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Love Stinks! Five Nostalgic Films’ Tragic Love Stories

Love Stinks! Five Nostalgic Films' Tragic Love Stories

Love in horror films is a common staple in almost every plotline. Boy and girl meet. Boy and girl discover a monster. Boy and girl fight monster. Boy and girl fall in love while doing so, blah fucking blah. However, sometimes, it’s not so simple as that and the focal point in said horror film is the tragic love story in itself and what a shit show the feels can really be.

With the hallmark holiday of St. Valentine is upon us and while some of you may be planning hot dinner dates with your beloved spit-swapper, the rest of you are absolutely wanting to give out throat punches at the idea of celebrating this very commercial holiday where everyone is shoving mushy-mush love down your esophagus. It could be you are coming fresh out of a relationship leaving you wounded, or perhaps you’re in an unhealthy partnership now. Maybe it’s as simple as you just loathe this day altogether and the whole damn thing makes you want to vomit.

Any one of those reasons is validation enough and if that’s the case, this list is dedicated to all you readers out there who have sworn off love this Valentine’s Day. Instead of giving you the same ol’ “Here’s 10 horror movies for you to watch on Valentine’s Day” list with My Bloody Valentine always seemingly ending up with the top spot, I’ve decided to show you five examples of great tragic love stories in the horror genre. Because in the case this holiday may have you down in the dumps (it happens), at least you didn’t end up like these sad as hell horror movie couples. So bask in these five tales of love and woe readers, and remember, you could be a lot worse off.

Edward Scissorhands

It took a while for Kim to actually warm up to Edward given his awkward appearance and well, handicap. However, Edward loved her from the moment he set eyes on not her, but a picture of her. And once he got a peek at Kim in the flesh, it was all over. She had his heart. Once Kim finally came around by looking deeper into Edward’s genuine and pure as virgin’s blood love for her, it was the most disgustingly adorable on-screen romance you had ever seen. But hey, they’re on this list; It didn’t end with all sunshine and roses.

After a violent confrontation with Kim’s douche canoe of an ex (Jim), that ended with Edward killing the guy, an already angry crowd of townspeople gathered at his deceased maker’s home. Upon the pitchforkers seeing the now dead Jim outside the walls, Edward’s fate was sealed. Facing the ugly truth that Edward just couldn’t fit in with the normalcy of the outside world, and probably facing murder charges, both unanimously came to the conclusion that he was better off disappearing back into the shadows of his lonely castle. A broken-hearted Kim left her love Edward to once again, live a life of solitude and fibbed to the town that Edward had died in the struggle with Jim. They never saw each other again. Pretty heart-breaking folks.

King Kong (1976)

Beastiality without performing the actual act at its finest. The three major Kong movies we’ve received in the past 80 years, the original 1933 RKO, Dino De Laurentiis’ 1976 version, and Peter Jackson’s monster three-hour epic, all pretty much stay true to the same storyline with minor differences in interactions between beauty and the beast. So for this particular list, we will use the underrated 1976 film as our argument.

While the King of Skull Island treated his prize like a queen, Dwan was only interested in fame and glory. Several times, Kong portrayed real feelings of compassion toward the human, and Dwan just ended up selling him out to that dick, Charles Grodin in exchange for money and instant notoriety. And poor Kong goes along with it to appease his beloved until he believes she is threatened. Then all hell breaks loose. Did she feel bad about the tragic end of her protector? Sure she did, and she ends up alone in the middle of what she had initially had strived for all along. Fame. All at the price of losing her relationship with both her human love interest Jack, and her weird connection with Kong for whose death she was ultimately responsible. Kind of a bitch move.

Phantom of the Opera

As with Kong, the beautiful tale of love and woe that is Phantom of the Opera, has been mulled over many times in film and theater; making it possibly one of the greatest and audibly appealing horror films in the past 100 years. However, Universal horror icon Claude Rains’ portrayal of the disfigured man in love, is a classic and personal favorite.

Erique Claudin (Rains) is a bit discouraged after being dismissed from his long years of being a violinist at the Paris Opera House due to the failing limbs in his hands. Now, had Erique had put savings aside he may have been OK. However, this man was secretly in love with a young up-and-coming Opera singer Christine Dubois; and had been quietly funding the future starlet’s music lessons.

