The 12 Days of Holiday Havoc: X-Mas Movies for Action and Horror Fans (Part 1-Action)

The holiday season is upon us and because of the ongoing Covid pandemic it's going to look and feel different for a lot of us. You can still take a little escape or get into the holiday spirit with the viewing of  some classic Christmas film like It's a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, or A Christmas Carol.

Others may require something more from their holiday fare this year. They might be looking for something that harkens back to when Christmas was a spookier time where people used to share ghost stories around the fire. Or perhaps they're looking for a little supernatural darkness to contrast with the holiday lights. Or maybe they're just in the mood to watch the action filled exploits of brave heroes who are out to insure that there is peace on earth and good will towards men during the holiday season.

If you're one of those people we're here to help with our suggestions for 12 holiday themed or set films in the library's physical or digital collections. In today's installment we'll kick this Yuletide movie party off with bang by recommending six action films

Die Hard (1988)

It wouldn't be a celebration of holiday themed action movies without Die Hard; one of the greatest action movies of all time. This spectacular film is probably already part of many people's holiday season viewing traditions, and if not it should be! It's got incredible action, a charismatic hero, and one of the best on screen villains ever in Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman).

Available via DVD

Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990)

While not as great as the original,  1990's Die Hard 2 is still a lot of fun, and more importantly it's once again set at Christmas time. This time, the action switches to Dulles Airport where Bruce Willis' John McClane must contend with rogue special forces soldiers who have seized control of the place and are threatening to down airplanes.  William Sadler's villainous Stuart isn't as iconic as Hans Gruber, but he's still pretty entertaining. So is John Amos as Major Grant, the leader of a special anti-terrorist miliary unit.

Available via DVD

Lethal Weapon (1987)

This first entry on our list by a man who is the king of Holiday Season action, Shane Black. He wrote this legendary 80's action film that made Mel Gibson and Danny Glover household names.  The Christmas  feel contrasts nicely with the gritty, intense action scenes. It also adds to the humorous dynamic of the two leads and gives Gibson's character a bit of pathos as well.

Available via  DVD

Batman Returns (1992)

When people look back at the Tim Burton era of Batman they tend to only talk about the first film starring Jack Nicholson as the Joker and forgot all about Batman Returns, which is a shame because it's superior in every way. The Christmas setting is perfectly executed. Gotham City at Christmas time looks incredible. Plus the film features not one, but three incredible villains; Michelle Pfeiffer's furious Catwoman, Danny DeVito's grotesque Penguin, and Christopher Walken's duplicitous businessman Max Schreck.

Available via DVD

Iron Man 3 (2013)

Shane Black returns to our list, but this time as a writer and director. In this film, his second starring Robert Downey Jr, he brings his frequent Christmas setting and his fantastic command of buddy action, comedy, and pathos to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There's visually stunning snow, one-liners, and one of the coolest tech battles ever filmed for a Marvel movie

Available via DVD





Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

Our final entry on this list is once again from writer/director Shane Black and starring Robert Downey Jr.  Downey plays a thief who bumbles into an acting audition and is transported to the West Coast where he's teamed with a veteran P.I. played by Val Kilmer. Together the two stumble across a high profile case involving powerful and shady figures. There's action, a ton of laughs and Downey and Kilmer's buddy dynamic is a whole lot of fun.

Available via DVD