It’s December already, and that means Christmas is just around the corner. What better way of getting in the mood than sitting back and enjoying some festive fluff once you’ve decked the halls and wrapped the presents?
This week’s article features a healthy mix of classic and obscure, featuring both short films and full movies for your enjoyment. Along with the usual helpings of sugar-coated Christmas tales there are a few alternative productions to shock and awe.
So whip out the Christmas booze, reach for the mince pies and feast your eyes on this lot.
Because no list of Christmas films is complete without an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel, A Christmas Carol, here’s 3! This one in particular isn’t the oldest production, but the first “talkie” version of the story produced.
Each different version of Dickens’ classic tale tells the story in its own way, and this classic black and white version starring Seymour Hicks is no different. There’s less emphasis on Tiny Tim than we see in other versions, and the ghosts are interpreted somewhat differently too.
If you’re a massive fan of this heartwarming Christmas tale then you definitely won’t want to miss this version.
Bugs Bunny’s Christmas Carol (1979) [IMDB]
The second version of A Christmas Carol on this list comes from no other than Warner Bros and stars one of the most famous rabbits to ever grace television. Unlike Scrooge above, this isn’t a feature length film and comes in at a rather short 8 minutes due to the fact that it made up a small part of Bugs Bunny’s Looney Christmas Tales.
It’s definitely worth a watch, particularly if you have young children who have little experience with the wonderful world of Warner Bros and their animated line-up. It’s also great to watch if (like me) you remember seeing this episode as a child and (like me) want to pretend you’re 9 again.
Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983) [IMDB]
Last Christmas film, I promise! Up next it’s Disney and their take on Dickens’ tale – and who better to lead the pack than Mickey himself. The lead mouse predictably takes on the role of Bob Cratchit whilst Scrooge McDuck plays a fairly mean Ebenezer Scrooge.
Goofy, Jiminy Cricket and Willie the Giant each take on roles as the various ghosts that appear in the story, and there are plenty of other Disney favourites to spot too. This particular adaptation runs for 26 minutes and that places it well and truly in the “short film” category – enjoy!
The Junky’s Christmas (1993) [IMDB]
The first of a very odd bunch of festive films, The Junky’s Christmas was originally a story written by William S. Burroughs around 1989 and was later adapted into a short but wonderful claymation film in 1993. This production is narrated by Burroughs himself, and even stars him briefly in the film’s live action intro.
What at first appears to be a dark and macabre take on the holiday season gradually lightens, eventually adhering to the “spirit of Christmas” ethos seen in so many yuletide motion pictures. The stop motion, narration and fantastic ending make this a must-see (though I wouldn’t recommend it for the little ones).
Santa Claus (Conquers The Devil) (1960) [IMDB]
This rather crazy Christmas film has its origins in Mexico where it was produced and released in 1959 before being dubbed for American audiences a year later. The result? A near-psychotic rollercoaster ride of insanity that probably hasn’t aged too well.
Let me make one thing clear – this isn’t a particularly good film, but if you like bad films (especially bad Christmas films) then this live action screamer in which Santa must fight a demon sent to earth by none other than Satan will bring the house down.
This film was used by Mike Nelson and company for the TV series Mystery Science Theatre 3000, where it features a comedy narrative which might make the experience less painful.
Santa Claus Conquers The Martians (1964) [IMDB]
My, hasn’t Santa been busy? First the devil, and now 4 years later – martians! This one isn’t Mexican, however, and bares very little resemblance to the film above (other than the fact that it too is considered to be a bad film).
The plot really isn’t worth going into, this film regularly makes it onto “worst movies ever” lists and is consistently in IMDB’s bottom-100 films for good reason. You’ll probably know already if you can stomach this nauseating mix of sci-fi and Christmas, but if you think you need some help this one was also tackled on Mystery Science Theatre 3000.
Bloody Mary Christmas (2010) [IMDB]
A particularly obscure short film, this Italian production takes Christmas Eve and turns it on its head in one of the most alternative festive productions ever made. The film is subtitled in English, and with a running time of around 24 minutes it’s fairly easy-going even if you hate reading subtitles.
Bloody Mary Christmas tells the tale of Alex, a boy sent to live with his ruthless aunt and uncle who he considers to have forgotten the real values in life. This year Alex asks Santa for a different kind of Christmas, and it appears his wish comes true at the stroke of midnight as an armed mysterious figure shows up uninvited.
This is one far-out festive short film, you have been warned!
Christmas films don’t always have to be mushy tales of holiday kindness, though as Santa Claus Conquers The Martians demonstrates – it’s not overly advisable to stray too far from the usual formula. If you have any favourite Christmas films then please share them with us in the comments below.
Do you like any of the films on this list? Do you know any other Christmas films that are available online? Share the yuletide love in the comments section below.