The TSL’s Horror Grindhouse: Chopping Mall (dir by Jim Wynorski)


This 1986 film tells the story of what happens when one local mall decides that it’s had enough of thievery and vandalism.

First off, automatic locks and shutters are installed.  What that means is that, at a certain hour, anyone who is inside the mall is going to be trapped there until the morning.  Secondly, three robots are used as a security force.  They’re called Protectors and they roll around, looking for thieves and keeping people safe.  Don’t worry about getting mistaken for a thief, of course.  As long as you’ve got a badge, the protector will just say, “Thank you and have a good day.”

It all seems perfect but …. what if the robots malfunction?  What if they ignore the badges and just start killing anyone unlucky enough to be trapped in the mall for the night?  Surely, that could never happen, right?

Of course, it does happen.  Thanks to a freak electrical storm, the Protectors come to life and set out to keep the mall safe from intruders.  First, they kill the technicians that are supposed to keeping a watch over them.  Then, they kill a janitor named Walter Paisley (played, of course, by Dick Miller).  Then, they set off after the six attractive people who were having a sleep-over in one of the stores.

So, what did I learn from Chopping Mall?

Well, I was tempted to say that I learned not to shoplift but actually, no one in the movie gets in trouble for shoplifting.  I guess the main thing I learned is not to walk around the mall in my underwear because that definitely seems to be something that will cause the Protectors to blow up your head.

I also learned that, if you’re tapped in the mall with a bunch of killer robots, the best place to go is the sporting goods store because that store not only has a lot of automatic rifles but also an unlimited supply of ammunition.  Of course, I already learned that from Dawn of the Dead but it’s always good to be reminded….

Anyway, Chopping Mall is a lot of fun.  It’s undeniably dated.  Just the fact that everyone’s life revolves around a mall tells you just how dated it is.  I guess if they made the film now, it would have to take place at an Ikea store or maybe an Amazon warehouse.  But the fact that the film is dated is a part of what makes it so much fun to watch.  Seriously, it’s amazing all of the stuff that apparently used to go on at the local mall in the 80s.

Despite the fact that they have a bad habit of killing people, the Protectors are actually kind of cute.  If nothing else, they’re unfailingly polite.  You have to love the fact that they’ll wish you a nice day even after they’ve killed you.  Surprisingly enough, the humans are just as likable as the Protectors.  For a film about killer robots, Chopping Mall is surprisingly well-acted by a likable cast.  Russell Todd, who was the best-looking man to ever be killed by Jason Voorhees, is in this film and he’s as broodingly handsome here as he was in Friday the 13th Part II.

Chopping Mall is a good mix of humor and thrills and robots and exploding heads and Dick Miller.  This is 80s mall horror at its best!

Horror On The Lens: Silent Night, Bloody Night (dir by Theodore Gershuny)


The 1974 film Silent Night, Bloody Night is an oddity.

On the one hand, it’s pretty much a standard slasher film, complete with a menacing mansion, a horrible secret, a twist ending, and John Carradine playing a mute newspaper editor.

On the other hand, director Ted Gershuny directs like he’s making an underground art film and several of the supporting roles are played by actors who were best known for their association with Andy Warhol.

Personally, I like Silent Night, Bloody Night.  It has a terrible reputation and the film’s star, Mary Woronov, has gone on record calling it a “terrible movie” but I like the surreal touches the Gershuny brought to the material and the sepia-toned flashbacks have a nightmarish intensity to them.  The film makes no logical sense, which actually makes it all the more appealing to me.  As the saying goes, your mileage may vary.

Watch and decide for yourself!