 In the hopes of making ends meet, Claudin writes and sends off a concerto for the Opera House. After becoming concerned when he receives no word on his operetta status, the man takes a trip to the publishers only to learn they had stolen his music. In a struggle with said concerto thief, acid is thrown in Claudin’s face and the Phantom with an agenda is born.

That agenda is to see his love become successful. Maybe he went a little overboard by murdering the female lead in one of the operas Christine was an understudy for, and dropping a giant chandelier on the audience, but eh, who the hell are we to judge a man’s heart? In the midst of the chaos, Claudin sweeps Christine to the sewer undergrounds and proclaims his love for her. Christine still doesn’t know this was once a dear friend of hers, and Claudin has not revealed his identity, leaving her afraid and at the masked man’s mercy. He begins to play on his piano and urges his love to sing the concerto he had written for her. In the meantime, two of Dubois’ suitors come to her rescue, following the sounds of the music. When they reach the pair, one fires a gun at the ceiling, crushing Claudin to death.

In the aftermath, Christine realizes her captor was actually Claudin, and admiringly had said she had always felt “drawn to him”. Thus leaving her two potential suitors behind in honor of the man who loved her into his demise, and focusing only on her singing career.

The Crow

“People once believed that when someone dies, a crow carries their soul to the land of the dead. But sometimes, something so bad happens that a terrible sadness is carried with it and the soul can’t rest. Then sometimes, just sometimes, the crow can bring that soul back to put the wrong things right.”

The tragic love story that serves as the center plot in 1994’s The Crow, and the real-life tragedy regarding Brandon Lee’s death behind the scenes of this beloved film, are enough to make anyone’s tear ducts swell. Shelly and Eric were relationship goals. The depth of Eric’s love for his lady is what every ghoul dreams of one day. Which makes this tale truly one of the saddest that I can personally think of. The brutal circumstances surrounding both Shelly’s and Eric’s murder drives Draven to come back from the grave one year later to avenge their untimely demise. Under the guidance of a crow, Draven tracks down the perpetrators and makes them suffer in the name of his lost love.

However, the satisfaction of seeing one of the main culprits being impaled by a gargoyle (kick-ass scene), doesn’t undo the past as Eric returns to Shelly’s grave. What was once can now never be but, if the people we love are stolen from us, the way to have them live on is to never stop loving them. Buildings burn, people die, but real love is forever.

The Fly (1986)

On top of being one of the top horror remakes of all time, Cronenberg’s The Fly is so much more than a monster movie. Without a doubt, it’s one of the saddest, and most painful love tales one can watch unfold on-screen. Seth and Veronica’s whirlwind romance looks and feels so authentic, as the pair have incredibly believable chemistry that sucks you right into this strange world of telepods, insects, and tragedy. And leaves you in a hot mess of tears and puke- because you and I both know this movie can easily produce projectile vomit for the queasy.

Just as things were heating up for the genius inventor and the journalist, a spontaneous experiment with Brundle’s telepods goes terribly wrong as a fly snuck into one of the pods with Seth, resulting in DNA fusion. Unlike the 1958 Vincent Price film, Brundle’s transformation is not instantaneous, and at first, Seth feels exhilarated and powerful. Of course, we know that’s just the bug juices flowing through his veins. Veronica can see that something is terribly wrong with her newfound love, and as Seth soon finds out, is dangerously right.

One of the key points that really feels like a stab in the heart of viewers, is a half-mutated Brundlefly’s speech to Veronica on “insect politics”. Veronica is desperate to help Seth, however, Brundle knows that he is beyond her help and orders her to stay away as he feels the insect inside of him has at this point, completely taken over.

“You have to leave now, and never come back here. Have you ever heard of insect politics? Neither have I. Insects don’t have politics. They’re very brutal. No compassion, no compromise. I’m an insect who dreamt he was a man and loved it. But now the dream is over… and the insect is awake. I’m saying… I’ll hurt you if you stay.” 

GUT-WRENCHING.

