A highly contentious debate was finally put to bed when the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas gave his official answer: the film is a Halloween movie, not a Christmas one. Regardless of what side of the debate you were on, now you know the answer and can go argue with comment trolls about something else.
While you lick your wounds (or celebrate your victory), enjoy this list of unconventional holiday films. These movies are not often considered “holiday” movies… but perhaps they should be? You be the judge!
Mogwai! Keep him away from water! Steven Spielberg created one of the cutest not-monsters of all time in Gizmo. Gizmo was fluffy and harmless. But when you fed him and bathed him, he gave birth to horrendous monsters that would happily eat your face off. If you could uncover your eyes long enough, you may have noticed something: this movie takes place during Christmas! Be sure to check your stocking before you shove your hand in it.
Home Alone 1 & 2
Personally, we think that Kevin McCallister's parents should have been rounded up by Child Protection Services. How many times can you legally leave your child behind while you go on vacation? We digress. Both Home Alone flicks take place over Christmas, and feature many holiday tropes and messages. Ho-ho-ho… watch out for flying bricks.
Arguably the best of the original Batman movies, the backdrop of the three-way battle between Penguin, Catwoman and The Masked Bat is none other than the Christmas season. The Christmas tree lighting ceremony that turns into a riot is a pretty faithful recreation of the catastrophic mob scenes at every toy store and Walmart around the country in December.
And you thought your office Christmas party was bad? Talk to Bruce Willis, he knows what’s up. Sure, this movie has terrorists, explosions, violence and gunfire… but it also has Christmas, and that’s truly all that matters.
You may remember Denis Leary fondly from his incredible performance in Rescue Me, but back in 1994 he played a burglar who holds hostage a troubled married couple who had thought that Christmas Eve would be the perfect night for couples’ therapy. The movie is about comedy and love and folly, but there’s still plenty of Santa and fruitcake, too.
The Rules of Attraction
Based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis, The Rules of Attraction was an edgy, fringe film, featuring a cast of young hopefuls behaving like absolute monsters. Who can forget everyone’s beloved Dawson, James van der Beek, masturbating to “Afternoon Delight” and having heartless monster sex with drunk girls? Plus a gay Ian Somerhalder? Woof. But that’s not all. It’s also Christmas, as the spooky rendition of “Carol of the Bells” constantly reminds us.
Love is hard! It’s also funny! It’s also Christmas! Admit it, nothing beats falling snow and dark skies and Christmas decorations for making us yearn for someone special to cuddle by a roaring fire.
Rise of the Guardians
What do you get when Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Jack Frost team up to take on the Boogieman? A movie that gets mixed reviews and results in Dreamworks losing a ton of money! Technically this is a children’s movie, but if Dreamworks’ version of Kris Kringle didn’t haunt the dreams of many a youngster, we’ll eat our Santa hat.
Eyes Wide Shut
The masked orgies, the copious amounts of graphic sex, the continuous questions about love and fidelity, they all occur right smack in the middle of Christmas season! Ho-Ho-Ho indeed.
Even buddy cop movies can get in on the secret holiday game! Whether you figured it out or not, Lethal Weapon takes place over Christmas. Listen for "Jingle Bell Rock" in the opening scene. And the cocaine deal gone awry in a Christmas tree lot. Grab a cup of hot cocoa and get ready to cover your kids’ eyes.
The Mothman Prophecies
There are a lot of Christmas horror movies out there, but The Mothman Prophecies is one that does not self-identify as a holiday film. We’ll spare you the spoiler, but the “final” horrifying prophecy of the Mothman involves a tragedy that occurs on Christmas Eve. Best to avoid travel on that night.
This movie has all three of the Cs: comedy, crime and Christmas! And you thought your Christmas Eve was hectic? You don’t even know the half of it. Check out this movie as your food coma sets in before Santa shows up. Hopefully, he won’t rob you while you sleep.
And you thought Scrooge was the worst thing to come from Christmas? Patrick Bateman, the psychotic corporate killer created by novelist Bret Easton Ellis, goes on a murderous rape-filled rampage during Christmastime in New York City.
What happens when an epidemic destroys the world on December 12th? A lot of abandoned Christmas decorations! For those who like a side of dramatic time travel with their Christmas pudding, 12 Monkeys is highly recommended.
The river of slime. A possessed painting of a Carpathian dictator. A dancing toaster. All this madcap madness takes place over the Christmas season, whether the agnostic ghostbusters are willing to mention the holiday or not. Best part? It culminates on New Year’s Eve. Two holidays for the price of one!
We love Johnny Depp’s outlandish character costumes. One of his originals was Edward Scissorhands, the gothic, emo-looking ghoul of a guy with scissors for hands. This darkly beautiful film begins as a grandmother's story about why it snows at Christmas. And let’s not forget the amazing scene where Edward creates an ice sculpture for the woman of his dreams.(H/T Nerdist)