And To All A Good Fright: THE MUNSTERS SCARY LITTLE CHRISTMAS (TV Movie 1996)


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If you grew up in the “Monster Kid” generation like me… well, you’re old! That is, old enough to remember THE MUNSTERS, the silly 60’s sitcom about a family of monsters adjusting to life in suburbia. The show ran two seasons and inspired a feature film, 1966’s MUNSTER, GO HOME!, with Fred Gwynne (Herman, the Frankenstein’s Monster surrogate), Yvonne DeCarlo (Lily, a vampire resembling Carroll Borland in MARK OF THE VAMPIRE), Al Lewis (Grandpa, aka Count Dracula himself!), and Butch Patrick (Eddie, a wolf-boy) reprising their roles. The Munsters returned in a 1981 TV Movie THE MUNSTERS’ REVENGE with Gwynne, DeCarlo, and Lewis, then as a 1988-91 syndicated sitcom THE MUNSTERS TODAY, this time starring John Schuck (Herman), Lee Meriweather (Lily) and Howard Morton (Grandpa).

The fright family have proved durable, and were trotted out yet again for a 1996 holiday TV Movie, THE MUNSTERS SCARY LITTLE CHRISTMAS. I’m usually…

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4 Shots From 4 Underground Films: Vinyl, Beauty No. 2, Kitchen, Chelsea Girls


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films is all about letting the visuals do the talking.

We survived Tuesday the 13th!

To celebrate, here are 4 shots from 4 underground films!

4 Shots From 4 Films

Vinyl (1965, directed by Andy Warhol)

Beauty No. 2 (1965, dir by Andy Warhol)

Kitchen (1966, dir by Andy Warhol)

Chelsea Girls (1966, dir by Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey)

A Halloween Film Review: Seizure (1974, directed by Oliver Stone)


seizure1Everyone had to start somewhere and, long before he became one of the leading political provocateurs of American cinema, Oliver Stone was just another struggling film school grad who was looking for a chance to make a name for himself.  Like many aspiring filmmakers, Stone made his directorial debut with a low-budget horror film.

Filmed in Quebec and featuring an eclectic cast that included a soap opera star, a former Warhol superstar, a faded teen idol, a past Bond girl, and a future Bond villain, Seizure stars Jonathan Frid (of Dark Shadows fame) as Edmund Blackstone.  Edmund is a horror novelist who is described as being “a modern-day Edgar Allan Poe.”  When Edmund’s rich friends get together for the weekend, they are terrorized by three maniacs: the Queen of Evil (Martine Beswick), a mute giant called the Jackal (Henry Judd Baker), and a psychotic dwarf named The Spider (Hervé Villechaize).  

All of Edmund’s guests face the inevitability of death in a different way.  Playboy Mark Frost (Troy Donahue) is too concerned with pursuing pleasure to realize that he’s in danger.  Businessman Charlie Hughes (Joseph Sirola) gets out his wallet and tries to buy his way out of trouble.  Mikki (Mary Woronov), Charlie’s much younger wife, strips down to her underwear and runs away.  Eunice Kahn (Anne Meachem) jumps out of a window after the Spider ticks her into using an aging cream.  Eunice’s husband, philosopher Serge (Roger de Koven), faces death with stoicism.  Edmund’s brother-in-law, Gerald (Richard Cox), is a long-haired hippie who accidentally gets shot in the head by Edmund and dies saying, “You bastard!”  Edmund’s wife (Christina Pickles) tries to protect her son (Timothy Ousey) and Edmund reveals himself to be the first of the many flawed father figures who would appear in Stone’s films.

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If not for the identity of its director, Seizure would be a forgotten film.  In fact, it seems to be a film that Stone wishes was forgotten.  He rarely mentions it in interviews and usually describes Seizure as being a “learning experience” and there’s really nothing about Seizure that would make you think the director would go on to win three Oscars.  It’s a slow and talky movie that is just occasionally weird enough to be interesting.  Seizure‘s philosophical digressions are pure Stone but otherwise, it’s hard to see any sign of the director that Stone would become in Seizure.

Still, what other movie features Jonathan Frid and Mary Woronov having a knife fight while Martine Beswick and Hervé Villechaize watch?

