Top 10 insane Christmas films
We know, we know – we’ve been hitting the limited edition ‘Christmas films blog’-flavoured bottle of Harvey’s Bristol Cream pretty hard lately. But it’s not our fault. Someone needs to let you know all about the best Christmas presents and the ones you wish you could have, not to mention the films which need brightening up and the ones which can’t be improved upon. And who would have told you all about which films to see this year or what to look out for when rewatching Harry Potter over the festive season if we hadn’t, eh? Nobody, that’s who. So to continue our quest to bring you the sum of human knowledge (section: film, subsection: Christmas, style: self-indulgently witty), buckle up for our top ten most utterly butterly mental Christmas films.
#10: Santa’s Slay
Sadly, this is not the only film in the top ten to feature an ageing ex-wrestler playing Santa Claus; God knows why that’s such a popular motif. In Santa’s Slay, Bill “Who’s next?” Goldberg plays a malevolent Antichrist figure who, being the immaculately conceived son of Satan, considered it his sacred duty to rock up every Christmastime and slay people with distinctly unfestive abandon – that is, of course, until an angel beat him at curling (?) and sentenced him to 1000 years of punishment present delivery. A millennium’s all very well, angel-who-turns-out-to-be-the-crazy-grandpa, but what happens in 2005 when Santa and his HELL-DEER find their servitude didn’t slake their thirst for death? Thirty-five people are killed onscreen in this film, and if you need more reasons than that to watch it then you’re on the wrong blog.
#9: The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t
Making it onto the list exclusively on the basis of this ludicrous still, The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t (or Natale che quasi non fu, to give it its original title) is an Italian film about a miser called Phineas T. Prune and his attempts to repossess the North Pole after Santa gets behind on the rent. Santa, who faces the grim future of losing all his toys and having to pimp out the elves just to keep the kids in unnecessary fur-trimmed togs, appeals to someone who is called, against all logic, ‘Sam Whipple’. Sam and “all the children of the world” have to save Santa. Can you tell we haven’t seen this? It just sounds crackers. You can’t point at Santa like that!
#8: Santa With Muscles
Listed in IMDb’s 100 Worst Movies, Santa With Muscles inexplicably stars Hulk Hogan as a miserly millionaire who made his fortune in health foods and became something of a git in the process. However, when he develops amnesia after having an accident whilst pretending to be Santa Claus in an attempt to evade police who are pursuing him for his part in a giant paintball game *gasp*, an opportunistic elf persuades Hogan he’s the real deal and he sets about defending an orphanage from some nasty capitalists. We’ll leave the ethical implications of deliberately misleading someone who’s undergone psychological trauma for now, shall we? Elves are twisty buggers.
#7: The Greatest Store In The World
This made-for-TV classic is on most Christmases, so make sure you keep an eye out for it. Its premise is simple; a woman and her two children move into a department store one Christmas after their caravan blows up. Obviously. They somehow manage to camp out instore for really rather a long time, despite the presence of managerial types (Peter Capaldi, Brian Blessed), thieves dressed as Santa and an elf (Ricky Tomlinson and Sean Hughes, for God’s sake) and S CLUB MOTHERLOVING SEVEN. Why are they hanging around a crappy Northern department store instead of making shit music and being racist on Big Brother? Nobody knows, but it makes for a hell of an entrance. Until you’ve seen Brian Blessed gurning from between Tina and Jo’s horrible late-90s hairdos, you haven’t truly understood what it means to be a man.
#6: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
Do you know what I love? I love mid-60s science fiction films which deal with the problem of Martian children being too goal-oriented and lacking the more devil-may-care attitude of their lackadaisical Earth cousins. I love it when their Martian parents decide that the best way to sort their children out is not to make them some toys but to STEAL SANTA CLAUS and make him do it instead. You know that old chestnut – kidnap Santa Claus along with some random children, make them build a toy factory, constantly threaten them with death? That one. This is a film which defies any attempt at explanation.
#5: Silent Night, Deadly Night
Banned in the UK when it was first released and accused of being the first step on an inevitable slippery slope towards films alleging that the Easter Bunny was a child molester, Silent Night, Deadly Night is a bog-standard slasher flick about a young man with a disturbed past who snaps and kills everybody he knows in a puritanical fit of misplaced righteousness. Except that he’s also dressed like Santa. The photo which was originally going to illustrate this entry showed Santa in full suit/hat/beard straddling a topless woman whilst clutching a screwdriver; that’s a pretty good snapshot of the general tone.
#4: J’ai Rencontré Le Père Noël
If I had to pick just one of Santa’s attributes which I feel gets significantly overlooked, it would probably be his capacity to help children whose parents have been kidnapped and imprisoned in an African village and who are in extreme danger of missing Christmas on account of the French government’s refusal to negotiate with terrorists. In this extraordinary Gallic film (redubbed as Here Comes Santa Claus for what we must presume was an equally credulous English market), prospective orphan Simon manages to a) sneak on a plane to Finland whilst on a field trip to a local airport, b) meet both a fairy and an ogre (why?) and c) persuade Santa to come through with the goods by using his hitherto unexplored power of teleportation. Obviously.
#3: My Little Pony: A Very Minty Christmas
Against all the odds, none of the top three results in this list feature Santa Claus – mind you, he’s had more than enough exposure by now. Galloping onto the big screen nineteen years after their first film (which is in itself worth a watch, if only for the character of ‘The Smooze’, a sentient purple gunge which obliterates all in its path), A Very Minty Christmas features the titular Minty, a more than usually stupid horse, and her efforts to save Christmas for the inhabitants of Ponyville. The problem, you see, is that Minty accidentally broke the Here Comes Christmas Candy Cane (sort of like a Foursquare beacon, I think) and, after inexplicably trying to make up for this by donating her socks to the rest of her herd, she decides to head to the North Pole to give Santa the requisite directions. However, she’s shit at piloting a balloon, and it all goes comically wrong. BFF’s top tip: do NOT try to steer any sort of flying vehicle if ALL YOU HAVE ARE HOOVES.
#2: Jack Frost
You may be surprised to see Jack Frost cropping up anywhere but the top spot, and it’s true that there are very few films to compete with it for sheer gut-wrenching insanity. Picture the scene; Jack Frost, a serial killer, is being taken for execution when the prison truck he’s in is hit by a van carrying experimental genetic material. When this spills on Jack Frost, he melts and then bonds with the snow on the ground to become a sentient snowman capable of controlling his temperature, shifting between physical states, firing icicles from his hands and RAPING SHANNON ELIZABETH WITH HIS CARROT NOSE. Oh, and if you hit him with a bag of porridge that turns out to contain antifreeze (yep) then he bleeds blood. BLOOD. FROM HIS SNOWY SNOW HEAD MADE OF SNOW. It’s snow joke.
#1: The Great Rupert
I suspect that when Rudolf Otto wrote of the mysterium tremendum et fascinans – supposedly the closest we mere mortals can come to articulating the inexpressible experience of entering the presence of the divine – he was actually talking about The Great Rupert. An endlessly charming picture from the last days of vaudeville, Jimmy Durante nominally stars in what is, when all’s said and done, a film about a squirrel which steals money from a well. Admittedly, it’s stealing from a corrupt landlord to treat impoverished families at Christmas – it is also worth noting that the squirrel has a kilt and can dance a bit. The Great Rupert (no italics because that’s his name) was brought to life using a stuffed squirrel and some very painstaking stop-motion, and will single-handedly ruin your Christmas. Best of all, since it’s in the public domain you can watch it here!
No witty sign-off today; I’m spent. Just go and watch the zombie squirrel dance. WATCH IT DANCE!