Christmas In Disguise.

Well, it's that time of year again. The presents have all been opened, the family's full of turkey and you've plonked yourself in front of the TV in an attempt to sift through all the cheesy holiday specials and re-runs of E.T for something worthwhile to watch.

Sometimes you can be overloaded by the warm fuzzy feeling Christmas movies like It's a Wonderful Life or The Muppet Christmas Carol provide. Sometimes all you need is a little of that dark Scrooge sentiment to counter balance the abundance of good will.

You know what they say, the best things can be found in the most unlikely of places. Here are five seasonal spectaculars that have a little more to them than a fat bearded man and some dodgy child acting.

Gremlins - Joe Dante - 1984

Most people remember this Joe Dante B-movie for its little green monsters - and that's fine, but it's also important to remember it as a silly seasonal scare.

Billy Peltzer has a Christmas-crisis on his hands after receiving an unusual present from his father. We all know the rules: don't get them wet, don't feed them after midnight, no direct sunlight, but we didn't tune in to see a yawn inducing Yule-tide movie.

Pretty soon Billy finds his small town overrun with mini mischief makers. Smoking, drinking, terrorising residents - a silent night, it's not.

A Christmas film with bite. Perfect for all those who enjoy dark comedies or just want to scare the kids.

Die Hard - John Mctiernan - 1988

Who said exchanging presents and terrorism can't be mutually exclusive? One of the best action films ever made is also one of the most unlikely Christmas films.

When you think of memorable quotes from Die Hard you probably think of "Yippie Kay Ay mother-fucker" but what about the gem "Now I have a machine gun, ho ho ho"?

That's right, surrounding this gun-totting blockbuster are all the trimmings of a holiday special.

Officer John McClane must saves hostages from Hans Gruber, the slick German thief who's intent on ruining Christmas for all inhabitants of the Nakatomi Plaza Building.

So don't settle for the usual quiet BOxing Day watching Wallace and Gromit, lock and load with Bruce Willis instead.

Batman Returns - Tim Burton - 1992

With Batman Returns, macabre director Tim Burton chose the season of good will to accompany Bruce Wayne back onto the screen. There's something special about Burton's representation of Christmas; his expressive use of black and white contrasted against the garish candy colours creates a spectacular experience.

As Christopher Walken's hardnosed mogul Max Shreck prepares to switch on the holiday lights, Gotham gets one Christmas present it could do without - a reject circus act terrorising the city, courtesy of The Penguin. Cue the Dark Knight.

With so many outlandish characters and extravagant set pieces, it's easy to forget the Christmassy qualities of Batman Returns, but make no mistake, it's a holiday must.

Trading Places - John Landis - 1983

When thinking of Trading Places in the Christmas category, most people will only remember Jamie Lee Curtis exposing her baubles, but think a little harder and the image of a disheveled gun wielding Santa should spring to mind too.

This often overlooked seasonal tale sees Dan Aykroyd as a snob and Eddie Murphy as a petty criminal forced to swap roles due to a bet between two wealthy businessmen.

There's no better way to show the full extent of Louis Winthorpe III's fall from grace than seeing his deprived, dirty Santa Claus desperately trying to regain the life he once had.

Although Christmas is not integral to the plot, its presence in background adds weight to this rags to riches story starring two comedy greats in their prime.

The Star Wars Holiday Special - Steve Binder/David Acomba - 1978

Okay, so there's no hiding the fact that this is a holiday special - it's in the title after all - but it's also one installment the Star Wars franchise could do without.

George Lucas used everything short of The Force to pull all copies of The Star Wars Holiday Special from the shelves due to its cringe-worthy poor quality.

Based around Lifeday, a Wookie holiday suspiciously simulating Jesus' birthday, Han Solo has the job of accompanying Chewbacca home to the planet of Kashyyyk so he can celebrate with his hairy family.

Surprisingly the entire cast make an appearance, alongside some bizarre segments including dodgy musical numbers, bad comedy skits and even circus acts.

It may not be in disguise, but you can guarantee cast and crew wish it was.

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