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The TSL’s Daily Horror Grindhouse: The House of the Devil (dir by Ti West)


When was the last time you actually saw a good movie on Chiller?  Seriously, it doesn’t happen that often and perhaps that’s why, when, a few years ago, I curled up on the couch and watched 2009′s The House of the Devil on Chiller, I wasn’t expecting much.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that The House of the Devil is actually one of the most effective low-budget horror films that I’ve seen in a while.

The plot of House of the Devil is pretty simple.  Samantha (a likable performance from Jocelin Donahue) is a college student who has just moved into her first apartment.  However, Samantha can’t really afford to pay the rent so she agrees to take a babysitting job for the mysterious Mr. Ullman (Tom Noonan, who is just so creepy in this film).  Ullman offers her one hundred dollars to come babysit for the night.  Samantha agrees and, with her skeptical friend Megan (Greta Gerwig, who is hilarious here), drives out to Ullman’s home.  It turns out that Ullman lives in an isolated house out in the country and that he actually doesn’t have any children.  Instead, he wants Samantha to babysit his aging mother while he goes into town so he can watch the lunar eclipse which just happens to be happening on that exact night!  Samantha is reluctant but agrees to stay when Ullman offers to pay her $400.00.

And can you guess where this story is headed?

This film isn’t titled House of the Devil for nothing.

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As I said before, I wasn’t expecting much from The House Of The Devil.  I was honestly expecting it just to be a typical, low-budget Chiller horror film, good for nothing more then maybe a laugh or two and maybe a few memorably silly gore effects.  Having now seen the film, I’m very happy to say that I was incorrect.  The House of the Devil is a well-made, effectively creepy horror film and it’s one that other horror filmmakers could very much learn from.

Don’t get me wrong.  The plot of House of the Devil isn’t going to win any points for creativity.  Even if the film didn’t open with a wonderfully self-concious title card informing us that the movie is “based on a true story” of Satanic activity, it would be pretty easy to figure out that nothing good is going to happen once Samantha goes into the house.  But that actually works to the film’s advantage.  The House of the Devil feels like an old ghost story told at a sleepover.  You know where the story’s heading but you get scared nonetheless because, ultimately, it’s the type of story that plays on the fears that everyone has.

Also, in the style of the scary ghost story told by a storyteller with a flashlight pointed up at her chin, The House of the Devil understands that the best horrors are the ones produced by an overstimulated imagination.  With the exception of two or three scenes, this is not a gory film nor is it a film that sadistically lingers over scenes of torture and carnage.  Instead, director Ti West takes his time to set up both the story and the characters.  This is a film where the horror comes more from a carefully constructed atmopshere than any sort of easy shock effects.  As a result, this is a horror film that actually stays with you after you watch it.

The House of the Devil is a film that I’m very happy to recommend.

Back to School #22: Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (dir by Allan Arkush)


Originally, when I started this series of Back to School reviews, I was planning on reviewing Grease.  After all, everyone has seen that film.  It’s on TV all the time.  (Looking in your direction, AMC.)  It’s a musical, which is a genre that I love but one which I also rarely seem to review.  The movie features a good performance from Stockard Channing.  It also has a lot of dancing and you know how much I love that.  And speaking of love, a lot of people seem to absolutely love Grease.

But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that while others may love Grease, I don’t.  Oddly enough, I always seem to fool myself into thinking that it’s a fun movie but then I make the mistake of watching it whenever it pops up on AMC and every time, I am surprised to discover just how boring Grease really is.  The majority of the cast play their roles as if they’re still on a Broadway stage and projecting to the back of the house.  Olivia Newton-John is miscast.  John Travolta appears to be acting on auto pilot.  Both the songs and even Stockard Channing are never as good as I remembered.  Worst of all, the dance numbers are so ineptly staged and filmed that, half-the-time, you can’t even see what anyone’s doing with their feet.

While I certainly don’t have any problem writing a negative review (and check out my thoughts on Avatar if you doubt me), I wanted to end the 70s on a positive note.  So, instead of telling you that Grease isn’t good as many people seem to think, I want to recommend another film that, like Grease, features a lot of singing and dancing but which also happens to be a lot of more fun.

