Whether you’re a ho-ho or a humbug, it’s impossible to ignore the holiday season. I know I can’t. As I write this, the threat of having to string up lights outside is looming, which is why I just might take my sweet time getting this done.
After subjecting my wife to watching at least one horror movie a day in October (we hit 55 this year), when December first rolls around, it’s my turn to get the water torture. Yes, we have to watch at least one Christmas movie or cartoon a day until Christmas Eve, when A Christmas Story goes on repeat mode all through the next day. Mind you, I’m not complaining (not loud enough so the wife can hear). First, she never makes me watch any of those insipid Lifetime or Hallmark pieces of dreck. Second, we do throw in some horror movies like Black Christmas, Red Christmas, Better Watch Out, Anna and the Apocalypse, and this year, thanks to Shudder, Silent Night, Deadly Night parts three through five. I never saw them before, and my limbo stick is set on low.
So, with Christmas in the air, and my money flying out of my wallet, I thought I would wander away from the horror section in the video store and head over to the holiday shelves. Back at our local video store, the people who ran it pretty much knew exactly what we were going to rent this time of year as soon as we walked in the door.
Today, I posit that not all that glitters with Christmas lights is gold. Within almost every saccharine holiday special lives a world-class asshole bent on ruining the season. These scheming, curmudgeonly, hostile bastards are who I live for when I have to sit through another round of Frosty the Snowman or Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. I don’t necessarily empathize with these ass hats, but I do appreciate their contributions.
For those of you who are on this holiday viewing train with me, I present to you, in order, the top twelve assholes of Christmas!
#12 – Heat Miser and Cold Miser (The Year Without a Santa Claus) — Inarguably, these two polar opposite brothers (and sons of the mercurial Mother Nature) are about the best things the Christmas elder gods have ever bequeathed us. They’re angry, nutty as Aunt Zelda’s fruitcake, territorial, and for a little kid, this side of scary yet funny. Blessed with the most ear-wormy of theme songs, I can picture them acting like total asses to one another every second of the day for eternity. Sure, they agree to add a little snow to Southtown, but not after a lot of bluster, bickering, singing and dancing and a threat from mommy. Love em, but I do admit they’re kinda jerks.
#11 – Ralphie (A Christmas Story) — That’s right, I said little tow-headed, blue-eyed Ralphie is an asshole. First, he doesn’t lend a hand to help his friend Flick when he gets his tongue stuck to the frozen flagpole (but the bell rang my ass!). Then, because he’s an equal opportunity awful friend, he blames Schwartz for teaching him the word fuck, knowing the kid is going to get the beating of a lifetime. In my hood, Ralphie would be walking funny with a wedgie crammed up his crack every day. Alone.
#10 – Howard Lang (Jingle All the Way) — Howard, played by the greatest comedic genius of a generation, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is a total shit. He’s an absentee father, breaker of promises, animal abuser and in need of some serious anger management. It would be too easy to say that Sinbad and the late Phil Hartman are the assholes in this cheesy fare. None of their shenanigans would even penetrate Howard’s world if he was present with his family and even-keeled. I mean, the dude punched out a reindeer after trying to steal a kid’s present from under the tree! You can spell d-i-v-o-r-c-e after that maneuver. Oh, and let’s not forget that to make it up to the reindeer, he gets it drunk on beer. Way to go, man of the year. Way to go. You’re no Turbo Man!
#9 – Lucy (A Charlie Brown Christmas) — Face it, Lucy is a bitch in every Charlie Brown cartoon. Poor Chuck’s low self esteem can be directly related to the abuse he incurs at every interaction with Lucy. I believe she thrust him into being in charge of the Christmas pageant just to revel in his inevitable failure. A bully of the highest order, Lucy deserves to be mummified in Christmas lights like that cult leader. And hey, leave Schroeder alone. He doesn’t want you! Why do you have to go all Harvey Weinstein on the poor kid? Time to cancel you, Lucy!
#8 – Burgermeister MeisterBurger (Santa Claus is Comin to Town) — Speaking of Harvey Weinstein, he and the puppet from this 1970 holiday special bear a striking resemblance. Anyway, the old Burgermeister gets the official stamp of asshole approval for being a nasty, contentious schmuck who outlaws toys. Next thing you now, he’ll ban straws and sugary drinks. Oh wait, the former Mayor of New York beat him to that. The Burgermeister is most unpleasant and looks kind of, hmmm, squat and fungusy. I used to think that he would smell like the couch cushion my old grandfather sat and farted on all day and night. You try to take toys away from kids, you’re dead to me.
