Thursday, December 23, 2010

12 Violent Days of Christmas: Twelfth Day

Christmas is that time of year we bring out those traditional and beloved holiday movie classics such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, A Christmas Story or It's A Wonderful Life and cuddle up with a loved one in front of the fireplace for a nice evening together. While that is all good and fine I believe that Christmas can also be a good avenue to explore other ways of celebrating our lord and savior through the medium of film. Those other avenues are of course people having their necks broken, being blown up, tortured, little creatures tormenting them, killed by yuppie murderers, bodily dismemberment and being relentlessly hunted by our government...and those are just for starters. Those other holiday films may be traditional but remember this, traditions are meant to be broken...or at the very least expanded upon.

This is my countdown of the 12 most violent and rather unorthodox Christmas films I could find that help spread the holiday cheer while also giving us a good body count to boot. I will rate each film based solely on the amount of Holiday Cheer and the amount of Violence they help give us in this season of joy. In regards to whether or not the films are actually good is secondary for this list, but keep in mind that I would never even mention a film if it didn't have some redeeming values to it. If you find yourself home one night wanting a nice Christmas movie to throw on but also have a yearning for some good old fashioned bloody carnage then I hope this list will help you satisfy both those needs at once. So without further ado I invite you to join in on my holiday movie tradition and experience this Christmas with a little green and lots of red. Lets get to it shall we?

This is it, the final day is upon us. I hope you got some sort of enjoyment out of this list or maybe you decided to throw one of these movies on while roasting chestnuts over an open fire. Either way thanks for stopping by and have a Merry "non-violent" Christmas!

Twelfth Day: End of Days

I cannot think of a more fitting way to end the twelve violent days of Christmas. Arnold Schwartzenegger stars as Jericho, a down and out ex-police detective that now spends his days running a protective detail for some lose cash with his partner Bobby (Kevin Pollack). He has had a few bad cards turn up when he lost his wife and daughter to a home invasion a few Christmas's ago which has made him lose his faith in the world and in God. Well, this burnt out man will soon have his faith truly tested when he comes across a young woman named Christine York (Robin Tunney) who unbeknownst to her is the chosen one to bear the child of Satan himself on New Years Eve at the turn of the century. Satan is portrayed as a ghostly figure that takes over some poor sap played by Gabriel Byrne and goes about town killing innocents, his followers and just about anything he wants as he searches New York city for Christine. It is up to Arnold to protect her and stop Satan before the end of days is upon us all.

Satan tries to help Arnold with some yuletide cheer.

Now, this movie doesn't exactly take place during or leading up to Christmas. It actually takes place between Christmas and New Years Eve and given how we are almost to that point this season I felt as though this would be the perfect movie to book end this love letter to all those lovely violent Christmas movies I love. However, there is still plenty of Christmas imagery to see here. The scene where Satan takes his host takes place in a nicely decorated restaurant complete with some holiday tunes playing in the background. The streets are littered with Christmas decorations, during a foot chase down the city streets you will catch plenty of glimpses of Christmas trees everywhere. Satan takes a lovely stroll through the city at night where Christmas lights and very ornate decorations are all over the place. In the fateful meeting between Arnold and Satan there is a flashback to when Arnold lost his family on Christmas eve which has Arnold diving head first into a Christmas tree (don't ask). The finale takes place in a church where during a sacrificial sequence we always have a nicely lit and placed Christmas tree in the background. It had been a while since I had seen this film and even I was surprised at how much holiday stuff there was to be found here. Arnold saves the world by finding his faith in God again by the end of the film and how much more holiday cheer could you ask for on our lord and saviors special day?

Holiday Cheer: 6/10

Arnold celebrating the new year the only way he knows blowing shit up.

