Holiday horror

Holiday-themed horror films or holiday horror are a subgenre of horror films set during holidays. Holiday horror films can be presented in short or long formats, and typically utilize common themes, images, and motifs from the holidays during which they are set, often as methods by which the villain may murder their victims.[1][2]

Film scholars Chris Vander Kaay and Kathleen Fernandez-Vander Kaay explain the subgenre as such: "The expression 'adding insult to injury' is an excellent encapsulation of the motivation behind the horror movie obsession with holidays (aside from the obvious desire to brand a killer with a theme and costume that can be revisited many times within a lucrative film franchise). The holiday is a place for happiness and family... The horror movie loves nothing more than irony (except perhaps a good death scene), and there is very little more ironic than the fear and isolation of a horror movie taking place right in the middle of the festivities."[3]

List of films

The following is a list of holiday horror films that depict or are set during a holiday or holiday season.

Films that feature Valentine's Day
Films that feature April Fools' Day
Films that feature Halloween
Films that feature Thanksgiving
Films that feature Father's Day
Films that feature Mother's Day
Films that feature Christmas
Films that feature New Year's Eve and New Year's Day
Films that feature Saint Patrick's Day
Films that feature Easter
Films that feature Walpurgis Night and May Day
Films that feature Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead)
Films that feature Midsummer
Films that feature Hanukkah


Year Film Country Holiday(s) Notes Ref.
1901 Scrooge, or, Marley's Ghost United Kingdom [4]


Year Film Country Holiday(s) Notes Ref.
1916 The Right to Be Happy United Kingdom [4]


Year Film Country Holiday(s) Notes Ref.
1921 The Phantom Carriage Sweden Based on the book Thy Soul Shall Bear Witness!
1922 Häxan Denmark-Sweden
1923 A Midsummer Night's Scream


Year Film Country Holiday(s) Notes Ref.
1933 Mystery of the Wax Museum United Kingdom


Year Film Country Holiday(s) Notes Ref.
1944 Christmas Holiday United States
1944 The Curse of the Cat People United States
1945 Dead of Night United Kingdom Anthology film


Year Film Country Holiday(s) Notes Ref.
1958 The Phantom Carriage Sweden Remake of the 1921 film


Year Film Country Holiday(s) Notes Ref.
1960 Macario Mexico
1961 Blast of Silence United States
1964 At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul Brazil


Year Film Country Holiday(s) Notes Ref.
1970 La Noche de Walpurgis Spain [5]
1971 Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? United Kingdom
1972 Tales from the Crypt United Kingdom Anthology film [6]
1972 Home for the Holidays United States Television film
1972 Silent Night, Bloody Night United States
1973 The Wicker Man United Kingdom [7]
1973 El Retorno de Walpurgis Spain
1974 Black Christmas Canada
1975 Night Train Murders Italy
1978 Halloween United States [8]


Year Film Country Holiday(s) Notes Ref.
1980 Terror Train United States [7]
1980 To All a Goodnight United States [9]
1980 Christmas Evil United States
1980 New Year's Evil United States
1981 My Bloody Valentine Canada
1981 Halloween II United States
1981 Home Sweet Home United States
1982 Creepshow United States Anthology film
1982 Critters 2: The Main Course United States
1982 Halloween III: Season of the Witch United States
1982 Trick or Treats United States
1982 X-ray United States
1983 The Being United States
1984 Don't Open till Christmas United Kingdom
1984 Gremlins United States
1984 Silent Night, Deadly Night United States
1985 The Midnight Hour United States Television film [10]
1986 April Fool's Day United States [11]
1986 Killer Party Canada/United States [12]
1986 Slaughter High United Kingdom/United States [13]
1986 Trick or Treat United States [14]
1987 Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 United States
1987 Blood Rage United States
1987 Bloody New Year United Kingdom
1988 Maniac Cop United States
1988 Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers United States
1988 Night of the Demons United States [15]
1989 3615 code Père Noël France
1989 Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers United States
1989 Elves United States
1989 Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out! United States


Year Film Country Holiday(s) Notes Ref.
1990 Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation United States Direct-to-video
1991 Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker United States Direct-to-video
1992 Stepfather III United States Television film [16]
1994 Night of the Demons 2 United States
1994 Leprechaun 2 United States
1995 Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers United States
1995 Jack-O United States
1996 Santa Claws United States
1996 Little Witches United States
1997 Intensity United States Television film [17]
1997 Night of the Demons 3 United States
1997 Jack Frost United States
1998 Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County United States Television film [18]
1998 Halloween H20: 20 Years Later United States
1999 Lovers Lane United States Direct-to-video [19]
1999 End of Days United States
1999 Resurrection United States


Year Film Country Holiday(s) Notes Ref.
2000 Bless the Child United States
2000 Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman United States
2001 Valentine United States
2001 The Christmas Season Massacre United States
2002 Halloween: Resurrection United States
2003 Dead End United States
2003 Midsommer Denmark
2003 Shredder United States
2003 Zero Day United States
2004 Hellbent United States
2004 Satan's Little Helper United States
2005 All Souls Day United States
2005 The Gingerdead Man United States
2005 Santa's Slay United States
2006 The Wicker Man United States [7]
2006 Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill! United States [7]
2006 Halloween Night United States
2006 Black Christmas United States Remake of 1974 film [20]
2006 Séance United States [21]
2007 El Muerto United States
2007 April Fools United States Direct-to-video [22]
2007 Halloween United States Remake of 1978 film
2007 Wind Chill United States
2007 Trick 'r Treat United States [23]
2007 Inside France
2008 April Fool's Day United States Remake of 1986 film
2008 The Children United Kingdom
2008 Gingerdead Man 2: Passion of the Crust United States
2008 Pontypool Canada [24]
2008 Solstice United States Remake of Midsommer [25][26]
2008 ThanksKilling United States
2009 My Bloody Valentine United States Remake of 1981 film [27]
2009 Halloween II United States Sequel to the 2007 remake
2009 Deadly Little Christmas United States
2009 Silent Night, Zombie Night United States


