Wishing you a very spooky Christmas: the unconventional side to festive films

Elizabeth Meade guides us through the unconventional holiday classics...

Elizabeth Meade
23rd November 2020
After years of seeing the typical Christmas classics such as "Frosty the Snowman," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "A Charlie Brown Christmas," it's time to mix it up a bit!

There are a host of films that, whilst not explicitly associated with a certain holiday, are fun to watch during the winter with family and friends. My family is a big fan of these types of films, going beyond the typical "unconventional" films like Die Hard (1988) and Gremlins (1984) that actually take place on Christmas, to films that take a bit of imagination to frame as winter classics.

If this sounds like your family as well, then you might all enjoy The Ritual (2017), a film about some hikers who walk into the woods of Sweden (though the film was actually filmed in Romania), finding a cozy cabin and a happy deer friend. Or something like that. Yes, it's a horror film (content warning for death, blood, violence, and body horror), but the forested atmosphere makes it the perfect film to watch in front of a fire with hot chocolate. Sadly it does not take place in winter, but you can't have everything!

Image credit: IMDb

Trollhunter (2011) is similar in its focus on Scandinavian hiking trips, but is notably more authentic in that it was directed by a Norwegian director and filmed in Norway. With English subtitles, a found-footage conceit that will be familiar to fans of Cloverfield (2008) and plenty of snow, this horror-fantasy-comedy is accessible to English speakers and has a quirky sense of humour that makes it a winter classic. Although "college students searching for mythological creatures" doesn't sound like the plot of a great holiday film, its well-trodden tropes and atmosphere (and not-too-scary special effects) make it a good family film that older kids and teens can enjoy, while not being too childish for adults.

There is nothing wrong with a classic, explicitly Christmassy film - Hallmark's Christmas specials are popular for a reason - but if you are looking for something a bit different, you may be interested in giving one of these more chilly, adventurous films a try this holiday season.

Feature image credit: IMDb

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AUTHOR: Elizabeth Meade
Science sub-ed and Chemistry major. Avid reader. Chaos theorist. Amateur batrachologist and historian. Rock fan. Likes cybersecurity and cooking.

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