Arnold blows up Satan with a grenade launcher!...need I say more?...OK, I guess I will. This is a pretty dam violent film, probably the most graphic of all the films on this list. There is a very voodoo like birthing scene at the outset that is quickly followed by a restaurant full of people being blown to hell (literally). We get to see a former priest suspended on the ceiling in a full on crucifix pose, Satan punch a hole through some dudes head, a crazy old fat woman beat the shit out of Arnold, a crazy mob beat the shit out of Arnold, Arnold crucified, a man blown up then revived and then set on fire later, another priest gets stabbed in the head with a crucifix, and the human form of Satan blown to bits (seriously, his body parts were everywhere). The reason I think this one takes the award for most violent Christmas film is just because so many people die here in so many different glorious ways. Plus I just love how every other film involving Satan visiting Earth always concludes with some guy chanting some ancient spell but Arnold blows the f**king guy up with a dam grenade perfect is that!?! The last thing to point out is that this is the only film on here that has any type of religious overtones to it and because of that and its New Years Eve finale, I believe this is the perfect way to end this list. Oh and don't forget, you're a f**king choir boy compared to Arnold!

Violent Acts: 10/10

End of Days trailer:

Eleventh Day: Batman Returns

I am not sure what anybody thinks of this film anymore or if anyone even does think of it. It was completely shun when it released, despite making a fair amount of money, due to it not living up to the greatness of the first Batman film. Gone was the likable Joker as the villain and in his place we had a grotesque version of the Penguin (Danny DeVito) and a not really bad but dead sexy Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer). Batman Returns in hindsight was a true Tim Burton film and in my opinion one the best examples of his film making style. It is important to note that this film isn't a very good super hero film, but it is a great Tim Burton film. The basics, and I do mean basic, of the plot revolves around the Penguin trying to take control of Gotham while also exercising his master plan to kill all the first born children of the city. Catwoman meanwhile is busy being an on again off again villain while also courting Bruce Wayne and working for the boss that tried to kill her, Max Shreck (Christopher Walken). Batman (Michael Keaton) must of course do his super hero thing and stop them both.

Gotham City can be quite the festive place...if you don't mind all those bats that is.

Gotham has decked the halls and lined the streets with boughs of holly. It is Christmas time in this fair city and we get a full on winter wonderland. The logistics of why this takes place during the silly season makes no sense other than Tim Burton wanting a stark contrast with the look and feel of the first film (which is what alienated so many of the first films fans btw). There is a giant Christmas tree that is lit up not once but twice by a woman dressed up in her revealing Santa gear during the course of the film in the town square. Wayne manor is appropriately decorated as is the rest of the city. Batman and Catwoman have two encounters under some mistletoe, one of which takes place during a Christmas party. One of my favorite holiday gags is when the bad guys crash the lighting of the tree while hiding Trojan Horse style inside a huge Christmas present. And let's not forget the haunting musical score by Danny Elfman which combines elements of the first film and some Christmas themes. The real capper though is all the dam snow, it was clear from the advertising campaign that Mr. Burton wanted a really chilly and cheery atmosphere to contradict all the creepiness going on.

Holiday Cheer: 8/10

"I'm Batman and I got a present for you".

Well, this is a super hero movie after all so you are definitely going to get to see some bad guys get roughed up. Batman blows up one guy, sets another on fire, and basically beats the crap out of all the Penguin's other minions. And while we are talking about the Penguin, he is one unpleasant guy to look at and the reason so many people were turned off on this film. He drools this black liquid, bites a man's nose off, sends a woman falling to her doom and wreaks havoc on the streets of Gotham after hijacking the batmobile. Everything surrounding Catwoman though is more or less an erotic tango between her and Batman. She does get to blow up a department store, resurrected by dozens of cats biting her after Shreck attempts to kill her, and let's not forget that she has nine lives so she has to die at least eight times right? And one of those deaths involves a taser to the mouth. This film gets points for multiple things, it is the only super hero film I can think of that used Christmas as its main backdrop, it is one of Tim Burton's best films and did I mention how hot Michelle Pfeiffer is in that tight leather outfit? You really can't go wrong with this one on a holiday or violence scale...unless you are expecting a standard super hero movie that is.

