Take Back the Knife: Horror films for the holiday season

Inside (2007) — Known in its native France as À l’intérieur, this twisted tale is not for everyone, and certainly not for the easily queasy. It’s Christmas Eve and Sarah is home alone, expecting to give birth to her late husband’s baby the following day. A mysterious woman arrives at Sarah’s door and it’s soon obvious that she wants that baby — and she’ll get it by any means possible. By “any means possible,” mind you, I mean “this crazy bitch has a pair of scissors.”

See, I told you — Inside is not a movie for the faint of heart (or stomach). If you can handle the violence, though, you’ll be treated to an unforgettable and horrifying cinematic experience. The wincing is well worth it for Beatrice Dalle‘s compelling, mesmerizing, and terrifying turn as “La femme.”

Shredder (2003) — I don’t know why I like Shredder so much. Is it because all of the snowboarding talk and lingo makes me feel as youthful as someone who might enjoy a Crystal Pepsi or an exhilarating Mountain Dew? Perhaps. Or maybe it’s because Shredder is a snowboarders vs. evil skier horror/comedy reminiscent of those cheesy early 80s slasher flicks, full of humor but played completely straight … well, except for the debates over the sexuality of the adorably tomboyish Pike (Juleah Weikel) — after all, her name does rhyme with a certain epithet, so she must be a lesbian. Okay, maybe I’ve figured out from whence my fondness for this movie arises: I can’t help but love a movie that features a line like “I’m not gay, I’m just horny!”

Terror Train (1980) — No list that talks about women in horror movies would be complete without a mention of Jamie Lee Curtis. I mean, leaving her out would be like trying to make mint chocolate chip ice cream and leaving out the mint, the chocolate chips, or the ice cream. You just don’t do it. Thankfully she starred in the New Year’s Eve thriller Terror Train during her heyday as a Scream Queen so she fits in this list quite nicely. In this classic slasher flick, there’s a killer loose on board a train … a train that he’s filling with terror!

If Jamie Lee and the requisite horror angles aren’t enough to get
you watching, then perhaps I should tell you that this film is very
much a product of its time — David Copperfield performs magic and dances in the train’s disco lounge; one of the minor characters is played by former Prince protégé Vanity; the killer changes costumes frequently, and one of his masks looks just like film critic Gene Shalit. If all of that isn’t enough to get you watching Terror Train, then … well, what’s your problem?

So there you go, some prime holiday-flavored horror flicks featuring
some prime leading ladies. I hope this makes your celebrations
horrifying! In a good way, I mean — not in a “the tree caught on fire”
kind of way. Anyway.

In addition to writing and directing horror films, Stacie Ponder writes about them for Rue Morgue Magazine, AMC TV.com, and her own beloved site, Final Girl. In her spare time, Stacie enjoys a good laugh and looking at kittens.