That film, of course, is the 1979 cult classic Rock ‘n’ Roll High School.

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Things are amiss at Vince Lombardi High School.  The students are so obsessed with rock and roll (and the music of the Ramones, in particular) that they have caused several principals to quit.  The hallways are a disorganized mess.  Student Riff Randall (P.J. Soles) spends all of her time having fantasies about the way that Joey Ramone eats pizza.  A strange students named Eaglebauer (Clint Howard) runs a shadowy company known as Eaglebauer Enterprises out of a smoke-filled boy’s restroom.  (He’s even got an administrative assistant to schedule meetings for him.)  Handsome jock Tom Roberts (Vincent Van Patten) can’t get a date, largely because he’s obsessed with Riff who is obsessed with the Ramones.  Little does Tom realize that Riff’s best friend, the sweet and intelligent Kate Rambeau (Dey Young), has a crush on him.

The school board hires a new principal to bring some peace to the high school.  Ms. Togar (Mary Woronov) is a strict and mentally unbalanced disciplinarian who, with the help of two apparently subhuman hall monitors, is determined to suppress any sort of fun, rebellion, or free thought.  Togar hates loud music, mostly because it causes white mice to spontaneously explode.  (When, late in the film, a human-sized white mouse — or he could have just been a very strange man wearing a white mouse costume, the film is ambiguous on this point — attempts to enter a Ramones concert, he’s turned away for his own good.  Until, of course, he reveals that he’s brought along headphones for his own protection…)

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In the end, it all comes down to this: Togar and her allies want to burn records.  Riff and the Ramones want to stop her.  And maybe blow up the school.  (David from Massacre at Central High would have been a fan of the Ramones.)

Rock ‘n’ Roll High School is an intentionally over-the-top film that both celebrates youthful rebellion while satirizing traditional high school films.  The jokes (which are a good combination of the silly and the genuinely clever) come non-stop, the actors all bring a lot of energy to their roles, and the entire film is just a lot of fun. As played by P.J. Soles, Riff Randall really is the ideal best friend and I imagine that a lot of boys in 1979 probably walked out of the theater with a huge crush on both P.J. Soles and Dey Young.  And finally, Mary Woronov gives a wonderfully demented performance as Ms. Togar.

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Rock ‘n’ Roll High School seems like the perfect film to end the 70s with.  Tomorrow, Back to School continues with the 80s!  So, if you’ve never seen Rock ‘n’ Roll High School before, watch it below!

6 More Chilling Classics: Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter, Scream Bloody Murder, Silent Night Bloody Night, Sisters of Death, War of the Robots, and Werewolf in a Girl’s Dormitory


For the past few months, I’ve been attempting to watch and review every film to be found in Mill Creek’s 50 Chilling Classics box set.  Here’s are 6 quick reviews of the latest few “chilling classics” that I’ve found the time to watch.

1) Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter (Dir by William Beaudine)

This 1966 western/horror hybrid is just about as stupid as you think it is but it’s also a lot of fun if you’re in the right mood.  Notorious outlaw Jesse James (John Lupton) attempts to hold up a stagecoach but, in the process, his hulking partner Hank (Cal Bolder) is serious wounded.  Some helpful peasants direct Jesse and Hank to the mysterious German doctor who happens to live in a nearby dark and scary house.  That doctor is Maria Frankenstein (Narda Onyx) and she’s been conducting experiments to bring dead Mexicans back to life.  Imagine her joy when the nearly dead Hank shows up at her laboratory.  Anyway, Maria performs a brain transplant on Hank and once Hank comes back to life, she informs him that his new name is “Igor.”  Yes, she does.  That plot description pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the movie but I vaguely enjoyed vaguely paying attention to it.  Maria’s German accent is hilariously overdone, the Frankenstein laboratory is full of pointless electrical things, and a character dies halfway through the film just to later show up again with no explanation.  It’s that type of movie.

