Christmas TV

We have a collection of off-the-wall Christmas movies to keep folks in the holiday spirit long after they’ve opened all their presents.

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The second half of Christmas Day is, arguably, the most boring day of the year. A lot of people jump into their new gear, get into the car and shimmy out to the great outdoors. These people are wise, but the carpe diem spirit doesn’t grip everyone, and for a lot of people, the best place to wait until the new year is the couch. And for that group, we have a holiday blessing: a list of our favorite off-the-wall Christmas movies to stream.

Batman Returns (1992)

Starring Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken

Tim Burton’s run at the Batman movie franchise is legendary, gruesome and deliciously camp, and this second installment doesn’t so much capture the Christmas spirit as it rings it around the transformation of Selina Kyle into Catwoman, and “the Santa Clause of Gotham” Max Schreck’s attempts to raise The Penguin to political prominence.

➤ Available on HBO Max

Gremlins (1984)

Starring Phoebe Kates, Zach Galligan

Mogwai isn’t just a post rock band. In this stone-cold holiday classic, he’s a Chinese demon pet who has a strict eating regimen and aquaphobia. He’s cute and cuddly, but when all the rules are broken, he becomes the father of mayhem as he gives birth to an unruly and murderous brood.

➤ Available on Amazon Prime, Sling and Fubo

Rare Exports (2010)

Starring Onni Tomilla

There’s no Christmas like a Finnish Christmas. In this socked-in tale, Santa and his elves have been buried under a mountain, but when they’re dug out, it’s up to the locals to cancel Christmas after someone eats all the reindeer, children start going missing and someone has stolen every space heater and hair dryer in town.

➤ Available on Amazon Prime and Hulu

In Bruges (2008)

Starring Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Finnes

Hitman Ray is in hiding in Bruges with his handler Ken after botching an assassination. Ray wallows in depression and starts to fall in love with a drug dealer as Ken wrestles with orders from on high to kill Ray and come home. What follows are hijinx and the blackest of black comedy from Director Martin McDonagh, the filmmaker and playwright behind Seven Psychopaths, A Skull in Connamara and A Behanding in Spokane.

➤ Available on Peacock

Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)

Starring Ella Hunt and Malcolm Cunning

The Besieged Citadel is one of the most common zombie movie tropes, but watch as a bunch of teenagers turn that cliche on its head as they fight through a horde of zombies to get into school. This movie is smart, funny, populated with great characters and a musical to boot.

➤ Available on Amazon Prime

Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Starring Johnny Depp, Wynona Ryder

Tim Burton has a thing for Christmas, you can just tell. Two years before he cut Batman Returns and three years before A Nightmare Before Christmas, he released this gem about goth kids, alienation, misunderstandings and a guy with scissors for hands played by Johnny Depp, a Frankenstein’s Monster of sorts with a genius for cutting hair (human and animals), hedges and ice sculptures.

➤ Available on Amazon Prime and Hulu

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman

To paraphrase one reviewer, Christmas and sexual fantasies have something in common: They both entail lots of enthusiasm and buildup, followed by disappointment. Indeed, the characters in this film can’t escape the electric glow of Christmas lights as they navigate the cultish New York underbelly of secret societies, veiled threats and sexual guilt. A modern classic, Eyes Wide Shut is the last film made by Stanley Kubrick and not appropriate for children.

➤ Available on Hulu

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