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Female Trouble, 1974 (Film Still)

12 films to watch this Christmas, according to the Dazed team

Featuring a creepy slasher, a rage-induced crime spree, and a depressing fable about a robot orphan


As a self-confessed Scrooge, the thought of picking out a Christmas film makes me feel slightly nauseous, but A24’s The Green Knight is undeniably brilliant. Plucked from the high echelons of Arthurian legend, it’s based on a 14th-century poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and stars Dev Patel, who I’ve had an on-screen crush on since Skins. Taking place on Christmas day, the plot follows Patel’s Gawain, a knight-to-be who embarks on a haunting quest beset by thieves and tricksters, flaming heads and giants. Featuring a dreamy, mediaeval soundtrack, it’s essentially a two-hour epic about sex and death – what’s more festive than that? (GY)


Christmas is a grotesque time of mass consumerism, intense gluttony, and frayed nerves, so it makes sense to sit down and watch a little flick by the Prince of Puke himself, John Waters. While I’d recommend putting a whole host of his work on your festive watchlist, Female Trouble should be number one. The 1984 movie stars the late, great, longtime Waters collaborator Divine up front as the bolshy, foul-mouthed Dawn Davenport. Desperate for a pair of cha-cha heels on Christmas morning, all hell breaks loose when she doesn’t receive them – with her parents’ protestations that “nice girls don’t wear cha-cha heels” ringing in her ears she goes ballistic. After yelling expletives at her mum and dad, stamping her feet, pulling down the Christmas tree, eventually, she enters into a red hot rage-induced crime spree that leads her directly to the electric chair. A chaotic salve for those whose Christmases aren’t all Hallmark card-esque happy families, with a dream green PJ set and fluffy slippers combo from Dawn to boot. (ED)


OK, so, I know Love Actually is ‘‘‘basic’’’ and a bit sexist and omits raging Lib Dem vibes, but it probably is my favourite Christmas film… sorry!!! No, it’s not a life-changing piece of cinema, but it’s exactly the kind of thing I can have on in the background during my post-Christmas dinner stupor. There are some good moments in it, too – like when baby Thomas Sangster dodges a bunch of Heathrow security guards to tell his crush, Joanna, about his true feelings. And that bit where Emma Thompson opens the Joni Mitchell CD is objectively heartbreaking. (SS)


I don’t particularly like watching movies because even the good ones are too long and too boring. This, combined with the sloth of Christmas actually makes me feel quite depressed. I think this is because I am still recovering from the trauma of being forced to join a film “club” during the pandemic where people would sit at home, alone, stream things on Mubi, and then talk about it on Whatsapp afterwards – which was terrible. For this list, I was originally going to choose 1998’s Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie since it’s probably the last film I could really bear to sit through. That is, until I decided to flex a little-known thing called cultural capital. So, for the purpose of this article, I suggest watching Tangerine. (DR)


There are some films you watch so often while your brain is still squishy and developing that they become a core part of your personality. The Year Without a Santa Claus is one of those films for me and my brother. To this day we can still sing every word of the “Snow Miser” and “Heat Miser” songs – absolute bangers, both of them, as are every single other musical number in this movie. 10/10 (AP)


If I am being honest, my favourite Christmas film is The Muppet Christmas Carol, but what left is there to say about a masterpiece so universally revered? So I am instead choosing the only film that has even ever given me nightmares as an adult: Black Christmas (1974). The story follows a group of young women, living together at a sorority house, who are menaced by a series of phone calls and then murdered. Predating Halloween by four years, it’s often considered the first slasher movie, and it innovated many of the techniques which became hallmarks of the genre. But it’s slower-paced and stranger than its imitators – I wouldn’t describe it as scary so much as creepy. The fact that it looks dated and low-budget only adds to its aura of evil, as does its setting in a fictional country which resembles an off-kilter, uncanny version of the US (“Canada”).

