You can find lists of classic Holiday movies many places, but today I will discuss three very unusual Christmas films. They are films that you probably know, but that you may never have thought of as Christmas films.
1. Profondo Rosso (Dario Argento 1975)
A neatly decorated living room with a Christmas tree in the background
A sweet little children’s tune playing on the turntable
A person in silhouette on the backwall is brutally murdered with a knife
The knife is tossed on the floor in the foreground
A child’s feet in shiny little patent-leather shoes step into the frame from the right, next to the knife
This is the opening of Dario Argento’s masterpiece Profondo Rosso, which shows Christmas eve as a horrific experience from which the child never recovers. Even if we don’t think of it as a Christmas movie, the entire point is that Carlo’s childhood trauma occurs on Christmas.
And this trauma is SO repressed and SO overpowering that – very unusually – it comes to the surface and insists on being seen in the middle of the title sequence of the film.
You can watch the amazing title sequence of Profondo Rosso here:
2. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
Hitchcock’s masterpiece – as we are specifically informed during the establishing scene – begins on FRIDAY, DECEMBER THE ELEVENTH. The rest of the plot takes place over the next several days. So I’m sure you can do the math: Psycho actually occurs right before Christmas.
And no, we would never consider Psycho a Christmas film, but Hitchcock could have picked any day of the year to begin his movie. He had a point with virtually everything he did in his work, so he MUST have had a point with this as well, I would think.
He even chose to show nicely decorated Christmas streets when Marion leaves Phoenix – but you may not have noticed that.
See the Christmas scene from Psycho here:
3. Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick, 1999)
Stanley Kubrick’s final film, Eyes Wide Shut, is about a man who is taken through an ordeal of mythological proportions. He is faced with the ugliest sides of himself and forced to watch them. In interesting ways one could hold up the film against Lewis Carroll´s Alice in Wonderland.
Again the film takes place around Christmas. The streets of New York are decorated and lit, in the living room of Bill og Alice Harford is the most enchanting Christmas tree this side of Disney – and this film quite possibly takes the prize for most Christmas trees in one film.
Why? We have to ask ourselves this question when we analyze the film.
Watch a clip with every single Christmas tree in Eyes Wide Shut: