Holidays often bring joy, presents, celebrations and smiles. But they also bring in-laws, extended family and that one weird uncle no one really likes. With so much anger, hatred and forced closeness, is it any wonder people think of killing each other?
Horror writers have never shied away from bringing the terror during the “happiest time of the year.” The scares range from dark comedies to films that actually look scary, such as Krampus (in theaters Dec. 4) – check out the trailer below:
(I think I crapped my pants watching that!) Horror films loves to set the scene around Christmas (and other joyous holidays) because there’s a sense of safety when it comes to this time of year. As the character that’s sure to die says, “It’s Christmas, nothing bad is going to happen.”
That sense of security is what makes the horror so powerful – when something safe becomes unsafe it makes viewers question their own shielded lives.
In fact, one of the oldest Christmas horror films was the 1972 Silent Night, Bloody Night where an ax murder hunts a family. The film is riddled with cliche, but it’s use of Christmas motifs reminds the viewers that murder can happen any time of the year.
Of course, Christmas horror writing isn’t limited to just movies. There are not as many holiday-horror books (niche market!), but a devoted fear-lover knows that there’s always options available. Pulling from my childhood, I present the book that made sleep with the lights on for weeks:
haha, yes, this book may be cheesy as all get up, but 11-year-old me was super terrified that holiday season. And that’s what Christmas Horror stories do – they scare you for a little bit. The fear wanes with the new year but for a season it inspires double checking to make sure the door is locked, hallway lights left on over night and the occasional forced cuddling with the family pet.