In our final feature before the big day, we caught up with independent filmmaker Charlie Steeds, where he talks us through his favourite Christmas horrors.
BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974)
I hate to put the most obvious choice at number 1, but it really doesn’t get much better than Black Christmas. It’s a perfect horror film! Probably the most unsettling horror ever made, thanks to the incredible final shots, which frustrated me at first, but then gradually unsettled me until I was too afraid to go upstairs alone (it’s the only film to ever scare me as an adult). I love its wintry atmosphere, and somehow there’s fantastic comedy throughout the film too. Billy is perhaps the most terrifying killer of any slasher film. It’s better than Halloween.
SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT (1984)
One Christmas Day I sat my whole [non-horror fans] family around to watch Silent Night Deadly Night, actual Christmas Day! And they all stayed and watched it, because it’s actually a great movie. It stands up against all the other top slashers, with some of my favourite kills ever; the deer antlers and the sled decapitation… Epic! Also helps Robert Brian Wilson is so easy on the eyes, hottest horror movie crush since that guy in Hellraiser 3.
THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1993)
As a 10 year old this is the film that made me want to become a filmmaker, and I know it inside out. I can recite the whole movie from start to finish word perfect, even now, I watched it that many times! So how could it not be on my list… It seems horror for children has died out these days, but I’m thankful my generation was brought up on films and TV that didn’t shy away from scares (Goosebumps, etc) and this film has some imagery that really terrified me as a child, but its so fun to be terrified!
I watched Elves for the first time last year, a guy on Ebay makes a pretty good bootleg (also brought Werewolf and the Yeti from him at the same time, awful film) and I was shocked this hasn’t had a more recent restoration and release, because even in it’s VHS-rip format I had a great time with this film. It’s trash of course, but the best kind, and if any horror fans still haven’t seen it, its well worth seeking out!
Nobody’s ever made a great definitive Yeti movie, which is a shame because the yeti has so much potential, but one point I was developing a yeti movie myself and I came across this TV movie Snowbeast. From all the yeti flicks I watched (pretty much all of them!) it’s easily my favourite. I have a Vipco DVD of it, which was quite hard to come by, I’m not sure if that’s still the case now, but it’s worth finding. It counts as a Christmas film because of the snow of course, and I still have hope for a better yeti horror film sometime soon.
Charlie also has a film set for release in January, the winter thriller Winterskin, here’s what he had to say about the release –
“Whilst not a Christmas horror film, I do have my snowbound winter horror flick ‘Winterskin’ coming out in the UK (finally!) this Winter on 3rd January. Black Christmas was a slight inspiration in some ways (my lead characters are named Billy and Agnes after all) along with old Italian Westerns like The Great Silence (another great snowbound flick to watch this Winter, with a new edition from Eureka just released). I promise buckets of blood, go check it out!”