[Article] Santa's Watching - 11 Killer Christmas-Themed Horror Movies
Brittany O’Grady as Jesse in “Black Christmas,” co-written and directed by Sophia Takal.
From a killer hiding in the attic to an invasion of the undead to an ancient evil terrorizing a family on Christmas, there are a number of Christmas-themed horror movies that are a fun ride. Whether you want to be unsettled, amused, or just see some unforgettable kill scenes, the Christmas-themed horror section truly has something for everyone.

Let us know if you agree with the list of must-see Christmas season faves! And definitely let us know if we need to add something to our list. We love us some holiday horror viewing material!

[Article] Santa's Watching - 11 Killer Christmas-Themed Horror Movies
BLACK CHRISTMAS l CR: Shudder

1. Black Christmas (1974)

Directed by Bob Clark (director of another Christmas themed hit movie, A Christmas Story), Black Christmas centers on a group of sorority girls who are menaced by increasingly disturbing and perverse phone calls. Phone calls that just so happen to be coming from their own attic – this was the first movie to use the line “the calls are coming from inside the house!” – where a psychotic killer is hiding as he then begins to pick them off one by one. Hailed as one of the first slashers, this is a Christmas horror classic.

To learn more about the film, check out our review!

SILENT NIGHT, BLOODY NIGHT l CR: IMDB

2. Silent Night, Bloody Night (1972)

The lesser-known Silent Night, Bloody Night is a moody Christmas horror flick that is full of atmosphere and dread from beginning to end. It includes small-town mythology, a haunted house, a menacing phone caller, and despite being somewhat slower-paced than some may prefer, as the main character, John (Patrick O’ Neal) begins to investigate just what occurred at the mansion he has inherited, it does deliver; giving us a very bloody and gruesome ax murder.

SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT l CR: IMDB

3. Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

The evil Santa motif goes hand in hand with holiday horror movies now, but back in 1984 when this was released, it caused such a stir that crowds of protestors took to the streets in protest. The movie follows the story of Billy who, as a child, witnesses the brutal murders of his parents at the hands of a killer dressed in a Santa suit. Young Billy is then taken in by a Catholic home for orphaned children where he is abused instead of being given the help he needs for the trauma. He eventually snaps one Christmas after having to don the Santa suit at work and embarks on a murder spree dressed as jolly old Saint Nick himself.

[Article] Santa's Watching - 11 Killer Christmas-Themed Horror Movies
Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 l CR: IMDB

4. Silent Night, Deadly Night, Part 2 (1987)

A sequel to the aforementioned Silent Night, Deadly Night, the plot of this one focuses on Ricky, the younger brother of Billy from the first movie in the franchise, who is now incarcerated in a mental health facility following his arrest mid killing spree – though Ricky is a serial killer as well as a spree killer, having killed people prior to the spree that resulted in his incarceration. Most of the movie takes place in the facility with Ricky who, though hostile, recounts events from his and his brother’s past to a visiting psychiatrist. In the latter part of the movie, Ricky succeeds in breaking out of the facility and making his way to the home of the abusive Mother Superior from the children’s home where he and his brother lived after their parents’ murders with a goal in mind – kill the abusive Mother Superior from the children’s home where he and his brother grew up after their parents’ murders and avenge his brother Billy, whose murder he also witnessed as a child.

To learn more about the film, check out our review!

GREMLINS l CR: IMDB

5. Gremlins (1984)

Joe Dante’s horror-comedy, Gremlins, is one of the holiday season’s most beloved movies. It’s the story of Billy, who receives a creature known as a mogwai, as a pet for Christmas. The Mogwai named Gizmo, however, spawns other creatures; destructive, small monster type creatures who wreak havoc on Billy’s town on Christmas Eve. It’s up to Billy to stop the other creatures, known as the gremlins, and save his mother, Gizmo, and the town before the gremlins destroy it all.

To learn more about the film, check out our review!

BETTER WATCH OUT l CR: IMDB

6. Better Watch Out (2016)

Seventeen-year-old Ashley (Olivia DeJonge) has her hands full on Christmas Eve after accepting a babysitting gig from a family she regularly sits for. While sitting for twelve-year-old Luke (Levi Miller), who has a crush on her, she is at first harassed via phone calls, before they realize they are not alone in the house. From then on things quickly escalate and it becomes clear that this home invasion is not a typical one.

To learn more about the film, check out our review!

CHRISTMAS EVIL l CR: IMDB

7. Christmas Evil (1980)

Another killer in a Santa suit movie, this is the story of Harry Stadling (Brandon Maggart), who is traumatized as a child when he learns Santa isn’t real. Fast forward thirty-three years and the adult Harry, who has taken it upon himself to act as the real Santa by spying on the neighborhood children to see who is “good” or “bad” as well as sleeping in a Santa suit, suffers a dissociative episode, and, truly believing he is the real Santa, embarks on a seasonal killing spree

TO ALL A GOODNIGHT l CR: IMDB

8. To All A Goodnight (1980)

This lesser-known slasher isn’t the most innovative movie around, but it’s worth a watch for anyone like me who enjoys Christmas themed horror slashers, outlandish kills, and/or all of the above. The plot is pretty simple. Over the Christmas break at Calvin Finishing School, a group of students plans a party while the president is away for the holidays. Boys show up and fun ensues, until someone dressed in a Santa suit, begins to eliminate them in a number of creative ways. The police arrive but are spectacularly inept at stopping the killer, resulting in an even bigger body count.

Ella Hunt and Sarah Swire in ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE | CR: IMDB

9. Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)

A zombie apocalypse threatens the town of Little Haven over the Christmas holiday season in this horror-comedy, meaning Anna (Ella Hunt) and her friends must battle for survival in a multitude of ways – including dance and song numbers – against the undead. With everything they know turning into nightmare fuel around them, Anna and her friends realize that nothing and nowhere is safe and in order to stay alive the only people they can depend on are each other.

To learn more about the film, check out our review.

DON’T OPEN TILL CHRISTMAS l CR: IMDB

10. Don’t Open Till Christmas (1984)

A mean spirited slasher from the mid-eighties, Don’t Open Till Christmas is another tale of someone being traumatized in childhood at Christmas time, by someone in a Santa suit. It differs from others of its kind in the fact that the main victims of the killer known as “The Chestnut Bandit” – owing to one of their early gruesome kills – are primarily men dressed as Santa. This one is full of 80s London sleaze in the vein of Fulci’s The New York Ripper, combined with a series of creative and varied kills and a killer soundtrack.

Toni Collette, Adam Scott, and Allison Tolman in KRAMPUS | Image courtesy of IMDB

11. Krampus (2015)

From the director of Halloween themed horror anthology, Trick ‘r Treat, comes a horror comedy based on the ancient legend about a pagan creature who punishes naughty children on Christmas. The story focuses on the Engel family who are gathered together for the holiday season, but who are not exactly getting along harmoniously, causing Max, the youngest to lose his Christmas spirit due to their constant arguing. When their town is engulfed in a blizzard, causing a power outage, Krampus begins terrorizing the family, after being summoned by the loss of holiday cheer. Can the Engels work together and defeat Krampus or is it already too late?

To learn more about the film, check our revisitation of the film!

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