2) Scream Bloody Murder (dir. by Marc Ray)

So Matthew (played by Fred Holbert) is a disturbed young man who murders his father with a tractor and loses a hand in the process.  He’s sent off to a mental asylum for a few years and while there, he’s given a sharp and potentially deadly hook as a replacement for his hand.  Seriously, why would you give a weapon like that to a mental disturbed person who has just murdered his own father?  That’s just one of the many mysteries that goes unexplored in 1973’s Scream Bloody Murder, an occasionally watchable slice of entertainment that is ultimately too slow and predictable to really be effective.  Once Matthew is released from the asylum, he goes on the expected murder spree and goes all Collector-like on a prostitute named Vera (played by Leigh Mitchell, who also plays Matthew’s doomed mother in a clever bit of Oedipal casting).  Mitchell and Holbert both give surprisingly good performances and director Marc Ray comes up with a few visually inventive scenes of mayhem but, for the most part, this film never quite lives up to the excessive promise of its premise.

3) Silent Night Bloody Night (dir. by Theodore Gershuny)

Filmed in 1972 and subsequently released in 1974, Silent Night Bloody Night is a real treat, an atmospheric thriller that has a wonderfully complicated plot that will keep you guessing.  On Christmas Eve, Jeff Butler (James Patterson) comes to an isolated town to arrange the sell of his grandfather’s home.  As we discover through some wonderfully dream-like flashbacks, Jeff’s grandfather died nearly 40 years ago when he was set on fire in his own home.  With the help of local girl Diane (Mary Woronov), Jeff investigates his grandfather’s death and discovers that the town is full of secrets and people who are willing to kill to maintain them.  Director Theodore Gershuny uses the low budget to his advantage and the sepia-toned flashbacks are truly disturbing and haunting.  Ultimately, Silent Night Bloody Night feels like a dream itself and the mystery’s solution is less important than the journey taken to reach it.

4) Sisters of Death (dir. by Joseph Mazzuca)

Technically, this isn’t the best film to be found in the Chilling Classics box set but it’s still one of my personal favorites.  The 1977 film opens with a very baroque sorority initiation that ends with one of the sisters being killed in a game of Russian Roulette.  A few years later, the surviving sisters are invited to an isolated and lavish estate where it turns out that the dead girl’s father (well-played by Arthur Franz) is looking for revenge.  This film is predictable and a lot of the plot depends on people refusing to use any common sense but Sisters of Death is such a fun little melodrama that I can’t complain too much.  The film plays out like a surprisingly violent Lifetime movie and it all ends on a wonderfully cynical note.

5) War of the Robots (dir. by Alfonso Brescia)

Whatever you do, don’t watch War of the Robots alone.  Seriously, you need somebody there — preferably several people — so you can take turns making snarky comments and rude jokes.  Otherwise, you’ll just be stuck watching this amazingly bad science fiction film from 1978 and wondering how much more of it you can take.  Set in the generic future, War of the Robots tells the story of what happens when two human scientists are kidnapped by a bunch of robots.  Capt. John Boyd (Antonio Sabato) is sent to get the scientists back and the end result?  A war of the robots.  Or something like that.  This is one of those films where it’s difficult to really pay that much attention to what’s happening on-screen.  However, it’s worth seeing just for the chance to spot the wires that are enabling the model spaceship to hang over the “alien” landscapes.  Naturally, since this film was made in the 70s, everyone wears space suits with really wide lapels.

6) Werewolf in a Girls Dormitory (dir. by Paolo Heusch)

First released in 1961, Werewolf in a Girls Dormitory is an Italian/Austrian co-production.  It was originally titled Lycanthropus and while Werewolf In A Girls Dormitory is a lot more memorable, it also makes this film sound like a lot more fun than it actually is.  This slow and oddly somber film tells the story about a series of murders that occur at a school for delinquent girls.  The school’s newest teacher is the obvious suspect but then again, the killer might just be a werewolf.  I liked the look of this film — the film is lit to emphasize shadows and it gives the whole thing a very noir-like feel — but, much like Scream Bloody Murder, this movie was just too slow to really be effective.

