Welcome to the final week of festive favourites. Today’s list features the highly festive subjects of children with cancer and homicidal Santas.
Debra Messing plays the workaholic gringa who has married into the family.
A freak snow storm puts an strained white family in touch with a loved-up black family who teaches them the true meaning of Christmas. A particularly solid performance from Kristy Swanson as the mom who feels like her husband has left her for his job (Swanson appears in other lesse Christmas films including Merry Ex-Mas (2014), A Belle for Christmas (2014) and A Christmas Wish (2011)).
I needed quite the handful of tissues.
An entry for the so-bad-it’s-good category. And, truth my told, high up on my festive favourites list.
After seeing his father - dressed as Santa - nuzzle the thighs of his mother, Harry (Brandon Maggart) goes berserk and comes to think of himself as the real Santa, slaying the naughty folk in this seasonal slasher. I’m not normally a fan of horror, but this one is highly entertaining albeit completely bloody stupid.
At the time of publishing, you can watch the whole thing on YouTube.
Not quite as good, but if you’re looking for something else of this vein I’d suggest Don’t Open Till Christmas (1984) which is a British offering about another red-clad nutjob. A less madcap Christmas horror is the British The Children (2008) which is actually even a little bit scary.
Apparently I like Alicia Witt in Christmas films. And in this one she is engaged to a man who is, on paper, perfect for her. She then accidentally meets another man and serendipity ensues. A well-acted holiday romance.
If you want more of Christmastime Witt, I have recommended Last Holiday (2006) and A Snow Globe Christmas (2013) previously, but there are also some very decent others available: Christmas at Cartwright’s (2014), I’m Not Ready for Christmas (2015) and Christmas List (2016). (She was also in A Madea Christmas (2013), but I can’t in good conscience suggest you go anywhere near it).
Kids and cancer. Not entirely a pleasant topic for a Christmas film. But the performances – Sam Elliot, John Corbett and Sarah Paulson – are polished and I spent the last half crying even though I knew it wasn’t going end horrifically. Which is didn’t. (If you get into the kids-with-cancer-Christmas-caper, I’d also suggest The Heart of Christmas (2011). That ending isn’t so happy).
Sarah Paulson is a “name” now because of American Horror Story. November Christmas and A Christmas Wedding (2006) are two festive looks at her before she became too famous to bother with the holidays.
This post is an instalment from a 15-part series on my favourite Christmas films. The consolidated version - 75 Christmas Films Worth Watching - is now available.