Violent Acts: 5/10

Batman Returns trailer:

Tenth Day: Enemy of the State

Films about technology never age very well, especially ones that promote themselves as being cutting edge at the time. This is such a film where during the time it was released the idea of being watched by our government through the use of satellites was considered unbelievable. Well, if you can get past how dated the tech in the film is (everyone has pagers!) then you will find a fairly entertaining movie here. Robert Dean (Will Smith) is a Washington D.C. attorney that is in the middle of a very delicate case involving the mob. One fateful day he is unknowingly passed a piece of evidence that will put a fair number of corrupt politicians in jail for a murder. Naturally the people that were involved in this murder want this evidence back and don't want anyone that has seen it to start talking to anyone. Robert soon finds himself an enemy of the state (see what I did and after having his life ruined is being hunted down by the government using every piece of technology they have at their disposal. With the help of an ex-NSA agent named Brill (Gene Hackman) they must outwit the agents tracking them and bring them all to justice.

They are definitely not Christmas shopping.

There is something about the cold weather and the trench coat, scarf wearing people of D.C. that just exudes Christmas. Christmas decorations are abound all over this film such as Robert's home, the NSA headquarters, the mob's restaurant/offices and multiple hotels. Every hotel room we see has got a friggin Christmas tree in it, the bad guys have their control room and meeting room covered in garland and lights. The basement of the restaurant for the mob kingpin is festively done up as is the limo dealership he owns that is even more outlandish. The streets of D.C. are lined with Christmas trees and we get a nice little holiday jingle when Robert steps into a hotel lounge. Let's not forget that Robert comes into possession of that piece of evidence during a lingerie purchase for his wife's Christmas present as well. The spirit of Christmas is alive and well for all to see in this film and when you have both the good guys and bad guys decorating for it how much more good will towards men could you ask for?

Holiday Cheer: 6/10

Even the baddies are in the holiday spirit.

This is probably the most tame film on this list actually. It most certainly has some action and plenty of corpses lying around by the time it all comes to an end but it is more of a man-on-the-run style film than a shoot'em up. However, we do get to see Jason Lee get hit head on by a bus while on a bike, plenty of manic running around and car accidents plus a really over the top explosion near the end. The bodies don't really pile up though until the final moments during a very Tarantino-Esq stand off where just about everyone dies. It is almost like the film makers didn't want to kill anyone until that point because they wanted to drop as many bodies as they could for that scene alone. Very little blood and some decent action/thriller beats help this be one of the more lighthearted violent Christmas films you will find. And I hate to name drop but where else will you find a trio such as Seth Green, Jack Black, and Jamie Kennedy playing some computer geeks in the same dam film together?

Violent Acts: 3/10

Enemy of the State Trailer:

Ninth Day: Kiss Kiss - Bang Bang

I'm not really sure what it is with writer/director Shane Black but he sure does love to place his films and stories in and/or around the holidays. Lethal Weapon (writer), The Long Kiss Goodnight (writer) and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (writer/director) all take place during Christmas. I can't really argue with his decisions though because for some odd reason his juxtaposition of violence and Christmas always seem to go really well together (his work is a big influence on me making this list actually). This, his latest film, is another one of those who-dun-its where we follow around a duo, Harry (Robert Downey Jr.) and Gay Perry (Val Kilmer) as they try to figure out who is killing their clients, who is trying to set them up and ultimately who wants them dead. The film is big on wit and charm while also delivering the requisite twists and turns of a good noir detective film.

It's that time of year again...when people lose their fingers in a door jam.

