Recoil in horror and awe with out list of the Top 7 Worst Holiday Movies and TV Specials,
One hallmark of the holiday season is watching classic movies and television specials. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Christmas Story, etc. are traditional seasonal touchstones, allowing families time to decompress and lounge after overeating.
But what about all the abhorrent TV specials and cringe-worthy Christmas family films?
Or the holiday themed horror movie? Halloween as I wrote about in October, remains the best and most imitated. Black Christmas is a classic creepfest (same director as ‘A Christmas Story‘ funnily enough) and 2010’s Rare Exports is an excellent thriller about an evil Santa.
[amazon_image id=”B001EAWME2″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Black Christmas [Blu-ray][/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”B005D82VM4″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (Blu-Ray + DVD)[/amazon_image]
But beyond that it’s a Santa sack full of poop.
With that in mind, I’ve listed the 7 Worst Holiday Movies and TV Specials. The Worst of All Time. The ones that must be seen to be to believed. I’ll have Amazon links as well as noting which ones are available on Netflix Streaming ( Click Here for a free, month-long trial of their service).
7. Elves (1989)
[amazon_image id=”B008C4JFFC” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Elves[/amazon_image]
Remember Dan Haggerty from the show Grizzly Adams? No? Well Hollywood had forgotten him too when he made this shit fest as a feisty Dept store Santa (ex-cop naturally) fending off a homicidal elf (singular, the title is a misnomer). And the elf was created by an evil Nazi genetics experiment. Yep, you heard that right. These days Haggerty might be a Dept. store Santa after such unwise career decisions. Check out the trailer:
6. Blood Rage (1987) and Blood Freak (1963)
[amazon_image id=”B004H3N6Z2″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Nightmare at Shadow Woods (aka ” Blood Rage “)[/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”B003ZW9ZRY” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Blood Freak (Special Edition)[/amazon_image]
There aren’t many Thanksgiving horror films, apparently with good reason. Blood Rage is a megaturd about 2 twin brothers, one of whom is a serial killer. Like many terrible horror movies from that era, it has a lame ass catch-phrase; Every time the killer murders, he looks at his bloody knife and says “this isn’t cranberry sauce!” Oh, so clever!!
Now for leftovers. The similarly titled Blood Freak also has a Thanksgiving vibe, yet more indirectly. It’s about a man who becomes a killer Man-Bird after eating hallucinogenic laced Turkey. Make sense? No? Exactly! (I covered this in more detail on my Best Worst Movie List).
5. Jack Frost (1996) and Jack Frost 2 (2000)
[amazon_image id=”B00008AOVG” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Jack Frost (Letterbox Version)[/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”B0000A2ZR1″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman[/amazon_image]
Jack Frost is available on Netflix Streaming.
A serial killer en route to his execution (?!?) crashes into a genetics truck (?!?), and he fuses with the genetic material and the snow on the ground (?!?). Nice how they tried to scientifically explain the killer snowman concept.
The sequel is equally bad, esp. when Jack throws a killer snow ball that severs a guy’s arm:
4. Santa Claus Film (1959)
[amazon_image id=”B0006HU2YG” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Santa Claus[/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”B003HIHXIE” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Mystery Science Theater 3000: Santa Claus[/amazon_image]
Available on Netflix Streaming.
This movie literally pits Santa against Satan. What makes it extra unsettling is that Santa has surveillance equipment to view children covertly across the world, some while they sleep. He also lives in outer space. And Merlin is his own personal wizard! And he has a magic key that can open any door on Earth! Either the screenwriter was an iconoclast who loved combining mythologies with reckless abandon, or they were mentally ill. Or perhaps they were a five year-old.
Check out this hallucinatory fever dream:
Mystery Science Theater 3000 did a hilarious take on this, so catch their version if you get a chance.
3. Santa Claus Conquers The Martians (1964)
Available on Netflix Streaming.
Completely lacking charm, humor, or dignity, this turd is about Martians kidnapping Santa so he can bring Christmas joy to the Red planet. Of particular note is Dropo, perhaps the most detestable character (a glaring omission on my Most Annoying Movie Characters list!) ever seen in a Christmas special. He’s a wacky Martian used for ‘comic relief’, but he just invites a wish for his cruel cinematic demise. Mystery Science Theater’s version makes this stinker go down much smoother.
2. Silent Night Deadly Night 5-The Toymaker (1991)
I also covered this in my Best Worst Movies Series, but it bears repeating. Mickey Rooney assaults the screen and common decency as a pervy toy maker named Joe Petto, who makes murderous toys. He also has a son named Pino Chio. Subtle, huh?
Even for this bad movie franchise it’s the White Elephant Gift of the bunch. But it’s so amazingly awful you can’t look away. Check out the trailer:
(I do love Rooney as the cranky stop-motion Santa in The Year Without A Santa Clause which remains my favorite Rankin-Bass Holiday Special.)
1. Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)
If people had been reminded of The Star Wars Holiday Special throughout the years they would have been better prepared for The Phantom Menace. But it was only shown once, (on Nov 17th, 1978) as all involved were deservedly ashamed.
I saw it on that fateful broadcast. It was a stopgap to tide kids over in-between sequels. But things went horribly wrong. Where to begin? Chewbacca and Han Solo visit Kashyyyk, the Wookie’s home planet to celebrate ‘Life Day’. Hijinks ensue. What’s so weird is how it tragically fuses sci-fi action with 70’s musical/comedy variety show. Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher are side by side with Bea Arthur, Harvey Korman and Art Carney. And Jefferson Starship play a crappy tune! In the words of the abhorrent Jar-Jar Binks; Exsqueeze me?!
Also Chewbaccas’s Dad is named Itchy and his son is named Lumpy! And his wife screws up a meal, despite watching an Alien hosted cooking show!?! Agh!
The only thing the special has going for it, is a cartoon short that introduced Boba Fett to the world. Marketing toy goal accomplished!
Here’s a mash-up of the craziest parts.
And here is Carrie Fisher singing the Star Wars theme in the dramatic finale. She should’ve had a bad feeling about that.
There has never been an official DVD/Blu-ray release, but you can find even more clips on YouTube. I think at this point, Lucas should just give in and put it out. It should live in infamy. The Holiday Menace.
So that wraps up Top 7 Worst Holiday Movies and TV Specials of All Time! I know I’ve only scratched the surface, and I’ve never seen Jingle All The Way so feel free to add in your own so-bad-they’re-good holiday travesties below! And check out my Best Geek Gifts and Geek Holiday Gift Guide which has a ton of cool Star Wars stuff!
And for more TV strangeness make sure to read my Top 25 Weirdest Kid Shows Of The 60′s, 70′s and 80′s!
And speaking of MST3K, the Rifftrax crew did their own commentary for the Star Wars Holiday special, which you can order below!