So, out of this batch of 6, I would definitely recommend that you track down and see Silent Night Bloody Night and Sisters of Death.  I would also definitely suggest that you do your best to avoid War of the Robots.  As for the other 3, they’re all better than The Wicker Tree.

Quickie Review: Night of the Comet (dir. by Thom Eberhardt)


Night of the Comet took advantage of the return of Halley’s Comet hype which ran through nation and pretty much most of the world throughout most of 1984 and into 1985. Hollywood being the opportunist industry that it was (and still is) were quick to produce and release a movie about the return of Halley’s Comet over the planet as soon as possible. The 1980’s was a good decade for the low to mid-budgeted horror and sci-fi movies which had a quick death at the box-office but which gained success and cult status in the many displays racks of the tens of thousands of video rental places. 1984’s Night of the Comet was one of these films and it typifies the cheesiness that was 1980’s scifi horror.

The film opens up with everyone partying the arrival of Halley’s Comet which could be seen in the night sky every 75-76 years. This time around the planet will pass through the comet’s tail which has only happened once and that was 65 million years in the past. People are out on the streets as night falls celebrating the Comet’s arrival and we meet two of the main characters in the film in the form of Regina (80’s genre icon Catherine Mary Stewart) and Samantha (Kelli Maroney). Two sisters who truly epitomizes the mall and valley culture of 1980’s Southern California, Regina and Samantha are not enjoying the night of the comet as Regina ends up working the night shift at the local theater she works at and Samantha is stuck at home with her stepmother and all the partygoers attending her stepmom’s party. In the span of a few sequences both Regina and Samantha end up locking themselves up somewhere quiet and safe to get away from the party going on around them.

While they stew in their own little, steel-lined hideaways the comet makes its pass over the planet with everyone who can see looking up to take a peek of the returning comet. What happens next sets up the rest of the movie. The comet seem to have turned anyone not protected behind heavy steel structures into red dust and those only half-protected end up turning into zombie-like creatures. Luckily for the two sisters they were inside such heavy steel structures when the comet did its pass over and were well-protected. The rest of the movie deals with Regina and Samantha dealing with the possibility that they may be the last people on the planet (though this soon get shotdown with the arrival of Commander Chakotay of Star Trek Voyager…I mean Robert Beltran) and trying to keep themselves from being eaten by the zombie survivors and being tested upon by shady, secret government scientists.

Night of the Comet won’t win any awards even from horror and science-fiction groups, but it will entertain to a point. For those who grew up during the 80’s the movie will bring back fond, if painful memories of just how cheesy that decade was in terms of pop culture. Catherine Mary Stewart as Regina would be seen in more cheesy horror flicks of the era. In fact, she pretty much became the PG-13 version of 80’s Scream Queen Linnea Quigley. Where Ms. Quigley wasn’t against gratuitious nudity and sex in the movies she was in, Ms. Stewart was very chaste and very girl next door in her roles.

Would I recommend this movie to people? Yes, I would but buying the dvd might be more for the hardcore horror and scifi completist since one can easily see Night of the Comet on regular and cable TV. In the end, the movie is a fun romp back through time to a weird and different era. The movie is not great, but it’s not bad either.

10 Unacknowledged Christmas Classics


It’s December and that means that it’s the Christmas season and that can only mean an abundance of Christmas movies both at movie theaters and on television.  This Christmas movie has even become a genre in a way that the Thanksgiving movie or the Bank Holiday movie never has.

