5 Cult Horror Movies to Weird Up the Winter Holidays

Christmas has its own horror sub-genre at this point (got , which mirrors its plot point of a crank-calling crackpot). There’s also its notable cast, which is filled with Andy Warhol associates: Mary Wononov has the biggest part, but you can also catch sight of Ondine, Candy Darling, Jack Smith, and others. Weirdly, noted acting-family patriarch John Carradine also has a supporting role, and a pre-Troma Entertainment Lloyd Kaufman is one of its co-producers. (Available on Amazon Prime)

Body horror, served up. Image: Cannon Film Distributors

5) X-Ray (1982)

With a few alternate titles to confuse you with (including the unfortunate Hospital Massacre and the “why didn’t they just stick with this?” Be My Valentine, or Else…), X-Ray is another Golan-Globus project — the same producers behind New Year’s Evil, as well as Breakin’, The Apple, and a ton of sleazy action movies starring Charles Bronson, Chuck Norris, and ninjas. As you might’ve guessed, it’s a horror movie with a Valentine’s Day theme, set in a creepily underlit hospital with some serious security issues. It also features the glamorous Barbi Benton, a longtime girlfriend of Hugh Hefner who graced multiple Playboy covers in her heyday. She plays Susan, who we first see in flashback as a little girl, rejecting a pint-sized suitor’s construction-paper Valentine. The kid immediately kills Susan’s friend, then bides his time for two decades, only to unleash body horrors galore (decapitations, faces-dunked-in-acid, etc.) when Susan turns up at the aforementioned hospital for an appointment. He also sabotages Susan’s medical test results, subjecting her to invasive prodding — including a gratuitous exam that’s so skin-crawlingly awful it attracts a Peeping Tom — which might be the most horrifying crime of all. Though the whole Valentine’s Day theme kind of becomes an afterthought once random people start getting attacked by bone saws, there is a very bleak “steal your heart” joke at the end to bring it all home. (Available on Amazon Prime)