There are no musical numbers, no frogs with tuberculosis, and its bleak ending is anything but redemptive. But at the same time, it’s Christmassy in its own way – precisely because it’s playing on the juxtaposition between brutal violence and the iconography of the season. (JG)


The start of The Family Man is like if David Lynch directed Mad Men. Jack is a red-blooded alpha male who forces his workers to come in on Christmas Eve to secure a multi-billion dollar deal. He sings opera after a night of sex in his lavish penthouse (Nicolas Cage might have made a good Patrick Bateman, you think, as Grandma nods off in an armchair, feeling the effects of one too many Yorkshire puddings). The sky over NYC is inexplicably blood-red. Then Don Cheadle works his Christmas magic and sends Jack down an alternate timeline, to glimpse a world where he stuck with his college girlfriend and is now a family man living in New Jersey. Jack hates it. Then he loves it, because it’s a Christmas film and he has to. Come for the moral – kids will ruin your life – and stay for the psychotic performance by Nic Cage. (TW)


One of the most menacing things about Eyes Wide Shut is the fact that it’s so clearly a Christmas film, but no one ever mentions Christmas. Scenes are decked with various lights, gifts and festive paraphernalia (there’s even a handily compiled Christmas tree supercut on Youtube), but, despite this, the characters have no trouble in keeping Santa’s name out of their goddamn mouths. I’m guessing the way the film purposefully ignores the looming presence of Yuletide is a critique on religion or capitalism or something. And the bit where Tom Cruise is kicked out of that sex club is a perfect allegory for Mary and Joseph’s mistreatment at the hands of Bethlehem’s innkeepers (citation needed). Ultimately, Eyes Wide Shut is about a man on a mission of self-discovery after being sexually rebuffed by his wife – and what’s more Christmassy than being rejected by the ones you love. (EH)


Christmas is unfortunately a bit awkward for those of us who don’t have the closest relationships with our families, and what better way to rub it in than watching a film set in a dystopian future where an AI child gets abandoned by his adoptive parents once their real son returns home? Having been programmed to eternally love his mother, David, the artificial and now-abandoned child, desperately tries to find a way to become a real human boy in a futile attempt to win back the love of his family. Jude Law is in it as a sex robot named Gigolo Joe if that’s an incentive for anyone feeling lost after finishing their annual rewatch of The Holiday and Love Actually. Failing that, maybe another Steven Spielberg classic, like Jurassic Park? The big boy franchises are always on around this time of year. (HR)


I’m normally hungover come Christmas morning, which might explain my often exaggerated emotional reaction to It’s A Wonderful Life. However, the story of George Bailey and his failure to understand his own personal worth after he falls on hardship is a timeless story and one that, by the end of the movie, is genuinely life-affirming. It delivers the important message that no matter how difficult times may be, your impact as a human being is vital to many of the lives you have played a role in. The film also speaks out against the dangers of capitalist greed through Mr Potter’s storyline, with the FBI keeping It’s A Wonderful Life on its list of suspected communist propaganda until 1956. (LM)


Mike Leigh isn’t for everyone. His early films can feel more like heightened melodramas, filled with simplistic characters and quite hammy, exaggerated performances – or so it seems at first. I used to hate them for this reason, dismissing them as too heavy-handed and inauthentic. But I was wrong!! I was so wrong. High Hopes was the one that finally converted me. It’s not a Christmas film per se, but it is set during a bitterly cold 80s winter, and it is extremely heartwarming (maybe not that merry though). It’s about yuppy cruelty, the dark side of aspiration, the death of idealism and, of course, the POWER OF LOVE!!! I do think watching it will make you (at least want to be) a better person. (DS)


All I want for Christmas… is to be given a cute alien in a box, that when fed and watered multiplies into an eldritch horde of green-skinned, red-eyed demons! Actually, I don’t need this when all it takes is the month of December and “festive events” to fully morph into a Gremlin myself. The 1984 film becomes ever more disturbing with every rewatch – the Gremlins still put the fear of God into me with their gleeful violence and jittering noises. Plus they are really small so you never know when one might be about to jump out and strangle you. Truly a nightmare before Christmas. (JS)