The best anti-Christmas movies
- Luke Langlands
- 3 December 2012
They might be set at Christmas, but don't expect warm fuzzy feelings from Gremlins, Die Hard and co
When the first few snowflakes of the season fall solemnly to the ground, who among us aren’t overwhelmed with heart-warming visions of Christmas – presents nestled under the tree, the smell of mince pies, machine-gun-wielding terrorists. These films might not contain the obvious Christmas reference in their title, but they're undeniably Christmas films.
Re-released in cinemas in December 2012, Gremlins has been equally horrifying and delighting viewers since the creatures broke out in 1984. What better way to celebrate the yuletide than by throwing pensioners out of a window via a hot-rodded stairlift?
“Yeah. I got invited to the Christmas party by mistake. Who knew?” Christmas is all about being thankful for the things that we have – Die Hard's John McClane would certainly agree with that. Wishing for nothing beyond spending Christmas Eve with his wife, he instead has the task of foiling a group of terrorists, hell-bent on making sure he doesn’t get the chance to try on his new reindeer woolly jumper. It's all the more painful to watch knowing his next Christmas won't be much better. "How can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?"
Gotham City doesn’t need Santa Claus deciding who has been naughty or nice, as it has the Batman doing the job instead. Batman Returns, Tim Burton’s Christmas-soaked second film of the franchise, refers to the ultra-commercialisation of Christmas, and even has man-sized dancing presents. The domestic-orientated traditions of Christmas are also noted in the Penguin searching for his family.
With enough Christmas imagery to make even Rudolph feel queasy, Lethal Weapon is most certainly a yuletide film. From the first scene to the last, the consistent bad guy deaths are sprinkled with some Christmas spirit. There’s even a reference to crap presents, with Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) giving Danny Glover’s character a bullet he intended to kill himself with – some nice aftershave would have probably done the job
If nothing else, Christmas is certainly about gorging on food portion sizes that stand a chance of keeping us going for the rest of the year. Steven Spielberg’s Hook illustrates the delightful juvenility of Christmas, as well as the act of consuming enough Maltesers and After Eights to make the 'New You' in January weep.
If watching someone sneak into their old employer’s Christmas party to plant drugs whilst drunk and dressed a Santa doesn’t make you all warm and fuzzy, then nothing will. Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy star in Trading Places, a brilliant film that manages to be thoroughly anti-Christmas with just a single scene.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Shane Black clearly has a penchant for writing Christmas(less) films: Lethal Weapon, The Long Kiss Goodnight, The Last Boy Scout, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Robert Downey Jr. plays a lowlife masquerading as an actor (in the film, not in real life) who finds redemption for his past. As true a sense of the Christmas spirit as a fat man in a sled pulled by reindeer.