According to Hollywood, Christmas is the one day a year when the existential horror of the universe goes on sabbatical for 24 hours and everybody gets a happy ending. But screenwriters are often so hellbent on Yuletide perfection that these movies accidentally end up with plots darker than a three-hour French indie drama about a bunch of orphans trapped in a box without air holes. We're talking about movies like ...
5Miracle On 34th Street -- Kris Kringle Uses Christmas Wizardry To Knock A Woman Up
20th Century Fox
The 1994 remake of Miracle On 34th Street follows the same plot as the 1947 classic -- Santa Claus, seemingly bored with his existence as a hermetic Arctic Highlander, decides to slum it with us mere mortals and moonlight as a mall Santa in New York City. The film ends with Mara Wilson's character, the skeptical child Susan, waking up to find that all of her Christmas wishes came true: Her mom has married Dylan McDermott, and she has a gigantic new house and a baby brother on the way. Yes, the message of this film is "try hanging out with the local neighborhood crazy, because there's an outside chance he might be magic."
20th Century Fox
And if you are the neighborhood crazy, acting whimsical is a great way
to make strangers let you into their homes.
But, wait a goddamn second here. For the first two wishes, Kris Kringle is able to stealthily maneuver Susan's mom and new stepdad so that they fall in love and buy the house, but in both cases they're exhibiting at least a modicum of autonomy. When the hell did her mom and new stepdad choose to have a baby?
Uh, they didn't. Acting on the orders of a precocious near-tweenager, Kris ensured that Dylan's McSpermott impregnated her mom with a baby brother. Seriously, Santa waved his mistletoe wand and used XXX-mas magic to pierce a condom or induce ovulation or made a diaphragm explode. The adult characters are somewhat shocked when they hear Susan's final wish, because this is how people get pregnant in H.P. Lovecraft stories. We're not relationship experts here, but something tells us that their wedding night didn't end with the words, "Put a baby in me now!"
20th Century Fox
The actual words were, "SANTA CLAUS HAS POSSESSED MY CERVIX. NOG THESE EGGS."
A real miracle would've been to magically make $250,000 worth of diapers, clothes, food, and tuition appear as well. Anyway, the movie ends before the adults start discussing whether or not to abort the eldritch starchild conceived using Laplandic fertility magic, which is why to this day it remains a Christmas classic enjoyed by families all over the land.
4It's A Wonderful Life -- George Bailey Is Dooming The Entire Town By Not Killing Himself
In order to coax George Bailey out of committing suicide, Clarence the angel shows George a vision of the future where he'd never been born: His brother is dead, his friends are drunks, and his beloved town of Bedford Falls has transformed into Biff Tannen's alternate Hill Valley 1985. Reinvigorated with the knowledge that his life is meaningful, George returns home and happily spends the season with his family and friends ... all of whom are still doomed by his existence.
And not just because they gave up their life savings to make up for George
neglecting to put his uncle in a home.
You see, during the movie, we see George bring a manufacturing industry to Bedford Falls through (among other things) his new housing project, Bailey Park. That might be great for Bedford Falls in the short term, but the manufacturing industry isn't exactly doing so great nowadays, particularly in the upper states like Connecticut and New York, where the film is set. If you can't picture what happens when a major employer such as the manufacturing industry goes sideways, take a look at Detroit. The effect would have been felt even worse in a small town such as Bedford Falls. Look at what almost happens when George's doddering uncle loses the deposit -- the entire town loses its mind and everyone makes a run on the bank. Now picture those exact same people all getting laid off from their jobs at the same time. Bedford Falls would turn into fear-gassed Gotham city from the end of Batman Begins.
Angels get wings, and bankers get stitches.
Ironically, the alternate future version of Bedford Falls, Pottersville, would have thrived in this environment, because resort cities full of strippers and gambling tend to avoid feeling the sting of economic collapse as hard. (In point of fact, New York has been working at overhauling its gambling laws to allow slot-playing grannies to stimulate the economy.) So while George Bailey's continued existence will keep his brother alive and prevent his friends from turning into dipsomaniacs, his stepping down from the edge of Suicide Bridge is like an albatross dooming Bedford Falls to decades of financial ruin. Things might be better for the entire region in the long run if he told Clarence to buzz off and jumped into the goddamned river.
"Merry Christmas, smut house!"