When my colleagues were looking for volunteers to contribute to the 24 Days of SAP Community, I was reluctant at first. As far as holidays go, I'm more of a Halloween guy, so I didn't think I would have the right degree of festiveness to tuck behind a calendar door.
Then again, I ain't exactly a Scrooge during this time of year. In fact, there's nothing I love more than to light a log in the fireplace and watch some of my favorite seasonal films and television specials/shows. And that got me thinking about how I could join the fun...
I'm a film buff, and that spills over to television, too. In the days of the old Coffee Corner, I used to host a regular community movie club -- where we would watch a film, then get together on a Zoom meeting to discuss. And, yep, I did my best to spread a little holiday cheer in 2020 with a meeting designed to answer the question that has been haunting film fans since 1988:
Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?
I'm sure you have your own opinion, but the correct answer is: Yes, Virginia, it is. And I have an advent calendar to prove it.
Speaking of advent calendars, I suppose it's no surprise that my addition to #SAPCommunity24 is all about holiday-themed movies and television specials/series/episodes. (I'm guessing you picked up on that by now.)
I'd love to hear all about yours in the comments. I'll kick things off by sharing some of mine.
For starters, like many people in the United States, I always make time on December 24th to watch that holiday classic from director Bob Clark. I'm sure you know which one I mean…
Don't get me wrong -- I like "A Christmas Story." (How could I not when Darren "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" McGavin is in it?) But Clark's "Black Christmas" is the superior flick in this film fanatic's opinion. (Fun piece of trivia: Jeff Gillen, who plays Santa Claus in a "A Christmas Story," also appears in Clark's Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things. Remember that during the Higbee's scene if you're one of those people who will play "A Christmas Story" 24 hours straight this weekend.)
Featuring a cast of familiar faces (Olivia Hussey, Margot Kidder, John Saxon, Andrea Martin), "Black Christmas" is the story of stalker who takes up residence in the attic of a sorority house during Christmas break, and it's one of the creepiest horror films ever. It's also one of the most influential. Released in 1974, "Black Christmas" was an inspiration for John Carpenter, who would go on to release Halloween four years later.
For me, "Black Christmas" is required viewing this time of year…because I like to put a little horror in the holidays (horror-days?). I teased that a little with my comment to the Day 16 post (24 Days of SAP Community – Door 16: Random Day Surprise // Ugly Sweater Day). My ugly sweater is a mashup of Santa and one of the most iconic moments in horror history.
You might think I should get coal in my stocking for preferring a Scary Christmas to a Merry Christmas, but consider this: Even traditional holiday favorites have their fair share of spookiness. Horror legend Boris Karloff voiced the mean one himself in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Bumble in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer gave me quite the fright as a child, and A Christmas Carol is crawling with creepy spirits (from the terrifying apparition of Jacob Marley to the sinister Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come),
As the song goes, "There'll be scary ghost stories..."
The most wonderful time of the year, indeed!
But, OK, I get why the Hallmark Channel is able to draw big audiences for all of its sugar-coated holiday fare: People like to feel warm and fuzzy this time of year. I'm not immune. I can sing along happily with the Heat Miser and Snow Miser during The Year Without a Santa Claus. ("I'm too much!") I get goosebumps during Linus's speech in A Charlie Brown Christmas. I have a soft spot for A Very Brady Christmas. The Muppet Christmas Carol is my favorite adaptation of Dickens' novella.
I'll watch all of those -- and then some. It just so happens I'll round them out by watching things considered less traditional. Gremlins. Tales from the Crypt (well, at the least the "And All Through the House" segment with Joan Collins…and maybe the television version of the same story). Santa Claus/Santa Claus vs. the Devil (especially the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version). The Devil of Christmas episode of Inside No. 9 (one of the most unsettling things I've even seen). That episode has quite the Krampus twist, and my family has a bit of a Krampus tradition: my sons and I get Krampus shirts every November for the holidays. Here is this year's selection...
And so that's my holiday gift to you, SAP Community: Consider some non-traditional holiday viewing this year. Wander off the standard shoveled path, venture into the bleak snowy forest, and seek out some of the things I suggested above. (Read up on them first though. I don't want to upset anyone over the holidays, and "Black Christmas" (as an example) is not appropriate family viewing!) And, please, in the comments below, share the names of films and television shows/specials that you watch every December. It can be traditional (Elf). It can be non-traditional (Batman Returns). All that matters is that it matters to you, especially this time of year!
