With so many Christmas movies following the same formula year after year, sometimes it’s nice to switch things up. And with the change in tone — no matter how scary it is — comes a ton of variety. From serious stories and action-packed fight scenes to over-the-top interactions with lots of morbid humor, there's something for everyone this holiday season.
2022 has been a big year for Christmas horror, and the Elf Squad is loving it. At least those of us that can stomach some silent frights beyond the horrors of Dickens. Here’s a list of all the new holiday horror films to watch this season. So, check your local theaters and get those streaming subscriptions ready for a very gory Christmas.
Warning: The trailers below are uncensored and contain graphics images, foul language and other adult content. Viewer discretion is advised.
The Curse of Jack Frost
The personification of winter strikes again, and this time we’re getting a backstory. This British horror makes full use of its limited budget to give us some serious scares and amazing imagery. It debuted across the pond in September and is now gaining lots of international attention.
A family is terrorized by a Christmas demon, Jack Frost, and must learn their family's dark secrets that link to why they are cursed. This Christmas, Jack will stop at nothing to exact his vengeance on those left in the bloodline.
Starring: Sarah T. Cohen, Leona Clarke, Richard Kovacs, Sylvia Clegg, Kate Sandison, Lauren Staerck, Stephen Staley, Kelly Rian Sanson
Director: Liana Failla
Writer: Craig McLearie
The Curse of Jack Frost is now streaming on Tubi and Prime Video.
The Killing Tree
Our second UK horror flick is also the second one written by Craig McLearie. Expect the same level of terror, and some of the same cast. The Killing Tree is a little CGI-heavy, to be honest, but still enjoyable to watch. And it’s especially recommended if you love Black Christmas or 1997’s Jack Frost.
On Christmas Eve, a widow casts a spell to resurrect her executed husband. However, when the spell goes wrong, the husband is brought back as an Evil Christmas Tree and is hell-bent on getting revenge on the one who caused his execution.
Starring: Gillian Broderick, Marcus Massey, Sarah Alexandra Marks, Kelly Rian Sanson, Sarah T. Cohen, Ella Starbuck, Lauren Staerck, May Kelly
Director: Rhys Frake-Waterfield
Writer: Craig McLearie
The Killing Tree is now available on Digital and DVD
From killer trees to killer nutcrackers, Tubi is all in on Christmas horror. The Nutcracker is one of the most beloved Christmas stories, with a nutcracker magically coming to life to whisk a child off to a world of fantasy and magic, so of course it would get the horror movie treatment.
Follows a novelist who visits her family for Christmas and finds a mysterious Nutcracker doll, which soon becomes possessed and wreaks havoc.
Starring: Patrick Bergin, May Kelly, Kelly Rian Sanson
Director: Rebecca Matthews
Writers: Joe Knetter, Jeff Miller
Nutcracker Massacre is now available on Tubi
Not quite a killer Santa movie, but Sammy the Elf shows promise. We're digging the evil grinning Elf mask, but this ultra low-budget slasher certainly won't be for everyone.
Who is the sadistic killer behind the creepy mask that haunts a small Indiana town? Ten year-old Christina saw the malicious elf brutally murder her father on Christmas Eve, leaving behind a Naughty List and taking her brother, Johnny. Now twenty years later, Christina has a daughter of her own, and this Christmas she knows all about Sammy the Elf. But the Naughty List is longer than ever, and no one believes her. Can Christina save them before Sammy delivers terror to all the bad girls and boys?
Starring: Zach Meiser, Julie Anne Prescott, Lynn Lowry
Director: Steven Morris
Writers: Kermet Merl Key, Steven Morris
He Knows is now available on Tubi
You can watch a regular werewolf movie any time of year. Here's hoping this one is a success, and they can incorporate Rudolph into the sequel!
Max and his girlfriend, Hannah, travel to the backwoods to spend Christmas with Max's eclectic family. When Hannah gets bitten by a deer, strange things begin to occur when the winter moon is full.
Starring: Anna Broadway, Tierney Leigh Cody, Blair Hoyle
Director: Andrew Dyson
Writers: Andrew Dyson, Blair Hoyle
Weredeer is now available on Tubi
Technically this one isn’t a horror movie, but any movie where Santa brutally murders people (even if they are naughty) can scare a few people. Violent Night is one of the most-hyped holiday films of this season. It mixes Die Hard with Home Alone and amps up the intensity and Christmas scenery. David Harbour leads this ensemble cast in a strictly theatrical release that will make trips to the movies fun again this holiday season.
When a team of mercenaries breaks into a wealthy family compound on Christmas Eve, taking everyone inside hostage, the team isn't prepared for a surprise combatant: Santa Claus is on the grounds, and he's about to show why this Nick is no saint.
Starring: David Harbour, John Leguizamo, Beverly D’AngeloCam Gigandet, Alex Hassel, Alexis Louder, Edi Patterson
Director: Tommy Wirkola
Writers: Pat Casey and Josh Miller
Violent Night will debut in theaters on December 2nd, 2022
A horror movie determined to put Christ back into Christmas. The trailer is full of religious imagery and seems likely to offend many, while also delighting a select few. This is the film the protestors of the origial Silent Night, Deadly Night warned you about.
A devout priest welcomes a struggling couple into his house at Christmas time. What begins as a simple act of kindness quickly becomes the ultimate test of faith once the sanctity of his home is jeopardized.
