Celluloid Diaries: Book Tip - Yuletide Terror: Christmas Horror on Film and Television

Monday, December 25, 2017

Book Tip - Yuletide Terror: Christmas Horror on Film and Television

yuletide terror

Are you looking for an unusual Christmas treat? Look no further. The new book Yuletide Terror: Christmas Horror on Film and Television is what you should be reading today.

Here's what to expect...

Yuletide essays and interviews

The first half of Yuletide Terror: Christmas Horror on Film and Television consists of essays on famous Yuletide horror films and themes, as well as interviews.

Acclaimed horror writer Stephen Thrower is the one to open the party with an essay on the most famous Christmas horror film, Black Christmas. He discusses the production and initial reception of the film, how it got its cult status, and how it influenced many genre filmmakers.

Next up, Michael Gingold writes about the controversy surrounding Silent Night, Deadly Night and its sequels.

From then on, Yuletide Terror becomes a little bit of everything. You have chapters on lesser-known films such 3615: Code Père-Noël, horror films that take place during the holidays but don't have that Christmas atmosphere (P2A l'intérieur), macabre comedy (The League of Gentlemen Christmas Special), and crime and suspense movies, such as the 1961 classic Cash on Demand with Peter Cushing.

The book also contains essays on the different versions of A Christmas Carol and a section on how ghost stories have been linked to the yuletide and winter throughout history.

The essays are interspersed with interviews with Elves' director Jeff Mandel; Christmas Evil's Lewis Jackson; Silent Night, Deadly Night actress Gilbert McCormick; Campfire Tales co-director James Talbot; And All Through the House screenwriter Fred Dekker; and 3615: Code Père Noël's Alain Lalanne.

In the second half, you get an overview of all the yuletide horror movies you can think of, most of which are only reviewed briefly. This is where you'll learn about a multitude of horror movies you have never heard of, as well as popular choices which you've never considered as a Christmas film but take place at the yuletide season (such as Psycho).

3615 code père noël
sint horror movie


As you may have noticed from the description, Yuletide Terror is a little bit of everything: essays, interviews, reviews, etc. While this mixture may be an advantage to some, I would have preferred a more straightforward approach where you know what to expect from each chapter.

When it comes to consistency, I also disliked that some of the films got more than one chapter, while other equally important films were only mentioned briefly. I'm all for clarity in this type of book and having multiple chapters on the same film and different approaches didn't quite work for me. However, many of these genre books do that, so I guess it's just a matter of opinion.

On the good side, Spectacular Optical managed to assemble 33 of the most talented and knowledgeable horror film analysts and critics for this tome – Amanda Reyes, Kim Newman, Mike Gingold, Stephen Thrower, Lee Gambin, etc. These people know how to bring you the most interesting and in-depth information about the films you love, all the while introducing you to rare cinematographic gems.

Extra kudos go to editor Kier-La Janisse who was responsible for the book's layout. Just like in House of Psychotic Women, the visual look is sublime and belongs to the best within the horror movie reference books range. The images are not only simple screenshots but also include newspaper clippings, film posters, illustrations, magazine covers, set photos, and killer Santa cartoons. While the majority of Yuletide Terror is in black and white, you have one section in the middle with several pages of color photographs.

Where to find Yuletide Terror?

Yuletide Terror can be ordered from the Spectacular Optical website.

Read next => Scary Movies to Watch During the Holidays 


  1. Sounds like some fascinating looks into horror. I shared a trailer of Black Christmas on my post today about Christmas horror films. Just a fun little post with trailers. Have a Merry Christmas!

  2. That's a different kind of celebrating Christmas. :)
    Merry Christmas!

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