Christmas is right around the corner, and audiences around the world begin their annual binge of popular festive movies. But watching the same Christmas movies every year can get tiring, so a few non-traditional examples would provide a much-needed change.
Reddit users recently shared their favorite non-mainstream Christmas movies on the site. These range from bloody horror slashers to silly adult comedies – and while none of them look like a typical Christmas movie, they all embody that traditional festive spirit.
10/10 Black Christmas (1974)
Available to stream on the Roku Channel
There aren’t many Christmas movies that can easily find a niche in the horror genre, but Black Christmas is a perfect example of how to execute that subversion effectively. Although it’s set during the holidays, there’s very little magic or wonder about this cinematic bloodbath.
Reddit user borg_nihilist describes Black Christmas as the perfect non-traditional Christmas movie, adding that the “70s original” is much better than the recent remake. It includes all the weird cinematography and gory violence needed to entertain an audience on Christmas Day.
9/10 Bad Santa (2003)
Available for rental on Amazon Video
The raunchy comedy Bad Santa might not be everyone’s first thought for a family vacation, but for those celebrating a less family-friendly vacation, the film is a perfect fit. It has all the great qualities of a Christmas movie with added humor and laughs to elevate the viewing experience.
Redditor agbro10 says Bad Santa is “definitely” a great movie for those looking to switch things up around Christmas time. Not only is it filled with a festive style and nostalgic atmosphere, but it’s also brimming with laughs from start to finish.
8/10 Krampus (2015)
Available to stream on Peacock Premium
Many cite Krampus as the best Christmas horror movie in recent memory, and a lot of that comes down to its unconventional style, both visually and narratively. Everyone knows the story of Santa Claus, but Krampus tells the lesser-known story of his eponymous demonic counterpart.
Reddit user Liquifiedspam recommends Krampus to anyone looking for a less traditional Christmas viewing experience this year. While it retains the festive magic of all other holiday movies, the story itself is something many audiences won’t experience.
7/10 The Ref (1994)
Available to stream on Hoopla
Most people associate Christmas with family and magic – but for director Ted Demme, this popular holiday is just a setting for his hilarious crime drama The Ref. The film is an undeniable comedy of errors, with much of the story’s humor stemming from the misadventures of its characters.
Redditor mesembryanthemum names The Ref as his “absolute favorite Christmas movie,” likely due to how different and unpredictable it is. It doesn’t fall into the corny trappings of many other party stories, but instead stays fresh and original until the very end.
6/10 The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Available to stream on Disney+
The debate over whether The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie is still ongoing, but one thing is for sure. It’s definitely unconventional viewing for the holiday season. The story blends two completely different vacations together, and it’s fantastic that it works so well.
Reddit user Arthur2_shedjackson thinks The Nightmare Before Christmas is a great non-traditional holiday movie. The unique animation style keeps things fresh and interesting, which is why so many viewers consider it Tim Burton’s best work to date.
5/10 Anna and the Apocalypse (2018)
Available to stream on AMC+
Anna and the Apocalypse is a great alternative for those who feel tired of the excess of traditional Christmas movies throughout the holiday season, blending gruesome elements of horror into an unconventional festive story.
A Redditor suggests that Anna and the Apocalypse is a good, unconventional Christmas movie in recent memory. Most viewers may ignore the movie as a Christmas movie simply because of its gory overtones. For horror fans, it’s a great replacement for those traditional winter rom-coms.
4/10 Gremlins (1984)
Available to stream on HBO Max
Despite being hugely popular in the holiday subgenre, Gremlins is far from a traditional holiday movie. It starts out as a typical family movie but quickly turns into something much bolder and less traditional once the gremlins take over.
When asked about unconventional Christmas movie options, Reddit user picnicbasketsam called Gremlins “pretty awesome.” The film is filled with festive nostalgia and timeless humor to make Gremlins one of the most watchable Christmas movies.
3/10 Tangerine (2015)
Available to stream on FuboTV
Sean Baker’s Tangerine is often overlooked when talking about unconventional Christmas movies, but it certainly deserves its recognition. The entire film takes place on Christmas Eve, and the holiday plays a huge part in the progression and direction of the story.
Redditor laurencelaurentz argues that Tangerine works best “if [the viewer] watch him on Christmas Eve”, allowing the viewer to experience the spirit of the holidays alongside the characters. It might not be the uplifting tale most families are looking for at Christmas, but it does a great job of capturing the festive atmosphere.
2/10 The Family Man (2000)
Available to stream on Peacock Premium
The Family Man may look like a traditional Christmas movie on the surface, but once the story really begins, it makes some bold decisions that really set it apart from most other festive family dramas.
Reddit user real_santa_claus writes that they “LOVE The Family Man”, agreeing with several other Redditors that it deserves its place among the best Nicolas Cage movies to date. It’s the kind of movie that begs to be rewatched every year, just because it’s entertaining.
1/10 Die Hard (1988)
Available to stream on Starz
Die Hard’s status as a Christmas movie is widely disputed, but between the Christmas backdrop, holiday references, and emphasis on family values, it’s pretty safe to call the film a festive classic. That being said, it’s completely different from all the other holiday movies.
It’s not often that Christmas movies fall into the action genre, and Die Hard’s emphasis on violence and tension isn’t exactly light viewing, but that’s not stopping Redditors from like Karpinskijd to watch the film every year simply because “it takes place during Christmas”. .”