Author Lee Gambin is well-known in genre circles for his all-encompassing books on John Carpenter’s Christine and Cujo.
We caught up with Lee to find out his favourite Christmas horrors –
CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF (1961) – Hammer’s sumptuous lycanthropic entry where the legend of being born on Christmas day out of wedlock is seen as a mockery to God and thus renders the unfortunate youngster to become a werewolf. Excellent breakthrough performance from Oliver Reed, some surprisingly nauseating grotesque elements to the film, a beautiful werewolf design from legendary make-up artist Roy Ashton and an excellent enchanting prologue that reads like a fairytale.
A LITTLE GAME (1971) – During a holiday break from military school, a young boy is said to be responsible for the death of one of his fellow mini-cadets, even though his doting mother cannot believe it. His stepfather, however, has his doubts about this gun-obsessed brat. A great made for TV evil kid movie from director Paul Wendkos.
I’LL BE SEEING YOU (1944) – Not at all considered a horror film to those who trap their genres tightly in a jar, this excellent film all about PTSD centres around prisoner Ginger Rogers who gets to visit her family during Christmas time who has a chance meeting with Joseph Cotten, a solider on leave for the holiday season. Both of them have suffered trauma – Rogers, it is discovered, is in jail because she had killed a man who tried to rape her and Cotten is tormented by the horrors of war. Magnificent stuff.
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (1972) – Another made for TV gem, starring Sally Field, Eleanor Parker and Julie Harris. A slasher film mixed with American Gothic and also Giallo sensibilities with its featured killer stalking four sisters dressed in a yellow raincoat armed with a pitchfork. Great moody fun.
WHOEVER SLEW AUNTIE ROO? (1972) – The fantastic Shelley Winters gets to deep dive into the demented in this fiendishly fun take on “Hansel and Gretel”. A very cool entry in the wave of the Grand Dame Guignol branch of horror.
Read more of Lee’s work on Diabolique Magazine.