It’s around this time that those who consider themselves fair-minded, levelheaded members of society mingle with—and even invite into their homes—screw-loose lunatics who can’t handle their boozy eggnog. Perhaps you know them by another moniker: family members. Yes, those. But, hey, rather than sit through another one of Grandpa’s meandering stories about his four-day weekend in the deer stand, spend a few hours with the following crazy killer families. Trust us, they’ll make you thankful for yours.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
Forget the traditional turkey and dressing, this crew, who brings macabre fare to Tobe Hooper’s maim-and-torture classic, is serving up Southern-fried “BBQ” with gravy bowls of crazy. Though their place cards read The Hitcher, The Old Man, Leatherface, and Grandpa, we like to think they keep a chair open for Sally. You know, just in case she stops by again without RSVPing.
The Last House on the Left
Though you may be inclined to peg father Krug Stillo and son Junior as the loons, we offer a crazier pitch. Hell hath no fury like a married couple whose daughter’s been raped and left for dead in a lake. In Wes Craven’s exploitative directorial debut, the Collingwoods bring out the good china, so to speak, to exact revenge. We’re talking fancy knives, chainsaws, the works. This is one fam you don’t want to mess with.
Norma and Norman are your normal, everyday mother-son duo. As long as normal means sharing a wardrobe, hoarding corpses, and covering every inch of wall space with taxidermied animals. Alfred Hitchcock’s black-and-white classic about an Ed Gein-inspired serial killer who skirts the truth is a Freudian field day—and welcome distraction—you’ll need once Aunt Emma arrives.
House of 1,000 Corpses
Though there’s no telling what would happen at a dinner party with the Fireflys, the tight-knit clan who use oblivious sojourners as the source for their grisly holiday ritual. At least you know the dress code in Rob Zombie’s fright fest: black tie optional, freaky mask required.
Sure, Dad gets a little testy when his ball game gets interrupted, but it’s nothing compared to the malice Jack Torrance spews when his son and wife interfere with his “work.” Stanley Kubrick’s seminal film about a haunted hotel and its winter caretakers may start out like an idyllic family-vacay flick, but it gives way to a seething tale of wicked ghosts and attempted filicide. On second thought, when the game’s on, keep it down.
The Loved Ones
The holidays are an excuse to show off that new carving set—and those blade-to-bird carving skills, right? Well, things run a bit skewed in the household in this awesome Aussie torture porn from Sean Byrne. This band of misfits prefers slicing into human flesh. So when Brent, a suicidal high schooler, turns down Lola’s prom invite, she, her Daddy, and a lobotomized woman they call Bright Eyes use his body as a carving station.