Santa Claus Conquers The Martians (1964)
Legendary clag in which some stupid Lego-belted Martians kidnap Father Christmas and force him to make toys. But then an evil Martian sabotages the machine and Santa’s toys come out rubbish. They took a lot of drugs in the ‘60s.
Bush Christmas (1983)
No, not that kind. It’s that most rarefied sub-genre – Christmas, Aussie style: the culturally specific tale of an outback farm family struggling to pay festive debts. If only they could get their prize horse back from evil robbers in time for it to win a lucrative race… Seek out for a gawp at a very, very young Nicole Kidman.
Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
Tag: “You made it through Halloween. Now try and survive Christmas.” Cheap and satisfyingly nasty slasher with a killer Santa. Provoked hilarious, po-faced howls from critics (Leonard Maltin: “What next, the Easter Bunny as a child molester?”) See Siskel and Ebert’s frumpy response below…
The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t (1966)
Addled Italian fantasy frolic in which Father Christmas appeals to an attorney to pay off the Scroogey landlord who’s threatening to evict him from his North Pole den. The comedy-unspecial effects reflect the micro-budget. Ace rooftop-leaping opening sequence, mind.
The Christmas Tree (1969)
Bond director Terence Young delivers the strangely uplifting story of a father showing his terminally ill son a fine time. A stark anti-nuke message, wolf attacks and a gutsy gut-punch of a Christmas Eve finale.
Comfort And Joy (1984)
A bereft radio host is drawn into the struggle between rival ice-cream sellers in Glasgow. Directed by Bill ‘Gregory’s Girl’/’Local Hero’ Forsyth, it’s the kind of likable, undemanding Brit-com you’ll happily sit through when weighed down by mince-pies.
Don’t Open ‘Til Christmas (1984)
Serial-killer dressed as Santa offs people over the Christmas period in a poorly lit London. Worth your time for the tagline: “’Twas the night before Christmas and all round the house, not a creature was stirring… because they were all dead.”
The Holly And The Ivy (1952)
The emotionally fractured family of an English clergyman do their best to get together and have a happy Christmas, post-WWII. Smart and subtle with plenty of spiky social undertones.
One Magic Christmas (1985)
Gloriously grim Disney fable starring Harry Dean Stanton as the droopy-jawed angel who shows a cynical mother the humanity behind Christmas cliches. It’s A Wonderful Life with a dash of Christmas Carol darkness.
Mr Magoo’s Christmas Carol (1962)
Dickens’ classic tale of Yuletide redemption with Scrooge played by someone who suffers from acute myopia. Infrequently adequate results. The best thing is the music, including a frosty little number called ‘I’m All Alone In The World’. Happy holidays.
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