Photo: Courtesy of Eclectic DVD Dist.
We get it: You're busy. And, with stores already putting up their holiday decorations before Halloween has even hit, you might be tempted to just blow past All Hallow's Eve and get straight to Christmas, Hanukkah, and the winter solstice, to boot. But, hold up: You can multitask the hell out of Halloween. Just plop yourself down with a plastic pumpkin full of Zagnuts (or whatever — pick your poison) and fire up a marathon of holiday-themed horror movies. That way you can feel the spirit of giving and the spirit of murder all at once.
Click through to check 'em out.
Silent Night, Bloody Night (1972)
'Twas the night before Christmas, and a serial killer was on the loose. Writer/director Theodore Gershuny doesn't break any ground with well-trod horror themes here — an escaped asylum maniac murdering hapless townsfolk — but it's still a chilling flick all the same. Fun facts: Candy Darling made her last film appearance in this film as a party guest, and other Factory regulars (Ondine, Jack Smith of Flaming Creatures) were involved in the film, too.
Black Christmas (1974)
What do you get when you mix a homicidal madman and a sorority Christmas party? Lots of blood, for starters. This exemplary slasher, directed by Bob Clark, stars Olivia Hussey (who played Juliet in Zeffirelli's classic adaptation of Romeo and Juliet) and a pre-Superman Margot Kidder as sorority buddies. One by one, they and their sisters are picked off by the madman in the attic, whose murderous innovations include death by Christmas ornament. An inferior remake came out in 2006.
L'ultimo treno della notte (1975)
It wouldn't be a horror-movie marathon without a little giallo action. This Italian revenge film — released in the U.S. as Night Train Murders and a half-dozen other names — was directed by Aldo Lado and scored by Ennio Morricone. It centers on the young, virginal Margaret and Lisa, who are taking a train to Lisa's family's house for the holidays. On the train, however, is trouble: two thugs and a sex-crazed older woman who perform every manner of vile acts on the innocents. Let's just say it doesn't end well for our ladies, but the perps get what's coming to them, too.
Surely you've seen this one already. Poor, adorable Mogwai Gizmo unwittingly gives birth to violent gremlins when he's splashed with a glass of water. Can all-American Billy Peltzer save his picture-perfect town (and Phoebe Cates) from the destruction wrought by these violent creatures who have a yen for fried chicken and breakdancing? (Discuss the coded racism after the credits roll, please.) Don't watch the trailer unless you want that theme song stuck in your head for the next week.
Jack Frost (1998)
No, this is not that Michael Keaton movie, which may actually be even more sinister than this over-the-top B-flick. A horror-comedy, Michael Cooney's Jack Frost involves a serial killer, on his way to his execution, who gets splashed with a vat of chemicals and becomes a homicidal snowman. It's like Child's Play meets Frosty the Snowman, with enough eye-rolling puns to give you a migraine. Still, it's great fun — especially when the heroes try to melt Jack with blowdryers.