Forget Rankin/Bass. Check Out These Odd Christmas Classics.

Christmas Oddities 2022

Suppose you’re cynical and burnt out on all the holiday cheer encountered during December. In that case, you’re probably not in the mood for interchangeable Hallmark Christmas movies or the endless slew of Rankin/Bass specials. But, like me, you probably need something with a little more “oomph” to get you into the spirit of the season. If that’s the case, check out my list of off-putting, obscure, and weird Christmas-themed videos.

My first pick is an animated version of A Christmas Carol. This 1971 truncated adaptation of Charles Dickens’s redemption tale sees Alastair Sim returning to the role of Scrooge, whom he had played in Brian Desmond Hurst’s 1951 film. The 25-minute movie makes good use of the animation medium, showing humanity’s light and dark sides in ways no other take on Dickens’s work has since. Unless you count the unintentionally creepy Uncanny Valley nightmare Disney produced with Robert Zemeckis in 2009. Ugh…

The masterfully drawn film was directed by Richard Williams, narrated by Michael Redgrave, and produced by the legendary Chuck Jones.

Tingles the Christmas Tension appeared during the Christmas episode of the criminally underappreciated TV Funhouse. The classic Hardcock, Coco, and Joe inspired the stop-motion short.

Perhaps you don’t want to spend the Yuletide in our reality. Instead, take a trip to the Discworld that sits atop the great A’Tuin and hear the story about Death (that’s Death with a capital ‘D’) saved a holiday that’s remarkably like our Christmas. The adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather debuted on Sky 1 in 2006 and has become my go-to movie every year, along with Bob Clark’s A Christmas Story.

The two-parter stars Downton Abbey‘s Michelle Dockery as Death’s granddaughter and David Jason (the voice of Count Duckula) as Death’s servant, Albert. The 189-minute story sticks to the original book pretty well with the expected changes made to reduce the runtime and to help newcomers better understand Pratchett’s Discworld. However, it may be seen as a surprisingly violent story for those unfamiliar with Ankh-Morpork. This massive city has a guild for just about everything, from clowns to beggars and even assassins.

Sometimes, you have to say “f’ it” and dismiss the entire month altogether. I’d suggest listening to Denis Leary’s Merry F’ing Christmas in those cases.

The final entry on my list is a short that appeared in Something Awful’s Flash Tub series many years ago. Christmas in Essex summarizes the nonplussed feeling we all encounter after overloading with holiday cheer and terrible office parties. The closer the 25th gets, the more we hope it’s all over with. F’ all ya’ll. Go Gators!

Mike Phalin

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