I love the Christmas season because 1) it’s one of the few times that there’s half a chance of seeing snow in Texas, 2) it gives me an excuse to bond with family, and 3) I get lots of presents.  And I enjoy Christmas movies so much that I can pretty much quote every line from It’s A Wonderful Life from memory.  I’ve even been known to enjoy the holiday movie marathons that pop up on the Lifetime Movie Network (especially if they feature Jeff Fahey and his bluer than blue eyes).  However, my favorite Christmas movie remains the original Miracle on 34th Street because Natalie Wood was one of my mom’s favorite actresses and Miracle was one of her favorite films.

However, in this post, I want to highlight 10 movies that have either been overlooked in the past or else films that, while properly acknowledged as classics, are rarely mentioned as being Christmas films.

1) In Bruges (2008)  — Two Irish hitman (Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, both wonderful) hide out in Belgium during the Christmas holiday.  I love this film for so many reason but I have to specifically mention the performance of Ralph Fiennes, who plays an English crime boss with a foul mouth, a murderous personality, and a firmly held set of ethics.

2) Brazil (1985) — One reason why I love Terry Gilliam’s dark satire is because I actually have quite a bit in common with it.  We’re both often misunderstood, we’re both pretty to look at, and we were both released in 1985.  While Brazil is now often acknowledged as one of the best and most imaginative films of the last century, it’s often forgotten that all of this film’s action takes place over the Christmas season.  If you’ve never seen Brazil, see it now.  But be aware that you’ll never look at Michael Palin quite the same way again.

3) Three Days of The Condor (1975) — This espionage thriller (which stars a young, pre-Leatherface Robert Redford) skillfully contrasts cold-blooded violence with the bright outer happiness of the Christmas season.

4) Eyes Wide Shut (2000) — Stanley Kubrick’s final film is a tribute to MK-Ultra conspiracy theories and features rich people trying to be kinky during the Christmas season.  Nicole Kidman does redheads proud with her performance here and we get to see Tom Cruise smoke pot.

5) P2 (2007) — Rachel Nichols is trapped in a parking garage on Christmas Eve by a very scary Wes Bentley.  I have to admit that I’ve always had a morbid fear of either dying, getting seriously injured, or disappearing on Christmas Eve and therefore ruining the holiday for my family.  I guess that’s why P2 resonated with me.

6) Silent Night, Bloody Night (1974) — No, this is not a killer Santa film.  This is the film where a bunch of former Warhol superstars (Ondine and Candy Darling being the most prominent) play a bunch of mental patients who massacre their doctors in a disturbing, sepia-toned sequence.  Years later, on Christmas, another former Warhol superstar — the wonderful Mary Woronov — comes to investigate.  This is actually a fairly good film from director Theodore Gershuny.

7) Christmas Evil (1980) — Now this is a killer Santa film.  Harry is a loser who works in a toy factory but he’s obsessed with Christmas because, when he was a child, he saw mommy humping Santa Claus.  (Isn’t that a song?)  So, one Christmas, Harry dresses up like Santa and goes around killing neglectful parents and others who don’t have the Christmas spirit.  This is an oddly sweet film with an ending that brought very sincere tears to my eyes.

8 ) To All A Good Night (1980) — Okay, this is another killer Santa film and it’s one of those early ’80s slashers where everyone dies because they’re total and complete idiots but two things distinguish this film from other Killer Santa slasher films: 1) it features not one but two psycho Santas and the movie was directed by David Hess, star of Last House On The Left and The House On The Edge of the Park.

9) The Silent Partner (1978) —  However, the greatest of all killer Santas is to be found in this Canadian crime thriller.  Christopher Plummer plays a psycho bank robber who — disguised as Santa — robs a bank.  Elliot Gould plays a lonely bank clerk who uses the robbery as an excuse to steal some cash for himself which leads to Plummer eventually coming after him.  Plummer makes the scariest Saint Nick ever!

10) Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) — This is pure grindhouse brilliance, a dark comedy and a metafictional satire disguised an action movie.  Robert Downey, Jr. is a small-time criminal who accidentally becomes a film star and ends up investigating a murder with a hard-boiled PI (a surprisingly self-aware performance from Val Kilmer).  And it all takes place during the holidays.