4. Prancer (1989)
8-year-old Jessica Riggs is raised by her older brother, Steve, and widowed father, John. Their apple farm has fallen on hard times. John is temporarily being helped by his sister-in-law, Sarah. While walking home after a school Christmas pageant, Jessica witnesses a plastic reindeer fall from a Christmas decoration being hung above the main street in town. She concludes that it was Prancer from the order given in the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (a.k.a. “The Night Before Christmas”).
5. A Christmas Story (1983)
A Christmas Story is a 1983 American Christmas comedy film directed by Bob Clark, and based on Jean Shepherd’s semi-fictional anecdotes in his 1966 book In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash, with some elements from his 1971 book Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories. A seasonal classic in the United States, it is shown numerous times on television, usually on the networks owned by the Turner Broadcasting System. Since 1997, a marathon of the film titled “24 Hours of A Christmas Story” has aired annually on TNT and/or TBS, comprising twelve consecutive airings of the film on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day each year. The film earned director Clark two Genie Awards. In 2012, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
6. Gremlins (1984)
Gremlins is a 1984 American comedy horror film directed by Joe Dante and released by Warner Bros. The film is about a young man who receives a strange creature called a mogwai as a pet, which then spawns other creatures who transform into small, destructive, evil monsters. This story was continued with a sequel, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, released in 1990. Unlike the lighter sequel, Gremlins opts for more black comedy, balanced against a Christmastime setting. Both films were the center of large merchandising campaigns.
Steven Spielberg was the film’s executive producer, with the film being produced by Michael Finnell and written by Chris Columbus, drawing on legends of gremlins going back to World War II. The film stars Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates, with Howie Mandel providing the voice of Gizmo, the main mogwai character.
7. Ernest Saves Christmas (1988)
Ernest Saves Christmas is a 1988 Christmas comedy film directed by John R. Cherry III and starring Jim Varney. This is the first film to feature Gailard Sartain’s character, Chuck along with Bill Byrge as his brother, Bobby. They made their first appearance in the television series Hey Vern, It’s Ernest! which was in production at the same time as this film. It is the third film to feature the character Ernest P. Worrell, and chronicles Ernest’s attempt to find a replacement for an aging Santa Claus. Unlike the other Ernest movies, Ernest Saves Christmas is the only one that does not feature a villain.