Just like his other two films, Christmas is used as a sort of window dressing for everything that transpires. Though I do believe this is probably the most festive he has ever been to my knowledge. You get sly references both verbal and visual to the holidays. The most in your face reference though is when we see the lovely Harmony (Michelle Monaghan) dressed in her skimpy little Santa outfit along with a bunch of other plastic Hollywood figurines posing as actual women (that was a sarcastic metaphor in case you missed it and get used to it because this film is full of them). Sure you get some Christmas trees here and there with the odd decoration thrown into the background but the constant for most of the film is Harmony and that cute outfit of hers. In true Shane Black fashion the holidays are well represented here throughout the film and will keep you feeling festive until the end.

Holiday Cheer: 5/10

If all Santa's little helpers are like Harmony then sign me up.

This is a strange one because it really isn't all that violent. Sure you get a corpse that is drowned, shot in the head, pissed on, thrown off a roof and eventually left on the street but all the violence on display here is rather comically in that it's-serious-but-so-damned-ridiculous-I-have-to-laugh sort of way. In other words it is a black comedy through and through with maybe one or two exceptions. Some of the more outrageous stuff we see is a man shot point blank in the face,  another has his testicles electrocuted, and Harry getting his finger cut off, re-attached, cut off again, and finally eaten by a dog. The shoot out at the end is pretty by the numbers but kind of harsh in a subdued way. In case you haven't gotten the hint yet, this is not your ordinary action/detective/thriller film and I love it because of that. Having it take place during Christmas only makes it that much better. So if you like your Christmas filled with some bodies, bullets, detecting, and heaping amounts of sarcasm and self-awareness then look no further because this is your film.

Violent Acts: 5/10

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang trailer:

Eighth Day: First Blood

Rambo is an action movie icon, a character that started out in a novel that was then translated to film in one of the most renowned action films of its time and later was bastardized in two sequels that left much to be desired and a final fourth film that helped give the character back some sort of dignity. The first film though, First Blood, is a very personal film compared to everything that came after it. You have John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone), a Vietnam war veteran whom has returned home to find that not only are all his friends deceased but that his own country, the people he helped protect treat him like dirt. When local sheriff Teasle (Brian Dennehy) pushes Rambo too far he ignites a personal war between the two of them that will not only destroy this small town but also let Rambo do what he does best...fight a war. is Christmas time in Teasle's town.

OK, I will completely understand anyone that never realized this film took place during Christmas. The reason it is so hard to tell is that no one ever mentions it and since it takes place up in the mountains where snow is an almost constant no matter what time of year it is there is no way for anyone to know...unless they are paying close attention that is. The police station has a couple small desk size Christmas trees around and the town is decorated with Christmas lights but all the early scenes in town take place during the day. Its only at night when Rambo comes to town to slay that naughty sheriff when we see all the festive decorations set up. Even the police station has Christmas lights lining its rooftop. This gets a slightly higher rating on the cheer level than American Psycho mainly due to the persistence of the holiday theme through the whole film, even if it is never talked about.

Holiday Cheer: 2/10

Rambo is gonna rock this town tonight.

This being a film starring the infamous John Rambo one could be forgiven for thinking there would be all kinds of carnage and a large body count. However, this is one of the most restrained action films I have ever seen. Only one person dies through the course of the entire film...that's right, only one and they die mostly due to an accident from a situation they put themselves into. That being said though there is still plenty of gritty action to be had. Rambo goes through an extensive cleansing in the police station that leads to some pretty gruesome Vietnam flashbacks and once he breaks free he doesn't go soft on the local law enforcement either. He kills their tracker dogs and wounds every one of them in an awesome manhunt scene in the woods involving Rambo stalking and taking out each member of the hunt. It all comes to a head when Rambo goes back to town and pretty much blows it up looking for the sheriff to give him his Christmas present. This is an amazing action film with some real heart to it and the Christmas backdrop, however slight it is, still gives a cheery feeling once it concludes.