#7 – Professor Hinkle (Frosty the Snowman) — Sad to say I’m one year older than this Christmas classic. Professor Hinkle, failed magician extraordinaire, spends this entire cartoon trying to get his magic hat back, at any cost. He’s such an asshole, he doesn’t care that by doing so, he murders, yes, murders, Frosty in front of little Karen, who loves the big belly whopper of a lug. I know he sounds all funny and gets bounced around a lot in a slapstick way, but it’s all to hide the fact that he’s a stone cold killer. I hope Santa crapped in his stocking.
#6 – The Grinch (How the Grinch Stole Christmas) — I’m sure most people would have the Grinch at the top of their list. I mean, his name is synonymous with being a killjoy during Christmas. Look, I’m not so much concerned that he stole a bunch of wantoozles and bantookas from those fucking strange looking Whos. They resemble ghastly land sea monkeys to me, a wet dream pulled from Lovecraft’s fevered brain. I think the Grinch is an asshole because of the way he abuses Max, his faithful dog. Anyone who whips and throws a dog around like that should be thrown into an active volcano. Yeah, his heart grew three sizes by the end of the day, but without some serious counseling, he’s just going to go back to beating Max. We can only hope the Grinch fell on the mountain on his way home and when Max go hungry enough, he ate his Grinchy ass.
#5 – Rudolph’s Father (Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer) — Technically, I could have filled this whole column with the various characters from this mean-spirited special. But I have to give special attention to Donner, the dad who is embarrassed of his son so much, the poor kid has to run away from home. Donner is nothing but a fake ass macho punk. We’ve all come across guys like this. He’s the Great Santini of the flying reindeer world. His wife should have kicked him out of the cave for such awful behavior to his only son. Better yet, let him drown in Bumble puke.
#4 – Kevin (Home Alone) — This kid is no angel. When he’s with his family, he’s an annoying little twit. Methinks they left him behind on purpose, whether they know it or not. Then he spends the rest of the movie straight up trying to kill two men, Wile E. Coyote style. Sure, he’s cute and inventive, but at his core, he’s a little asshole who can’t get along with others. Hey, don’t run out of your house to a neighbor and ask them to call the police. No, try to set the thieves on fire and break their backs instead. In real life, this kid would be serving thirty years to life for various crimes.
#3 – The Bandits (The Little Drummer Boy) — Okay, we’re entering some serious waters now. Rankin Bass pulled no punches with this special that is actually pretty hard to watch. Our little drummer boy, Aaron, is given a drum on his birthday. Yay! But wait, when night falls, a bunch of bandits descend on the family farm. They steal all of their livestock, burn the place to the ground and kill Aaron’s parents! What in the holy fuck??? This special scarred me when I was a kid. My wife loves it, so she makes me watch it and I can still feel that initial shock. No wonder Aaron then grows up to hate humanity. He should have gone all Charlie Bronson and hunted them down. Aaron’s gun goes pa-rum-pum-pum-pum.
#2 – Mr. Potter (It’s a Wonderful Life) — I know, this one seems too easy, but he is a card-carrying member of the Asshole Brigade. The miserly, contemptuous Iron Side of Bedford Falls is one mean son of a bitch, happy to destroy lives all in the name of greed. He’s a symbol of much of what’s wrong with our country today. Shows how much things don’t change. He’s one of those cases where it’s quite alright to chuck a man in a wheelchair down the stairs, chair and all. Maybe reenact the scene from Friday the 13th Part 2. In my version of It’s a Wonderful Life, the revelers at George’s place get drunk and march over to Potter’s to deliver some street justice. Merry Christmas, you piece of human filth!
#1 – Santa Claus (Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer) — There is no bigger asshole in any film than Santa in this Rankin Bass bit of bat crap craziness. He’s a shit to his wife, the elves, the reindeer, and Rudolph especially. This is the worst version of any Santa ever put on film. Krampus is more delightful than this skinny prick who has to eat what looks like purple clay to fatten up. After being an A-class asshole throughout the year, and being part of why Rudolph has wandered the hinterlands and nearly gotten himself killed, Santa is more than happy to put on a fake smile just to use Rudolph for his abilities. If you can help this Santa, come on in buddy. But if you cross him, look out! This special should make kids hate Santa. I know my daughter was terrified of the thought of Santa breaking into our house on Christmas night. I think this Santa is to blame. If Rudolph was smart, he’d steer that sleigh into a mountain, taking out his two tormentors, Santa and his father, Donner.
Okay, that’s enough assholery for now. You all have yourselves a merry little whatever and keep an eye out for people or animals behaving badly in your favorite movies.
Hunter Shea is the product of a misspent childhood watching scary movies, reading forbidden books and wishing Bigfoot would walk past his house. He doesn’t just write about the paranormal—he actively seeks out the things that scare the hell out of people and experiences them for himself. You can follow his madness at huntershea.com.