Top 5 Obscure Christmas Movies

PrintE-mail Written by Whitney Scott Bain

While we wait for the good Doctor's Christmas special, here's a few treats that will have sugar plums dancing in your heads… or at least find you shaking them (heads, that is, not sugar plums).

So, without further ado, let us share some of favourite festive movies that are maybe a little less known or a tad obscure. 


1. Elves (1989) - Written and directed by Jeffery Mandel, starring Dan Haggerty, Deanna Lund and Julie Austin.

A former alcoholic detective cleans up his act and gets a job as a department store Santa (Dan Haggerty from Grizzly Adams) where he befriends Kristin (Julie Austin), who has a terrible home life dominated by her Third Reich, wheelchair-bound grandfather that slaps her around for being late, not to mention being constantly chastised by her mother (Deanna Lund of Land of the Giants fame.). Kristin learns that grandpappy created a series of genetic experiments of a race of mutant elves for the Nazis during World War II, and that she's the by-product of her mother and grandfather (shades of Chinatown, Jake!)! The elves (or in this case due to budget restrictions, elf) are sent out to procreate with the virgin Kristin in order to revive the Master Race, and it’s up to the dime store Santa to do some Nazi elf butt-kicking!  The best part of the film is a nice bathtub scene with Lund. A Christmas movie for the whole family… if you're the Manson family that is.


2. Mixed Nuts (1994) - Directed by Nora Ephron, written by Nora and Delia Ephron, and starring Steve Martin, Adam Sandler, Madeline Kahn, Juliette Lewis and Haley Joel Osment.

A weird Christmas movie that has to be seen to be believed. A Suicide Crisis Centre deals with depressed people on Christmas Eve as black humour abounds in this seldom-seen madcap comedy that includes ukulele playing, fruitcake re-gifting that no one wants, made up Christmas songs while stuck in an elevator, and Liev Schreiber in drag! Filled with cameos of soon-to-be famous stars, it’s a strange film that'll make you laugh.


3. Santa Claus and the Ice Cream Bunny (1972) - Directed and written by R. Winer, starring Jay Ripley, Shay Garner and Pat Morrell.

File this one under "what were they thinking?!" Rudolph and the gang take off and strand Santa's sleigh in the hot Florida sun, probably due to a labour dispute with the jolly old fat man. A group of beach kids try different animals to get Santa out of his predicament to no avail, as he complains how hot it is in his sweat-laden suit. What does he do next? He tells the kids the story of Jack and the Beanstalk that includes some of the worst rear projection in the history of cinema. The Ice Cream Bunny finally shows up in the third act on a fire engine that takes forever to rescue Santa. The original poster had the tag lines "What a Story! A daring rescue!" to sucker children into theatres in the hope that they were getting a James Bond-like actioner with Santa. S.P.E.C.T.R.E. would be embarrassed to extort money from this film. Kids practically rioted when this movie was shown at matinees in the ‘70s, they hated it so much. This was the only film made by the director, who promptly went into obscurity or was lynched by a group of ten-year-olds. Truly bizarre.


4. A Cosmic Christmas (1977) - Director Clive A. Smith, written by Ida Nelson and Laura Pauli, voiced by Joey Davidson, Martin Lavut, Patricia Moffatt and Duncan Regehr.

Three wise aliens land on Earth searching for the true meaning of Christmas, and they soon discover that it’s filled with commercialism and hypocrisy. This Canadian animated film came out to cash in on the original release of Star Wars but is actually quite good, with the animation having a surreal look to it at times. Imagine George Lucas directing A Charlie Brown Christmas. Hard to find but well worth the search.


5. Rich Little’s A Christmas Carol (1978) - Directed by Trevor Evans from the Charles Dickens novel, starring Rich Little.

World famous voice impersonator, Rich Little turns in a tour-de-force performance portraying all the characters from the Dickens novel with famous personalities such as Humphrey Bogart, Peter Sellers, Edith Bunker, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, James Mason and many more. It’s amazing to watch Little and his spot-on creations in this classic tale. A great study for any aspiring actor or creative writer.

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