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15 Holiday-Themed Horror Movies You Have to Watch This Winter

From Santa Claus serial killers to cursed snowmen, these holiday-themed horror movies are sure to send a shiver down your spine.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year—time for the holiday horror movies of your nightmares. These holiday-themed flicks are sure to terrify while satisfying your Santa Claus needs. Terrifying snowmen, killer Santas, and more await your viewing pleasure.

Black Christmas

holiday horror movies
  • Photo Credit: Dimension Films

Although the 2006 remake of Black Christmas is surprisingly worthwhile, the 1974 original is the king of Christmas slashers. When a sorority begins receiving threatening calls during a Christmas party, some of the girls brush off the scare. But soon, they’re being stalked and murdered throughout the house. 

Related: 13 Best Horror Movies of 2017  

Silent Night, Deadly Night

santa claus horror movies
  • Photo Credit: TriStar Pictures

When young Billy sees his parents’ murder on Christmas Eve, it traumatizes him for life. After an abusive orphanage stint, Billy has a psychological breakdown, leading him to start dressing as Santa Claus while murdering scads of people around town. This flick has a deserved cult following.

Silent Night

santa claus horror movies
  • Photo Credit: Vertigo Films

A loose remake of Silent Night, Deadly Night, this film takes its inspiration both from the 1984 flick and the real Covina Massacre of 2008, in which Bruce Pardo murdered nine people, then committed suicide during a Christmas party, while wearing a Santa suit.


holiday horror movies
  • Photo Credit: Summit Entertainment

This terrifying stalker movie takes place on Christmas Eve, when a young businesswoman is trapped in the parking garage by her office. Don’t watch this if you ever want to listen to Elvis’s “Blue Christmas” with any pleasant feelings again.

Related: 4 Eerie Olde Holiday Ghost Stories 

Jack Frost

holiday horror movies
  • Photo Credit: A-Pix Entertainment

Serial killer Jack Frost is on his way to be executed when his transport crashes, causing him to be reanimated as a snowman. Given another chance to kill, Frost goes after the sheriff that captured him. Equally terrifying and hilarious, Jack Frost has become a Christmas classic for many.

Don't Open Till Christmas

santa claus horror movies
  • Photo Credit: Spectacular Trading International

When people dressed up as Santa are targeted by a terrifying killer, Inspector Ian Harris is baffled. The increasingly gruesome murders force him and the daughter of one of the victims to take matters into their own hands.


holiday horror movies
  • Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

This kid-friendly classic is perfect for a viewing with the family—and it's currently on Netflix. Just as traumatic for adults as it is for kids, you can’t go wrong with this creepy tale of mogwais, who transform into evil gremlins when they get wet.


holiday horror movies
  • Photo Credit: Legendary Entertainment

This 2015 flick conjures the spirit of Gremlins to make a holiday horror for the whole family. When Max’s family comes over for Christmas, everyone teases him for still believing in Santa. Unfortunately for them, this teasing conjures Krampus, an ancient creature that punishes those who no longer believe in Christmas.

Related: Happy Holidays from the Devil: 19 Freaky Krampus Cards 

Silent Night, Zombie Night

santa claus horror movies
  • Photo Credit: Velvet Hammer Films

This low-budget zombie movie features an outbreak a week before Christmas turning all of Los Angeles into cheerfully themed zombies. Not the greatest of holiday horror, but worth a watch if you’re into B-movie zombies.

The Gingerdead Man

holiday horror movies
  • Photo Credit: Full Moon Entertainment

Gary Busey as a crazed killer/gingerbread man? Sign us up. This bizarre horror comedy is a holiday tradition in many a household.

The Children

holiday horror movies
  • Photo Credit: Vertigo Entertainment

Just before New Year’s, all of the children in a small town are affected by a strange virus. Soon, the virus begins showing itself in other, more violent ways.

Related: 8 Terrifying Books About Murderous Children 


holiday horror movies
  • Photo Credit: Buffalo Gal Pictures

David offers his work crush a ride home from the office holiday party, only to find himself saddled with another coworker, Corey, who insists on stopping at an ATM for cash. The three are then trapped by a killer inside the bank vestibule in this surprisingly suspenseful tale.

Santa's Slay

Santa claus horror movies
  • Photo Credit: Media 8 Entertainment

This Santa Claus horror movie stars wrestler Bill Goldberg as the not-so-jolly chap. This terrifying iteration of Santa was born of Satan, but has been bound not to kill anyone until 2005—coincidentally, the year of this film. Freed from his sentence to deliver Christmas gifts instead of murders, Santa goes hog-wild, killing people around the world.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

holiday horror movies
  • Photo Credit: Touchstone Entertainment

Alright, it’s not a horror movie. But The Nightmare Before Christmas will satisfy your need for creep factor and Christmas joy in one fell swoop.

Related: 15 Brilliant and Creepy Horror Movies You May Not Know About but Need to See  

Better Watch Out

holiday horror movies
  • Photo Credit: Storm Vision Entertainment

The most recent addition to this list, Better Watch Out elevates the babysitter/serial killer tropes of horror movies by adding a dash of Christmas. The teens starring in this movie put it a notch above similar fare.

Featured still from "Krampus" via Legendary Entertainment


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