Life & Culture

Another Man’s Alternative Christmas Film Guide

Christmas movies, but make them cult – eight films to catch over the Christmas break

This winter, shut yourself indoors with wine, food and films. Push the election far, far from your mind, and tuck in to a few of our favourite, unconventional Christmas classics.

Gremlins (lead image)

A father presents his son with the ultimate gift – a loving pet to be his friend. But there are rules that mustn’t be ignored otherwise his pet, and its brethren, will transform into diabolical creatures who relish mayhem and despair! Don’t let Gizmo, the cute and fluffy star of Gremlins fool you, this is a darkly comic tale of a Christmas gone wrong.

See it at BFI Southbank.

Babette’s Feast

What could be more festive than food? And what better film about food is there than Babette’s Feast? In a small coastal town in 19th-century Denmark, Babette, a French political refugee, seeks asylum in the house of the village pastor. The family offer her shelter, taking her on as their housekeeper and cook. After the death of the pastor, his two daughters decide to hold a dinner on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Despite the sisters’ initial concerns, Babette presents the household with a magnificent feast, and her Parisian lust for life inspires and revives her two new companions in this culinary classic.

See it at ICA.

The Dorm That Dripped Blood (aka Pranks)

Four students spend their Christmas vacation clearing out a vacant college dormitory. Unfortunately for this ill-fated gang of perky undergrads, someone else is lurking among the abandoned halls. Lesser known than celebrated seasonal slashers Black Christmas and Silent Night, Deadly Night, this underrated shocker comes filled with festive frights.

See it at BFI Southbank.

Eyes Wide Shut

Unfulfilled desire and sexual jealousy are at the centre of Stanley Kubrick’s divisive final masterpiece, screening at the ICA to coincide with the 20th anniversary of its release. When New York society doctor Bill Harford and his wife Alice attend a Christmas party hosted by a wealthy patient, they find themselves mutually seduced by romantic opportunities outside their seemingly idyllic marriage. The veneer of marital contentment soon fades as the couple are forced to acknowledge their private sexual desires which threaten to undermine their union.

See it at ICA.

It’s a Wonderful Life

George Bailey is a small-town family man who’s having a rough time. When a guardian angel appears he shows George how his good deeds have had a positive influence on the lives of those around him and tries to steer him back to happiness. Beautifully crafted, It’s a Wonderful Life is one of the greatest Christmas films of all time.

See it at BFI Southbank.


Therese Belivet spots the beautiful, elegant Carol perusing the doll displays in a 1950s Manhattan department store. From this chance encounter, the first seedling of desire gradually, inevitably blooms into a complicated and all-consuming love affair. 

See it at Prince Charles Cinema.

The Apartment

Billy Wilder’s 1960 classic comes complete with a festive office party, booze-fuelled flirtations and the liberation of newfound love. Insurance worker C.C. Baxter lends his Upper West Side apartment to company bosses to use for extramarital affairs. When his manager Mr Sheldrake begins using Baxter’s apartment in exchange for a promotion, Baxter is forced to decide between the girl he loves and the advancement of his career.

See it at Prince Charles Cinema.

Little Women

As I’ve said before: Greta Gerwig. Saoirse Ronan. Timothée Chalamet. Meryl Streep. Laura Dern. Timothée Chalamet. Florence Pugh. Emma Watson. Timothée Chalamet. What more do you want from me?

See it at Curzon.