Starring: Jeremy Gardner, Graham Skipper, Taylor Zaudtke
Director: Eric Pennycoff
Writer: Eric Pennycoff
The Leech will be available on Blu-Ray and digitally on Arrow Player December 6th, 2022
Christmas Bloody Christmas
While our second killer Santa film isn’t nearly as widespread, Christmas Bloody Christmas is just as action-packed. Get ready for lots of stunning visuals and action scenes, all set to a heavy metal soundtrack. Written, directed, and produced by indie filmmaker Joe Begos, this holiday horror is sure to be your new yearly favorite.
It's Christmas Eve and fiery record store owner Tori Tooms just wants to get drunk and party, until the robotic Santa Claus at a nearby toy store goes haywire and makes her night more than a little complicated. Santa embarks on a rampant killing spree through the neon-drenched snowscape, ultimately forcing Tori into a blood-splattered battle for survival.
Starring: Riley Dandy, Sam Delich, Jonah Ray, Dora Madison, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Abraham Benrubi
Writer/Director: Joe Begos
Christmas Bloody Christmas will begin streaming on Shudder on December 9th, 2022
The Mean One
We’ve already shared our excitement about this Grinch parody, and now it’s almost here. The Mean One digs up all the creepy undertones of Dr. Seuss’ classic and brings them front and center. This team effort joins indie mainstays with Hollywood pros to create a surprisingly solid holiday horror.
In a sleepy mountain town, Cindy has her parents murdered and her Christmas stolen by a blood thirsty green figure in a red Santa suit - The Mean One. But when the ravenous, Christmas hating creature begins to terrorize the town and threatens to ruin the holiday, she finds a new purpose - trapping and killing the monster.
Starring: David Howard Thornton, Krystle Martin, Chase Mullins, Amy Schumacher, Christopher Saunders.
Director: Steven LaMorte
Writers: Finn and Flip Kobler
The Mean One will debut in theaters on December 9th, 2022
The Christmas Tapes
It can't be Christmas Horror Movie season without an anthology movie, and this year we are getting two. This first anthology follows a found-footage theme and promises to be a fun mix of horror and comedy.
In this Christmas-Horror Anthology, a family's movie night on Christmas Eve is interrupted by a stranger, insistent on making the next Christmas 'classic' film himself.
Starring: Dave Sheridan, Vernon Wells, Greg Sestero
Director: Robert Livings and Randy Nundlall Jr.
Writers: Robert Livings and Randy Nundlall Jr.
The Christmas Tapes will be available digitally on December 12th, 2022
Christmas Craft Fair Massacre
Not even the Christmas Craft Fair is safe this holiday season.
A holiday craft fair is ground zero for a coven of Satan worshipers who stalk and kidnap a group of locals in their attempt to create a Satanic Nativity with occult spells and grisly slayings.
Starring: Tytus Berry, Rebecca Bills, Victoria Chaney
Director: Max Raven
Writers: Bando Glutz
Christmas Craft Far Massacre will be available on DVD on December 13th, 2022
Bad things happen when our pasts come back to haunt us, and that’s certainly the case in The Apology. This tale of grief, mystery, and revenge perfectly encapsulates what Christmas after a tragedy is like. And with an all-female production company at the helm, it’s a major win for gender equality in filmmaking.
Twenty years after the disappearance of her daughter, recovering alcoholic Darlene Hagen is preparing to host her family’s Christmas celebration with her best friend Gretchen. Late Christmas Eve, Darlene’s estranged ex-brother-in-law, Jack arrives unannounced, bearing nostalgic gifts and a heavy secret. Soon, Darlene finds herself caught between reason and ruthless instinct. Trapped together by a dangerous storm, a battle of wits escalates to a violent game of revenge.
Starring: Anna Gunn, Linus Roache, Janeane Garafolo.
Writer/Director: Alison Star Locke
The Apology will stream on Shudder and AMC+ on December 16th, 2022
12 Slays of Christmas
Our second anthology of the season, as well as the second anthology horror film with this exact title. Full Moon Features is a film company run by B-movie icon Charles Band, and has already brought us Christmas classics such as Gingerdead Man and It's A Wonderful Slice.
When a trio of lovely young ladies get their car stuck in a snowstorm, they take shelter in a looming Gothic manor, lorded over by a sinister old man. As their host sits them down for a lavish Holiday feast, ghastly gifts and terrifying tales are unleashed and soon the women wonder if they'll live to see another Christmas.
Starring: Cody Renee Cameron, Dare Taylor and Lauren Nicole Smith
Writer/Director: William Butler
12 Slays of Christmas will available digitally on December 16th, 2022
If you want something a little more mindless and fun, then you’ll love this last entry. Mistletoe Massacre is a comedy slasher film that really channels some of your favorite 80’s horror flicks. Queens native Lauren Francesca is a triple threat — directing, producing, and starring in this Indiegogo-funded film.
Max Causey was only six years old when he accidentally burned Santa to a crisp on Christmas Eve. 12 years later, Max attempts to raise Santa from the dead in order to fix his past mistakes and restore the Christmas spirit. But he soon realizes that the creature he has created is a bloodthirsty killer - and it's headed straight for his friend's Christmas party!
Starring: Jared Korotkin, Makenzie Rivera and Kaylie Heyner
Directors / Writers: Manuel Camilion & Benjamin Edelman
Santastein will debut this holiday season.
Scary Christmas, Everyone!