Ah, the Christmas movie. There are so many Christmas movies out there and each year we get flooded with more, kind of like how waste management facilities are currently drowning under the weight of all those SHEIN clothes.
Let’s reel it in a little. We all love Christmas movies. It’s a time honoured tradition: watching the same movies every year (my go-to is A Muppet Christmas Carol) and basking in the comfort of the season. Perhaps they’re not technically the best movies out there, but they do provide the best warm fuzzies ever so who are we to begrudge ourselves that!
And sometimes, there’s nothing better than indulging in a Christmas movie so bad, such a technological and logistical failure, that it becomes good. My friends, today I am giving you the best Chrissy gift ever: this comprehensive list of the best WORST Christmas movies ever made. Prepare to laugh, and probably cry.
Saving Christmas (2014)
We’re starting with a bit of a doozy here folks, so strap on in. Kirk Cameron, actor, evangelist and COVID-19 superspreader event co-ordinator, stars in this truly abysmal movie, if you can even call it a movie. It honestly feels less like a Christmas movie and more like a very long informercial for Christianity.
Kirk, who plays himself, starts the movie by explaining why he loves Christmas so much (spoiler alert, it’s because of Jesus). He then spends the next hour and twenty minutes trying to prove to his brother in law that Christmas is still a Christian holiday. Oh… OK?
This movie does lean more into “just bad” territory than it does “good bad”, but I think it would probably be more fun if you devise some form of drinking game with your housemates to play as you watch it. Also, Saving Christmas has a zero per cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is honestly hilarious. Go girl give us nothing!
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006)
This one is a genuine shame. Starring Tim Allen, the first two Santa Clause movies were pretty fun, chronicling the adventures of normal guy Scott Calvin who transforms into Santa Claus. The first two films might be a bit corny but they are definitely a cute watch for Christmas.
Then came The Santa Clause 3. I think critic Eric D. Snider put it best when he said Tim Allen performed in The Santa Clause “the first time with enthusiasm, the second time with affection and the third time for a pay cheque.” Harsh but fair. The movie is full of cheap slapstick and unfunny jokes and while it may not be a hilarious watch, it is an interesting study. What on earth went wrong here?
With The Santa Clauses TV mini-series now airing on Disney+, it’s worth going back and re-watching the whole franchise — even this certified dud.
Santa Claus Conquers The Martians (1964)
I’m sorry but the title of his movie just sends me. It’s kind of like Godzilla VS Kong except it’s Santa VS Martians (don’t steal that idea, I think it’s got legs as a Christmas movie special).
This exceedingly strange film from the mid-sixties regularly ends up on lists featuring the “worst films ever made”, but its cult status remains solid. It boasts a confusing mess of a plot, including space children who watch too much “Earth TV”, their parents who hook them up to machines to feed their brains information rather than simply sending them to school, and an alien-led kidnapping of Santa. It’s all hysterically, delightfully bizarre.
This movie also has public domain status in the United States, which makes it really easy to find a free link to watch.
A Karate Christmas Miracle (2019)
Bit of a trigger warning for this one — a large portion of the plot of this movie revolves around a (fictional) mass shooting event.
Whatever you think A Karate Christmas Miracle is about, forget it. This film is more bonkers than you could ever imagine. Basically, a kid believes that if he becomes a black belt in karate by Christmas, his father — who was murdered in the aforementioned mass shooting event — will come back to life. As dark and upsetting as this premise is, you have no idea what madness is about to ensue.
Even the trailer for this film is out there. It looks as though it has been edited on iMovie by someone with… limited skills. I expect nothing less — or more, for that matter — for a Christmas movie that appears to have been made with almost no budget. The real Karate Christmas Miracle is the fact that this is a real movie that you can actually buy and watch.
Fred Claus (2007)
The best-worst part about Fred Claus is that it doesn’t really know if it wants to be an adults-only kind of film, or a family-friendly romp. The result is an awkward and at times totally inappropriate movie, which for some reason boasts a particularly star-studded cast. I pretend I do not see my queen Rachel Weisz on the cast list.
Basically, Santa’s brother Fred (real imaginative name there guys), played by Vince Vaughan, is a bit of a loser, and he lands himself in some trouble which means his bro Santa has to give him a job up at the North Pole facilitating the toy-making. It’s supposed to be a feel-good Christmas movie I think, but it mainly ends up being fairly feel-bad, because Fred is so deeply unlikeable it’s hard to root for him.
However, if you go into this film with the knowledge that it’s kinda… bad, you’re not going to be disappointed. Low expectations are key here, people.
The Polar Express (2004)
Now this one may be a wee bit controversial. The Polar Express is not a film that is found on many ‘worst films ever’ lists, because I suppose technically it’s not too bad — but surely, surely we can all agree that this film should literally never have been made?
If you’re wondering why I feel this way, I ask you to simply glance upon the face of uncanny valley Tom Hanks, who stars in this animated movie as a train conductor (amongst other whimsical things). There is something extremely disturbing about the waxy, almost-real-but-not-real animation style in this movie. It kind of reminds me of a video game, but not quite. There’s really been no movie that looks like The Polar Express since its release — and that, in and of itself, should be proof that the animators flew too close to the sun here.
I’ll be honest with you, I have no idea what The Polar Express is actually about. I’m sure I probably watched it for some lazy last day activity in primary school, but I truly have no recollection of the plot in any way. All I can remember is Tom Hanks’ strange animated face, a big old steam train, and a whole lot of snow. I can’t imagine you really need to know anything more than that about the film before you watch it.