The biggest kick in the dick is at the very end, however. Brundle, insane with an idea to fuse him, and a now pregnant Veronica together in the telepods seem like the answer to his problem. With the help of a concerned, although douche ex-lover and co-worker of Ronnie’s, she manages to escape leaving Brundle’s DNA to be accidentally fused with the pod itself. Now we have a mutated human-fly-telepod. Good grief. Seth reaching deep inside to his human counterpart shakily grabs a shotgun a distressed Veronica has in her hand and points it at his head, urging his love to end the madness. A hysterical Geena Davis complies and blows Goldblum’s brains out, giving us one of the most miserable endings to any horror film.

Ugh. Love stinks.

Happy Valentine’s Day Nostalgic Nuggets! Now, I’m off to eat an entire box of chocolates and cry in my pillow.

40 Years Of Terror! Top 10 Horror Movies of 1982

Well, here we are once again; another 40 years from the time some of the most explosive and memorable horror movies hit the public’s eyeballs and I’m here to celebrate this all-important milestone for what might be, the greatest year of horror ever! Yeah, yeah, I know I’ve said that about 1981, but the following year is really giving 81′ a kick in the ass as far as tried and true horror classics.

1982 is a year for innovations in the genre of Sci-Fi and the Paranormal. Filmmakers really lit a fire under the ass of the ghostly corner of the genre, helping us understand just how truly terrifying the unseen world of the dead can be. The torment in some of these films is truly disturbing- and with it mostly involving women, films like Poltergeist, Amityville II, and The Entity adds the undertone smack-in-the-face reminder of the long-standing theme of the horrors of reality for women that we have long endured. Rape, manipulation, and assault from an unseen force is a metaphor for a horrible truth that occurs on the daily basis- which in turn just makes the film all the more terrifying.

In the arena of Sci-Fi and practical effects, 82′ is a gold standard. This year, the genre really stepped up the shock value bracket with a lot of in-your-face gore and unforgettable scenes of movie magic that modern makeup wizards fall back upon as a refresher. Perhaps with the exception of using real skeletal remains in the final edits. Of which, worth noting was rather common back in the day in terms of production cost. Nowadays, it’s become rather taboo but the art of using real skeletons and human parts in film dates back to as early as Universal’s Frankenstein.

Yep. That’s a real dead dude there.

Undeniable classic horror tops the list with a string of strong, original horror films we’ll revisit along the way- including a few slasher sequel classics. The most interesting aspect perhaps of all via this list is that when a lot of these films were released, they were universally panned and hated by the collective. Now they’ve grown on society like a titular parasite invading our senses showing us now what audiences and asshole critics couldn’t see back then. Kind of like “The Thing” hopping from body to body taking off the blinders wowing the shit out of modern cinemaniacs.

Honestly, isn’t this everyone’s face via a first viewing of The Thing?

Anyways, let’s get to it!

10. Swamp Thing

Some of you may scoff that I decided to put Wes Craven’s superhero horror film Swamp Thing over other selections that didn’t quite make the cut, but my opinions’ are not like most everyone else- which is perhaps why some of you even bother to read my weirdo blog in the first place. Gotta throw in a wrench to keep ya’ll on your toes! But, at the end of the day, fantastic performances by Adrienne Barbeau and Ray Wise solidify a quirky, campy, and downright guilty pleasure story that is SWAMP THING. It’s entertaining as hell that tells us the origins of the Bayou creature at a steady pace that never drags, allowing for us to enjoy this underrated gem for exactly what it is.

Also, Wes Craven guys. Grab it here at Amazon!

9. Pieces

Before Jigsaw played games, Timmy went for the throat and just fucked your whole world up.

This absolutely bonkers piece of slasher cinema might be one of the cheesiest horror flicks I’ve ever seen paired with the most gruesome kill scenes- you can’t help but laugh and love it. Pieces is a bit of a hot mess but in the best of ways; and if you’d argue there isn’t such a thing, watch the movie and you’ll 100% agree. It’s a straightforward slasher with both tense moments and ridiculous sub-plotting as far as trying to throw us on who the actual killer is. Which makes it kind of rather charming. What else can I say other than it’s a fun ride to take watching a girl get her legs chainsawed off in the corner of a locker room. Some mighty fine 80s’ horror right there.