Violent Acts: 7/10

First Blood trailer:

Seventh Day: I Am Legend

New York city is at the epicenter of a massive outbreak caused by a so called miracle cure for cancer. Soon the entire world has been effected by it and only one man has survived...but he is not alone. This film, based off the acclaimed novel, tells the story of that one man, Dr. Robert Neville (Will Smith). The man who created the vaccine that eradicated all human life on the planet, the man who now makes it his daily mission to find a way to put things back the way they were. However, he can only travel safely during the day because at night creatures that were once human own the streets of New York. Can he succeed before the creatures find him, can he succeed before there is no hope left? This is a cautionary tale of how mankind must be careful when dealing with the natural order of things and how even in the face of extinction the human spirit endures.

Neville investigates one of the many abandoned houses.

Many that have seen this film have probably never put it together or at the very least consciously thought about it but when everything went down in New York it was during the holidays. In some quick flashbacks we see glimpses of Christmas trees, lights and wreaths lining the streets. In the present those same streets are still littered with Christmas decorations but after the few years that have passed they are all pretty much tattered and destroyed. The opening scene of Neville driving like a mad men gives you some good shots of a city that looks like it went to hell in a hand basket on Christmas Eve. Finally we get a scene with Neville searching houses as he comes across one with a fully decorated Christmas tree and some unopened presents laying about. Cheer isn't exactly the right word here but there is most certainly a sadness to all the proceedings due to the visual hints of a Christmas that never happened.

Holiday Cheer: 4/10

There are probably a lot of unopened gifts out there.

This film is more psychologically violent than any other on this list. Sure, there are some shots of those vicious night creatures running about with their mutated dogs. But despite the bleak nature of the film it is very light on violence surprisingly. The city is empty, no bodies, no life beyond some local animals that have retaken what was previously theirs. Where this film attacks you is in its hopelessness and despair that we see Neville experience every time he looks up at the sky, checks his watch or talks to the local mannequin. Spoiler here...Probably the most horrifying moment for me was when he must watch his dog turn into one of those creatures and has to put him down. Then there is the bombastic finale which doesn't really fit well with everything that preceded it and was never in the book but still packs a good amount of bang for the buck. This is probably one of the more dark Christmas films I have seen so if you are looking to be in a sad or melancholy state during the holidays this should fit the bill quite nicely.

Violent Acts: 6/10

I Am Legend trailer:

Sixth Day: Die Hard

They planned for everything, every last detail was accounted for when taking over the Nakatomi Plaza building and holding its occupants hostage...everything but one man that is. Do I really need to tell you what this movie is about? I mean this is the movie that started the flood of the "One man against a large number of highly trained adversaries" scenarios. But just in case you are not aware of this films legacy I will humor you a bit. New York Detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) has come to L.A. this Christmas to spend the holidays with his wife and kids. Little did he know that the building his wife's party was being held at was the target for a well organized and well trained group of terrorists. They seize the building but he gets away and it becomes a cat and mouse game from that point forward between McClane and Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman), the terrorist leader.

A big bear with a ribbon can only mean its Christmas time!

We open with Bruce Willis carrying a large bear with a red ribbon around an airport while the ominous musical score using jingle bells plays. Then you get a very fine holiday rap song to help get you in the mood before being thrust fully into the holiday spirit once Bruce reaches the party where he is promptly kissed on the cheek by another man (drunk btw) who wishes him a Merry Christmas. That, along with the huge Christmas tree are fairly festive but once the action heats up there are a ton of nice little holiday touches thrown in all over the place. From the little Christmas trees on vacant desks, a Santa hat placed upon a dead terrorist, some tape covered in Christmas trees and finally a nice little tree at the L.A. police switch board. The ending song to the film is a perfect jolly fit for everything that preceded it as well. The amount of yuletide on display here strikes a perfect balance with the on screen carnage.
Holiday Cheer: 8/10

I suspect somebody has been very naughty.

