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The Top Ten Alternative Christmas Movies

Friday 23 December 2011, 08:14

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

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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    Comment number 1.

    Where is THE AMAZING MR BLUNDEN????????????

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Me watching this video: Ok, ok, so far so good. none of these choices makes any sense, wonderful, let's keep it up, Kermode. Please don't mention it, please don't mention it, (down to number 4) please don't, don't (number 3), good, very good, Dr. K, keep it up, don't mention it! Don't mention it! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
    We KNOW that Die Hard took place during Christmas. I thought it could stop here, but you've continued the never ending plague of "clever" critics, bloggers, and vloggers putting Die Hard on their list of top Christmas films as if it appears on ANY OTHER KIND of Top 10 list!

    Tisk, Dr. K. Tisk.

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    Comment number 3.

    How could you not include Trading Places. A) A grumpy, drunk and homeless Dan Ackroyd stealing food (and it getting tangled in his beard). B) Eddie Murphy in his funny heyday pushing himself in a little trailer, pretending to be a cripple. And of course C) Jamie Lee Curtis getting ready for bed in front of the mirror, then joining Dan Ackroyd in bed - Merry Christmas Elwood Blues ding dong :-)
    Merry Christmas Dr K
    Oh and Muppets Christmas Carol beats It's a Wonderful Life by miles as my favourite Christmas movie.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Great list as usual Mark, a couple I haven't seen but will check out.
    Was suprised at no Bad Santa or maybe scrooged, and the bonkers Dutch pyscho Santa film "Saint",
    Seasonal greetings to you and your family Mark

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    Comment number 5.

    As much as I know lists are about what is in the list and not what isn't in the list, I can't believe that you wouldn't include The Proposition! Actually, I can, since it's almost slightly less unpleasant than the director's follow-up film The Road, but it's a fantastically made film and is both the antithesis of the standard Christmas movie, but is also a crazy re-interpretation of the modern western. I'd use the phrase "post-modern" if I didn't think it would speak poorly of the film.

    And I agree with strummerpunk: Bad Santa is a fantastic film. I watched with my family in a bad theater on Christmas day and it was a wonderful experience. Or as wonderful as that film is capable of being.

    All in all, a good list and I'll make sure to check out these movies. Then again, they're no "Santa with Muscles."

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Great to see Rare Exports on the list. Well worthy of it.

    I'm surprised that there is no The Exorcist on there to be honest. At the time of year when everyone is pretending they're religious to hide the ignorance of what is really going on around them what better time than this to watch the most Satanic movie ever put on film.

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    Comment number 7.

    Really..... Jingle all the way. The lowest point in someone who was in batman and robin's carrer. It's not really even an alternative Christmas film or at least I don't think it was trying to be. What should have been at number 10 was batman returns, a flawed movie but twisted, weird and crazy. I think I once heard you say you thought the burtan batman film's were boring and I agree with you on the first one but I really think batman returns is a good movie even though some scene's with the penguin dragg. Like most burtan films it's about isolation and being an outcast. This would have been perfect for your list. Or anything but jingle all the ways! Batman returns is not a great film but for me it has a 90's butan charm. I would incourage you to give it another chance if you get the opportunity. Apart from that good as always.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    Here's a left-field suggestion I heard the other day and which I found hard to disagree with.
    Groundhog Day might be one of the best versions of A Christmas Carol committed to film. It's certainly the best version Bill Murray has done (and yes, I know, I know...)
    A man is shown what he is really like, and is given the unique opportunity to change himself through experience. Isn't that what the Christmas message is all about?

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    Comment number 9.

    My No 1 alternative has to be Ingmar Bergman's masterpiece "Fanny & Alexander" -
    The most lavish Christmas ever filmed before turning to the dark side -

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    Comment number 10.

    Thank you for including Black Christmas. Still one of the creepiest movies ever made, and still runs a shiver up my spine whenever I think of the unicorn murder. Just shows that there is a deep underlying darkness to Christmas. Just a shame that the basic plotline to Black Christmas was condensed into the first 20 minutes of the dreadful When A Stranger Calls.

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    Comment number 11.

    'Rare Exports' is indeed a great counter balance to all the sickly sweet of the festive season… it's going to be our Christmas day movie. If we haven't already gorged ourselves into a turkey, mince pie and mulled wine fuelled coma by 10pm, I may well float the idea of following it up with your top pick and throw on my new blu ray of 'Brazil.'

    Have a great Christmas everyone!

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    Comment number 12.

    If you can include Die Hard for its Christmas background then Trancers should have made it in instead of the early padding. With its Santa shoot out , Punk rendition of Jingle Bells and Helen Hunt in a Santas asistant getup.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Dr. K,

    I hope you know that we will now expect all your posts to be nearing the 8 minute mark!

    I've been telling people for years about the relationship between Santa Claus Conquers the Martians and Nightmare Before Christmas, thankfully I now have your backing on the matter.

    Merry Christmas all

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    Light and dark double bill? Life is Sweet and Midnight Cowboy. Soaringly and achingly human. Merry Christmas Mark/Simon, fellow bloggers, Jason Isaac, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen.........

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    John Waters hilarious Female Trouble always makes my top ten, complete with Devine's tempestuous trashing of her family christmas tree. It all goes wrong from there. Who doesn't want Cha-cha heels for Christmas?
    A first class list, good Doctor!

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    Comment number 16.

    Glad you had Die Hard in there, love that movie. Jingle All The Way is an awesome film just because it is so bad yet so watchable.

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    Comment number 17.

    If 'Die Hard' counts then surely 'Lethal Weapon' deserves a mention too; if anything it is even more Christmassy!

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    Comment number 18.

    Howabout Eyes wide shut? not Kubricks finest work but worth a re-examination. And theres hardly a scene in that film without some tinsel or someone wrapping some gifts. A film more Christmassy than many most.......

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    #17 Tweek

    I second 'Lethal Weapon'. What could be more Chrismassy than the opening shot of a girl jumping to her death, high on cocaine. :) 'What did one shepard say to the other?'"Let's get the flock outta here!"'

    'The Corpse Bride'. Infinitely better than 'The Nightmare Before Christmas'. No, it is. No arguments.


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