The War on Christmas: Movies that come to mind & fighting ‘haters and atheists’
Rejoice: The War on Christmas is back!
But summer (northern hemisphere)/winter (southern hemisphere) has just ended. Doesn’t the War on Christmas festivities usually begin sometime after Halloween?
Maybe in the old days.
But much like Christmas shopping and fire, flood, drought, and hurricane season, looks like the annual War on Christmas – at one time known as a second cousin once removed of the War on Cops – is becoming an year-round event.
Weeping and gritting of teeth has seized certain population segments in the U.S.A. after Fox News, that beacon of intellectual freedom at the end of the cable news tunnel, announced that … Starbucks’ holiday season cups are a) red b) devoid of Christmas decorations.
Could it be a satanic conspiracy disguised as politically correct inclusiveness?
The result of a communist takeover at the Seattle-headquartered company?
Cruel and unusual Christian persecution in the form of paper cups?
Your guess is as good as mine.
Far-right Republican icon, U.S. presidential candidate, and 2015 political circus ringmaster Donald Trump seems to think that Starbucks has taken a definite anti-Christmas stand. Or maybe not so definite.
At a rally in Springfield, Illinois, on Nov. 8, Trump told his crowd of supporters: “Maybe we should boycott Starbucks, I don’t know. Seriously. I don’t care.”
Boycott or no, and whether or not you choose to patronize Starbucks while calling yourself Ms./Mr. Merry Christmas (while also, like some self-proclaimed devout Christians, carrying a gun in your pocket), we’re taking this opportunity to suggest six movies that came to mind after learning of the politically correct, satanic-communist conspiracy to wage war against that most holy of (pagan-inspired) Christian holidays. See below.
Black Christmas (1974)
In Bob Clark’s slasher horror thriller Black Christmas, a.k.a. Silent Night, Evil Night, a murderous psychopath hides in the attic of a sorority house, making what’s usually referred to as “obscene phone calls” before wholesomely killing one resident at a time during the Christmas season.
A cult horror classic, Black Christmas stars Olivia Hussey (Romeo and Juliet), Keir Dullea (2001: A Space Odyssey), and Margot Kidder (Superman), in addition to John Saxon, Andrea Martin, Marian Waldman, and Lynne Griffin.
For some filmmakers, ’tis the season to be gory. Below is a trio of minor – but admired in some quarters – Christmas season horror thrillers:
- Silent Night, Bloody Night / Night of the Dark Full Moon / Death House (1972). Theodore Gershuny’s low-budget slasher features James Patterson as a man who, some time after inheriting a house that had once been a mental institution, puts it up for sale. That’s when a raging lunatic escapes from a nearby asylum, waging war on those who cross his path during the Yuletide season. Plot twists and final revelations explain the reasons for the bloodthirsty nutjob’s lack of Christmas cheer. Also in the cast: Patrick O’Neal, Mary Woronov, and veterans John Carradine and Walter Abel.
- Christmas Evil / You Better Watch Out (1980). Not a sequel or reboot of Edwin L. Marin’s 1947 comedy-drama Christmas Eve, Lewis Jackson’s Christmas Evil – which coincidentally happens to start out on Christmas Eve 1947 – follows a psycho Santa who wages war not on Christmas itself, but on those who, in his view, have been naughty during the year. In the cast: Brandon Maggart, Jeffrey DeMunn, and Dianne Hull.
- Jack Frost (1997). Michael Cooney’s micro-budgeted comedy-horror thriller begins with the apparent death of a serial killer in a truck accident. However, thanks to some unexpected genetic chimerism à la The Fly, instead of going to serial killer heaven he is transmogrified into a snowman (Scott MacDonald) who, in turn, wages war not only on Christmas, but on just about everybody.
War on Christmas in New York
In Roman Polanski’s 1968 psychological horror classic Rosemary’s Baby, Mia Farrow plays a New York City housewife whose actor husband (John Cassavetes), much like Faust a few centuries earlier, makes a pact with the devil: in his particular case, a devil’s spawn in exchange for better acting gigs. Selfish? Well, one shouldn’t be too judgmental. Some feel the need to seize the American (or pick your favorite nationality) Dream any way they can.