Die Hard is a decidedly slow burn with a ton of set up and a couple killings here and there but once the building is taken over we get a slew of action and some particularly bloody deaths. For some reason when people are shot in this film they don't just get a red stain on their shirts or pants, they literally have chunks of flesh go flying off their bodies. One man has his knee caps shot to hell then crashes head first into a window and another is shot up from head to toe while standing on an office table with both kills having chunky flesh fly off them. We get plenty of people dying in some really awesome explosions, a dead body dropped on to a police car, someone has their brains splattered all over a glass door, and a man shot dead while drinking a coke. And who could forget that amazing scene in the bathroom with Bruce taking out all that glass from his bloodied up feet. This is the best balance of Christmas and carnage will you ever find plus as an added bonus it is an amazing film to boot.

Violent Acts: 8/10

Die Hard Trailer:

Fifth Day: Lethal Weapon

The original and standard bearer buddy cop movie. Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) is a burnt out on the edge police officer that at first seems crazy until later when you realize he knows exactly what he is doing when he does stuff like taunt a bad guy to shoot him which makes him even more scary. Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) is nearing retirement just when he gets saddled with a case involving drug smuggling, some ex-mercenaries gone bad and that loose cannon Riggs as a new partner. Together they must learn to trust one another and take out the bad guys while trying to come to terms with who they are and how many bullets they are going to put in Gary Busey's head.

Riggs is just picking up a Christmas tree...and some bad guys.

The one thing that signals this as a Christmas flick is right at the opening credits when Jingle Bell Rock plays over a helicopter shot of night time Los Angeles. This time up we get to see a full on Christmas tree lot complete with snow (or is that cocaine on the table?). The Murtaugh household is festive with a Christmas tree and all the trimmings. The real kicker though is near the end of the film when Mr. Joshua invades a house and finds 1951's A Christmas Carol playing on a TV that he then proceeds to shoot up with his M-16 and yell "It's not god dam Christmas!". Oh, lets not forget the caroling police officers parading around the police department plus a quick shot of Mr. Magoo's Christmas on TV.  The note to the bad guys left on the Christmas tree is a nice holiday touch as well. Its not there in every scene but you definitely get a nice Christmas feeling from the film as a whole.

Holiday Cheer: 6/10

Even after been tortured, shot, and hunted they are still polite enough to leave a note.

The one thing that signals this is a violent Christmas film is just after that opening song we see a half naked girl jump to her death and land abruptly on top of a parked car. Be prepared for copious amounts of foul language, shootouts, suicide attempts, beatings, electrocution torture and plenty of neck snapping. Some of the many highlights include a shootout in a dry lake bed that includes a sniper and helicopter, a bus colliding with a car on Hollywood Blvd and Mel chasing a car through L.A. traffic on foot. Be on the lookout for some gratuitous salt-rubbing-into-a-bullet wound action as well. It all comes to a head with a brutal one on one fight between Mel and Gary on Danny's front lawn. I would have to say this is a sure bet for a good movie plus some great action moments with a decent amount of holiday cheer thrown in.

Violent Acts: 7/10

Lethal Weapon Trailer:

Fourth Day: Turbulence

It's Christmas eve and all through the plane not a creature was stirring...except that homicidal maniac that has killed all the U.S. Marshals and most of the flight crew. Yes, this entire film takes place on an airplane during that magical holiday season. Ryan Weaver (Ray Liotta) aka The Lonely Heart serial killer is being transported back to Los Angeles on a practically empty commercial flight after just being caught in New York. During the flight some complications occur with another prisoner being transferred and suddenly Weaver is in control of the flight and it is up to fragile flight attendant Teri (Lauren Holly pre-plastic surgery) to not only land the plane safely but also go Mano y Mano with the psycho himself who plans on crashing the plane to go out in a blaze of glory.

This is the most festive airplane you will ever see.

