Hi everyone! Meet my “second life saver” Theresa Romain! She also responded to my twitter call, and here she is! I’m also super excited about her post – and I hope you enjoy it too! (Can you tell I love randomness? Like love it?) I also had no idea about almost all these movies. I also *small voice* haven’t seen like 99% of them.
Holiday Movies That Aren’t
This time of year, the only way to escape holiday movies is to enter a complete media blackout. But I’m here to tell you: no need for that. You might be tired of It’s a Wonderful Life, but every time a bell rings, another holiday movie is made. And sometimes these are not the movies you’d expect.
For example. Did you know Christmas could be combined with pandemic zombie-ism? German terrorists? Fear of computers? Indeed it can. Let’s take a look at a few holiday movies that hide their red and green.
I Am Legend (2007). (Dude! It’s only $5!) This is the movie that inspired this whole list. About a month ago, I told a friend, “I’m in the mood for a holiday movie. Time to turn on I Am Legend!” Her response was something along the lines of “o_O.” But it’s true. The movie focuses on the aftermath of a mutated anti-cancer vaccine that’s killed or zombie-fied most of humanity (but not Will Smith!). Through flashbacks, we see the early spread of the virus and the evacuation and quarantine of Manhattan Island. At Christmas.
Why at Christmas? I think so the filmmakers could have the crushingly lonely Dr. Robert Neville (Smith) walk into abandoned houses and see left-behind trees and presents—all the trappings of a family holiday that will never come again.
So, yeah. This is a holiday movie. With zombie rats!
Runners-Up: Any creature movie set at Christmas will be playing with the fearsome versus the heartwarming. In this same vein (zing!) are Gremlins (1984), Dawn of the Dead (1978), and Batman Returns (1992).
Die Hard (1988). Like Dr. Robert Neville, John McClane (Bruce Willis) winds up doing battle instead of roasting chestnuts on an open fire. When his estranged wife’s company is taken over during its Christmas party by bond-hunting terrorists led by Severus Snape Colonel Brandon Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman), McClane is the only man on the inside who can help save Christmas. And his wife. And a lot of other people.
Our lesson? Christmas is the time to be with the people you love. Even if that means going through a wad of German terrorists.
Runners-Up: Die Hard 2 (1990) went back to the same well. Lethal Weapon (1987) and Eastern Promises (2007) also deal with crimes around Christmas time—whether for redemption or an extra dose of creepiness.
Desk Set (1957). Bunny Watson (Katharine Hepburn) adores her job as a researcher for a TV network. But when efficiency expert Richard Summer (Spencer Tracy) gets called in just before Christmas, Bunny’s afraid she and her staff are all about to get the chop. Besides the fact that a character would never be named “Bunny” now (I hope), this whip-smart romantic comedy is startlingly modern. As for the Christmas elements–well, according to this movie, Christmas is a time we all have extra job stress and drink a little more than we should.
Runners-Up: Oh, so many offbeat classics with holiday elements. In Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1944), a young woman drunk-marries a soldier on leave whom she can’t remember, then has sextuplets. In Three Godfathers (1936 and 1948), a trio of bank robbers save the life of an orphaned infant. In The Lion in Winter (1968), medieval royals squabble over the throne of France. In The Apartment (1960)…well, you know what that’s about.
So next time you gather with family or friends for a heartwarming holiday film, see if you can steer them away from Kris Kringle, George Bailey, and Ebenezer Scrooge. There’s a holiday- movie-that-isn’t for every mood.
Got any more oddball films to add to the list? Or just want to share one of your favorite holiday movies? Do tell!
I’ll be giving away a copy of my historical romance debut, Season for Temptation, to one random commenter. SFT has quite a bit in common with I Am Legend—it’s got holiday elements, and the hero is not a zombie. (Ok, nor are the other characters.) You can find out more here.
Guess what? Double bonus! Last week I had a giveaway/contest on twitter as well… and Theresa Romain won it! So *I* will also be giving away a copy of Season for Temptation away. A kindle copy though, cuz that’s how I do. It’ll also be on twitter, but don’t worry – tell me your twitter handle here and I’ll double your entry.