I love a good classic Christmas movie as much as the next person, but sometimes you just don’t feel like watching a kids movie or something cheesy which is where these unconventional Christmas movies come in handy. So without further ado, make yourself a gingerbread latte and get comfortable because here are 12 alternative Christmas movies to watch this holiday season.
12 Days Of Alternative Christmas Movies
1. Die Hard
Die Hard is arguably the most popular alternative Christmas story, and some people still debate if it’s technically a Christmas film at all.
The 80s cult classic is set on Christmas Eve when Detective John McClane goes to his wife’s Christmas party to try to reconcile but the party-goers are taken hostage, except for McClane who has to save the day.
2. Edward Scissorhands
I see Edward Scissorhands on a lot of Halloween movies, and it was notably missing from my Tim Burton Halloween movies list and my Disney Halloween movies list for the pure fact that it has always felt more like a weird Christmas movie than a Halloween movie to me.
Edward Scissorhands is a man made person who was left incomplete before his inventor could give him hands. A suburban mom finds Edward and takes him home, where he falls for her daughter, Kim. Except after so many years of solitude Edward is very naïve and is taken advantage of by almost everyone around him.
3. Batman Returns
Batman Returns, like Die Hard, isn’t a movie about Christmas but the festive backdrop makes it a perfect addition to this alternative Christmas movies list.
A socialite couple give birth to a baby, Oswald, and keep him in a cage, and then the sewer where a family of penguins raise him. Over 30 years later Oswald black mails Shreck into helping him return to the surface. Meanwhile, Shreck’s secretary, Selina discovers that the powerplant is going to drain Gotham of energy so the city will be under his control. He pushes her out of a window, but she survives, and becomes Catwoman.
4. The Nightmare Before Christmas
There’s a lot of debate on whether The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie, but I think you can watch it for both! The strong spooky elements are what make it a perfect unconventional Christmas movie to watch.
Jack the Pumpkin King becomes disillusioned with doing the same thing, and leaves Halloweentown to find something more. He discovers Christmastown and decides to take the holiday for himself.
5. Trading Places
Trading Places is a festive comedy about how a commodities broker, Winthorpe, and a strret hustler’s, Valentine, lives cross when they’re dragged into a bet about how well they perform if their lives are swapped. Winthrope is fired when drugs are planted at his desk during the company Christmas party, and Valentine is put in his place.
6. Anna And The Apocalypse
Anna and the Apocalypse has a few genres rolled into one film which classifies it as a great unconventional Christmas movie.
It’s a Scottish musical comedy set in a school where Anna has to fight off zombies before the Christmas holidays start. It’s Shaun of the Dead and other zombie tropes with a festive twist!
Horror Christmas Movies
Brace yourself because this next section of this alternative Christmas movies list is all about scary Christmas films.
Please note there is a big trigger warning for the rest of the post for murder, SA, violence, etc so please scroll back up if you’d like to stick to the less graphic unconventional Christmas movies.
1. Black Christmas
There are sereral version of this Christmas horror film but my favourite is the 2006 version.
The film is about a boy, Billy, who has yellow skin due to a liver condition, he’s abused by his mother and eventually murders his father on Christmas Eve. After Billy witnessed the murder, she keeps him in the attic. Several years later he escapes the attic and disfigures his sister/daughter and murders his mother on Christmas Eve. 15 years later he escapes the asylum and returns to his family home which is now a sorority house and takes the girls out one by one.
2. Silent Night
The 2012 Silent Night film is a loose remake of the 1984 version, and is the final film in the Silent Night, Deadly Night franchise.
The most simple way to describe this gory Christmas film is that a guy dressed as Santa Claus goes on a killing spree while the cops try to put a stop to all the murder.
Gremlins is a festive horror comedy, so it’s not as dark as the other films on this section of the unconventional Christmas movie list like Black Christmas.
A father tries to find a Christmas present for his son, and visits an antique store in Chinatown. He discovers a mogwai but the owner refuses to sell it. The shop owners grandson secretly sells it but warns him that the creature can’t be exposed to light, get wet, or be fed after midnight. Everything goes well until his son’s friend spills water on the mogwai which spans 5 more creatures, and then everything goes south.
4. Jack Frost
Jack Frost the horror movie – not the family friendly 1998 movie which I absolutely hate – is a cult classic so you’ll either love it or hate it.
The week before Christmas, a truck carrying serial killer, Jack Frost crashes on the way to his execution into a genetics truck. It causes Jack’s body to mutate which becomes fused with the snow. As he melts away, he’s presumed dead but then he comes back as a snowman and continues to kill.
Krampus is a Christmas horror film based on the legend of the same name.
The legend, in the film, states that the monster, Krampus, is released when the last person loses the spirit of Christmas. When a little boy loses his after his dysfunctional family continues to fight, Krampus is released and the takes out the neighbourhood. The family have to put their differences aside if they want to survive Christmas.
6. Rare Exports
Rate Exports is a wonderfully weird unconventional Christmas film as it dips its toe into horror, comedy, and the plain goofy.
A young man and his friend uncover, who live on a reindeer ranch, the tomb of Santa Claus, but who they find isn’t the kind version of St. Nick you would expect. His father discovers a man in a wolf trap, who can help answer why the reindeer are being killed.
So there we have 12 alternative Christmas movies! What do you think of these unconventional Christmas films, and horror movies? Have you seen any?