This has to be one of the most Christmas-y movies I have ever seen. Not only is the entire plane decorated with lights, ornaments and multiple Christmas trees but everything we see outside the plane is littered with decorations as well. I don't believe we go more than a minute without seeing some type of Christmas related object either in the foreground or background. Hell, even the flight control tower at LAX has a well placed mini tree on one of the control monitors and the operator is wearing a garland lei. Even when all the action kicks into high gear we never lose sight of the fact that this is all happening during Christmas. Whomever wrote and/or directed this film had a real hard-on for some yuletide joy. It only misses out on a perfect 10 due to a significant lack of appropriate Christmas music.

Holiday Cheer: 9/10

Either the in flight movie was really boring or these guys are dead tired.

This being a movie about a serial killer means we certainly see some carnage. First up is a generous stabbing to the stomach with a faucet handle which leads into a shootout leaving us with five dead. Then we get a lot of shouting, a rather graphic scene of a woman being strangled to death and a very macabre sequence where Weaver has set up all the dead bodies as though they were passengers on the flight still. There are plenty of fist fights, people being slapped, punched or beaten with a fire extinguisher. All in all most of the killing and bloody stuff happens at the front half of the movie while the later half is more of a playful tug of war between the two main stars. It definitely strikes a good balance between a festive nature and a killer one. Now, if only the movie were any good we would be on to something.

Violent Acts: 7/10

Turbulence Trailer:

Third Day: American Psycho

Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) is a very meticulous individual. His morning preparations are exhaustive; He starts out his day with 1000 stomach crunches, uses 5 different types of body wash and 3 different kinds of conditioner in the shower and applies a facial mask for good measure. His friends are all self-absorbed wall street types like him that sit around a table talking about how worthless everyone else is and comparing business cards like their lives depended on who has the gold lettering and who doesn't. He describes himself as looking and pretending to be human only to help fit in with society. Patrick is a successful wall street broker who lives in the lap of luxury, has a beautiful fiance, and has a particular love for really cliche 80's pop music.  The one fatal flaw to this seemingly perfect veneer is that he has an insatiable blood lust and has to fulfill his need to kill. In fact, if it weren't for his murderous tendencies he would be just like all those suit wearing, slicked back hair yuppies he surrounds himself with, but would that make him any better?

Patrick Bateman is your average wall street yuppie...who kills people.

The Christmas season plays a very small part in the film unfortunately but ultimately that doesn't matter. The party he attends is very festive, with people wearing reindeer antlers, a pot belly pig complete with a bow, elves handing out drinks and some appropriate holiday decorations. The scene only lasts a few minutes but makes its mark and will help you keep that jolly two step through the rest of the film. This one is a bit of a stretch for sure but it also carries a certain holiday charm with it during its many scenes of lewd acts and brutality. Just don't go in expecting to see too much in the way of that classic Christmas joy and you will be alright.

Holiday Cheer: 1/10

Nothing says Christmas spirit like a naked man covered in blood wielding a chainsaw.

Oh boy, what a delectable mess this film makes. You have all sorts of different types of depravity and murder on display here. Patrick has no qualms about who he kills, his first victim (that we see) is a homeless man that he stabs and a stray dog that he stomps to death (he doesn't care for cats either). That is followed up by a very enthusiastic axe murder backed by a healthy dose of Huey Lewis & The News. From that point it is all over the place, a threesome that starts out with a dissection of what makes Phil Collins music so poignant and ends with the two women being beaten pretty badly (which is done off screen btw). By far though the most ludicrous and off the wall segment has to be the chainsaw scene where he not only bites a girl to death but chases another around the apartment naked (except for some bright white sneakers), covered in blood and wielding a full blown chainsaw. If you are looking for more red than green for your Christmas time then this one takes the cake for sure.

