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Yule Be Terrified! 7 Christmas Horror Movies You Can Stream Right Now

Universal Pictures

Horror around Christmas is nothing new. Charles Dickens’ 1843 novel A Christmas Carol is actually a chilling ghost story. And The Nightmare Before Christmas fuses Halloween with Christmas. But it isn’t quite scary enough for true horror fans. For real horror buffs, we present 7 of the most terrifying Christmas horror movies of all time. Many of these films have become cult classics, with the others soon to be!

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1. Black Christmas (1974)

Directed by Bob Clark (Porky’s, A Christmas Story), and written by Roy Moore, the suspense in Black Christmas will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout. This film was inspired by the urban legend “The Babysitter and the Man Upstairs.” It has developed a cult following and is credited for being one of the earliest slasher films. There was also an influence on John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) and When a Stranger Calls (1979).

A Christmas party is being held in the sorority house. Obscene phone calls began coming in from someone the girls have nicknamed “the moan.” The caller rants and threatens to kill them. One by one, sorority sisters begin to die. This Christmas horror movie stars Margot Kidder, Olivia Hussey, and John Saxon.

2. Gremlins (1984)

This comedy-horror film begins with a struggling inventor in an antique store in Chinatown hoping to find a Christmas present for his son. He finds a small furry creature called a mogwai. He’s given three important warnings: Don’t expose the mogwai to light, especially sunlight, which will kill it; keep it away from water; and most of all: never feed it after midnight. Of course, that doesn’t happen, and terror and hilarity ensue. The mogwai is named “Gizmo” (voiced by Howie Mandel) and gets water spilled on it and immediately spawns five more mogwai. More watery mishaps continue until there is an army of the creatures.

The film also stars Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, and Hoyt Axton. A massive success at the box office and winner of eight awards, Gremlins was directed by Joe Dante and written by Chris Columbus. The production was top-notch, produced by Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, and Michael Finnell. The soundtrack is by Jerry Goldsmith.

3. Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

This film that has developed a cult following is another classic in the subgenre of the Christmas slasher category. The film begins in the year 1971, when 5-year-old Billy Chapman is warned by his grandfather to fear Santa Claus because he punishes the naughty. On the way home, a man who just robbed a liquor store dressed as Santa tries to carjack the family. The thief shoots Billy’s father dead and assaults and kills his mother. 

Fast-forward to Christmas 1974, Billy now 8, and his brother Ricky, 4, are in an orphanage under the cruel treatment of Mother Superior. 


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Fast-forward another decade and Billy is 18 at an office Christmas party. Billy sees a man trying to attack a woman and ends up killing them both to “punish” them. Billy goes full serial killer and the slashing continues from there.

The Christmas horror movie was directed by Charles E. Sellier Jr., and written by Paul Caimi, and Michael Hickey. It stars Lillian Chauvin, Toni Nero, and Gilmer McCormick.

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4. Into the Dark: Pooka! (2018)

Episode 3 of Season 1 of the Hulu series “Into the Dark,” comes in an episode entitled “Pooka!” During the Christmas season, the year’s hottest new toy is called Pooka. The kids love this weird doll, even though it’s temperamental, and seems to do whatever it wants. 

Needing some seasonal work, a struggling actor (Nyasha Hatendi) takes a job as the mascot for the toy. The horror begins after he puts the costume on. He discovers he is struggling between two personalities: That of his own and of the Pooka.

The episode was directed by Nacho Vigalondo (Colossal, V/H/S viral, The ABCs of Death), and written by Gerald Olson. It also stars Latarsha Rose and Jon Daly.

5. Krampus (2015)

Krampus is a Gremlins-esque horror comedy, notable for its imaginative creature effects. It is centered around Krampus, a devilish, horned figure, from central and eastern Alpine folklore. Krampus scares children who have misbehaved, and the worst kids receive its punishment. In the film, the characters are being hunted by Krampus, the demon who is punishing those who have lost the Christmas spirit. The film brings a lot of suspense and holiday-horror-themed fun.

Krampus was a surprise hit, grossing over $61 million on a $15 million budget. The film was directed by Michael Dougherty (Superman Returns, X2, Trick ‘R Treat), who also wrote the film along with Todd Casey and Zach Shields (Godzilla vs. Kong). The film stars Adam Scott, Toni Collette, and David Koechner.

6. Anna and the Apocolypse (2017)

What’s more fun than a zombie apocalypse at Christmas? Even more fun, a zombie Christmas musical? That’s the milieu of Anna and the Apocolypse, a film that could be described as a mash-up between High School Musical and Shaun of the Dead. In addition to being packed with song and gore, there’s also some rich, seasonal heart.

Anna (Ella Hunt) is initially preoccupied with the Christmas show at her high school. She fails to notice that an infection of the undead is spreading around her. Anna and her friends fight for survival. They’re also in a desperate race to reach their loved ones. Unfortunately, no one is safe. Now, the only people they can rely on are themselves. 

Anna and the Apocolypse was directed by John McPhail, and written by Alan MacDonald and Ryan McHenry. This Christmas horror movie also stars Malcolm Cumming and Sarah Swire.

7. Violent Night (2022)

While it does contain horror elements, Violent Night, could be best described as an action-comedy. Nonetheless, it’s full of bloody good holiday fun.

At a Christmas gathering at the mansion, a group of mercenaries take the family hostage. Santa Claus (David Harbour) decides to defend the wealthy family from the intruders. The thrilling climax is a Home Alone-esque booby trap sequence. However, it’s far bloodier and more realistic. Mayhem unleashes and turns this into a brutal holiday classic.

The film was directed by Tommy Wirkola (Sonic the Hedgehog, 12 Deadly Days), and written by Pat Casey and Josh Miller. It stars David Harbour (Stranger Things, Hell Boy, Suicide Squad), John Leguizamo (Spawn, Moulin Rouge!), and Beverly D’Angelo (National Lampoon’s Vacation, American History X).