Grab it here on Amazon!

8. The Entity

I saw The Entity at an entirely too young of an age and this movie scared the ever-loving shit out of me- and still kind of does as the loosely based true tale of a woman’s torture with a paranormal spirit will tend to do that to a gal.

Based on the notorious Doris Bither case of 1974, The Entity follows a single mother being raped, over and over again by a stalker spirit. Much like in the real-life case, the movie itself is an engaging tragedy and sexploitation of the female body walking a tightrope line between provocative terror and flat-out fetish. It can be a hard watch for victims of SA, in which case this ain’t for you at all. But if you can stomach it, The Entity can stand shoulder to shoulder with the best of the supernatural thrillers out there and Barbara Hershey is just exceptional in her role as a distraught victim of this pervo spirit.

Pick up the collector’s edition on Amazon here!

7. Tenebre

The master of Giallo Dario Argento, and the film that was successfully prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act by the Director of Public Prosecutions in the UK up until 1999! Tenebre is literally a body of horror art, making a profound statement about the duplicity of society. Which is probably why it ruffled some feathers along with all the insane violence.

Tenebrae follows an American horror novelist Peter Neal who is promoting his book in Rome, where his arrival also coincides with some gruesome murders where the bodies are plastered with pages of his latest release, “Tenebre”. Argento’s greatest hit is jam-packed with fantastic cinematography and comes correct as an 80’s Italian horror film- complete with a European synthesizer soundtrack. Not to mention the movie is just pretty to look at. Even the kills are just as beautiful as they are brutal.

This movie will probably be higher up on more snooty cinephile lists; however, I am neither a movie snob nor a proclaimed “master cinephile”. I mean, I DID put Pieces on this list if you need a reminder. I’m just an asshole with a blog that has been a fan of horror movies since my diaper days. But anyway, it’s a great watch, so grab it here on Amazon!

6. Friday The 13th: Part 3

Friday The 13th Part 3 (in 3D as that’s the true title) is a monumental addition to not only the franchise but this list itself as this IS the first time Jason wears the now-iconic hockey mask. Also, it was filmed in Super 3D which just made it extra cool.

Even without the 3D gimmick, the second sequel to basically the king of the 80s’ slasher genre, stands on its own as a solid horror film. It’s also the only film in the series where the victims’ AREN’T camp counselors, but rather a gal Chris, and some friends visiting her childhood home at Higgins Haven, Chris’ father’s old farm which just so happens to be sitting right next to old Camp Crystal Lake. What a coincidence! Between the oh-so-extra kills that play off the 3D experience and Harry Manfredini’s score better than it’s even been, Part III is an important entry as it truly gives a visual birth to the now iconic Jason Voorhees that will all know and love.

Nab it here at Amazon for only $7!

5. Amityville II: The Possession

Amityville II takes everything we know about the first film, throws some steroids and fire on it, and serves it well done with a side of what-in-the-actual-fuck.

Penned by Halloween III‘s Tommy Lee Wallace, and Italian director Damiano Damiani, Amityville II was destined to be a wild ride. The sequel is actually a prequel with the Montellis loosely based on the real-life DeFeo family. The Ronnie Defeo character, Sonny Montelli, can’t live up to his asshole Dad’s (Burt Young) ridiculous expectations, and thanks to some demonic entities, the kid finally snaps back. While I feel bad for the family obviously, honestly, fuck the dad here. There’s a deleted scene where the father Anthony is anally raping Mrs. Montelli.

This entry is actually based on both Defeo’s ever-changing stories about the murders, and Hans Holtzer’s wildly controversial book, “Murder in Amityville”- where the author speculates as to exactly why Ronnie Defeo killed his entire family. The disturbing, incest relationship Sonny has with his sister Patricia, a volatile parallel between Ronnie and his father, and the speculation of the home being built on an Indian Burial ground all make it into this twisted true-crime retelling. Coupled with a demon possession plot, makes Amityville II one of the most unforgettable, and quite frankly, one of the most horrifying horror films I’ve ever seen. I personally think it’s way scarier than the first movie.

