there is “Silent Night Deadly Night,” a horror film in which a man dressed as Santa delivers murder and mayhem instead of presents. Despite receiving universally horrific reviews and sparking controversy upon its release for its excessive violence, for some reason, this film has managed to spawn four sequels.
Then there’s what I like to call the “…for Christmas” films. As in, “A Mom for Christmas,” “A Dad for Christmas,” “A Grandpa for Christmas,” “A Nanny for Christmas,” “A Boyfriend for Christmas,” and “A Princess for Christmas” (to name just a few.) I’ve noticed that when the two words “for Christmas,” follow something, that’s usually a sign that the movie in question is the cinematic equivalent of fruitcake: something that we all must accept as part of the holidays but accepting that fact doesn’t improve the taste.
But most egregious of all there are the endless remakes of “A Christmas Carol.” Every year someone decides that they are going to produce the definitive charming twist on the Dickens classic, featuring some modern-day star of the moment portraying an updated version of Ebenezer Scrooge. Only instead of a greedy businessman Scrooge is a self-absorbed heiress/model/talent scout/Hollywood executive/professional athlete/tech mogul and I’m assuming as of this year will be a reality star with a sex tape since that increasingly represents the pinnacle of success in America.
So with that in mind I thought I’d share my thoughts on the worst Christmas movies.
Feel free to share yours in the comments. And by the way, happy holidays! (And merry Christmas too.)
The Worst Christmas Movies
10. New Year’s Eve
Okay technically this isn’t a Christmas movie per se, and technically I haven’t seen it yet, but despite these two minor details (and my immense appreciation for the talents of Robert DeNiro, Halle Berry and some of the other impressive members of the cast) the brutal reviews “New Year’s Eve” earned from nearly every single critic who saw it earned it a spot on this list.
The title says it all. Well actually it doesn’t. The title should say “A Boyfriend for Christmas…P.S. Did I mention this isn’t a movie about a teenage girl but a grown woman with a career which makes this whole concept weird instead of charming?”
8. Home Alone 4
The same tinge of sadness mixed with sympathy we feel when an athlete past his or her prime stays out on the court a year or more too long, is the same feeling I have about the final installments of “Home Alone.” The original is a true Christmas classic and the second one, while not exactly on par with “The Godfather part II,” isn’t bad either. But the later ones are heading into the sequel territory occupied by “Speed 2,” (the one Keanu Reeves skipped) and that tv movie sequel to “Gone with the Wind,” that everyone pretends never happened.
Melissa Joan Hart and Mario Lopez star in this heartwarming (or should I say “hart-warming?”) tale of a struggling artist/waitress who in the midst of personal problems kidnaps one of her customers and makes him spend the Christmas holiday with her family. Romance ensues. It’s supposed to be funny. But for some reason I can’t help thinking that if the gender roles were reversed this wouldn’t be considered a romantic holiday comedy at all but yet another addition to the women-in-peril-stalker-kidnapping genre. Did I mention that it’s supposed to be funny? Maybe if it were billed as a thematic sequel to “The Ref,” (which for the record, has a number of Oscar and Emmy nominated actors in it), I’d feel differently.
Two different movies, one theme: women devoted to their careers are destined to die miserable and alone unless fate intervenes in the form of a Christmas miracle to show them they would be much happier married with children…and nicer. Happier and nicer unlike those mean old career ladies.
5. A Carol Christmas
“A Christmas Carol” retold with the Ebenezer Scrooge character depicted by Tori Spelling portraying Carol Cartman, a selfish talk show host. What is there to really say about this film except that Gary Coleman portrays the Ghost of Christmas Past.
4. A Nanny for Christmas
Where to start? Well how about you watch the trailer for yourself?
3. Santa’s Slay
In this Christmas horror film Santa is revealed to be the son of Satan. And he kills people. And he’s depicted by a former wrestler. At least “The Nanny’s” Fran Drescher’s in it. I mean that’s one positive, right?
Tom Arnold voices a talking dog in this Christmas film starring the world’s most famous St. Bernard. Is there really anything else to say, except that my first thought upon learning about this movie was “Poor Beethoven’s career. Can’t believe it’s come to this.”
The top spot for worst Christmas film ever belongs to the movie that prompted legendary critics “Siskel & Ebert” to denounce the entire production team with the word “Shame.” Thanks to its gory depiction of a murderous Santa, famed critic Leonard Maltin gave “Silent Night Deadly Night” zero stars and questioned whether the filmmakers would one day depict the Easter Bunny as a pedophile. My guess is they probably wouldn’t be opposed to it as long as there was an audience for it but considering “Silent Night Deadly Night’s” theatrical run was cut short due to pressure on the studio from protests by outraged parents, the Easter Bunny is probably safe for now.
Note: The films included on this list are based on a combination of reviews by critics, fans, articles, suggestions from friends, as well as my own opinions for those films included that I have actually seen but this is by no means a definitive list so please feel free to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section below.