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Salem Rages' Top Cult Christmas Films
The Quietus , December 20th, 2013 07:44

We asked the Liverpudlian gloom punks' lead singer Roman Remains to rifle through their local charity shop and dig up some prime festive VHS watching. Photographs courtesy of Sam Little

It’s an obvious statement that movies like Gremlins, Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands, Die Hard, Home Alone, Bad Santa, Elf, Watership Down, Oliver Twist and Big are the best festive TV films, but we went out on a budget and scored these VHS's from local charity shops. Our (Black) Christmas Day starts by listening to all bands with Black in the name - Flag, Sabbath, Breath, Heart Procession, Grape, Eyes & Neckties, The Man In - and once the eyes can open and the dust of a hangover is clearing, the films begin. Sit down, crack out the absinthe and settle in for our Salem Rages’ official guide to what we’ll be watching this Christmas…

Wizard Of Oz

Always a festive favourite. Can’t beat the oddness of the Munchkins. Margaret Hamilton’s cackling Wicked Witch of the West is perfect. Every child needs to be scared by this lady. It’s a rite of passage!

Black Christmas

Original 1974 version. A great slasher film to watch whilst your Christmas dinner settles in your belly. Contains the horrible, immortal line, “let me lick your pretty piggy cunt”. Happy Christmas!

Disturb Not The Sleep of Death

This 30-minute piece of reel-to-reel action is technically more of an underground 90s skateboard video than a Hollywood blockbuster, but it has one of the all-time classic soundtracks and introduced us to so many of the bands that Salem Rages are influenced by today. The soundtrack includes music from T.S.O.L., Slayer, 45 Grave, Misfits, Evergreen and also samples a ton of obscure horror clips. Definitely a darker world of cult cinema.


Modern re-telling of the Dickensian story. Anti-80s greed message. Bill Murray is great in this, especially as he watches his own coffin being led into the crematorium fire. Also has boss cameo from David Johansen as the taxi ghost.

What about your ghosts of Christmas past - have you got any fond memories of celebrating Christmas out and about in Liverpool?

Mostly just a blur of events. Bumping into different friends who are lurking about the town, seeing the festivities through tinsel covered eyes , drinking and singing with the tramps under the moonlight down by Liverpool docks.

The Bells Of St Mary’s

Classic oldie. 1945. The religious domination of Sister Mary Benedict, played by Ingrid Bergman, is classic. Plus it has Bing Crosby in it. Total Christmas porn. Just add mince pies!

Mad Max

Apocalyptic Land pirates thirsty for petrol. Tina Turner, Angry Anderson and Mel Gibson. The ultimate Xmas hangover cure.

What about Mad Max's land pirates running murderous rampage over post-apocalyptic wastelands says Yuletide mirth to you?

The idea of total detachment from the traditional Christmas ideal. Max had the right, he's in the heat, in the middle of nowhere escaping all the bullshit. No reindeers, sleighs, no debt. Just his dog, can of dog food, his beat-up ride and he's probably tearing down the empty road blasting Slayer, AC/DC or Rose Tattoo.

It’s A Wonderful Life

One of the best films ever made. Dreams and aspirations turn into fear and dread within an instant. It’s about thoughts of suicide and the enduring human spirit. What effect does our presence have on the world around us. Helping ghosts get their wings!

Isn’t It’s A Wonderful Life too schmaltzy to warm the cockles of your gothic hearts?

One for a past life or a life to come, either way its escapism.

Night Of The Hunter

This black and white daytime movie is certain to make your grandad fall asleep on the couch, but persevere and the lead villain’s presence is ridiculously eerie. Summary: a mysterious preacher with tattooed hands come to settle scores with the dead. Stay awake for this one!

The Snowman

Old fashioned pencil animated short film. Warm, uplifting and ultimately a sad melancholic flight of fantasy. Written by Raymond Briggs who also did Fungus the Bogeyman. Raise a mulled wine as he melts into the ground.

Return To Oz

The little known sequel to the popular Christmas original. Full of great sinister details. A princess that collects heads and swaps them around when she wants, children trapped in asylums being subjected to electroconvulsive therapy and some horrible bastards called The Wheelers! Ace!

Salem Rages' Splinters is out now on Visible Noise

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