Grab it here at Amazon!

4. Halloween III: Season Of The Witch

A month after writer Tommy Lee Wallace’s Amityville II: The Possession was released, his directorial effort of the highly-anticipated sequel of the Halloween franchise hit theaters in October of 1982- to well, a lot of pissed off fans.

The fact that Michael Myers was this time, not the killer and Season of the Witch took place in an entirely different universe where the prior films were just fantasy fiction, really rubbed fans the wrong way as they felt they had been swindled into a franchise they didn’t recognize- at least, this is according to my own family who are some of the biggest Halloween fans I know and put me on the path of horror movie righteousness. It makes sense; however, this sort of attitude virally panned this entry without giving it a proper chance. Over the years, Halloween III: Season of the Witch has developed a massive cult following, and the red-headed step-child is finally getting the recognition it deserves: as a fantastic piece of horror movie Halloween goodness and dare I say, the Halloweenist of all the Halloween movies. Yeah, I said it.

Grab the beautiful collector’s edition here!

3. Creepshow

What happens when George A. Romero, Tom Savani, and Stephen King have an orgy lovechild? Creepshow that’s what and the goddamn greatest anthology there ever was, and ever will be.

Also, now we’ve ventured into back to back Tom Atkins. Fantastic.

Taking the excitement and forbidden fruit of childhood horror comics and visually splattering it on screen into five, cinematically stunning tales of terror, Creepshow is the Horror God’s gift to fans. I don’t even know what to say that hasn’t already been said about it, but I can state this: It perfectly nails what it feels like to be a part of the horror community and how exactly it feels to be a horror junkie in general. Disapproval from those who will fail to ever understand while we quietly disappear into the background with our beloved fetish- and yes, also silently plotting our revenge on them. I’ll never go as far as Leslie Neilson, but I’m not opposed to dousing someone’s home in 1,000 cockroaches to those who scoff at the horror community.

Pick it up here kiddies!

2. The Thing

Much like with Halloween III, John Carpenter’s The Thing was universally shit on by critics. This right here, ladies and gentlemen, is why NEVER listen to a glorified voice on the matter because 95% of the time, they don’t know jack from shit on what fans like. Also, goes without saying never, EVER read a horror movie review that isn’t from a reputable horror site. You’re just going to get steered in the wrong direction from a bunch of jackoffs that don’t understand the genre anyway.

That being said, The Thing is quite possibly, the greatest Sci-Fi horror flick of all time- and a remake at that! For me, The Thing is constantly picking a fight with Ridley Scott’s Alien as the top contender spot; both with similar themes of claustrophobia in isolation. Also with members of the crew from both films serving as a possible threat to each other. However, in The Thing, the monster’s agenda is prominent and it’s survival is of the utmost importantace. Every part of the “Thing” is an individual life form with its own survival instinct, meaning it will sever itself in half if that means it can escape from danger faster. All it needs to turn into another creature it just a sample of their DNA, absorb it, which allows it to take on the copied subject’s appearance, memories, and mannerisms. I really wouldn’t want an entire world populated with these things. Would you?

I might even get some shit here for putting this as the runner-up, but I gotta go with my gut here on this one. Relive the terror here!

1. Poltergeist

Written by Stephen Spielberg and directed by Tobe Hooper, albeit debate still stands on where all true credit for the film goes, Poltergeist is the horror champion of 1982 for all the right reasons.

Malevolent spirits stealing a child and tormenting the Freelings play heavy on the innocence factor. Things are a lot scarier when purity is involved- much like when little Regan turned into a green-slime puking demon in The Exorcist. The anguish and trauma the family, in particular, Mom Diane (JoBeth Williams) goes through, you feel deep in your bones. Not to mention all the real-world terror and loss felt offscreen that became legendary in the film world; you know, the whole “Poltergeist Curse” thing.