Violent Acts: 9/10

American Psycho Trailer:

Second Day: Gremlins

I truly feel as though this film needs no introduction but just in case you are one of the deprived ones, here ya go. Billy Peltzer (Zach Galligan) lives in this fairly small town that seems like it is right out of an old Christmas tale. One Christmas his father brings home a rather peculiar and cute as hell gift. It is a furry little critter called a mogwai whom is given the name Gizmo. He is given three rules that must be followed or something horrible will happen. First is don't get him wet, second is don't ever feed him after midnight and the third is don't expose him to sunlight. Well, Billy unfortunately breaks the first two rules which leads to a rather large outbreak of those green little buggers known as gremlins that run amok all over town.

Billy is about to have a very green Christmas.

This is a Christmas movie without a doubt. After the opening in a seedy looking alley we are thrust into a winter wonderland where we see the town of Kingston Falls prepping for Christmas. Everyone is out purchasing their Christmas trees, street lamps and buildings are covered with wreaths and lights (a very young Corey Feldman even wears a Christmas Tree costume). You get to see a severed Snowman head, gingerbread cookies, a dog hung up with Christmas lights, Santa Claus attacked by gremlins, gremlin Christmas carolers and a Christmas tree attacking a woman. I have to say, were it not for some of the more violent things in the film it would probably be seen as a Christmas classic.

Holiday Cheer: 9/10

Those gremlins are so mischievous

Things are pretty tame through the opening moments of the film. We get some idle threats about throwing a dog into a washing machine but nothing major. Once Gizmo multiplies however things get devious real quick with the introduction of the bad mogwai and their leader, Stripe. While they are still cute and furry they get into some hi-jinks here and there but when they metamorphosis into the mean green killing machines everything turns to hell for the fair people of Kingston Falls. An old woman is launched out her window, two police officers are blown up, a man is run over by a snow plow, another man supposedly has his hand eaten off screen, gremlins are microwaved and blended to death. And it all ends in a final showdown involving a chainsaw and baseball bat. All in all it is a solid holiday film that has plenty of humor and violence for anyone seeking something just a shy more rough than your usual Christmas flick.

Violent Acts: 4/10

Gremlins trailer:

First Day: The Long Kiss Goodnight

Geena Davis plays Samantha, a woman struck with a sudden case of amnesia that has been living in this small tucked away town for the past six years. She has raised a daughter and has found happiness with her husband and her new life despite not knowing who she really is. That happiness doesn't last long as out of nowhere her life is threatened by these assassins coming after her and she is forced to find out who she really is. With help from the private detective she hired (Samuel L. Jackson in a role no one else could have played) she sets out to find who is after her and stop them before they kill her and her loved ones.

Geena Davis spreading holiday cheer...and killing people...a lot of people.

We start out with a full on Christmas celebration complete with a parade and everything. Geena, her hubby and daughter throw a party for their neighbors and loved ones that helps show us that the Christmas spirit is alive and well in this quaint little town. And of course the entire movie has the requisite winter white backdrop even after all the action heats up. While the Christmas holiday is used mostly in the opening scenes of the film it still has this very cozy nature to it all thanks to the constant winter theme through the whole film. And Geena wears Christmas earrings that have flashing lights on them for goodness sake...

Holiday Cheer: 3/10

Nothing says the holidays are here more so than a burning body strung up with Christmas lights.

What we got here is some good old fashioned action. Geena Davis shows off her cutlery skills early on which segues into a home invasion scene that ends in a generous neck snapping (which was preceded by her snapping the neck of a deer no less). The action doesn't really kick into high gear though until about half way through the film when Geena swaps that brunette style for a more kick ass blonde hair style. Then we get all manner of killings which is all punctuated perfectly by Samuel L. Jackson's usual foulmouthed shtick. If you are looking for a solid action flick with copious amounts of bodies and blood with just a hint of the holidays thrown in then this one is a good bet.

Violent Acts: 9/10

The Long Kiss Goodnight Trailer:


Anonymous said...

Absolutely love the list Dave! its incredible how many of these I never thought of as Christmas movies at all...Some real classics on here. Keep the stuff coming, I love reading your thoughts on movies!


David Weaver said...

Just wait until next Christmas...

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