Ten Nightmares Before (And During And After) Christmas

Strap yourself in for a rundown of ten Christmas movies you definitely shouldn't be circling in the double Radio Times...

A Hobo's Christmas (1987)
"The best thing about Christmas is family..."

Boxcar-hopping vagabond decides completely out of the blue to seek out the family he abandoned twenty five years ago for a life of two hours of pushin' broom for an eight by twelve four bit room, and discover the true meaning of Christmas by meeting the grandchildren he's never met. His family, however, have some reservations. You're laughing already, aren't you?

WHERE YOU'RE LIKELY TO FIND IT: 15th December, Five, kicking off an afternoon of you shouting about how they start showing Christmas Films too early.

Christmas Comes To Willow Creek (1987)
"If ever a town needed a Christmas miracle..."

Rights-troubling reunion of former Hazzardian Dukes Tom Wopat and John Schneider as a pair of good ol' boys never meaning no copyright infringement, who ensure long-haul delivery of a surprise for the whole town, through a perilous route and via a series of capers that in no way resemble the erstwhile exploits of Bo and Luke. But is it canon?

WHERE YOU'RE LIKELY TO FIND IT: 17th December, BBC1, already halfway through when you get home from your school's final half-day of term.

Santa Claus (1959)
"An enchanting world of make believe"

Jaw-dropping Latin American-sourced action adventure in which Santa takes on a present-sabotaging Devil, like some lost episode of Futurama with visuals somewhere between The Singing Ringing Tree and one of the more migrane-inducing Video Nasties. Only nowhere near as entertaining as any of that sounds.

WHERE YOU'RE LIKELY TO FIND IT: BBC4, 20th December, as part of some 11pm 'ironic films' season.

Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus (1991)
"She wanted to know... He needed to know"

Charles Bronson does the honours in a movie based on the original letter, in the tale real-life hardbitten hack Francis Pharcellus Church and his self-finding quest to answer a youngster's query about whether there really is a Santa or mummy and daddy were just very bad liars. Lord Leveson would take a dim view of his conclusion.

WHERE YOU'RE LIKELY TO FIND IT: 21st December, Film 4, two hours after the film you actually wanted to see finished.

The Christmas Star (1986)
"Two kids made a believer out of him"

Post-Lou Grant Ed Asner takes the lead in undistinguished Disney offering as escaped counterfeiter Horace McNickle, whose cop-evading tactics lead to him - you guessed it - being mistaken for Santa by some nosey local youngsters. Foiling of 'real' criminals, moral-bending child-assisted recovery of loot, and discovery of the 'true meaning' of Christmas ensue.

WHERE YOU'RE LIKELY TO FIND IT: 22nd December, Five, 3pm sharp.

Silent Night Deadly Night (1984)
"He knows when you've been naughty..."

Franchise initiating Halloween-for-figgy-pudding-scoffers stalk'n'slash ridiculousness about an axe-wielding Santa-suited madman who gets pushed over the edge when he is forced to work as a last-minute grotto-dweller in a local store. Highly banned in the home video era and not at all copied from the virtually identical made-a-couple-of-years-beforehand Christmas Evil, honest.

WHERE YOU'RE LIKELY TO FIND IT: Christmas Party, manky VHS someone got from their 'brother's mate', after you've failed to pull.

Christmas On Division Street (1991)
"The story of a friendship born on the streets of America"

The Wonder Years alumnus Fred Savage tries his hardest to shake off did-they-actually-watch-the-show-then squeaky clean image as a wealthy youngster who takes it upon himself to perform charitable acts for neighbourhood hustlers and ne'er-do-wells, with violence and 'language' aplenty. Looks like Kevin Arnold really was man enough to come down to the streets with Omar.

WHERE YOU'RE LIKELY TO FIND IT: 22nd December, ITV, just after you've rolled in hammered from the work Christmas do and are in no fit state to comprehend it.

The Christmas Martian (1971)
"Christmas with a friend from space"

French-Canadian goose-ahoy snow-sodden oddity in which discovery of green footprints in the snow (no, us neither) leads to two children being enticed into a spaceship by a chocolate-proferring alien (who has apparently stolen Martin Degville's face mask thing), and subsequent pitchfork-waving fumings of parents who don't 'get' him. Where do you get your crazy ideas from, Mr Spielberg?

WHERE YOU'RE LIKELY TO FIND IT: Christmas Day, ITV, whatever time you've been told is 'too early' to open your presents.

The Christmas Tree (1969)
"There's a feeling that cannot be put into words... it's been put on film"

Proto-eco-thriller get-knotted-Doomwatch Cold War blub-coercing tearjerker with William Holden as a heartless billionaire whose son becomes livid-blue-spot-festoonedly ill after swimming near a downed fighter plane which was, oh the irony, atomically armed by one of his subsidiaries. Atonement-fuelled quest for the perfect conifer is the upshot.

WHERE YOU'RE LIKELY TO FIND IT: 27th December, ITV, while everyone's out at the sales.

Santa With Muscles (1996)
"He knows if you've been bad or good..."

A not-remotely-typecast Hulk Hogan stars as a bodybuilding billionaire on the run from the police, who discovers the true meaning of Christmas after adopting a Santa suit as 'disguise', hitting his head and developing amnesia, and believing himself to be the genuine article. Oh, and he saves an orphanage too. Well, you were waiting for that.

WHERE YOU'RE LIKELY TO FIND IT: strip-scheduled across Sky channels for the whole of Christmas. That's not a joke either. We're really going to benefit from losing the licence fee, aren't we?