12 days of the greatest, not-so-obvious Christmas movies

Seeing as it’s the season to be jolly, I thought I would give you a rather offbeat holiday treat. Here are 12 movies, one for each day of the season, that may not be as closely associated with Christmas as others, but which deserve a look. So if you’re bored with endless reruns of “It’s a Wonderful Life”, check out these gems…

12. The Bishop’s Wife

Cary Grant and David Niven star in this entertanining fantasy comedy about an angel helping out us mortals that plays fast and loose with religion.

11. Rare Exports

Has to be seen to be believed. Finnish production where Santa is in fact a demonic being who punishes children. What’s more bizarre is that it’s a really good movie!

10. One Magic Christmas

Mary Steenbergen has a terrible, terrible Christmas, loses her faith, and is helped out by guardian angel Harry Dean Stanton. Undoubtedly features the coolest angel in the movies, ever.

9. Trancers

Tongue-in-cheek sci-fi actioner that is most definitely set at Christmas in L.A. Tim Thomerson plays Jack Deth, a cop from the future intent on hunting down the murderous zombie slaves of his time-travelling opponent!

8. Lethal Weapon

The daddy of modern action films still packs a punch. Slick and fast-paced with enough laughs and thrills to keep anyone entertained at Christmas.

7. Black Christmas

Margo Kidder stars in this excellent and genuinely unsettling 70s slasher movie set in a girl’s sorority house. Somebody is making crank calls. The twist is that the calls are coming from inside the house!

6. An Affair to Remember

Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr are the star-crossed lovers who wait a little too long. Famously became the central plot idea in “Sleepless in Seattle”. Guaranteed to bring a tear to even the grumpiest grandparent’s eye.

5. Batman Returns

Tim Burton does Christmas in Gotham with Christopher Walken, evil clowns, and Michelle Pfeiffer in latex. What’s not to like?

gremlins

4. Gremlins

This was stupidly given a “15” rating in the UK, so a generation of kids never got to experience “Gremlin Mega-Madness” until it came out on VHS. The final shot of a snow-covered town is just gorgeous.

3. Trading Places

Superb comic caper starring Eddie Murphy and Dan Ackroyd at the peak of their talents. Co-starring Jamie Lee Curtis, in a rather memorable scene involving a curly wig and little else. How can you not like a movie that has not one, but two gorillas?

places

2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

I had to include this all-time funniest Christmas movie. Worth watching time after time just for the “squirrel attack” scene.

1. Stalag 17

Only Billy Wilder could pull off a comedy set in a German POW camp in WWII. William Holden is fantastic in a movie that never sacrifices realism for laughs, but still manages to be funny.

So there you have it, a few non-traditional Christmas movies to spend the season with. Happy Holidays!

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