25 of the best alternative Christmas movies

Batman Returns (1992)

When Tim Burton decided to set Batman Returns in a fairytale, snowbound Gotham City, we knew it was going to be a dark Christmas. But we had no idea how dark – Burton drew inspiration from 1930s German Expressionist films to conjure up an off-kilter Gothic masterpiece (which had McDonald's frantically back-pedalling on their toy promotion for the movie).

Between the lithe sex-appeal of Michelle Pfieffer’s Catwoman and Danny DeVito’s born-to-play-it performance as the Penguin (complete with his army of armed avians), it's a very different Christmas film.

Lethal Weapon (1987)

Buddy cop duos were big in the '80s, and Lethal Weapon typified the genre. There’s a scene in a Christmas tree market, and it’s on every year around December 25 – giving us enough yuletide excuses to watch crazy Mel Gibson kick crazy Gary Busey’s ass in his best fight since Blue Monday.

More after the break...

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)

A twisted take on the Christmas tale, told from the perspective of a band of hunters out to catch the fabled Santa Claus in its natural environment. If you like eerie and you like Christmas, you’ll love Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale.

Trading Places (1983)

Trading Places has all the elements of a good Christmas movie: a Christmas-y setting, the underlying fable about money not being important and of course love and family (even if it is the unconventional kind). Oh, and Santa – a drunk and depressed, salmon-stealing Santa.

A street hustler (Eddie Murphy), arrogant yuppie (Dan Aykroyd) and prostitute (Jamie Lee Curtis) aren't exactly pillars of good, but compared to a pair of ageing, sinister millionaires, this unusual trio are the film's heroes.

Gremlins (1984)

Gremlins introduced the world to Gizmo – the cute ball of fur you shouldn't get wet, expose to bright light and feed after midnight. Of course, this strict set of rules is nonchalantly broken, throwing up a mixture of comedy and horror as Billy (Zach Galligan) struggles to put an end to the self-inflicted festive terror caused by the ugly and green side of the mogwai. See what happens when you defy your parents, kids?

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