Features

7 best unconventional Christmas movies

Writer: Casey Chong


Get ready to party in "Office Christmas Party"!

When one talks about Christmas movies, festive classic staples such as "It's A Wonderful Life" (1946), "Home Alone" (1990) and "Elf" (2003) often come to mind. Besides, Christmas is all about joy, unity and cherishing quality moments together with the family.

Of course, there's always room for alternative Christmas movie offerings. Take "Office Christmas Party", for instance. The upcoming yuletide comedy, which stars Jennifer Aniston, Kate McKinnon and Jason Bateman, isn't the kind of Christmas movie that you want to watch with your family (read: not family-friendly).

So, if you are looking to break the festive tradition and opt for the dark side of Christmas movie offerings for a change, we have that covered for you. From chaos to violence, here is our handpicked list of the most unconventional Christmas movies that are worth your watch.

1. "Gremlins" (1984)

Mogwai a.k.a. Gizmo in "Gremlins".

On the surface, Mogwai seems like the perfect Christmas present. After all, he's cute and adorable. But when a Mogwai named Gizmo gets wet, chaos ensues. What happens next isn't exactly a pleasant Christmas moment as Mogwai ends up spawning a few ugly murderous monsters called Gremlins and they start terrorising everyone in the sleepy small town of Kingston Falls. Definitely not a nice way to celebrate Christmas, but that's the premise of "Gremlins", in which this 1984 horror-comedy classic remains one of the best movies delivered from director Joe Dante.

2. "Lethal Weapon" (1987)

Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) in "Lethal Weapon".

Screenwriter Shane Black loves to write a script that takes place around the Christmas season. You can see his recurring Christmas-set theme in movies like "The Last Boy Scout" and "The Long Kiss Goodnight". But if there is one Christmas-set movie written by Black worth including here, that would be "Lethal Weapon". The 1987 buddy-cop genre classic is best known for the unforgettable collaboration between Mel Gibson as the suicidal cop Martin Riggs and Danny Glover as the by-the-book cop Roger Murtaugh. Not to mention the movie also features one of the great bad guys in '80s action cinema. Played by Gary Busey as Mr. Joshua, you can see that he definitely doesn't fancy Christmas. Need proof? During one scene towards the finale, he breaks into Murtaugh's home and fires at the TV while saying, "Goddamn Christmas!" Of course, needless to say, those who hate Christmas like Mr. Joshua don't get a happy ending.

3. "Die Hard" (1988)

John McClane (Bruce Willis) at the wrong place at the wrong time in "Die Hard".


Here's the iconic "Ho-Ho-Ho" scene in "Die Hard".

Remember the iconic scene where a terrorist with a Santa hat and a grey sweatshirt that said "Now I have a machine gun. Ho-Ho-Ho" is found dead inside the elevator? Well, that's a nice Christmas gesture from John McClane himself. Almost 30 years since the first "Die Hard" premiered to a positive response and turned TV's "Moonlighting" star Bruce Willis into an overnight sensation, the movie is no doubt a modern-day Christmas action classic. While it's true that an action movie about a group of terrorists taking over the entire building has been done to death by now, "Die Hard" still manages to hold up well until today. From McClane's memorable quips (e.g. "Yippee-ki-yay, mother******") to well-staged action scenes (e.g. the spectacular roof jump) and an impeccable antagonist role by the great Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber, everything about "Die Hard" exudes a whole load of excitement. And of course, the John McClane himself. Played to perfection by Bruce Willis, his character is unlike most larger-than-life action stars (read: Schwarzenegger and Stallone) that dominated the Hollywood action cinema during the '80s. Instead, McClane is an everyman NYPD cop who flies all the way to L.A. cause he just wanted to reunite with his wife, Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) during a Christmas party at her workplace in Nakatomi Plaza. But the terrorists came and yes, he's clearly at the right place at the right time. Yup, that's how McClane spends his Christmas... with gunfights, blood and violence.

4. "Batman Returns" (1992)

The Penguin (Danny DeVito) and Batman (Michael Keaton) in "Batman Returns".

A lot of bad things happen in the crime-infested Gotham City. And yes, that includes Christmas season as well. In "Batman Returns", the highly-divisive sequel to the 1989's iconic blockbuster sees Batman (Michael Keaton) confronting his two latest foes: the Penguin (Danny DeVito) and Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer). While some audiences deemed "Batman Returns" too dark for kids, the sequel remains a must-see for fans of Tim Burton's works.

5. "Eyes Wide Shut" (1999)

Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise in "Eyes Wide Shut".

Stanley Kubrick's final movie before his untimely death the age of 70 is best remembered for two significant things: the highly publicised collaboration with then-husband-and-wife Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman... and of course, the infamous orgy scene. Oh, did we mention this movie is set during Christmas? But nothing in "Eyes Wide Shut" represents a symbol of positive festive spirit as Kubrick turned his characters, his subject matter, as well as the Christmas-y New York setting into a cold-hearted world filled with broken marriage, sexual awakening, lust and betrayal.

6. "Reindeer Games" (2000)

Gary Sinise and Ben Affleck in "Reindeer Games".

In John Frankenheimer's "Reindeer Games", Santa Claus isn't a jolly good fellow. Instead, what you see here is a bunch of ambitious thieves led by Ben Affleck and Gary Sinise dressed up in Santa suits while pulling off a casino heist. Adding to the mix is a naughty and sexy Charlize Theron, and you got yourself a fun yet twisty crime caper. Still, "Reindeer Games" isn't entirely confined to an 18-rated display of blood, violence and double-crosses. Towards the finale, we get to see Ben Affleck's character Nick Cassidy donating some of the stolen money into each mailbox while still donning his Santa suit with "The Little Drummer Boy" playing in the background. If that's not enough, the movie ends with his Christmas-y monologue: "All I wanna do is make it back to Sidnaw, sit down for Christmas dinner, watch some ball with my old man, sleep in my old bed, have leftovers for about 6 months, eat some of that Christmas turkey. Like I said, I never was much for the holidays... until now." It's one of the only positive yuletide vibes you will get in this movie.

7. "Bad Santa" (2003)

Billy Bob Thornton in "Bad Santa".

The title of the movie says it all. Billy Bob Thornton is bad in everything. We mean his character, of course. He likes to drink, smokes, throws profanities and sleeps around a lot. A great Christmas-themed black comedy not to be missed.

"Office Christmas Party" is now showing in cinemas!

Cinema Online, 13 December 2016

Related Movies:
Office Christmas Party (08 Dec 2016)
Showtimes