And so the festive season has reared its ugly, glittery head once more. A time for happiness, merriment, giving and enjoyment. Which are, incidentally, my four least favourite things, being narrowly beaten to the top spot of my admirable list of hatred by Christmas itself.
You may think this is all a little bah-humbug. But as a result of my festivity loathing, yule be sorry to hear that this post is dedicated to an elite and exclusive group of films often overlooked at this godawful time of year – the Non-Christmas film.
For those not in the know, a Non-Christmas film is a magical cinematic event, released to cash in on the Christmas market but deftly managing to avoid all direct references to Christmas itself. Here is a small selection of the finest examples, in numerical form.
That’s right blog readers, another list is afoot…
Terry Gilliam’s deeply bizarre but deeply brilliant festive tale begins with a magical Christmas family scene, interrupted by a thunderous crowd of government soldiers who promptly cut a hole in the roof, kidnap the father, bundle him into a sack, and then vanish – leaving behind only a weeping, distraught family and a receipt for the essential government service they have been privy too. Fantastically Non-Christmas stuff.
4. Home Alone
Not entirely devoid of festive reference, I’ll admit it, but as the focus of the film remains on pain, suffering and loneliness it can fit in nicely to our list of festive fun. This John Hughes penned, pre-Macaulay Culkin breakdown flick is a timeless masterclass in belittling grown ups and, as far as I can see, contains all the essential knowledge required to effortlessly turn your home into an impenetrable fortress, which can only be a good thing.
A film where Christmas is ruined by an onslaught of disgusting, vulgar, angry, violent creatures, who then set about destroying everything, making a horrible mess and refusing to go away. Sadly, this is fictitious and in real life we have to put up with carol singers – which are similar but much worse.
2. Batman Returns
Tim Burton’s fantastically dark festive tale is still the best Batman film to have ever been made. A Christmas-set tale filled with crime, menace, sinister underworlds, weird, disgusting Danny De Vito characters and Christopher Walken. Brilliant.
1. Die Hard
The epitome of the Non-Christmas film. I like to see this as more of a moral warning against the perils of a joyous Christmas than a fun filled, action packed John McTiernan action classic. One minute you’re having a great time, kicking back at the Christmas work do, drinking bubbly in the new office. The next you’re being held captive by a crazed German, with a multi-national array of henchmen to contend with and your only chances of survival pinned on a disgruntled, shoeless policeman from New York that would really rather be somewhere else. This warning should be heeded readers, and woe betide the day we forget the perils of complacency during the festive period. The lessons are all here my friends.
Well that should, I hope, have killed the mood. But I would like to welcome any other suggestions, just to seal the deal.