The 5 best alternative Christmas movies

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The 5 best alternative Christmas movies

Okay, so we all know about Die Hard, and Gremlins is on hard rotation in just about every household these days. Those two have been alternative Christmas classics for so long that they're basically part of the festive Establishment at this point.

John McClane might spend most of Die Hard covered in blood and broken glass, but right now he's as much a part of Christmas as mulled wine, oversized turkeys and family arguments over a game of Battleship.

So if you've got your use out of the Christmas Casino Bonuses 2020 already and you're looking for something a little bit different to watch, here are five Christmas tales with a little bit more in the tank than the standard, syrupy spoonfuls of festive cheer.

rare exports movie embedRARE EXPORTS (2010)

This brilliant Finnish movie takes a dive into some twisted folklore around the idea of Santa Claus. It's a dark and macabre tale in which the Scandi Christmas figure of Joulupukki plays a key role, as well as a naked old man in a cage who may or may not be the real Father Christmas. If you like your festive entertainment to be grim and grotesque, this is the movie for you. Director Jalmari Helander subsequently made the pretty terrible Big Game, starring Samuel L Jackson, but Rare Exports definitely shows him as a director with plenty of potential. Perhaps this isn't one to watch with the family. Unless, of course, you don't like them much.

kiss kiss bang bank movie embedKISS KISS BANG BANG (2005)

Shane Black loves Christmas and often uses a Yuletide backdrop for his tales of fast-talking dudes with guns. Perhaps the best of the bunch is this take on the hard-boiled detective genre, which pairs Robert Downey Jr – prior to his career renaissance as Iron Man – with Val Kilmer's private investigator. There's soon a complex tale of murder and mystery orbiting around them, told with wit and chaos as the best of Black's writing can so often do. It's no coincidence that Downey Jr and Black joined forces again nearly a decade later for Iron Man 3.

carol 2015 movie hero image cate blanchett2CAROL (2015)

Todd Haynes's adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's ground-breaking romance novel The Price of Salt is one of the most memorable and achingly beautiful films of recent years. Rooney Mara plays the department store worker who becomes enthralled by Cate Blanchett's glamorous socialite when she visits the shop in search of a Christmas present. Helped by Phyllis Nagy's exceptional script, Haynes weaves a heart-breaking tale of forbidden love which burns slowly until passion explodes. If you're looking for a Christmas movie that departs from the norm without embracing horror and violence, this is your best bet.

eyes wide shut movie embedEYES WIDE SHUT (1999)

Christmas is a time in which magic is in the air, but the potential for weirdness is also right up there. So it proves for Tom Cruise's character in movie maestro Stanley Kubrick's final feature film. The movie follows Cruise as he delves into a secret society's sexual escapades when his wife (Nicole Kidman) confesses she once contemplated having an affair. It remains Kubrick's most divisive work and it certainly doesn't have the inarguable masterpiece quality of some of his other films. However, if you're after a Christmas movie that will send your relatives heading for the doors, you could do much worse than Kubrick's exploration of infidelity and sexuality.

taking it to the next level 16 december 2019 podcast black christmas embedBLACK CHRISTMAS (1974/2019)

Four years before John Carpenter codified the slasher movie formula with Halloween, Bob Clark's sorority slasher achieved comparable perfection. It follows a sorority house full of women who begin to receive threatening phone calls around the Christmas period and are subsequently picked off by a serial killer. The original is a masterpiece and its 2019 remake was an under-appreciated delight last year. Starring the brilliant Imogen Poots, it transplants the action into the era of #MeToo to deliver a smackdown to toxic masculinity. This year, give both movies the credit they have always deserved.

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