When you stop and think about it, there's a lot that's scary about Christmas—the mall crowds, the pressure of finding the perfect gift, the children sitting on strange men's laps. Despite all the costumes and mischief, Halloween might technically be the friendlier of the two occasions, what with all the polite doorbell-ringing and candy-sharing. Still, when it comes down to holiday-related scary movies, Oct. 31 gets most of the best ones—but that doesn't mean our yuletide flicks are all pink bunny-suits and Muppets and angels getting their wings
, not at all. To prove it, here are eight of the most terrifying Christmas movies, all perfect for a night spent curled up by a roaring fire with a cup of hot blood. Err, cocoa.
Black Christmas (1974)
Nine years before he directed the legendarily feel-good A Christmas Story, Bob Clark brought us a slightly-less-festive holiday flick that makes shooting your eye out with a Red Ryder BB Gun sound downright pleasant. It's got all the usual slasher tropes—mysterious phone calls, complicated and unnecessarily gruesome death sequences, screaming underage girls—but with, um, more holly? If you prefer Lacey Chabert to Margo Kidder, go for the 2006 remake.
Not to decimate anyone's precious childhood memories or anything, but very little about this movie makes sense. Even if you accept it for what it is—a two-hour-long toy commercial—think about the toy being sold: an evil, sentient guinea pig voiced by Howie Mandel? Dear Santa: DO NOT WANT.
Silent Night Deadly Night (1984)
Though it drew fire from parents at the time of its release for portraying Santa Claus as a cold-blooded child-killer, the movie's true legacy is setting up its sequel, Silent Night Deadly Night 2, which brought us "Garbage day!"
When I polled my bad-movie-loving boyfriend for this list, this was his most enthusiastic suggestion: "ELVES. Oh God, please, please include Elves. It is Christmas-themed and Nazi-themed, and it has this thing as the monster. Dan Haggerty plays a mall Santa Claus, and it has Nazis who want to create some superhuman by making an evil Christmas elf mate with a human female (I think she has to be a virgin, but I'm not 100% on that). So... ELVES." So. Elves.