Off the Shelf 

Holiday must-sees from the staff of the Video Fan.

click to enlarge Collee Hanretta of Video Fan. - ASH DANIEL

1. "Black Christmas" (1974)
The other Christmas classic from director Bob Clark ("A Christmas Story") takes a different approach to the season: a serial killer in a sorority house.

2. "Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas" (1977)
This unjustly overlooked Jim Henson film, based on the children's book by Russell Hoban, features great music and greater villains: the River Bottom Nightmare Band.

3. "Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special" (1988)
In which the holidays get the anarchic "Playhouse" treatment, and singer Grace Jones emerges from a giant Christmas gift to serenade Pee-Wee with "The Little Drummer Boy."

4. "Scrooged" (1988)
One of Bill Murray's greatest comic performances comes in this tale of a television executive who suffers the "Christmas Carol" treatment. With amazing cameos throughout — see if you can spot Miles Davis and all four Murray brothers, among others.

And one extra from Style:

5. "Santa Claus" (1959)
Do you enjoy campy holiday fun like "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians?" Then don't miss director Rene Cardoza's 1959 Mexican motion picture with a space-age Santa battling Lucifer's chief demon, Pitch, who's sent to Earth to convince five children to tick off Santa. Filmed in lush Eastman Colorscope and narrated by K. Gordon Murray.


Latest in 2012 Holiday Almanac


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