Christmas might just be my favorite holiday. Not because of the presents, and certainly not because of the threat of a man shinnying down my chimney, but because of the avalanche of bad Christmas-themed programming one can find across all spectrums of entertainment.
There exists an uncanny valley where a film reaches the point of being so bad that it becomes good. Films such as The Room, which recently received the documentary treatment in The Disaster Artist, come to mind. As do Troll 2 (also the subject of a documentary, Best Worst Movie), Mac and Me and many more.
Keep that in mind when considering these holiday treasures.
There is no better way to start a Christmas tradition than by setting up a screening of The Three Dogateers. The film, produced by the atmospheric Icelandic rock band Sigur Rós, follows three little dogs on their quest to retrieve stolen gifts. Their owner, Dean Cain (television’s Superman from Lois & Clark), whose mere presence in the film raises its own questions, is the inept John Everyman doing something or another.
The dogs speak with human voices through the magic of Windows Movie Maker. They drive a car at one point, and one of them speaks like Larry the Cable Guy (but isn’t voiced by Larry the Cable Guy). The film has been a mainstay at my friend’s Christmas parties for the past two years — against his will — and I’ve never seen the actual finale. I will someday, though. That’s the magic of Christmas.
From the depths of the Internet’s meme museum comes Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2, a film with as much of a tie to Christmas as Die Hard. The 1987 slasher follows a young boy whose parents are killed on Christmas Eve and so, for some reason, as an adult, he goes on a killing spree himself, triggered perhaps by the gentle clapping of reindeer hooves on his roof. The film gives us the stunning masterpiece known as “Garbage Day!” YouTube it.
Continue into the long hours of the night with the Christmas classic Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. The 1964 black-and-white tour de force features Santa bringing joy to the red planet by way of being kidnapped by aliens. The film highlights atrociously bad (i.e., great) costumes, including a man dressed in a polar bear outfit stalking the frozen tundra and a robot made of cardboard boxes.
Of course, the 1980s and 1990s gave us bad television Christmas specials galore. For the very best of the worst, see: Family Matters’ “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Urkel,” ALF’s Special Christmas and, of course, The Star Wars Holiday Special in which we learn that Chewbacca has a family: father Itchy, wife Malla and son Lumpy.
The holidays are a time for families to come together in front of the television, for little Timmy to ask, “What have I done to deserve this and why aren’t we watching The Muppet Christmas Carol instead?” Start a new Christmas tradition this year and let the tears of joy(?) flow.
Out of the Box is a semi-regular column by VCReporter staff and contributors about television and streaming content.