Poltergeist is hauntingly beautiful. Foregoing a traditional sinister musical score for the film, we’re embraced by a sweet, yet haunting lullaby while we all know a five-year-old girl is alone in some horrific purgatory with a bunch of ghosts clawing at her to “lead them into the light”. The movie starts as innocent and carefree as any film, and the intensity grows as we roll along. Brother and sister playing? Mom taking a bath? Dude eating a bag of Cheetos? All terrifying. We all know something bad is coming. We just don’t know when or how. Until an ugly mug of a beast ghost shows up to let them know they are not in control of a damn thing.

Plus, let’s not forget this magnificent horror treasure induced a giant fear of clowns among the masses. The power of cinema folks.

At the end of the day, what makes Poltergeist the end-all for horror in 82′ is that ultimately, it’s a tour-de-force of filmmaking. There’s so much going on beyond the terrifying surface that says a lot about America, suburbia, and society in general. Here we have a film set in the early ‘80s, opening with the national anthem, where a yuppie dad (Craig T. Neilson) who builds homes basically on top of each other (and on cemetery grounds for that matter) is reading a Ronald Reagan biography. Of course, this is unbeknownst to him, but not his boss, who knew damn well what they building this sweet neighborhood on. Economic gain and greed while they attempt to erase history in the process. Reaganomics everyone.

Travel back to horror suburbia here!

So there you have it, a fine year for horror movies indeed. Also, my birth year and have no shame in claiming any of these. So let’s hear it- what’s YOUR favorite horror from 1982?

5 Films That Totally Qualify As Christmas Movies

Sometimes the greatest Christmas movies are ones that don’t really center around the jolly fat man or the holiday spirit entirely. Various instances in film have given us the Christmas theme in the background like a New York City cop fighting terrorists during a big Office Christmas party. Or perhaps an army of Gremlins terrorizing a town on Christmas Eve. I’m not even sure why movies like Die Hard or Gremlins are ever up for debate as far as labeling them as Holiday films; because they 100 % ARE and an undeniable fact at that. However, there are some true greats I’ve seen that could totally qualify as Christmas movies right alongside that of Stripe and John McLane and it is my mission to stamp a Santa hat-wearing Sico the Robot as a cinematic staple of the holiday season.

HOOK

Bangarang indeed that Hook is undeniably a Christmas movie. I guess maybe with the late, great Robin Williams’ larger-than-life persona, one could easily forget they’re actually watching a loosely based “Peter Pan” version of Charles Dickens’ “The Christmas Carol”.

Before Peter Banning is bustled off to Neverland to save his kids from the dastardly Hook, Peter and his family arrive in London at Granny Wendy’s home that is decked out to the nine in Christmas decor with the score of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” playing in the background. After Peter remembers his origins, defeats Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman), and returns to London with his children, he wakes up in the snow a changed man, grateful to be reunited with his family and determined not to miss another important moment. This, in my mind, mirrors the feel of Ebenezer Scrooge’s newfound grateful attitude and that power/money is trivial; thus reminding us to cherish the time we have we our loved ones. It’s a magical film that represents all the child-like wonder that is felt during the season and was actually released in December of 1991. So I can’t see this as anything but, a Peter Pan holiday movie.

Rocky IV

I’m probably going to hear a barrage of complaints that the national treasure that is Rocky IV is nowhere near a Christmas movie. Lemme stop you right there because you’re wrong and get off my blog right now.

Ok, I’ve gone too far. I apologize, but my feelings are pretty strong on this one.

Case in point: The film’s final fight between Ivan Drago and Rocky takes place on the 25th of December, Christmas Day, in Ivan Drago’s less than hospitable home of Russia for 15 rounds of revenge boxing. Let’s be realistic here; my own Italian family has taught me that there is nothing that says Christmas more than two grown men beating the ever-loving shit out of one another. While in my case, it’s usually over something petty, unlike the premise in this film, but eh- close enough.

One of the most tender, feel-good moments of the movie is during the snowy backdrop of the bleak atmosphere of Krasnogourbinsk, Russia where Rocky has just finished one of his many mountain man runs. Rocky is reunited with Adrian in order to give him the final push he needs to avenge the death of his fallen friend. Proving that Christmas time is indeed a magical time to set aside our feelings and be goddamn supportive of one another- even if it is vengeful.