Year Film Country Holiday(s) Notes Ref.
2010 Atrocious Spain
2010 Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale Finland
2010 Sint The Netherlands
2011 Father's Day United States
2011 The Wicker Tree United Kingdom [7]
2011 The Melancholy Fantastic United States Re-released in 2016 as Doll in the Dark
2011 Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver United States
2012 Red Clover United States Made for television
2012 Silent Night United States
2012 Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines United States Direct-to-video
2013 All Hallows' Eve United States
2013 Christmas Cruelty! Norway [28]
2013 Gingerdead Man vs. Evil Bong United States
2013 Silent Night, Bloody Night: The Homecoming United States [29]
2014 México Bárbaro Mexico
2014 Kristy United States [30]
2015 Knock Knock United States
2015 All Through the House United States
2015 Noc Walpurgi Poland
2015 A Christmas Horror Story United States
2015 Krampus United States
2015 Krampus: The Reckoning United States Direct-to-video [31]
2015 Red Christmas Australia
2015 Tales of Halloween United States
2015 Muck United States
2015 Rage: Midsummer's Eve Finland
2016 Krampus Unleashed United States Direct-to-video [32]
2016 Holidays United States Anthology film
2017 Better Watch Out Australia/United States
2017 Mercy Christmas United States
2017 Anna and the Apocalypse United Kingdom/United States
2018 Halloween United States
2019 Midsommar United States
2019 Black Christmas United States [33]
2019 Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark United States/Canada [34]
2019 Trick United States [35][36][37]
2019 Deathcember Germany Anthology film [38][39]
2019 Holiday Hell USA Anthology film [40]

See also


  1. Vander Kaay & Fernandez-Vander Kaay 2016, p. 99.
  2. Baker, Tom "10 Ridiculous Holiday Horror Films", What Culture, 11 December 2014.
  3. Vander Kaay & Fernandez-Vander Kaay 2016, pp. 98–9.
  4. John T. Soister, Henry Nicolella, Steve Joyce; American Silent Horror Feature Films, 1913-1929 - 495
  6. Ed. Allan Bryce, Amicus: The Studio That Dripped Blood, Stray Cat Publishing, 2000 pp. 84-93.
  8. Vander Kaay & Fernandez-Vander Kaay 2016, p. 16.
  9. Mannikka, Eleanor. "To All a Goodnight (1980) - Trailers, Reviews, Synopsis, Showtimes and Cast - AllMovie". AllMovie. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  10. Collis, Clark (October 1, 2017). "Hatchet and Victor Crowley director picks the perfect Halloween movie". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  11. Muir 2012, p. 298.
  12. "Killer Party". TV Guide. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  13. Paul, Zachary (1 April 2017). "Through the Cracks: April Fool's Edition – Slaughter High". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  14. Muir 2012, p. 548.
  15. Muir 2012, p. 682.
  17. Shales, Tom (5 August 1997). "Fox's Intensity: A Deadly Sin". The Washington Post. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  18. Zachary, Paul (23 November 2017). "Through the Cracks Thanksgiving Edition: Incident in Lake County". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  19. Condit, Jon (8 July 2005). "Lover's Lane (1999)". Dread Central. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  20. Jones 2010, p. 252.
  21. "Séance (2006)". AllMovie. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  22. Condit, Jon (10 September 2007). "DVD Releases: Double Feature A Go-Go!". Dread Central. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  23. Nemiroff, Perri (October 16, 2016). "Why Trick'r Treat Is My Favorite Halloween Movie". Collider. Retrieved October 3, 2017.
  24. Holden, Stephen (28 May 2009). "A Surprise Is in Store for This Shock Jock". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  27. Vander Kaay & Fernandez-Vander Kaay 2016, p. 100.
  28. Lauren Rosewarne (2017). Analyzing Christmas in Film: Santa to the Supernatural. Lexington Books. p. 320. ISBN 9781498541817. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  30. Qateel, Nav. "Kristy: Review". Influx Magazine. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  31. H.C., Luiz (2 November 2015). "[Review] Krampus: The Reckoning is Getting a Lump of Coal For Christmas!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  32. Coffel, Chris (20 October 2016). "Another Krampus-Inspired Horror Movie is on the Way!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  33. Sneider, Jeff (June 13, 2019). "Blumhouse to Remake 'Black Christmas' with Director Sophia Takal". Collider. Archived from the original on June 14, 2019. Retrieved June 14, 2019.

Works cited

  • Jones, Alan-Bertaneisson (2010). Fright Xmas. AuthorHouseUK. ISBN 978-1-452-06199-3.
  • Muir, John Kenneth (2012). Horror Films of the 1980s. 1. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. ISBN 978-0-786-47298-7. OCLC 840902442.
  • Vander Kaay, Chris; Fernandez-Vander Kaay, Kathleen (2016). Horror Films by Subgenre: A Viewer’s Guide. McFarland. ISBN 978-1-476-62283-5.
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