Three ghosts appearing to an elderly miser in one night, showing him his past, present and future.
A hapless angel out to earn his wings by convincing a down-on-his-luck family man not to commit suicide.
A self-conscious caribou with a lightbulb for a nose that, oh? also? can fly.
Let’s face it: Christmas movies are pretty weird.
And they get a whole lot weirder the further you stray off the beaten path. Here a few of our favorites, some of the most creative — yet still strangely watchable — takes on the adventures of Santa Claus (or Father Frost, in the case of “Morozko”) ever made.
Christmas Evil/You Better Watch Out (1980)
Christmas horror is a subgenre all its own (see also: “Don’t Open Till Christmas,” “Jack Frost,” “Santa’s Slay“), and it’s generally pretty awful. “Christmas Evil,” originally titled “You Better Watch Out,” though, takes the cake. It’s the story of a man obsessed with Christmas — he works at a toy factory and keeps lists of all the good and bad children in his neighborhood — who, for inscrutable reasons, one year decides to dress as Santa Claus and drive around in his creepy van delivering presents to good boys and girls and hacking apart bad guys. Is it because he saw his dad dressed as Santa awkwardly caress his mother’s leg? Because he’s dissatisfied with the quality of the toys produced at the factory that look like they came out of a Mold-A-Rama machine at the Brookfield Zoo? Because he wants his older brother to believe in something real? There’s absolutely no way of telling.
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)
There’s not a lot of conquering in “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians“: Santa Claus is kidnapped by Martians who want a Christmas of their own. It’s a concept so out of this world the movie can’t possibly live up to its title, and, for the most part, it doesn’t, although it does present a weird precursor to Yoda in the 900-year-old Martian wise man.
Santa Claus (1959, Mexico)
In Santa Claus, the title character conquers a modern dance-loving devil tasked with making all the children of the earth do evil. If that’s not weird enough, there’s also an extended musical medley featuring his sweatshop full of children from all over the world (the American children wear cowboy hats and sing “Mary Had a Little Lamb”). Also featuring appearances by Merlin the Wizard; some nightmarish, two-faced dancing dolls; an all-seeing eye and other spy equipment that puts the NSA to shame; and the besides-the-point Cocktail of Remembrance.
J’ai rencontré le Père Noël/Here Comes Santa Claus/I Believe in Santa Claus (1984, France)
Simon only wants one thing for Christmas in “J’ai rencontré le Père Noël,” which has appeared in the U.S. as both “Here Comes Santa Claus” and “I Believe in Santa”: His parents to come home after mysteriously disappearing in Africa. So he and his school-friend Elodie sneak on an airplane bound for Rovaniemi to present his request to Santa Claus during a field trip to the airport. But then Santa and the Blue Fairy end up getting chased by crocodiles and kidnapped by villagers in Africa, and the children, kidnapped by an ogre, bent on eating them and their little dog, too.
Morozko/Jack Frost (1965, Russia)
There’s a lot of weird happening here in “Morozko” for just one movie: An evil stepmother and stepsister; a handsome man cursed with a bear head; a tiny, bell-ringing magic man in a mushroom hat; a witch that lives in a house on chicken legs with an animated wooden pig sleigh; among other things. And then there’s the moral to the story, which appears to be, “Be agreeable and don’t trouble anybody, even when you’re freezing to death.”
Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee Ave., also is concluding its Holiday Double Features tonight with a free screening of two holiday classics: “Bad Santa” and “Die Hard.” Doors open at 7 p.m.
Did we miss any of your favorite weird Christmas movies?