Edward Scissorhands

The Tim Burton Frankenstein/ Grinch hybrid of a yes, Christmas movie has all the makings for a classic tale of that one socially awkward member of the extended family trying their best to fit in at Christmastime while simultaneously not trying to have a nervous breakdown.

I can relate all too well.

Family and love are two biggies you will find in any traditional Christmas movie, and you’ll find that among the madness here in Edward Scissorhands. The Frankenstein of suburbia has been taken off his Grinch’s mountain by the neighborhood Avon lady in an act of, what she thinks is kindness. Which would most certainly be the case in most situations, but not here I guess as, in the end, he is chased back into his safe space lair to live out the rest of his days where he belongs- unjudged.

While the Christmas scenery doesn’t arrive until the last 30 minutes of the film, the spirit of “kindness” and treating others with humility is most certainly holiday-themed exploitation that would not garner as much effect if the holiday season wasn’t present like in the rest of the movie. The Boggs’ try their damnedest to make Edward feel like one of the family and community, with daughter Kim eventually finding her once disgust towards Edward turning into love and understanding. The first and second half of the film, Edward is fairly accepted and treated with admiration- even if some of it is pure curiosity and exploitation at some points. It isn’t until the Christmas season that he is demonized by the neighborhood. The juxtaposition of these themes is a major driving point for the movie’s plot: that even in the season of goodwill we can forget to treat others, especially those less fortunate, with grace, understanding, and love. Pretty much like Frankenstein and the Grinch here.

Ahh well, just a reminder that when it snows on Christmas, we know Edward is still around.

Lethal Weapon

Die Hard gets all the Christmas Action Movie glory, but credit where it’s due: Lethal Weapon came out a year earlier and is absolutely a goddamn Christmas movie. Oh and psst, a better one at that.

In the trailer for the 30th-anniversary edition of Die Hard, 20th Century Fox added the tagline, “It’s the greatest Christmas story ever told,” and not only is Lethal Weapon more authentically a Christmas movie in terms of origin, but it offers more of the sweet holiday feelings that Die Hard just never bothers to attempt to engender in the viewer. Between the initial shoot-out at the Christmas Tree Farm and the climatic Busey/Gibson fight on Murtaugh’s festively decorated front lawn, there’s again, another mirroring of a holiday classic- It’s A Wonderful Life.

When you lose important people in your life, you miss them every day. However, there’s no time where that absence is felt more strongly than during Christmas. Christmas can be stressful under the best of circumstances, and for Martin Riggs, the loss of his wife becomes too much to bear. With no family, Riggs contemplates suicide early on but thanks to a new partner and the circumstances surrounding the case they’re working together, Riggs finds a new lease on life echoing that of George Bailey.

I certainly wouldn’t want to live in a world without Martin Riggs, thank you very much- cue that “Jingle Bell Rock”!

Batman Returns

Well, I certainly feel like this is the one alternative Christmas movie I might get the least pushback on. Most people would tend to agree that Batman Returns, while not a traditional Christmas film, still has more than enough of those Christmas aesthetics to qualify as one along with the fact the entire movie is set during the season with Gotham covered in snow and the streets decked out with trees, lights and candy colors. From the red and white of the Penguin’s umbrella to the snow-covered streets of Gotham, the director is dedicated to keeping us steeped in the Christmas spirit. Even Max Schreck’s prototype power plant is all Christmassy, with its red-and-white-striped smokestacks. Speaking of the bastard, with his tousled white hair, red bow tie, and nefarious plans to steal all of the energy from Gotham’s girls and boys, he plays very well as an evil mirror of Santa Claus. How can anyone really deny the Holiday vibin’ here? Yet here we are. Still fighting the good fight to ensure its place among the Hallmark Holiday Movie classics.

Tim Burton’s Batman Returns is a unique film that explores both its heroes and villains deeply as tragic, lonely misfits trying to find meaning during the holidays. Kind of like the “Island of Misfit Toys” in Rudolph but with homicidal tendencies. This movie succeeds on so many levels in invoking the spirit of the holidays in a dark, and gothic way that is unlike any other film on this list.

And maybe, one day Batman Returns will be held in the highest regard as one of the greatest Christmas stories of all time. Because hey, “Things change”.