Veterans Ruth Gordon (who actually does bring Mom-to-be Rosemary a pre-Starbucks cup of chocolate mousse), Sidney Blackmer, Maurice Evans, Ralph Bellamy, Elisha Cook Jr., and Patsy Kelly round out the top-notch supporting cast that also includes Charles Grodin and Angela Dorian.
Adapted by Roman Polanski from Ira Levin’s novel, Rosemary’s Baby was produced by William Castle, best known for his B horror flicks of the 1950s and early 1960s (Macabre, House on Haunted Hill, The Tingler).
Now, what does Rosemary’s Baby have to do with the War on Christmas? Well, Rosemary spends the holiday season eating raw meat – a tell-tale sign that she’s pregnant and that inside her is a fetus with nontraditional culinary values. You can’t get more unChristmasy than that.
Kirk Cameron on the battlefront of the War on Christmas
Directed by co-star and co-screenwriter Darren Doane (with Cheston Hervey), Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas – the title says it all – was supposed to have been a cinematic war on the War on Christmas. Instead, according to reviewers the semi-documentary had the exact opposite effect.
- “With a smile so wide and laughter that sounds so forced you half-expect the camera to pull back to reveal hostage takers, Mr. Cameron explains how several facets of the holiday – the tree, Santa Claus, gifts – have roots in religious tradition.” Ben Kenigsberg in the New York Times.
- “How do you prove a horse is an animal? Because I like Sweden.
“That’s the style of absurd logic that happens in Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas, an earnest movie that strives to show that the overflow of Santa hats, gifts and decked halls is in fact still keeping Christ at the center of Christmas.” Penny Walker in the Arizona Republic.
- “Perhaps the only Christmas movie I can think of, especially of the religious-themed variety, that seems to flat-out endorse materialism, greed and outright gluttony.” Peter Sobczynski at RogerEbert.com.
Razzie Award favorite
Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas has a zero percent approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes (12 reviews).
The film didn’t fare much better with moviegoers. Having grossed a modest $2.78 million, Saving Christmas is listed as the fourth worst movie ever made on the IMDb, trailing:
- Celal Çimen’s Turkish political thriller Code Name: K.O.Z. (2015).
- The German-Anglo-American sci-fi comedy Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 (2004), directed by Black Christmas’ Bob Clark and featuring Jon Voight and Scott Baio.
- The German crime comedy fantasy Daniel the Wizard (2004), directed by former Rainer Werner Fassbinder performer Ulli Lommel (Chinese Roulette, Effi Briest), and featuring Lommel and 2003 German Pop Idol contestant Daniel Küblböck.
Kirk Cameron blamed the film’s dismal reception on “haters and atheists,” who apparently are all Razzie Award voters. Earlier this year, Saving Christmas was shortlisted in six Razzie categories, winning in four: Worst Picture, Worst Actor (Kirk Cameron), Worst Screenplay, and Worst Combo (Kirk Cameron & His Ego).
Undaunted, around the time Saving Christmas came out the former Growing Pains actor came up with a special tie-in coffee blend. The “Saving Christmas Blend” tagline immodestly (and not very accurately) proclaimed: “We saved Christmas. Now, taste the glory.”
And we’ve gone full circle, back to the War on Christmas and coffee.
Oscar winner Ruth Gordon, 1930s comedienne Patsy Kelly
 Note from the editor ii: Ruth Gordon, whose acting credits date back to the 1910s (on stage: Peter Pan, Seventeen), took home the 1968 Best Supporting Actress Academy Award.
And regarding Patsy Kelly, who would have guessed back in the 1930s that Thelma Todd’s pal in comedy shorts such as Sing Sister Sing and Bum Voyage would end up a member of a New York coven of satan-worshipping witches?
Olivia Hussey in the one-person War on Christmas cult classic thriller Black Christmas image: Warner Bros.
Snowman Jack Frost image: Moonstone Entertainment.
Image of Kirk Cameron in the War on Christmas documentary Saving Christmas: Samuel Goldwyn Films.
Donald Trump and satanic Starbucks’ War on Christmas coffee cups: The Frisky.
Ruth Gordon in Rosemary’s Baby: Paramount Pictures. The satirical addition of Starbucks’ (seemingly) decades-long War on Christmas was found on Facebook.