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10 Christmas Horror Movies to Get You in the Killer Holiday Spirit

From classics to camp, these seasonal horror films will boost your Christmas spirit with a little blood.

By Matthew Jackson

We're just days away from Christmas, and everyone is celebrating in their own way. For some, it means decorating every square inch of your house, baking dozens of cookies, and playing Christmas carols day and night. For others, it means having drinks with friends, wearing ugly sweaters, and heading out to holiday parties. 

RELATED: Hidden Horrors of Peacock: Krampus

Then there are those of us who like a little extra darkness with our Christmas, a little jolt of fear that calls to mind the classic British tradition of telling ghost stories every holiday season. For us, Christmas means many things, but it also means it's time for a few Christmas horror films. So, if you fit that description, we're here to help. There are dozens of Christmas horror films out there, of course, but if you're looking for a killer place to start, please consider these entries in the subgenre.

Bloody Good Christmas Horror Films to Watch This Holiday Season

Black Christmas (1974)

No Christmas horror list is complete without Black Christmas, the 1974 classic that laid the foundations for slasher movies to come and set the standard for Yuletide terror. The premise is simple enough –– a sorority house is terrorized by a hidden killer just as Christmas break is beginning –– but the way director Bob Clark and his talented cast work within that premise is still deeply chilling. It's one of those films that wraps you in a sense of seasonal warmth, then slowly tightens it around you until you can't breathe.

Stream it now on Peacock!

Krampus (2015)

Michael Dougherty's ode to the holiday monster of the title is a modern Christmas classic, but not just because it's scary. It's definitely quite scary when it wants to be, but what makes Krampus such a welcome holiday horror addition is its larger sense of family, conflict, and dark humor. It feels like a complete story and not just an effort to chase a gimmick, and you'll want to keep going back to that story again and again.

Stream it now on Peacock!

Better Watch Out (2016)

Imagine if Home Alone was a little more like You're Next, and you've got some idea of what to expect with Better Watch Out. But go in as blind as possible, because this tale of a babysitter left to watch a kid who has a crush on her, and the strange night they spend together, is full of unexpected violence, twists, and beats of genuinely unsettling character work, all wrapped up in Christmas lights.

Stream it now on Peacock!

Black Christmas (2019)

Though it's technically a reboot of the 1974 film of the same name, 2019's Black Christmas goes its own way, and is better for it. Sophia Takal and April Wolfe's film once again follows female college students stalked by a killer over holiday break, and it plays with many of the same themes as the original, but it's what it does beyond that 1974 classic that makes it truly stand out. Black Christmas 2019 might not be the movie you expected, but it's the movie you need, in all sorts of refreshing ways.

Get it now from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment!

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)

The notion of a darker version of Santa Claus is, of course, a staple of Christmas horror movies. Taking a being so associated with joy and inverting him is a good way to head into scary territory, but of all the scary Santa movies, Rare Exports is by far the most unexpected. Yes, it's a dark riff on the Santa Claus, and yes, it's scary, but everything else the film manages to pull off is both refreshing and remarkably inventive, considering the sheer number of Santa films that came before. It's a delight for fans of horror, dark fantasy, and pure Christmas imagination.

Stream it now on Peacock!

Deathcember (2019)

Why watch one Christmas movie when you can watch 24 at the same time? An anthology film that functions like a demented Advent Calendar, Deathcember features two dozen scary Christmas tales by established horror names and rising stars alike, all geared toward turning up the horror heat on one of the coldest months of the year. It's a film that moves like a rocket from segment to segment, and you'll quickly find yourself picking out favorites that you can't wait to see again next year.

Stream it now on Peacock!

Jack Frost (1997)

Even if you've never seen Jack Frost, you probably know it by reputation, but we're here to tell you, there's no substitute for experiencing the thing yourself. The story of a serial killer whose consciousness is turned into a mutant killer snowman, it's a film that feels simultaneously inevitable and unexpected, an over-the-top comic-horror piece of schlocky weirdness that's perfect for watching and laughing through with a group of friends while you all sip eggnog.

Stream it now on Peacock!

Lake Alice (2017)

One of the more off-the-beaten path choices on this list, Lake Alice is certainly not a recognized classic in the genre, but if you're a Christmas movie completist, you might want to check it out. The title comes from the lake where a family retreats for their annual Christmas getaway, only to find a killer on the loose and a body count climbing in the community. It's a movie that manages to do a lot with its small budget, and it's worth checking out if you need to change up the pace from the usual holiday horror suspects.

Stream it now on Peacock!

Letters to Satan Claus (2020)

A SYFY original movie that's simultaneously having a lot of holiday horror fun and sending up Hallmark-style Christmas movies, Letters to Satan Claus is not designed to be a terrifying experience. It's designed to be a fun, over-the-top, silly romp through severed limbs and Santa letters, and on that level it absolutely delivers. The story of a big city journalist who heads back to her Christmas-loving hometown and finds it beset by monster attacks, it's a goofy blast that's perfect for watching in the midst of a gift-wrapping marathon.

Stream it now on SYFY!

Chucky Yule Log (2023)

OK, so it's not a movie, it's a Yule Log that you're just supposed to have on in the background, but if you're a fan of SYFY's Chucky, you won't want to miss the surprises everyone's favorite Good Guy doll throws at you in the midst of what's supposed to be a soothing feed of a crackling fire.

Stream it now on Peacock!