It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? OK, the Christmas season is actually an exhausting month with a never-ending stream of tasks for most people. You want to be jolly, but sometimes you need to indulge your inner Scrooge with Christmas movies that don’t pretend life gets sprinkled with pixie dust one month out of the year.
Whether you’re looking for a little horror to go with your tidings of good will or a dose of comedy that delves into the existential angst of the season, these 10 Scrooge-approved Christmas movies have your back.
1. Bad Santa
Billy Bob Thornton plays the mall Santa from hell in Bad Santa. Willie T. Stoke is a foul-mouthed thief who has no business trying to spread any kind of holiday joy. And yet, he exemplifies the true meaning of Christmas in his own explicit, bizarre kind of way.
Nothing says Christmas quite like a town being overrun by terrifying creatures with sharp teeth and a taste for blood.
Bill Murray takes on “A Christmas Carol” in a comedy that’s a silly, cynical masterpiece. Watch out for a brilliant performance by Carol Kane as a (literally) slap-happy Ghost of Christmas Present.
4. The Ref
The Ref is the kind of movie that makes you deeply sympathize with a burglar after he ends up taking one of the most annoying families in movie history hostage on Christmas Eve.
A little boy’s wish brings the wrath of Krampus down upon his family. What follows is a dark comedy with just enough genuine scares to keep you on the edge of your seat.
No holiday movie has ever captured all the ways Christmas can go wrong quite as spectacularly as National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. The Chevy Chase classic is funny because it’s way too real.
If you want something extra dark to cleanse your brain of all those Christmas carols they’re playing at the mall, then this ’70s Christmas slasher film might be just what you need.
8. Die Hard
John McClane just wants to have a nice, quiet Christmas, but instead he has to stop a bunch of terrorists on Christmas Eve.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s quest for a Turbo Man is every parent’s nightmare taken to the most absurd extremes. The commercial aspect of Christmas is on full display in this ’90s favorite.