In an article about holiday movies, a screenshot of 'A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas.'
(L-r) KAL PENN as Kumar and JOHN CHO as Harold in New Line CinemaÕs and Mandate PicturesÕ comedy ÒA VERY HAROLD & KUMAR 3D CHRISTMAS,Ó a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

6 Offbeat Christmas Movies Not To Sleep on This Season

Now that Christmas is upon us, instead of jumping straight into classics we all love, why not give some of these holiday movies a try?
December 23, 2022
8 mins read

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year for movie lovers. While “Rudolph” and “Elf” are great classics, here are some movies that stand out in a variety of genres.

Holiday Horror: ‘Krampus’

With so many presents to buy and so many family members to mollify, sometimes Christmas can feel a bit stressful. For the Engel family in “Krampus,” however, Christmas is truly a nightmare. The 2015 film centers on Max, the youngest in the family, who grows so fed up with his family’s teasing that he rips up his list to Santa and proclaims his hatred for the holiday. His loss of Christmas spirit unleashes the fabled monster Krampus who goes on to terrorize their neighborhood. The film features a star-studded cast, including Hereditary’s Toni Collette and Parks and Recreation’s Adam Scott. Director Michael Dougherty’s innovative campy horror slasher is an excellent way to get even a Saw fanatic to participate in holiday festivities.

Rated R For Rudolph: ‘Bad Santa’

Another film that rejects the family friendly nature of most Christmas movies is Terry Zwigoff’s 2003 “Bad Santa.” The film stars Billy Bob Thornton as Willie T. Soke, a sex-addicted alcoholic who works as a mall Santa. Joined by his partner in crime, Marcus, and his wife, Lois, Soke uses his role to rob the malls he works at. Willie’s new boss senses a scheme, however, and security guard Gin is sent on their trail. The movie doesn’t shy away from Willie’s numerous sexual escapades, including a relationship with Lauren Graham playing Sue, a woman with a Santa fetish. Zwigoff’s Bad Santa is an equally raunchy and endearing film, making it perfect for friends and family members who prefer to live on the wilder side.

Christmas Comedy: ‘A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas’

Imagine a film that is a mix between ‘Pineapple Express‘ and “Home Alone 2: Lost In New York,” a stoner comedy where the main characters face bizarre, unforeseen challenges. “A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas” is just that. The film is the final movie in a trilogy of films following the antics of Harold Lee and Kumar Patel, played by John Cho and Kal Penn respectively. The series is a cult classic, and the third most festive installment is filled to the brim with the same goofy, offbeat humor that defines the series. In the film, the pair splits up for years and Harold gives up weed to become a successful businessman while Kumar’s life falls apart in the same apartment the duo used to share. After Kumar finds a very special (and smelly) present on his doorstep for Harold, the pair reconnects, and hilarity ensues. While the movie is part of a series, the plot is easy to follow regardless of one’s knowledge of the Harold & Kumar cinematic universe. ‘A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas’ hooks even the most air-headed (pun intended) movie watcher, truly making it a gift that keeps on giving.

Classic Claymation: ‘A Year Without A Santa Claus’

For the more traditional Christmas movie enjoyer, there are endless Claymation movies to choose from. However, one of the most unique, fun and quotable options is undoubtedly ‘A Year Without A Santa Claus.’ In the movie, due to a combination of a nasty cold and the underlying fear that children don’t care about him anymore, Santa decides to take the year off. Mrs. Claus decides to take matters into her own hands and sends out two wacky elves and their baby reindeer to find children who still believe in Santa. The elves, Jingle and Jangle, wind up in Southtown, USA where they are disappointed to see a lack of Christmas spirit. When he finds out what Jingle and Jangle are up to, Santa goes to Southtown himself to save them and realizes there may still be hope for the spirit of Christmas after all. The film stands out not only for its catchy songs and gorgeous visuals, but also for the extremely charming characters like Heat Miser and Freeze Miser. Not only is the movie super nostalgic and sweet, but it’s also funny and engaging, making it the perfect movie for grown-ups and kids alike.

Movie Musical: ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’

Charles Dicken’s famous novel ‘A Christmas Carol ‘ has been recreated countless times throughout history in film and television adaptations, but by far the most memorable interpretation is ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol.‘ The lovable Muppet cast includes Gonzo as Charles Dickens, Kermit as Bob Cratchit and Rizzo the Rat as himself. Muppet films always feature human characters alongside their Muppet counterparts, and ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ features the renowned Michael Caine as Scrooge. The film stays true to the original plot, following a hardened, angsty Scrooge as he is confronted by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. The film is one of the greatest Muppet movies, as it contains beautiful songs, gorgeous cinematography and compelling performances from puppets and humans alike. ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ is fun for the whole family, with jokes for all ages, along with an overarching lesson in the importance of overcoming tragedy and making one’s own family.

Not Your Average Christmas Movie: ‘Edward Scissorhands’

Tim Burton’s ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ is a great unconventional Christmas (and Halloween) movie, but it’s not his first time using the holiday as a setting for a film. Edward Scissorhands, starring Johnny Depp as the titular protagonist and Winona Ryder as his love interest Kim, was released in 1990. The film opens with Edward’s backstory and reveals that he is an immortal humanoid created with love by an inventor who passes away before finishing his hands, leaving him with scissors for fingers. When Peg Boggs finds him alone in his mansion, she takes him in to stay with her family, including her daughter Kim. The movie is a heartfelt reminder that everyone deserves to be loved. It was nominated for multiple awards, including a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Makeup, and won a BAFTA Award for Best Production Design. While it may not seem quite like a Christmas movie, the climax of the film occurs on Christmas day, and snow is an integral visual motif. It’s a great example of a film that can be enjoyed year-round, but has a special place on Christmas Day.

Teagan Angell, Fordham University

Writer Profile

Teagan Angell

Fordham University
Political Science and Psychology

My name is Teagan Angell and I’m from the Poconos in Pennsylvania. At Fordham, I’m in Every Vote Counts and the Fordham Political Review. I love music, movies, coffee and art.

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