In December 2020, several holiday horror movies are set to release with new tales to usher in a season filled with fear rather than cheer. Whether the jolly man in red seeks blood rather than cookies and milk or a ghostly nightmare returns for Christmas, these new releases in the Christmas horror and holiday horror sub-genres are guaranteed to keep the spooky season alive well into the winter months.
It is common for horror directors to craft stories surrounding what is assumed to be the most joyful of all holidays. They come from an array of different sub-genres, and feature some of the most iconic symbols of their corresponding holiday. In 1974, Black Christmas showcased how a slasher character could wreak havoc on a house full of women. Movie scholars and historians have regarded it as a proto-slasher movie, having influenced John Carpenter’s seminal Halloween as well as being the first to introduce the concept of a slasher killer to the horror genre. As horror and the holidays continued to share a fruitful relationship, a cult classic emerged with 1984’s Silent Night, Deadly Night, which transformed the concept of Santa Claus into a man with a bag full of murderous tricks rather than gifts. Every addition to the sub-genre proves that Halloween isn’t the only holiday when horrors take place.
In recent years, directors have taken traditionally joyful celebrations and transformed them into nightmare scenarios with little to no escape. Ari Aster’s Midsommar takes the celebration of the midsummer festival and makes it a story about a cult, murder, sacrifice, and manipulation. Eli Roth released a trailer for a fake Thanksgiving movie that would’ve made the holiday centered around being thankful for survival rather than family gatherings. Horror has an impressive way of taking the happiest holidays and making them into the most horrific by morphing innocent traditions and customs into something more sinister. 2020 seems to be ripe with potential for new hits; without further ado, here’s every holiday horror movie set to release during the 2020 holiday season.
Holiday Horror Movies Deathcember
Deathcember is one of the most highly anticipated releases in the holiday horror sub-genre for 2020. It features twenty-four short movies compiled together to create one gruesome story pertaining to cheer, fear, and the holiday spirit. With two dozen directors, all of whom bring different perspectives on the sub-genre, contributing to the movie, Deathcember has the opportunity to provide fans with holiday themed horrors they may not have seen before. While Christmas is a major contributor to the sub-genre, it is possible that this new addition could feature stories surrounding Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and other less often explored celebrations. Deathcember will be available on November 24, 2020 on major digital streaming platforms in the U.S. and Canada.
Shudder has officially acquired the exclusive release of All The Creatures Were Stirring for 2020. While it was first released in 2018, it fell under the radar of mainstream horror. With its newfound home on the niche streaming platform, it will undoubtedly receive the recognition it deserved when it first premiered. All The Creatures Were Stirring follows a couple on Christmas Eve as they venture into a bizarre theater where they are greeted with several horror stories all pertaining to the holiday season. It features demons, ghosts, and a threatening game of White Elephant at an office Christmas party. While providing ample amounts of scares, All The Creatures Were Stirring has the additional element of being a horror comedy, which may appeal to some who like moments of levity with their holiday chills. It will be available to stream on Shudder on November 30, 2020.
Shudder has also acquired the paranormal horror movie Christmas Presence for the 2020 holiday season. Just like All The Creatures Were Stirring, it also released in 2018, but was not fully recognized for its impeccable take on the haunting aspects of Christmas. After a group of friends rent a lodge for the holidays rather than spending time with their families, they uncover that their remote location has a sinister plan for their stay in mind. Christmas Presence is available for streaming on November 30, 2020, exclusively on Shudder.
Santa Claus returns in a new holiday horror movie, The Nights Before Christmas. This time, he has partnered up with his beloved and equally as murderous wife, Mrs. Claus. The two go on a killing spree, all while evading the FBI. Santa and Mrs. Claus have a relationship similar to Harley Quinn and Joker in this holiday horror movie that is available for streaming everywhere on December 6, 2020. It is currently offered for VOD viewing through Amazon as well as on DVD for residents in the United Kingdom.
While many of 2020’s holiday horror movies have been given official release dates, others have chosen to withhold when they will be available for audiences in the United States. For instance, The Advent Calendar will be available for overseas audiences in December while a distributor for the movie in the United States has not been selected yet. It is possible that it could also release sometime in December, but this is solely reliant on who picks it up for distribution. Shudder consistently adds new titles to the platform, so it’s likely that they may get the rights for this international holiday horror movie. They have also become one of the go-to sites for foreign horror movies with titles such as Impetigore and the recent release of The Lingering. Regardless of what platform picks it up, it’s plausible that audiences will see The Advent Calendar streaming somewhere this holiday season.
Holiday horror movies’ popularity continues to increase as the years go on with new and inventive takes on symbols meant to evoke cheer rather than fear. There are already a wealth of them to pick from, but each addition to the sub-genre takes on an entirely different outlook. When 2015’s Krampus released, it portrayed a family struggle to get along during the holidays and avoid the ancient deity’s wrath. In other iterations, Krampus is a dark and benevolent creature who roams the woods and kills anyone he deems naughty. While one movie might may depict Santa Claus as an axe-wielding killer with post-traumatic stress disorder, another may transform him into a conqueror of alien life forms that have come to steal Christmas. Regardless of how holiday horror movies choose to evoke fear in their viewers, there are several unique releases arriving just in time for the 2020 holiday season in this ever-evolving sub-genre.