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Christmas movies are all about magic, miracles and faith. It takes a special kind of monster to cast a critical eye on these wondrous films and crudely drag their filthy little secrets out for all to see. Well, our teachers always told us we were special, so let's get monstering: Here are six "family friendly" Christmas films that contain nothing but horror beneath their shiny wrapping paper.

6The Santa Clause (1994)

The Jolly:

Tim Allen plays Scott Calvin, a divorced advertising executive who's vying for his son's lost affection (as is the case for every single father in Hollywood; be careful, as soon as the wife dies or divorces you, that kid will turn on you like an ungrateful top). But, since this is a Christmas movie, he's also attempting to reaffirm his son's waning faith in Santa Claus. The tables turn, however, when Scott accidentally startles Santa and Claus falls off the roof, tragically dying in the process. Santa's body mystically disappears, Scott dons the red suit and now there's a new Santa Claus.


Presumably with a teardrop tattoo under his eye.

While reluctant at first, Scott embarks on an emotional journey, during which he comes to grips with the reality of the Santa Clause, reconnects with his estranged son and becomes a better person overall thanks to his new position ...

The Horror:

... and it was all made possible by the death of the former Santa. Not that it was a difficult kill. No, this guy practically murdered himself:

-- Self-disappearing body! No pesky corpse to hide or chop up, since Santa vanishes within seconds after his demise!


"Well, there goes any closure to this sad little incident."

-- Automatic new identity! Afraid you've left evidence behind that might net a conviction? Don't worry: If you murder Santa, he'll leave you his clothes, his physique and his hair color as well! This fat son of a bitch comes pre-Talented Mr. Ripley-ed.


"Yep, dead before you're 50."

-- Complete with getaway vehicle and remote hideout! You've got flying transportation and a kingdom of newly acquired servants to cover up for you. The best part is, it's in the North Pole; not just remote, but inhospitable! No extradition going on up there!


"Wow, this is awkward. Does it make it any better if I just admit all my crimes? I'm on a registry and everything."

Oh, but it's not all fun and games. For starters, you'd better learn to sleep with one eye open. When murder is made this easy and rewarding, you can be sure that there will always be a target on the back of the bright red suit that you can't take off. Being Santa means you have your own kingdom, clothes, vehicle, servants and nigh-omnipotent power. Who wouldn't want a piece of that? And in exchange, all you have to do is work one night a year -- a fixed night where you have to break into everybody's house and quietly rummage around their living room in the dark, thus giving everyone on earth a heads up and an easy shot at the king, all without ever having to put pants on.


"Ho ho ho, there can be only one!"

Fun fact: Near the end of the movie, Charlie (Scott Calvin's son) talks about going into the family business when he gets older. Get ready for The Santa Clause 4: PatriCider and Cookies.

5Fred Claus: The Curse of Santa

The Jolly:

A more modern take on the Santa mythos, this holiday film features Vince Vaughn as Fred Claus, the resentful deadbeat brother of Santa Claus.


Christmas has never looked so cheese-filled and hung over.

Along with giving him a disgruntled brother, the filmmakers of Fred Claus also elaborated on the agelessness of Santa. Instead of just Mr. and Mrs. Claus being immortal, when Nick Claus is ordained a saint, then he, his spouse, his immediate family and their spouses were all frozen in time. And it makes sense, doesn't it? Nobody wants to watch a movie about Santa sobbing over the corpses of his loved ones.

The Horror:

But that's all we hear on the subject of immortality. After that, the movie goes on to outline the standard "the magic of Christmas can fix even the most dysfunctional of families (even if Vince Vaughn is in it)" spiel. And we're left alone to ponder the implications of the rules governing Santa's eternal life. Or else, you know, to enjoy the movie for what it is, not overanalyze everything and try to find the fun in the experience.


Then again, this is Fred Claus. Anything that keeps your mind off the plot is good for your blood pressure.

Nah, screw that. On to the logistics of immortality!

Santa himself being immortal is never a problem in the mythos, because his traditional family is a self-contained unit: Himself, the wife and the elves are all isolated from the rest of the world. They're like a little cult up there, bribing us to turn a blind eye to their godless ways with free annual toys. The rest of the Clauses, however, have to live in the real world ... as immortal freaks.


Let us all be thankful Vince Vaughn is mortal.

That leaves two possible outcomes.

One, that the immortality only affects the family members specifically mentioned. If true, this means that the Clauses must contend with the Highlander Complex: They will have to watch their friends and relatives wither and die right before their callous, eternal eyes. And, once all of their current acquaintances and noncovered family members have died off, they have to decide whether it's worth it to make new friends (which they can also watch die) or if it'd be better to just live among themselves and wait for the end of time. Worse still, if the family's immortality doesn't transfer to their offspring (Remember: The movie never said it did), then all of the Clauses are doomed to bury every single child they birth.


