10 Dirty Dark Christmas Movies for the Dudes

While a few of these might not be a seasonal tradition in the mold of “Miracle on 34th Street” or “It’s a Wonderful Life”, it will still provide plenty of holiday fun for the rest of us.

National Lampoons Christmas Vacation

“By Christmas Eve, the Griswold household is vibrating with the pent-up anxieties and resentments of two sets of in-laws, a thoroughly wacko uncle and aunt, and a hillbilly cousin who seems to have traveled in his camper directly from Dogpatch.  John Hughes wrote the screenplay for this silly, warm little guilty pleasure that nails most of the trials and tribulations of spending the holidays with family.”

Bad Santa

“There are certain unwritten parameters governing mainstream American movies, and “Bad Santa” violates all of them.  When was the last time you saw a movie Santa kicking a department store reindeer to pieces? Or using the f-word more than Eddie Griffin? Or finding a girlfriend who makes him wear his little red hat in bed because she has a Santa fetish? And for that matter, when was the last movie where a loser Santa meets a little kid, and the kid doesn’t redeem the loser with his sweetness and simplicity, but attaches himself like those leeches on Bogart in “The African Queen”?”

The Ref

“The movie stars sometime standup comic Dennis Leary as Gus, a would-be jewel thief who sets off an alarm in a private house in an affluent Connecticut hamlet, and in desperation kidnaps a married couple on Christmas Eve and orders them to drive to their home.Once there, he assumes, he will have time to plot his next move. But he doesn’t get a moment’s peace, because the couple he has kidnapped, Caroline and Lloyd, have been fighting for years, are constantly at each other’s throats, and are both completely incapable of surrendering in an argument.”

A Christmas Carol

“A timeless Christmas classic from one of the best versions ever made with George C. Scott to the updated Robert Zemeckis take.  The bottom line is Charles Dickens created a story that would forever be a part of America’s history when it comes to great storytelling.  The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future will not come as news. I’d rather dwell on the look of the films, which is true to the spirit of Dickens (in some moods) as he cheerfully exaggerates.  Both of these versions are dark and creepy – just the way Dickens intended it to be.”


“In this modernized take on the Dickens tale, Bill Murray plays Frank Cross, “the youngest network president in the history of television.” And he’s the meanest network executive anyone’s ever seen, too. How mean is Frank? He fires anyone who disagrees with him, timing the fired person’s exit from the building. For instance, he fires the milquetoast Eliot Loudermilk (Bobcat Goldthwait), a Bob Cratchit-like character, the day before Christmas.  Frank’s big undertaking at the moment is a live TV production of “A Christmas Carol,” and to ensure its success he wants plenty of scantily clad dancing girls in it and as much violence as the censors will allow. In “A Christmas Carol”? Frank is delighted when an old lady watching a promo for the show dies of fright. He figures it means more publicity. Drugs, terrorism, freeway killers, that’s what Frank wants in his programs. And he wants to staple antlers to a mouse. Yes, he’s mean and expect a series of ghosts to visit Frank to persuade him what he’s missing in life by being such an angry idiot.”

The Nightmare Before Christmas

“One of the many pleasures of “Tim Burton’s the Nightmare Before Christmas” is that there is not a single recognizable landscape within it. Everything looks strange and haunting. Even Santa Claus would be difficult to recognize without his red-and-white uniform.  The story is centered on his favorite kind of character, a misfit who wants to do well, but has been gifted by fate with a quirky personality that people don’t know how to take.  Jack Skellington is the soul brother of Batman, Edward and the demon in “Beetlejuice” – a man for whom normal human emotions are a conundrum.”

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

“The Grinch who stole Christmas has a reason for growing up to be so bitter. As a child, he was picked on for being green and having hair all over his body and a beard. Show me the child who would not pick on such a classmate and I will show you Baby Jesus.  The Grinch is played by Jim Carrey, who works as hard as an actor has ever worked in a movie.  He leaps, he tumbles, he contorts, he sneers, he grimaces, he taunts, he flies through the air and tunnels through the garbage mountain, he gets stuck in chimneys and blown up in explosions, and all the time. . . “

Polar Express

“Santa, in this version, is a good and decent man, matter-of-fact and serious: a professional man, doing his job. The elves are like the crowd at a political rally. A sequence involving a bag full of toys is seen from a high angle that dramatizes Santa’s operation, but doesn’t romanticize it; this is not Jolly St. Nick, but Claus Inc. There is indeed something a little scary about all those elves with their intense, angular faces and their mob mentality. “The Polar Express” is a movie for more than one season; it will become a perennial, shared by the generations. It has a haunting, magical quality because it has imagined its world freshly and played true to it, sidestepping all the tiresome Christmas cliches inflicted on us this time of year.”

Charlie Brown Christmas

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” finds an insecure, put-upon Charlie Brown unhappy that it’s Christmastime again. He doesn’t think anybody likes him, a dilemma complicated by his not having received any Christmas cards. Lucy tries to cheer him up by getting him involved in the annual Christmas play by asking him to direct it. Naturally, Charlie Brown assumes his responsibilities with his usual officiousness, and everybody thinks the play is going to be a complete failure.”

A Christmas Story

“The movie is not only about Christmas and BB guns, but also about childhood, and one detail after another rings true. The school bully, who, when he runs out of victims, beats up on his own loyal sidekick. The little brother who has outgrown his snowsuit, which is so tight that he walks around looking like the Michelin man; when he falls down he can’t get up. The aunt who always thinks Ralphie is a 4-year-old girl, and sends him a pink bunny suit. Other problems of life belong to that long-ago age and not this one: clinkers in the basement coal furnace, for example, or the blowout of a tire. Everybody knows what a flat tire is, but many now alive have never experienced a genuine, terrifying loud instantaneous blowout.”

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