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Spindle’s Alternative Christmas Movie Guide

Wednesday 18 December 2013
Words Lizzie

If you’re already sick to death of being bombarded by saccharine ‘true meaning of Christmas’ movies, then we’ve got the antidote for you.

Our alternative Christmas movies are a refreshing change, providing a healthy dose of darkness – and, dare I say it, horror – over the festive period. Take a look at our top picks for alternative Christmas movies inspired by Love Film’s Christmas Instant Show.

Die Hard

Well this one’s a no-brainer. Ultimate tough guy John McClaine (Bruce Willis in a ‘first line of the obituary’ role) attends a Christmas party that goes horribly wrong when it’s attacked by terrorist/wizard Alan Rickman.

Bruce is in fine form here, with his quick wit and perma-stained white vest instantly creating an iconic character. But maybe Die Hard is a true meaning of Christmas movie: after all, for all those times when you’ve wished something exciting would happen during the work Christmas do, there’s always the Die Hard scale to measure up against. Terrorism vs. Fat Mandy from reception doing karaoke: the choice is yours.

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Love Actually

Speaking of Alan Rickman, many years later he would return to the Christmas genre in an arguably more villainous role – that of philandering husband to the great Emma Thompson in one of Love Actually’s many intertwining love stories.

The movie itself is, of course, wildly cheesy and sentimental, yet it is unapologetically so and we love it for those reasons. Thompson and Rickman are the standouts in a top-notch cast that includes Colin Firth, Keira Knightley and Hugh Grant.

Scene that Emma Thompson was robbed of an Oscar for? Crying alone, silently while listening to Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now after discovering her husband’s cheating. Heartbreaking.

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Edward Scissorhands

Johnny Depp’s ultimate outcast weirdo character may be doomed to spend his life as a complete loner in Tim Burton’s 1990 movie, but oddly enough the film does a pretty good job of showing us the silver lining of the situation. After all, Edward Scissorhands does gain some notoriety as a hedge trimmer and hairdresser, and in the run up to Christmas he does a fine side line in ice sculptures.

Who says you can’t give back at Christmas?

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Batman Returns

Although most notable as the movie that introduced us to Michelle Pfeiffer’s iconic Catwoman only for the character to be ruined years later by Halle Berry’s Razzie-winning trainwreck of a performance, many people forget that most of the plot hinges on the switching on of Gotham’s Christmas lights. Catwoman and Danny DeVito’s Penguin plot to kidnap the Ice Princess, who’s due to pull the switch; things, of course, don’t go according to plan in a gruesomely Christmas way. Not many celebs have ever plunged to their deaths while lighting up Norwich or wherever, but perhaps this year Susan Hampshire had better watch out.

Gremlins

As a dog is for life and not just for Christmas, so Gremlins teaches us the importance of caring for Christmas-given pets in the proper manner. Except instead of forgetting to take the doggy for a walk and resulting in the animal doing its business in Mum’s pot plants, failure to follow the correct caring instructions for a Mogwai will result in mass destruction of property and the loss of a hand at the hands of an angry Gremlin. An important Yuletide message for us all, certainly.