Taunted forever by the childlike faces of the elven horde.

Or else there's the other option: That the immortality flows outward from all of the family members to their children, their children's children, their spouses and so on. They say that one in every 200 men traces his ancestry back to Genghis Khan.

Now, what if none of them could ever die?

The world would be crushed by an endlessly repeating clan of jolly, immortal resource hogs. So which is it, Fred Claus? What horrible fate have you wrought on the family of Santa? Do they bury their babies, or bury the world with them?


The last thing you'd hear would be sleigh bells, and then the eternal silence.

4Santa Claus (1959): Santa Is Your God Now

The Jolly:

This movie features Santa Claus.

The Horror:

This Santa Claus:


Of course he bites.

This particular Santa has a unique spin on the whole "saint of charity" thing: He's fired all of the elves, started kidnapping children from all over the world and is taking them to his palace in space (yes, space), where they must manufacture Santa's toys against their will. There they subsist solely on cake and ice cream -- probably in order to make sure they never have the strength to start a rebellion against Der Space Kringle -- while the narrator tries to reassure the viewers that the children just volunteer each year to give the old man some help with his toys. But then why do the kids have lines that make it painfully obvious they haven't set foot on Earth since they were infants? Lines like, "What food do they eat on Earth, Santa Claus?"


"... because it sure is hard to build ALL THESE GUNS without any vitamins."

Also of note: Santa segregates the children by race and outfits them in uniforms that range from kind of racist to blatantly racist to holy shit, that's way too racist.


Ironically, the scale of racist used to be color-coded.

This movie's version of Santa Claus depicts the jolly old elf as an omniscient being who spies all with his observatory. He can even peer into your dreams by use of his "Dreamscope." And since it's not specified, we're forced to assume that, yes, he can even see the wet ones. Actually, looking at that picture of him again, we're forced to assume he can especially see the wet ones.


"He sees you when you're cli-max-ing/so stop screaming 'cause it ruins the mood."

Santa's nemesis in this flick isn't "selfishness" or "depression." No, that monster Claus up there would make short work of your Lesser Grinches and your Greater Scrooges. In this movie, Santa is fighting Satan himself. Yes, the actual, literal devil, and his minion, Pitch, Chief of All Demons. You see, every Christmas, Pitch is charged with the task of causing chaos in the name of Lucifer, but is apparently routinely foiled by Santa and his bumbling wizard companion, Merlin.


"I guess between Santa and Satan I would choose you as my new God."

So to recap, this world's Santa is a kidnapping, slave-owning racist tyrant who rules with godlike power from his space palace, but it's OK, because every year he joins forces with Merlin to battle the Prince of Lies and his demon armies into submission.

3The Year Without a Santa Claus

The Jolly:

The Year Without a Santa Claus is a claymation movie about a crew of elves and children trying to convince a sick Santa to get off his lazy ass and work instead of just canceling Christmas because he's got the sniffles. The only way to do this is to convince the quarreling Miser brothers, who control the world's weather, to put aside their feud and allow it to snow in the South. They very reluctantly agree to work together for one day, it's a Christmas miracle, Santa is cured and the credits roll while good feelings and eggnog whiskey pour into your soul and mouth, respectively.


Freebase a mince pie; save a fat child.

The Horror:

The Miser brothers are, between them, the complete masters of the entire planet's weather. The Snow Miser controls the North and supplies it with cold, while his brother, the Heat Miser, controls the South and the warmth. But they're not benevolent forces: Santa and Mrs. Claus are terrified of anyone entering the Miser brothers' realm. When two of their elves may have done just that, Santa hurries out the door to find them before "the Snow Miser freezes them just for the fun of it or the Heat Miser puts the heat on them." These murderous, gleefully torturous monsters literally control the air you breathe, and they hate each other. Living in this world would be like living in a house with Crips on one side and Bloods on the other, but only if both gangs suddenly harnessed Storm-like mutant weather-control powers.

Sure, Mrs. Claus eventually intervenes and ends the hostilities, but she only got involved because it was close to Christmas and the whole holiday was on the line. The other 11 months of that year, and apparently all of every year before that, these two unhinged Elemental Gods were left unchecked to wage their war across the face of the Earth.


"I only got 364 days of holiday a year and I'm not gonna waste them on you brats."

So what happens when the magical Mrs. Claus isn't there to stand in their way? What if one of them eventually destroys the other? Or worse, what if they don't annihilate each other and the rest of eternity is just a constant power struggle between the two, with our home as their battleground? Temperatures would swing wildly, entirely on the whim of their cruel masters. You'd get frostbite and heatstroke on the same day, freak blizzards canceled out by lasting droughts, global warming and ice ages accompanying every temper tantrum.

