These Holiday Movies Are Actually Terrifying

by Michelle Lulic

'Tis the season for holiday cheer. With Christmas just around the corner, kids are making their lists and checking them twice, decorating the tree and baking cookies with their family and friends. But there's another thing on every kid's to-do list: watch holiday movies. Every year, families around the world revisit the same group of holiday movies to help get into the Christmas spirit. There are stories about Santa, magic, and flying reindeer, so obviously nothing is more pleasing than your 100th watch of a Rankin/Bass animation. However, not all holiday movies deliver pure cheer. In fact, some holiday movies are terrifying for kids, to the point where they might be too scared to sleep on Christmas Eve. And no one wants that.

Growing up, there were quite a few holiday movies that had me running to hide under the covers. Sure, there's an entire genre of holiday horror movies geared towards adults, but there are also movies that are deemed "family-friendly" without seeming to take into consideration what a child might find scary. From the way certain characters are animated to the concept behind the plot, there are loads of things about some films that can scare away a little kid. Here are the holiday classics you should watch out for if you plan on babysitting this holiday season.

1. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

No joke, his movie actually gave me nightmares as a child. The creepy characters that make up Halloween Town are enough to make any kid want to change the channel and put on something slightly more Christmas-themed.

2. Home Alone (1990)

As you probably know, this movie is about an 8-year-old boy who's left home alone for Christmas. If being left home alone isn't already too scary of a concept, the arrival of a couple of burglars just might be enough to send a young viewer over the edge into nightmare land. If I was in Kevin's situation, I would certainly not be OK.

3. Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

The Grinch is a furry green monster who sneaks into kid's houses (after Santa leaves, I might add) to steal away Christmas gifts. If that's not terrifying for a child, then I don't know what is.

4. A Christmas Carol (2009)

There's no denying the fact that Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is a classic. However, I wouldn't say that this animated version of the movie (or any other version for that matter) is a walk in the park for children. Thanks to the appearance of Jacob Marley and the ghost of Christmas' future, A Christmas Carol could definitely freak out some kids.

5. Gremlins (1984)

OK, Gremlins might not be the movie you're gathering around to watch with your family (especially if little kids are involved). However, I happened to come across this movie at a fairly young age, and it was downright terrifying back in the day.

6. The Santa Clause (1994)

A visit to the North Pole is obviously pretty cool. However, The Santa Clause does have some creepy elements to it. When Santa falls off the roof and disappears, Charlie is witnessing the unintentional murder of Santa Clause. You may get a lot of questions from the child in your life about what happened to Santa after that scene, so brace yourself.

7. The Santa Clause 2 (2002)

If your child made it through the first movie, they may have a harder time making it through the second one. Two words: Santa. Clones. I'm not the only one who thought the toy Santas were kind of creepy, right?

8. A Year Without A Santa Claus (1974)

The concept of a Christmas without Santa Clause is a tearjerker all on its own. But once the Heat Miser and Snow Miser get involved? Yeah, bye.

9. Krampus (2015)

Based off of a not-so-cheerful Christmas legend, this movie introduces the chance that someone else could be paying a visit to your home come December 24. Lock all of your windows and doors, and keep this movie far away from any kids. Remember, the release of a new Christmas movie isn't always reason enough to watch with the whole family.

10. Jack Frost (1996)

If you're flipping channels and come across the movie called Jack Frost, make sure you're switching on the right one. While there's an animated kid's version, and the 1998 film Jack Frost , there's also this one: a seriously terrifying horror film take on the character. If there are kids around, you better make sure you're not getting these movies confused.

11. It's A Wonderful Life (1946)

This family-friendly film still manages to explore some pretty dark material, from never being born to getting thrown in jail. It's A Wonderful Life could be pretty terrifying for the kid whose only concern is getting presents from Santa come Christmas morning. This movie will make a naive child grow up fast.

Stock up on candy canes and gingerbread, guys. You never know when a holiday-themed movie night could take a dark, unexpected turn.

Images: Skellington Productions Inc.; Giphy (7)