The Black Dog Video Advent Calendar!
Hey everybody! It’s the Christmas time of the year again. And to celebrate, we’re presenting you with our Christmas advent calendar! Twenty-five days of movie recommendations! One a day till the big day (Christmas)!
Are you sitting comfortably, then we’ll begin.
The Ref (1994) – Denis Leary is a cat burglar (they still call them cat burglars?) who has to take Kevin Spacey (gulp) and Judy Davis hostage after a botched robbery attempt. Wickedly funny, maybe a little too cynical for some, but this goes down like a warm lumpy cup of nog. We did this for our podcast a couple of years back.
Day of the Beast (1995) – Fun, crazy Spanish film from nutso director Álex de la Iglesia finds a priest teaming up with a Black Metal aficionado and an Italian connoisseur of the occult to commit as many sins as possible to prevent the coming of the antichrist! Yes you read that right. Strap in for some wild times!
American Psycho (2000) – Americans make the best psychos. And Christian Bale is best American Psycho (despite being Welsh). This film is both horrifying and hilarious. Just like Christmas! Get more Huey Lewis in your life. American Psycho, what would the holidays be without it?
The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996) – Shane Black likes Christmas. Seems that all of his films, directed or just written, are set at Christmas. This is no exception. Geena Davis rocks it all out as a hit-woman with amnesia. Everything is cool until her past comes back to haunt her. Much action, mayhem and Samuel L. Jackson ensues. A ton of fun (was a podcast episode a few years ago as well)!
Silent Night (2021) – Odd little duck from England about a family gathering at some estate for a nice Christmas gathering. Bummer that it’s also the end of the world. Comedy and horror make for a fine cocktail and this one goes down easy.
Silent Night Deadly Night (1984) Little Billy is bummed out after watching Santa murder his parents. What’s a boy, raised in an orphanage by an abusive nun, going to do? Don’t be naughty!
The Silent Partner (1978) – Cool Canadian Christmas Caper finds Elliot Gould being chased around by Christoper Plumber (a sadistic sob) after stealing the cash that Plumber wanted to steal. Good times in old Toronto!
The Night Before (2015) Seth Rogan, JG Levitt and Anthony Mackie spend Christmas Eve looking for the mother of all Christmas parties – the Nutcracka Ball. Pretty funny (usually when Rogan and drugs are involved) Christmas tale to make you laugh.
Bad Santa (2003) – Billy Bob’s make the best Santas! Loved this cynical, gross, and hilarious “drunk and horny mall Santa plans a caper” film. Watched this with my mother-in-law years ago. That was a mistake.
8-Bit Christmas (2021) – Directed by Michal Dowse (Goon, Fubar, All Gone Pete Tong), this charming, and at times quite hilarious, tale of a kid who wants a Nintendo for Christmas – think A Christmas Story but set in the late 80s and replace shotgun with Nintendo – hits all the right notes (maybe a little schmaltzy near the end but that’s OK). A nice surprise.
Christmas in Connecticut (1945) Time for some classic holiday fare! Fun and witty and lovely film about mistaken identity, food, G.I.s and other fun Christmas things! Barabara Stanwyck! Sydney Greenstreet! Others! Enjoy.
Rare Exports (2010) – Awesome Finnish fun film has Santa being dug up from the bowels of a mountain. Then kids start disappearing. Then some nasty elves appear. Good Christmas mayhem ensues.
Gremlins (1984) – What a terrible pet a Mogwai would be! No daylight. No water. No late night snacking. What a boring movie this would be had they followed the rules. Good time, occasionally dark Christmas fare. Just did this for our podcast!
A Christmas Carol (1951) – For me, this is the best version of this oft-told tale. Nobody can hold an old timey candle to Alastair Sim’s Scrooge (No, not even Henry Winkler or Scrooge McDuck)). And such a great supporting cast. I’ve seen this probably close to 30 times and it always brings a tear to my eye and a smile to my face.
Die Hard (1988) – What would Christmas be without Bruce Willis crawling around Nakatomi plaza thwarting Hans Gruber and his minions? Saw this at the Rio last year and it still holds up incredibly well! And I also picked this one so I could use this fake poster.
Better Off Dead… (1985) – My good buddy, John, requested this little fun film from the 80s starring John (no relation) Cusack as a love-lorn dude (his specialty back in the day) who gets dumped just before Christmas and contemplates suicide. Yes, it’s a comedy. And heads up for that menacing paper-boy!
Black Christmas (1974) One of the original slashers! Canadian Bob Clark (who also did A Christmas Story – sad we never got the crossover A Black Christmas Story) gives us one of the creepiest, most terrifying horror films of all time. And it’s an all-time favourite around these parts (if only I could get the rest of the family to watch it with me). Great wintry Toronto locations, scary camera work and Art Hindle in a cool fur coat. Pass on the remakes. Accept no substitutes!
The Thin Man (1934) – Let’s (by let’s I mean Nick and Nora Charles, not me or you, although…) drink and solve a murder case at Christmas! And drink! This film is too much fun. Love it.
Better Watch Out (2016) – Fun, twisted little “terrorize the babysitter at Christmas” type of horror/comedy film. And why did it take until 2016 for a Christmas horror film to be called “Better Watch Out”?
Bell Book and Candle – Despite having Jack Lemmon playing the bongos and James Stewart looking way too old (he kinda always looked old) for Kim Novak, this little Christmas witch story is quite delightful. And also has the best cat in all of the movies (probably)!
Desk Set (1957) – Fun and wacky hi-jinks are the order of the day in this charming Hepburn/Tracey number about the computerization of a TV network’s research department. But at Christmas. Lovely.
Inside (2007) Ultra-gory (yes please!) French film finds a woman fighting for her (and her unborn baby’s) life on Christmas eve when an unhinged woman breaks in with the idea that the baby should be hers. Did I mention it’s gory? Cause it is! Insanely so.
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) – I put off watching this film forever thinking it would be some schmaltzy lame Christmas tripe. I was quite wrong. What I did not expect was a fairly dark, almost Twilight Zoneish, film dealing with suicide, greed and how capitalism might just destroy the world. I’ve seen it several times and it never fails to bring a tear or 6 to these tired, cynical old eyes.
Krampus (2015) Our film for this Christmas Eve (probably) will be this fun little horror/comedy about the legendary monster who is accidentally summoned to ruin Christmas. Nasty ginger-bread people, crazy gnomes and a great big Krampus adds up to some chilly hi-jinks!
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