Happy holidays, and I look forward to reading about what holiday movies mean the most to you!
Impressive @jerryjanda - you really are a film buff! Thanks for sharing.
I don't think you deserve coal in your stocking, but there's NO WAY you'd get me to watch a horror movie, I'm a scaredy cat!! I remember watching "Jeepers Creepers" years ago with my sister and we were both frightened. She had nightmares that night and went to turn on the bedroom light and the bulb blew and smashed all over the room - needless to say we screamed!!! 😀
I might deserve coal for liking "Bad Santa" - the first movie - the little boy cracks me up every time asking about the sandwiches - so funny.
I love a good movie and good acting but am also partial to a bit of a soppy rom com now and again, like "The Holiday" (Cameron Diaz, Jack Black etc.).
I always put aside some time for the old epics and classics too at Christmas time, like
"Some Like It Hot" (Jack Lemmon one of my favourite actors) and "Spartacus".
I could write an entirely different thread about the "Jeepers Creepers" series, but I'll try to keep things jolly. 🙂
Nothing wrong with a "soppy rom com." As I noted: I get why the Hallmark movies are so popular. Just not my cup of tea (although I have been known to watch some of the sillier ones for the unintentional laughs...especially if there's a ghost involved).
It is so funny to me that you brought up "Spartacus." As I mentioned in another related thread, I used to work in a deli, and my friends and I would try to make each other laugh by slipping "Spartacus" references into our conversations behind the counter. (Why? It's a long story.) Because of that, I often associate "Spartacus" with the holidays because the holidays were the busiest time at the deli.
That's too funny. We often joke about and fondly remember only having two television channels in Ireland back in the day. One might flick over the channel from "Spartacus" to "The Wizard of Oz" during the holidays! 😀😀 .... "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" was ALWAYS shown as well at Christmas time.
Probably not unusual these days, when so many people seem content to watch films on other devices...and break David Lynch's (wild at) heart in the process. (I'd link to the clip, but David has some pretty strong opinions about people watching watching movies on their "telephone" -- and uses some pretty strong language to go with those strong opinions.)
I liked the first sequel a lot. The third entry is terrible. I've not seen the latest, and I've not read a single good thing about it.
There's also all the controversy surrounding the series' creator, which I have a tough time looking past whenever I'm tempted to revisit the earlier movies. You start getting into the "separating the art from the artist" conversations, and that's just not something I went to delve into around such a joyous time of year...
So to bring things back on topic: "Jeepers Creepers 2" stars Ray Wise, who is probably best known for playing Leland Palmer (Laura's father) in Twin Peaks. But he also appeared in Dead End, a horror film set on Christmas Eve. So, again, for anyone looking for some horror-related holiday ideas...
I'm not into scary movies either!
I did watch part of White Christmas this past Sunday, which is one of my favorite Christmas movies. I loved Rosemary Clooney, Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and all the singing and dancing.
Growing up, I remember watching the Andy Williams Christmas specials.
As for Die Hard being a Christmas movie, all I can say is "Welcome to the party, pal" 🙂
Ha, I can't get into that movie either. But I have a bigger confession; I am from Kansas and didn't see the Wizard of Oz until I was an adult! Seems that any time the movie was on TV as a kid there was a football game on. This was back in the days of a 1 TV household. And it was football first.
That said, I do like the Wizard of Oz, especially when the Wizard says "I'm a Kansas man myself" 🙂
In keeping with the topic (and the holiday), I caught a screening of this the other night. People are billing it as a true "Die Hard" Christmas movie (since it's pretty much Santa filling in for John McClane/Bruce Willis). I gave it a solid "meh" (didn't love it, didn't hate it), but it does have its moments...including one of the best endings of a bad guy ever. (And, yes, I took the picture discreetly and immediately put my phone away. I'm not /that/ guy in the theater.)
I saw it in a theater with friends, but then I ended up watching it at home on Christmas -- because it's streaming now, and my sons expressed interest in seeing it. My one son lost interest after about 10 minutes and wandered off to doing something else, but my other son stuck through the whole thing. We had a blast watching it together, and I enjoyed the second viewing considerably more than the first. I guess the lesson is that sometimes, when it comes to the movies which mean the most to you, the people you watch them with are as important as the films themselves. 🙂