Ignorance and Want from Scrooge (1951)

The 1951 Scrooge is still the best of any film version of the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol. Just make sure to bypass the colorized version in favor of the original in glorious black and white. In this scene a conflicted Scrooge has his own words thrown back at him by the Ghost of Christmas Present. – Rubin Ruinsky

 

“It Feels Like Christmas” from The Muppet Christmas Carol

It’s true, in fact, that wherever you find love, it feels like Christmas. I learned that long ago. Sometime in the early ’90s following the release of The Muppet Christmas Carol on VHS. My family wore that old tape out over the years, creating in Brian Henson’s take on Charles Dickens’ classic a wonderful Miller Household tradition. This scene, part of the Spirit of Christmas Present’s time with Ebenezer Scrooge (as played by the dutiful, ever-crotchety Michael Caine), is a microcosm for what makes this film such a vibrant, amazingly detailed and lively experience. It’s jolly, full of life and paired with a wonderful message. The great scenes from Holiday movies make us happy. The greatest make us feel loved. This one accomplishes both. – Neil Miller

 

“I’m Not Crazy” from Scrooged

There’s no such thing as a Christmas movie without a message. These are message movies, by design. They speak of Christmas miracles, good will toward men, giving to others and being one with humanity. And there may be no such message delivered so passionately as Bill Murray‘s rant near the end of Scrooged. A cynical, modern take on the Scrooge story, this one ends with a bang. Even the mute kid talks! If that doesn’t warm your heart… Well, the exposed nipples in the Christmas show will. Either way, it’s a warming experience. – Neil Miller

 

The Most Depressing Christmas Story of All Time from Gremlins

It’s true that Gremlins is a little bit darker than most Christmas movies, what with it being about murderous little monsters and all, but it’s still a fun movie at its heart. Gizmo is adorable, the Gremlins are a little bit silly — even when they’re killing people — and the whole thing is infused with small town charm. So what’s with the super depressing story Phoebe Cates tells about her dead dad? It doesn’t really add anything to the movie or her character, it’s a total downer, and it even makes the horrifying-to-children claim that there isn’t a Santa Clause. This scene is great simply because of how bat-shit crazy it is that it made it into the movie. Could you get away with something like this these days? Also, watch for Gizmo’s reaction to Cates’s big reveal. That’s some decent comic timing for a Mogwai. This little guy can act. – Nathan Adams

 

Crazy Grandpa Scene from Silent Night Deadly Night

While most will flock to their Wonderful Lives and their Red Ryder Christmas Stories, my holiday is marked by significantly darker fare. Each year, on Christmas, I look forward to a visit from Santa Claus. No, not the Santa Claus who comes to town as a Rankin & Bass marionette, and put to rest the assumption that anyone experiences miracles on any titular thoroughfares. My Santa Claus brandishes an axe and, like Black Peter before him, punishes the naughty. Silent Night Deadly Night is a b-movie through and through but its simple construction, surprisingly committed performances, and incendiary conceit make it well worthy of revisit each and every Christmas Day. The most traumatically brilliant moment of the film is the moment dubbed “Crazy Grandpa Scene.” A young boy is left for a moment next to his thought-to-be-catatonic grandfather as his parents go into the next room. However, grandpa was just playing possum, or vegetable I guess, and he suddenly springs to life to deliver a mind-blowing and terrifyingly sincere monologue about how Santa is coming to punish the boy and that he should run if he see’s him. Actor Will Hare elevates this schlocky creeper into a truly memorable harbinger of doom. – Brian Salisbury

 

Creepy Phone Call From Inside the House from Black Christmas

If you’d just watched the original Black Christmas for the first time, we’d forgive you for decrying it as a string of hoary cliches. Once we stopped chuckling ’cause you said, “hoary,” we’d have to set you straight. This is a film that forged the template for a long string of horror flicks, most notably, John Carpenter’s Halloween. The POV shots of the killer stalking his prey, the holiday-themed bloodletting — Carpenter’s 1978 film borrowed heavily from Bob Clark‘s 1974 classic. A few other slasher films would later borrow this film’s premise, that a murderous stalker was taunting and harassing his prey by calling them from within their own house. Here’s Olivia Hussey (perfectly cast as the heroine; she positively radiates intelligence and vulnerability) receiving one of those unsettling calls. Keep your visions of sugar plums. This is the stuff Christmas nightmares are made of. – Jorge Sosa

 

Santa is For Sale from Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

Forget what you think you know about Santa Claus. In the bold holiday tale from Finland Rare Exports, we meet a new and terrifically frightening version of the Santa Claus legend. The kind that doesn’t bring gifts, but takes kids and eats them. Which is way more fun, if you think about it. Because it turns a rag-tag group of snowmobile-riding woodsmen into Santa hunters. In this particular scene we get a brief look at this evil “Santa” figure, following his capture. The dirty, wiry frame. The deadly gaze he casts upon the lone child in the room. This Santa means business. – Neil Miller


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