I love It's A Wonderful Life and all those other seasonal classics but I also enjoy the darker side of Christmas cinema...

Here I give you my top ten alternatives to traditional festive film fare.

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Hear Mark Kermode review the week's new films every Friday from 2pm on BBC Radio 5 live. Kermode & Mayo's Film Review is also available as a free podcast to download and keep.

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  • Comment number 43. Posted by Mark Hudson

    on 12 Jan 2012 16:37

    I have to disagree with you on this. I would argue that a Christmas movie is defined not only by its setting but by its subject matter. Movies that deal with themes such as family, charity, reassessing one's life or being kinder to others are clearly embodying the 'spirit' of Christmas. They capture all the elements of the season in their usually redemptive stories. Just because a movie is set at Christmas time or happens to feature someone dressed as Santa, that doesn't automatically qualify it. Lethal Weapon happens to be set at Christmas. Is that a Christmas movie? Is Hot Fuzz, simply because someone in a Santa suit stabs Simon Pegg's character in a flashback (a clear nod to one of your choices, The French Connection)? I don't think so.

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  • Comment number 42. Posted by CaptRamius

    on 3 Jan 2012 23:54

    Another one missed: Crash (no, not the David Cronenberg one, the Paul Haggis one). While it has the requisite darkness, it's set at Christmas and has one apparently genuine miracle. Which made me blub buckets in the local World of Cine.

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  • Comment number 41. Posted by Luke Smith

    on 1 Jan 2012 00:48

    I like to add The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, It's Christmas at the start (and in the American Version it ends with Christmas the next year).

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  • Comment number 40. Posted by StephenAJ

    on 30 Dec 2011 02:04

    Straining a bit too hard to be "alternative" here. Surely Bad Santa or Batman Returns have got to be above Jingle All The Way (and p.s. do you really believe the people who defend Showgirls Mark?)

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  • Comment number 39. Posted by Andy Davies

    on 27 Dec 2011 20:25

    After watching this video I finally know why the Anti-Censorship site 'Melon Farmers' is called such.Thank you Mark.

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  • Comment number 38. Posted by streetrw

    on 27 Dec 2011 10:26

    I'm going to nominate PSYCHO. I know there's not a tree, a Santa or an inch of tinsel to be seen, but the movie starts on December 11 and runs up to around December 20.

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  • Comment number 37. Posted by RussiansEatBambi66

    on 25 Dec 2011 13:46

    Dr. K clearly lost his nerve and put The French Connection in rather than The Exorcist

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  • Comment number 36. Posted by dylanwolf

    on 25 Dec 2011 10:39

    Merry Christmas, Mark. Thank you for cheering my year.

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  • Comment number 35. Posted by MrPhil

    on 25 Dec 2011 07:54

    I just watched the Japanese animation 'Tokyo Godfathers' (2003).
    If you haven't seen it, it's about three homeless people who find a baby and then search for its parents.
    Not explicitly Christmas, but set in a snowy Tokyo winter with a plot that revolves around coincidences that could be seen a miracles.
    Worth a watch.

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  • Comment number 34. Posted by AnnimalCrackers

    on 24 Dec 2011 23:24

    Fantastic list!

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