WITH A NETFLIX QUEUE still overzealously frontloaded in October's horror glut, it's already time to start your inevitable segue into that other cinema-sick holiday—so let's assume that you want to make the transition seamlessly this year. Please have your sleigh/slay puns ready.
Gremlins (1984)—When I was five, my favorite movie was Gremlins. In addition to undoubtedly being my only justifiable claim to kinship with Lil Wayne (no homo), my relationship with this surprisingly cynical little fable also managed to color most of my subsequent holidays with a sense of creeping, uncanny macabre. "Do You Hear What I Hear?" still gives me chills. Additional fright fact: adorable puppet protagonist Gizmo was voiced by Howie Mandel. Gross.
Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)—With its evocatively oversized video box launching a million adolescent nightmares, the first film in the Silent Night, Deadly Night pentalogy is perhaps the most well-known entry in the surprisingly crowded homicidal Saint Nicholas subgenre (see also: Christmas Evil, Santa Claws, Santa's Slay, etc.). Faced with unprecedented controversy upon its theatrical release, this thoroughly undeserving film is also responsible for perhaps the least ominous slasher utterances of all time: the gruff, monotonous, and staggeringly unmenacing "Pun-ish!"
Black Christmas (1974)—The only film on this modest list that I can recommend without qualification, the original Black Christmas is arguably ground zero of the slasher genre—essentially establishing all of the modern precepts: sorority house slaughter, heavy-breathing POV stalker, a strangely puritanical ethical compass, and a classic "the call is coming from inside the house!" premise. Margot Kidder, you are so pretty!
Jack Frost (1996)—Released roughly two years prior to Michael Keaton's creepy family film of the same name (and, come to think of it, strikingly similar premise), Jack Frost is more winking grotesquerie than genuine horror film. And while that's all fine and good, there's just something about a supernatural snowman raping a woman to death with his carrot nose that kinda cripples the old funny bone. But maybe that's just me.