Christmas Special - The best Xmas movies according to us!

For this year's Christmas special, we thought we'd go back to basics. What are the best Christmas movies for you to enjoy over the festive period? To find the answer, we asked amongst ourselves and friends of the blog, and what follows are the five movies we came up with. 

Before you hit the jump, we'd like to thank all our Gort-fans for reading and wish you all a very merry Christmas:

Yaargh! Here be spoilers

On paper, Jingle All The Way should not work. The Governator plays a deadbeat dad who forgets to buy his son the Christmas present he wants. He thinks: 'no big deal, I'll just pick one up', only this is the year's big toy and there is no chance in hell of getting it anywhere. What follows is a series of escapades involving letter bombs, jet packs and ninja Santas as Schwarzenegger and Sinbad, playing a competing dad in the same dilemma, desperately try to find one of the toys... and it rocks.

The farce comes thick and fast, but all built around the central premise of a man trying to prove how much he loves his son. It's funny, frantic and endlessly charming, a great family film and infinitely more of a homage to 80s action flicks than the awful Expendables.

Neil Sheppard is a professional copywriter and pedant. He founded this blog several years ago and has edited it and written much of the content ever since. You can follow him on Twitter @insanewitgenius or read some of his short fiction at

4) Black Christmas

Predating Halloween and all the various calendar-killer flicks that followed it, Bob Clark's Black Christmas is arguably the great grandfather of all slasher films. Although the plot – sonority girls stalked by a deranged mystery killer over the Christmas holidays – sounds like your typical by-the-numbers slasher, Clark's film has a depth of character, craft and atmosphere that later post-Carpenter slashers would dispense with, to their detriment. 

Rather than buckets of splatter and gratuitous nudity, Black Christmas is more concerned with delivering wintry chills. Unlike its antecedents, Clark's movie reflects the spirit of the season, with Carl Zittrer's score ringing with bells and chimes, and using slightly-distorted versions of favourite carols to eerie effect. For a rather-more creepy Christmas, it's worth a watch.

The legendary Mr Jim Moon, also known as The Voice, is a master podcaster and a man who knows more about horror than Michael Bay knows about explosions. You can read his blog at, check out his astounding Hypnobobs podcast, featuring both articles on Weird Fiction and amazing readings of classic horror tales, on iTunes, and follow him on Twitter @Hypnogoria.

3) Elf

An orphan baby stows away in Santa's sack one night, while he's distracted by a plate of cookies, and grows up to be Will Ferrell, the only non-Elf working in a North Pole toy sweatshop and failing to impress. Ferrell finds out that his real father is James Cann, a cycnical publisher of children's books, and on Santa's naughty list. So, off he goes to Madison Avenue to redeem his dad, where he discovers that, while he might not be the best elf, he knows just how to remind people of the spirit of Christmas.

Elf is funny, tender and fills you with Christmas spirit (without making you throw up), bringing out the Elf in all of us.

 The mysterious "Ama Zing" is a Parisian lady of culture and geekiness. You can follow her on Twitter @lafemmeflaneuse or read her blog at

2) Rare Exports

Pietari and his father work as reindeer ranchers near the famous Korvatunturi-mountain, the legendary dwelling of Santa Claus. Strange things begin to occur around Christmas time, reindeers are found dead, heaters and hair dryers vanish, and a strange man is found naked in the animal trap. He bites, growls and is generally bizarre. Soon more creatures like him appear, and they turn out to be elves on a mission to rescue their leader, the monstrous creature the Santa legends originated with, from his prison of ice. 

All sorts of darkly-humorous encounters ensue, and the end result is macabre. The creatures are literally boxed and sold for our enjoyment, and this black reality of Christmas is harnessed to serve the interests of the red-suited Santa after all. During this holiday time it is always good to remind ourselves that yes, the ever-happy figure of Santa was popularized by the Coca Cola Company and the true origins of Christmas lie in pagan festivals.

Mia (@skandika) is an office bee by day, and a blogger by night; a Helsinki-based all-round nice gal, who dreams of being Nancy Drew version 2.0, likes technology, music, bizarre architecture, pop culture and science fiction. She tweets too much and does not own a 4square account - which makes her existence debatable in some circles. She guest-blogs occasionally, otherwise you can visit her site at

There's a damn good reason why Capra's classic is the definitive Christmas movie. It's the quintessential family film, with fun, romance, drama, tragedy and triumph, not to mention, family, giving and religion, the whole Christmas experience.

Still, the movie doesn't go beyond cheese and into iconic until the end. Our hero James Stewart spends his whole life sacrificing for the benefit of the little town of Bedford Falls, becoming its community leader. He wants nothing more than to travel and see the world, but he never even gets to leave his little town, even cancelling his honeymoon while on the way to the airport to help out the bank when The Great Depression hits.

Finally, he's just getting on his feet with his wife and family, when the local idiot, who Stewart entrusts with the simple task of depositing investment money in the bank messes up, losing the money and leaving George looking at a prison sentence if he can't get it back. Does George team up with his friends to sort it out? No, he does what anyone else would do and freaks out, slagging off his sponging friends for ruining his life, then tries to kill himself.

This is when Clarence, an angel in training, transports George to a parallel world where he was never born, to show him what a difference he has made to the town. This is enough to pick George up and get him back to his old self. In a normal film, the money would then turn up, but not here. We learn the evil Lionel Barrymore, Stewart's business competitor, has stolen the money to get Stewart in trouble, and he gets away with it. The film ends with the people of the town paying Stewart back for his help over the years, leaving them all broke at Christmas, and they're happy to do it. The final message: life isn't fair, but help people and they'll help you back, and everyone will be happy; what better Christmas message could there be?

Neil Sheppard is aware he has already had a turn in this article, but it's his blog and he'll do what he likes, so :-p

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