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The Holiday Horror Genre Might Be Getting Its Own ‘Scream’

Sony has picked up an untitled horror movie pitch with a festive twist, coming from none other than the producers of ‘A Quiet Place.’
Billy X
By  · Published on August 22nd, 2018

Sony has picked up an untitled horror movie pitch with a festive twist, coming from none other than the producers of ‘A Quiet Place.’

For those of you (myself included) who thrive in the horror-steeped months of September and October, the onslaught of holly-jolly films immediately after can be a bit deflating. It’s hard to get your scary movie fix in the dead of winter, at least in terms of new in-theater movies. The hero of the wintertime horror fan is, therefore, the infamous holiday-themed horror movie. They are the perfect middle ground for getting some scares in while still feeling appropriately festive, and we love them so much we actually ranked over 80 Christmas horror movies last year.

Platinum Dunes apparently feels the same way. The production company’s Aaron Janus recently approached Sony with a tantalizing new project up for grabs in the form of a holiday horror film. Deadline reports that the pitch from writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan was snatched up by Sony in record time.

The writing duo has numerous screenplays to their names including four Saw films (Saw IV, Saw V, Saw VI, and Saw 3D: The Final Chapter), The Collector and its sequel, and the upcoming Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark based on the horrifying children’s books of the same name. Platinum Dunes is also no stranger to horror, and while The Purge franchise and A Quiet Place are recent standouts they’re probably best known for their reboots of varying quality including A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010), Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Friday the 13th (2009), The Amityville Horror (2005), and The Hitcher (2007).

Holiday horror obviously includes classics like Gremlins, Black Christmas, and My Bloody Valentine. Others like The Nightmare Before Christmas may wrestle with Christmas as its defining genre, while some may be a more unassuming member of the pack like Eyes Wide Shut. Home Alone could even be called a Christmastime horror film, as Kevin McCallister quite honestly exhibits all the traits of a budding serial killer. All of these films give that special kind of warm and fuzzy feeling of celebrating the holidays — while effectively flipping the script on our expectations for holiday films.

The irony of catastrophe and death during what should be a blissfully happy time, like Christmas for example, are at the root of what makes holiday horror films so popular. Fear juxtaposed with merry music and lights is a quick way to get inside your audience’s heads, which is why such movies have been so popular in the past.

Obviously, the lid on the project is being kept firmly shut, though the film’s story-line is already being compared to horror hits like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. This detail is interesting and suggests it will probably be of the teen-slasher film variety and/or a meta-horror affair.

Part of what makes a movie like Scream so well-loved is its ironic humor and fun manner of dealing with aspects of the horror genre including a meta aspect most visible through eerily self-aware characters like Randy. Combining these unique qualities with the off-beat charm of a holiday horror flick could be an incredibly successful move on Sony and Platinum Dune’s part. By sticking close to the main draw of holiday horror — its irony — the upcoming film’s potential could grow exponentially. After all, what’s better equipped to take on the ironic scares of a Christmastime horror fest than a movie where one of the biggest themes centers around poking fun at horror tropes.

It’s the promise of a similar brand of humor and an inspired take on the slasher film that makes the impending project so appealing. Perhaps the simplicity of the knife-wielding (or candy cane-wielding?) killer will prove refreshing as well, as opposed to the creature-features of more recent holiday-themed scary movies. It certainly worked in the form of a paint can-wielding child with two unfortunate strangers trapped inside his house.

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Kendall is a recent graduate and San Diego native who is passionate about the environment, writing, and above all else Keanu Reeves.