You may reach a point where you’ve watched “It’s A Wonderful Life” and all your other favorite Christmas films and December isn’t over yet.
In that case, and if you don’t mind adding a little weirdness to your holiday season, check out these 6 films that actually take place during Christmas.
1. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
The most obvious entry on this list, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” was a collaboration between Tim Burton and Henry Selick (also known for directing “Coraline”).
In this film, Jack Skellington is king of Halloween Town, the place all Halloween creatures live the other 364 days of the year.
Planning Halloween doesn’t excite Jack anymore, so he takes a trip and discovers nearby Christmas Town, and decides to reinvent himself as the king of Christmas.
While this movie is filled with monsters and classic horror references, at the end of the day it’s about rebirth.
Jack tries to get his zest for life back, makes some foolish decisions along the way, but ends up finding his purpose again and becomes a wiser, fuller being.
A very Christmas-appropriate theme.
2. Gremlins (1984)
Scary films often work best when they take things we naturally feel soft and fuzzy about and twist them around.
So it’s appropriate that this film takes place during the softest and fuzziest season of the year.
Billy Peltzer receives an early Christmas present, a pet his father bought in a Chinatown shop which is perfectly nice unless you drop it in water.
Then it multiplies and mutates into demonic creatures that can destroy entire towns.
This is dark comedy at its finest.
3. Die Hard (1988)
Sort of a sequel to a Frank Sinatra movie, “Die Hard” is known for starting Bruce Willis’ action hero career.
Willis plays John McClane, a cop who visits the wife he’s separated from during a Christmas party.
Terrorists invade the building, and McClane finds he’s the only person not captured.
With the terrorists threatening to kill everyone and most of the outside authorities refusing to listen to him, McClane has to save the building on his own.
The one thing that’s really Christmasy is the movie’s central conflict, which is McClane trying to reconcile with his wife.
The terrorists are a big threat, but at the life-or-death situation they create pushes McClane to reevaluate things, realize he needs to apologize to his wife and be a better husband.
Family reconciliation. A great topic, even when explored in the context of violence.
4. Brazil (1985)
Next time you think Christmas commercialism has gone too far, watch “Brazil.”
Co-written and directed by Terry Gilliam (who did all of Monty Python’s animations), this movie takes place in a surreal “1984” kind of dystopia. Bureaucracy has run rampant, creating a world where people have to get countless papers filed just to fix someone’s plumbing.
Sam Lowry is a pencil-pusher who dreams of something better, then meets a woman trying to expose the fact her neighbor was wrongfully identified as a terrorist.
Unfortunately, Big Brother doesn’t want to admit he makes mistakes, and Sam has to run for his life.
At one point, a shopping mall Santa asks an adorable little girl “What do you want for Christmas?”
“A credit card.”
5. Batman Returns (1992)
While Henry Selick was co-writing and directing “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” Tim Burton worked on this gothic sequel to his 1989 hit.
This movie starts on a snowy December evening, with the Cobblepots dropping their disfigured son Oswald into a sewer.
33 years later, as Christmas comes around the corner again, Oswald (now known as the Penguin) begins taking revenge on not just his parents but all of Gotham City.
It’s anyone’s guess whether Batman can stop him and which of them will get the girl in the cat costume.
“Batman Returns” is easily one of the strangest superhero movies ever made, and some critics would argue it’s better than its predecessor.
True or not, it’s a great experiment in how far you can go in a movie about comic book characters people think of as kid-friendly.
The Christmas setting works like icing on a dark chocolate cake, making a creepy film all the more disturbing.
6. Iron Man 3 (2013)
Shane Black really enjoys writing movies that take place around Christmas.
“Lethal Weapon,” “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” the list goes on and on.
This particular film has a very different feel than the previous Iron Man films.
It’s darker and more philosophical with heavy themes about Tony Stark trying to figure out where Iron Man ends and he begins.
But that’s appropriate since, as various characters comment throughout the film, their world’s changed a lot since “The Avengers” brought gods and aliens into their lives.
However, the movie lightens things up by combining its dark story with a slightly retro atmosphere.
The scenes where Tony Stark interacts with a little boy in Tennessee remind you of “E.T. The Extraterrestrial” and other family-friendly movies Steven Spielberg made in the 1980’s.