Christmas is not a holiday most of us associate with horror movies. But before you go and throw on a DVD to keep the kids happy while you're wrapping presents on the sly, you might want to sit down for a preview.
It turns out some of those touchstones from our childhood are a lot scarier than we remember! If you don't want to spend Christmas night trying to convince a freaked out kid to go to sleep, you might want to hit the fast forward on these classic holiday movies (apologies in advance for any spoilers, but they're for your own good!):
Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. If you've ever been to a kid's Christmas play, you'll know that little red noses and reindeer equal Christmas. But beware this movie. Because nothing yells "terrifying tots" like the Abominable Snowman, a big-toothed monster who hates Christmas (and seems like he's going to eat Rudolph).
Miracle on 34th Street. Natalie Wood's doe eyes don't make up for the threat of Santa being thrown in the clink. Imaging Santa in there with all the creeps they see on the news is rough on a kid.
Disney's A Christmas Carol. This is a new one with a decent Rotten Tomatoes rating, which means plenty of parents will be picking it up to add to the holiday collection. But don't let the animation fool you. The ghosts of Christmas past, present and future will scare the Christmas spirit right out of your kids. That's if they manage to get past the opening scene with a dead Jacob Marley with pennies on his eyes -- pennies Ebeneezer Scrooge steals. Other versions offers up their own bit of scary, but this one may be the new king of creepy.
The Nutcracker 3D. If giant nutcrackers coming to life wasn't scary enough, they had to go and make them jump off the screen at you with the 3D version.
The Kid Who Loved Christmas. I don't care how old you are. This old Cicely Tyson movie masquerading as a Christmas special is a tearjerker of the highest order. Which may not sound exactly like a scary movie, but just wait. A little boy is waiting to be adopted by a wonderful couple, but the mom dies (forgive me for forgetting the details a bit, I refuse to watch it again). The dad still wants to go through with the adoption, but now he'd be a single parent and the mean, awful beasts with social services say no. Pure evil, I say.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Some people find Jim Carrey scary any day of the year, but he's particularly noxious in the 2000 version of an old favorite that is officially the scariest portrayal of a story that's got its warts in any version. What part of green guy who hates Christmas and wants to ruin the whole thing doesn't sound scary to you?
Frosty the Snowman. Adults understand that Frosty is just a big pile of snow, but try explaining that to a hysterical toddler who just saw their new friend melt away in the greenhouse.
Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey. What part of dead mom doesn't scare you? Nestor's mama dying while sheltering her little donkey from the storm is every kid's worst nightmare. Every mom's too, come to think of it.
A Christmas Story. Santa's a jerk when Ralphie goes to the department store to ask for his Red Ryder BB Gun. But it's the cackling elves who like to throw kids down the slide after they've had their visit with Santa who will have your kids up nights wondering how something so evil could really be responsible enough to make a decent toy truck.
What Christmas movies give you the willies?