Meet Me In St. Louis (1944)
Directed by Vincente Minnelli
The 1944 Technicolor romantic musical “Meet Me In St. Louis” may not be the first film to come to mind when thinking about Christmas films. The story about the Smith household, told in seasonal vignettes over the course of a year, is a lavishly composed film that features a exceptional performance from Judy Garland. It’s impossible not to get into the holiday spirit once Ms. Garland performs “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”.
Love Actually (2003)
Directed by Richard Curtis
“I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes.” When Bill Nighy’s aging rock star character Billy Mack sings those lines the Christmas spirit is alive. “Love Actually” might be considered by some as a sappy romantic comedy, however I think it’s a better than average Christmas movie. Based in London a month before the big holiday, this film focuses on the lives of numerous couples exploring what love and the Christmas spirit means to them.
Black Christmas (1974)
Directed by Bob Clark
It’s amazing that director Bob Clark has a hand in creating two holiday themed classics. “A Christmas Story”, more than 30 years after its release, still plays on repeat on Christmas morning. However, Mr. Clark’s horror film “Black Christmas” had a role in changing the landscape of horror and helped in defining the modern slasher movie genre. While on Christmas break a group of sorority girls are stalked by a unseen killer; it’s a simple plot that is executed with tension and fear.
A Christmas Carol (1971)
Directed by Richard Williams
You can’t have a holiday list without including one of the many versions of Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol”. While I enjoy many of the versions, especially the 1984 version with George C. Scott, the animated version directed by Richard Williams is one my favorites. The animation is beautiful and creepy with a tone that is consistently gloomy, similar to the composition of the Scrooge character. This version brings out the darker aspects of the tale, displaying a world without hope; this makes it all the more enriching when the light of joy comes through in the finale. A must watch for Christmas Carol enthusiasts.
"And All Through The House" (Tales From The Crypt Season 1 Ep. 2)
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Director Robert Zemeckis and screenwriter Fred Dekker crafted one of the best episodes of the entire “Tales From The Crypt” series with “And All Through The House”. A quick and effective tale that defined the structure of the entire television series with Larry Drake as an escaped mental patient stalking a vengeful wife in a Santa outfit on Christmas Eve. It’s a short but effective season’s greetings.