Christmas has inspired many great (and cheesy) movies and Christmas specials, but it’s also supplied some of the weirdest (and worst) movies and specials you’ll ever see. From Christmas with Wookiies to snowmen that spring to life that are a bit more disturbing than Frosty, you might need to drink plenty of eggnog to handle the weirdest and worst Christmas specials and movies on this list:
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians – This movie is like Ed Wood’s Christmas wish come true! When Martian children become obsessed with the Earthling way of life, their elders decide to kidnap Santa Claus to free the kids from the machines their brains are being fed by. It’s definitely one of the weirdest Christmas movies you’ll ever see (if not one of the weirdest, period), but if you can’t stand watching it dry, check out the ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’ version that makes Santa and his awkward laughter a little more bearable.
Star Wars Holiday Special – This special might inspire you to throw a Star Wars-themed ugly sweater party after spending Christmas (actually “Life Day” on their planet) with Wookiies, cheesy sketches, and bad cartoons. If you thought that episodes I-III were the worst things to happen to the Star Wars franchise, then you obviously haven’t seen what is truly one of the worst Christmas specials ever.
The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus – This may be one of the weirdest Rankin-Bass Christmas specials ever made, but I actually like the premise. Santa Claus is transformed into a man raised as a child by a lioness and a nymph in a mythical land of fairies and ‘Where the Wild Things Are’-eque monsters. He’s not the St. Nick that we all know today, but I actually like this version of his origins much better.
Jack Frost (1996) or (1998) version – When it comes to weird Christmas movies with the title ‘Jack Frost’, you can take your pick here. The 1996 movie is a slasher flick in which a serial killer is transformed into a murderous snowman through a freak accident a week before Christmas. The horrible special effects and bad acting make this one of the worst Christmas movies ever, but I almost find the 1998 version even weirder. It’s about a father (played by Michael Keaton) that dies in a car wreck on Christmas Eve and is resurrected as his son’s snowman so that he can spend the time with him that he didn’t get to while he was living. It’s supposed to be a warm family film, but even without the slasher aspect of the 1996 version, this is still one of the creepiest movies you’ll ever see.
Eight Crazy Nights – This is one of the few Hanukkah movies that exists, sadly, and one wonders why Adam Sandler felt the need to turn himself into a cartoon (isn’t he enough of one already?). Sandler voices a troublemaker sentenced to community service as a referee for kids’ basketball games (kinda like ‘The Mighty Ducks’, except he’s a little harder on the kids), something he turns out to not exactly be good at. Somehow a Hanukkah card ultimately changes him, and…well, it’s just a big, mushy, mixed-up mess. Eight minutes of ‘Eight Crazy Nights’ is enough to drive you crazy, so just stick with Sandler’s other Hanukkah contribution where the title of the movie came from.
Santa’s Slay – It’s murder and mayhem with a side of figgy pudding. Santa Claus comes to town, but instead of bringing joy and cheer, he brings death and yuletide fear, murdering everyone in sight in holiday-themed ways. Quite a few stars are among his victims, including Fran Drescher, James Caan, Chris Kattan, and Rebecca Gayheart (there’s oddly quite a few Jewish actors in this Christmas movie). As it turns out, Santa is actually the spawn of the devil and has only been playing nice for 100 years due to losing a curling match with an angel. When it comes to Christmas horror movies, well, this is one of your only options, sorry.
The Nightmare Before Christmas – This is probably one of the most beloved animated Halloween and Christmas movies of all time. We may now be used to the idea of Jack Skellington hijacking Christmas and giving it a macabre makeover, but I remember the first time I saw this movie thinking about how bizarre it was, and that it may be a little bit too scary for young kids. It may be one of the weirdest Christmas movies ever, but it’s also one of the best.
Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special – It may have seemed like Christmas everyday on one of the weirdest and wackiest shows aimed at kids, so it’s no surprise that this over-the-top episode is one of the weirdest and wildest Christmas specials ever. Plenty of celebrity V.I.P.’s stop by to wish each other a V.M.C. (Very Merry Christmas), including Joan Rivers, Oprah, Magic Johnson, Charo, Grace Jones, and Little Richard. It’s not so much Pee-Wee’s antics that make this one of the weirdest Christmas specials ever, but his eclectic group of celebrity guests.
Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past From the Future – I don’t know if Christmas specials can get stranger than this one. ‘Aqua Teen Hunger Force’ is one of the weirdest cartoons on television, so you kind of expect the unexpected when watching it. However, it’s still surprising to learn that “thousands and thousands of years ago” Christmas was created by an ape Santa that enslaved elves (which is why next-door-neighbor Carl’s pool is filled with blood). The cybernetic ghost of Christmas past from the future that tells everyone the story of the beginning of Christmas drives everyone crazy with his incessant storytelling, and we learn that poor Carl’s Christmas dinner as a child was nothing but a piece of carpet. It’s amazing how much weirdness this show crams into just fifteen minutes.
Any ‘South Park’ Christmas Specials – ‘South Park’ definitely has some of the weirdest Christmas specials, so it’s hard to just pick one. Mr. Hankey is one of the grossest holiday characters, but the woodland critters are some of the creepiest. Oh yeah, instead of ‘Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown’, there’s a ‘South Park’ Christmas special entitled ‘Merry Christmas, Charlie Manson’, and an episode where Santa’s helpers turn out to be underpants gnomes and he gets captured in Iraq, where Jesus is shot and killed trying to save him. So when it comes to the weirdest Christmas specials, you can definitely take your pick here.