Sick of the holiday rom-coms with the repetitive plots? If you can’t take another Hallmark or Lifetime holiday movie, then it’s time to start considering binge-watching these oddball Christmas movies. I’ve put together a list of holiday movies that will break that boredom.
There’s no real formula for what constitutes a Christmas movie so I started out with movies that were set during the holiday season or at least have some memorable holiday scenes. Some of these movies even get bonus points for having moral lessons and focus on family togetherness (essential to classic Christmas movies).
1. Krampus (2015) - Young Max (Emjay Anthony) is disillusioned about the holidays when his family clashes over Christmas. He rips up his letter to Santa and in turn, unleashes the wrath of an ancient evil on his family. It’s a story of the family’s fight to survive on Christmas as a deluge of holiday icons turn into monsters.
Image from Universal Pictures
2. Edward Scissorhands (1990) - This Tim Burton film starts off with an inventor assembling a synthetic person called Edwards. The unfinished creation ends up with scissors for hands. He is taken in by a kindly Avon lady and her family in their suburban home. Edward falls in love with the teenage daughter Kim. Things take a turn for the worse when the townsfolk start to turn against him.
Screenshot from 20th Century Studios
3. Die Hard (1988) - No unconventional Christmas movie list would be complete without Die Hard. New York cop John McClane visits Los Angeles for Christmas to see his estranged wife and two daughters but gets caught up in a terrorist invasion of Nakatomi Plaza. This Bruce Willis vs Alan Rickman film is a must-see for any action movie fan.
Screenshot from 21st Century Studios
4. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) - Halloweentown’s pumpkin king Jack Skellington finds himself bored of the usual scare and scream routine. He stumbles upon trees that lead to different towns -- among them is Christmastown. He devises a plan to take on Christmas by kidnapping Santa and all hell breaks loose.
Screenshot taken from trailer available in Disney
5. Gremlins (1984) - A father gifts a mysterious creature called a Mogwai to his son. There are simple rules that he needs to follow: keep Mogwai away from water. Keep it away from bright lights. And never ever feed him after midnight. Once broken, it unleashes evil monsters called gremlins on the idyllic town of Kingston Falls.
Image from Warner Bros
6. Trading Places (1983) - A small-time con artist gets a chance to switch lives with a stock market broker. The reversal of fortunes is a result of a dollar bet between two bored billionaires brothers Mortimer and Randolph Duke. When the truth unfolds, side-splitting humor ensues. The movie stars Dan Ackroyd as Louis Winthorpe III and Eddie Murphy as Billy Ray Valentine. The brothers create a disastrous outcome for Winthorpe by taking away his job, his house, and his reputation and replacing him with Valentine.
Screenshot from Paramount Pictures movie trailer.
7. Lethal Weapon (1987) - Mel Gibson and Danny Glover play Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) detectives Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh. Stuck together as partners. Murtaugh is a by-the-book officer and Riggs is a killing machine -- the only person the force registered as a lethal weapon. These two very different personalities need to work together to unravel a suicide that is linked to an international crime ring.
Image from Warner Brothers
8. Mean Girls (2004) - This film isn’t always classified as a holiday film, but really, who could forget the Jingle Bell rock scene? That alone should give this a spot in the list. When a new student Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) joins high school for the first-time, she learns about the different groups and social situations that are more dangerous than the African bush she grew up in. After being homeschooled for the last 12 years, she starts off as a misfit. That is until the head of the The Plastics Regina George takes an interest in her. She pretends to befriend the popular group to help take revenge for past slights done to her two new friends.
Paramount Pictures movie screenshot
9. Batman Returns (1992) - Penguin and Catwoman are wreaking havoc in Gotham City. The caped crusader comes to the rescue in this second installment of the Batman film franchise. The star-studded cast might be enough to convince you to watch this one during the holidays. Directed by Tim Burton (who is also at the helm of several films in this list), it stars Michael Keaton, Danny Devito, Christopher Walken, and the stunning Michelle Pfeiffer.
Image from Warner Bros.
10. The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996) - Samantha Caine (played by Geena Davis) lives in a small town with her daughter and suffers from amnesia. Her troubled past starts to catch up with her during the Christmas season. The story of her mysterious past unfolds and she uncovers what happened to her eight years ago, before she emerged from a nearby river, two months pregnant.
Her simple suburban life is turned upside down when she starts to recall her life as Charly, a lethal secret agent. To make matters worse, her old mates from the Chapter discover her identity and are now out to kill her. She enlists the help of private eye, Mitch (played by Samuel L Jackson) to unravel her life. It offers spectacular action scenes that are still unmatched to this day, making it easily one of my favorite action movies any time of the year, but especially cool to watch during the holiday season.
Screenshot from the film.
There you have it! Hope you enjoy this list of unconventional Christmas movies to binge-watch over the holidays.