But hey, maybe we're blowing this out of proportion. Surely neither of these children's movie villains could be so powerful as to destroy an entire plane --


Hope you enjoy city-killing tidal waves for Christmas.

2Home Alone

The Jolly:

Our yuletide hero, Kevin, is accidentally left home alone while his family visits France for Christmas. A pair of would-be burglars attempt, re-attempt and re-re-attempt wacky forced entries, until you just have to wonder if they're in this for the crime or the shenanigans. But in the end, Kevin's makeshift booby traps save the day, the robbers are thwarted and his family returns to find him safe and sound. It's the spirit of Christmas, encapsulated: A time of love, family and appreciating what you already have.

And then bashing a bald man's head in with a paint can.


Christmas!

The Horror:

Watch a little closer the next time Home Alone comes on TBS (it's always TBS). Notice anything strange about Kevin's situation? Let us give you a tiny hint: Where the hell are the people in charge?

No, we're not talking about Kevin's family abandoning him. We're talking about the fact that the McCallisters seem to live in a nightmarish version of Chicago where the cops are incompetent, evil or flat out nonexistent. You'll remember that the first thing Kevin's mom does when she gets off the plane is call the police to report that her 8-year-old son is home alone (heeeyyy, that's the title!). After being bounced around by two highly dismissive officers, the police begrudgingly agree to send someone to the house, presumably while rolling their eyes so hard that they actually physically leave their heads and go bouncing around the precinct.


"Maybe try those fake police officers. They do good work."

A police officer is sent over to check on Kevin, but after knocking a grand total of three times, he leaves the house, and the reportedly abandoned child, behind. Later, Kevin uses an old mobster movie to convince a delivery boy that he's being shot at by a psychopath, in order to get free pizza. The delivery boy quite understandably runs for his life, leaving the pizza behind.

So ... does attempted murder not warrant a call to the authorities anymore?

Kevin even flat out admits to a fake Santa that he's unattended and he wants his family back. Instead of, you know, trying to help a frightened child, alone on Christmas and begging for assistance, Home Alone's Santa Claus gives the kid some candy and sends him on his way.


"You're cutting into my tequila and suicide time. No, I didn't misspeak."

But don't worry! A cop does finally intervene in Kevin's affairs -- when he accidentally steals a toothbrush. Then it's on: The Chicago PD is on the scene, folks, and they are going to chase this son of a bitching child down for wanting healthy teeth.


"He's running. TAKE THE SHOT!"

1Elf

The Jolly:

Elf follows Will Ferrell as Buddy, a human orphan who was found in Santa's bag of toys after a night of deliveries. Santa and his elves raise the boy as one of Santa's helpers until the day he leaves for New York City to seek out his biological father. After finding love and saving Christmas, Buddy heads back home to the North Pole, where he truly belongs.

Aw ... Christmas, everybody!


You're going to need wider eyes than that to get anywhere in this business, Ms. Deschanel!

The Horror:

So wait, Santa finds a baby on Christmas Eve and decides to just ... take him?

Then he raises the kid specifically to work for him, for no pay, forever? Santa makes no effort to return the child to the orphanage from whence he came. But wait, why not? Doesn't he know everything? When you're sleeping, when you're awake, whether you've been bad or good? So shouldn't he know where he accidentally abducted this child from? It's even revealed that Santa knows who Buddy's real father is -- giving him the option to at least try to reunite a broken family -- but for some reason, Santa instead opts to raise the child in a hostile environment populated by, for all intents and purposes, aliens. In the movie, the North Pole is the exclusive realm of the elves -- mystical creatures whose biological makeup is considerably different from a human being's. Aside from the fact that Buddy grows twice as fast and large as his coworkers and literally nothing in his world is built to accommodate him, we're also, at one point, shown a diagram of the elf food groups.


Yes, they all have scurvy.

We really hope the medical clinic at the North Pole has insulin shots, because we're pretty sure that Buddy has hyper-diabetes, not to mention malnourishment and rotten teeth. Raising a human child in this environment is like finding a baby bird in your yard and opting to raise it in the toilet because you don't feel like getting the ladder out of the garage.

Even if you are maladjusted enough to think that keeping random children like lucky pennies is fine as long as they're orphans, remember: The day after Christmas, that orphanage is going to have to report a missing child. A child who is now at the North Pole, thus assuring he will never be found.


"So after a few years of litigation they closed the orphanage and I got lost in the syste --" "SNOW IS AWESOME."

That's right: An innocent social worker is going to prison because Santa had already changed into his comfy pants and didn't feel like going back out.

Erik Germ is the owner of hugefrigginarms and would love for you to follow him on Twitter.

For more terrifying undertones, check out 6 Horrifying Implications of Awesome Fantasy Movie Universes and The 5 Most Depraved Sex Scenes Implied by 'Harry Potter'.

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