Holiday Horror viewing guide: 20+ movies to stream this Christmas

Better Watch Out - Courtesy Shudder
Better Watch Out - Courtesy Shudder /

It’s December, and the time for holiday horror is upon us! As we bid farewell to Halloween and Thanksgiving, there is a chill in the air, and horror lovers are ready to set their sights on murderous/demonic Santas, bloody snow and killer elves.

As a big fan of holiday horror myself, I have done the work for our readers and tracked down where you can stream some of my personal favorites in the genre. So, let’s take a look at some ho-ho-ho-horror films to watch this month.

A Christmas Horror Story – Tubi, Shudder – I was surprised at how good this one was the first time I saw it. Interweaving several different stories, it stars William Shatner as a drunk DJ and George Buza as a badass Santa.

Anna and the Apocalypse – Shudder – This fun, bloody flick is the best zombie Christmas musical you will ever see. Seriously, it’s great, with top notch music and dance numbers, sympathetic characters, plenty of gore and a storyline that manages to make you laugh and cry.

Better Watch Out – Tubi, Pluto TV, Shudder – While I wish the makers of this dark comedy/horror mashup had upped the gore in this film, it’s still a must-watch for me every year. 12-year-old Luke has a crush on his babysitter, and the two become trapped in the house when a killer begins to menace them.

holiday horror
Black Christmas. Image courtesy Shudder /

Next up: The best holiday horror film of them all

Black Christmas – Tubi – Ignore the dismal 2019 reboot, and go straight to Bob Clark’s 1974 version, which is one of the best horror films ever made. A group of sorority sisters have been receiving obscene phone calls, which they laugh off. But when a killer named Billy moves into their attic, the slashing begins.

Black Xmas – Shudder – This 2006 remake of Black Christmas is pretty solid. It gives us more of a back story for Billy, and has some great gross-out scenes, plus it features a solid cast. It would be nearly a perfect film for me, except that it goes off the rails in the last 20 minutes or so. Still, I watch it every year.

Christmas Bloody Christmas – Shudder – Another fun holiday horror film, this one introduces the idea of a killer robot Santa, who slaughters people while stalking record store owner Tori.

Christmas Evil – Tubi, Shudder – Originally released in 1980, Christmas Evil opens with young Harry witnessing his mother being groped by Santa (Harry’s dad in a Santa suit). The incident scars Harry for life, causing him to dress and act like Santa as an adult. Truly, this film would not be as good as it is if it weren’t for the compelling and sympathetic performance of Brandon Maggart as Harry.

Dead End – Tubi – A family travelling on Christmas Eve make the ill-fated decision to take a short cut. As the night goes on, things get stranger and stranger. That’s all I want to say, because you deserve to go into this one blind.

Don’t Open ‘til Christmas – Shudder – In this British slasher, a killer is on the loose. You might think the killer is dressed as Santa, but no…instead, this killer slaughters Santas. The kills are creative, and Caroline Munro puts in an appearance.

Inside – Tubi – As with a lot of French horror, Inside is pretty intense, but it’s also a solid holiday horror film. It’s Christmas Eve, and pregnant Sarah isn’t feeling very jolly after losing her husband in a car crash four months earlier. When a persistent woman shows up knocking on her door and wanting her baby, Sarah is in for the fight of her life.

Jack Frost – Tubi – Is it dumb? Sure. Will you roll your eyes repeatedly while watching it? Yep. But, you know what? This film about a killer snowman is bloody good fun.

Krampus – Peacock – Not only is this one also fun, it’s chockfull of gorgeous Christmasy scenery, wicked special effects (attack gingerbread men, anyone?), and sports a good story. When a little boy loses his holiday spirit thanks to his bickering family, the entire family is menaced by a gigantic monster and his minions.

P2 – Shudder, Tubi – Alexandre Aja produced this 2007 film, in which a young woman is trapped in a parking garage on Christmas Eve. Making matters worse, the creepy security guard is a teensy bit psycho.

Rare Exports – Tubi, Peacock, Pluto TV – In this Finnish Fantasy/Horror mashup, a young boy named Pietari lives in Lapland with his father. When reindeer are gruesomely savaged, Pietari starts to believe that Santa – who in his narrative is evil – is responsible.

Silent Night Deadly Night – Billy witnessed his parents murders at the hand of a killer in a Santa suit, and that kind of thing sticks with you. Billy and his younger brother are placed in an orphanage overseen by a sadistic nun, and the adult Billy eventually goes on a Christmas killing rampage.

Silent Night Deadly Night 2 – Shudder, Tubi – Essentially a reboot of the first film, this one retells the original story before placing its focus on Billy’s younger brother Randy. As you may have guessed, Billy follows in his brother’s footsteps and goes off the deep end during the holidays.

The Advent Calendar – AMC+ – This dark, creepy French holiday horror film introduces us to former dancer Eva, confined to a wheelchair after an accident. A friend gifts her with a creepy advent calendar, and Eva soon finds that the calendar has to power to grant wishes. But, each gift comes with a price.

The Children – Tubi, Shudder – In this chilling film, Elaine and Jonah take their two kids (teenage Miranda and little Paulie) travel to visit Elaine’s sister and her family during the holidays. All of the children start to get sick, and this ain’t just the flu. This illness causes the kids to become violent and murderous.

The Gingerdead Man – Shudder, Tubi – Gary Busey plays the title character, a monster made up of gingerbread spice and serial killer ashes. Executed killer Millard Findlemeyer comes back to finish off the job of killing the Leigh family.

The Lodge – max – In this psychological horror flick, Grace is the sole survivor of a cult that committed mass suicide. When her boyfriend’s two orphaned children show up for Christmas, the family stays at a remote cabin, where strange things start to happen.

The Nightmare Before Christmas – Disney+ – Is The Nightmare Before Christmas actually a Halloween movie, or is it a Christmas movie? The answer is yes. If you watched it during Halloween, you can watch it again over the holidays, and it fits perfectly either way.

The Retaliators – Amazon Prime, Tubi – Brutally violent and pitch black in tone, this one sees John Bishop seeking vengeance after his teenage daughter is murdered.

Violent Night – Prime Video – I would guess there are a lot of people who consider this more of an action film than horror, but in my mind, the amount of blood and violence push it into the realm of holiday horror. Santa Claus is disgruntled, drinking heavily while making his Christmas Eve rounds, and determined to quit. But all of that changes when he ends up caught in a mansion where a privileged family is being terrorized by violent criminals.

dark. Next. Shudder gifts us with holiday horror in December