Unusual Christmas Film Choices (Updated December 16th)

Yes, it is indeed that time of year again. Forget buying gifts and cards - save that for the last minute. Get your film choices sorted first.

Underground Film Club in the Vaults

Spinning out of Rooftop Film Club, the Vaults underground space in Waterloo now hosts the Underground Film Club. The Vaults (in case you missed them) are at
Launcelot Street SE1 7AD (Entrance to Underground Film Club at The Vaults is Via Launcelot Street, off Lower Marsh).

Filmbar70 presents: ‘The Satanic Rites of Dracula’ - for FREE.

ecember 15 at the Mucky Pup Pub in Islington sees Filmbar 70 celebrating the festive season in style with a bit of 1970s bloodsucking.

As the year of Hammer’s 80th draws to a close, join Filmbar70 at the Mucky Pup for the last gasp of the studio’s mightiest series - ‘The Satanic Rites of Dracula’ - for FREE.
Relocated to the less than swinging ‘70s, this welter of sheepskin jackets and occult shenanigans may not be the most auspicious way to end the series, but it certainly does deliver a whole lot of fun. From motorcycle goons to apocalyptic master plans, ‘Satanic Rites’ successfully combines spy motifs with blood sucking chills in an attempt to reinvigorate the franchise.
So, join us this winter’s night for some blood warming old school horror in the confines of your favourite boozer.

When a number of high ranking professionals and politicians are observed participating in shocking occult ceremonies, the English secret service draw upon the arcane knowledge of Lorrimar Van Helsing (Peter Cushing), the descendant of the great vampire hunter. Together they uncover a plot that weaves its serpentine way to a shadowy figure (Christopher Lee) who is determined to preside over the demise of the human race…

FUTURE SHORTS Winter Short film launch

FUTURE SHORTS, from Secret Cinema, launch their Winter Festival Season 2014 with an exclusive Christmas screening of select shorts in London. 

Future Shorts is hosting an exclusive Christmas premiere party of the Winter Season 2014 on Monday 15th December at The Laundry Canteen, London, 8pm 'til late.

The launch event will premiere a programme of 9 short films in the UK, with drinks, live music, art and DJs. TICKETS are on sale now.

£15 tickets here.

The Barbican's offbeat Christmas selection.

An unusual section of wintry-themed films from the Barbican play in December, from the silent to the violent.

Lady Snowblood (18) 
Sat 6 Dec, Cinema 2
Following a life of loss and misfortune, Yuki (Meiko Kaji) fulfills the terrible destiny bestowed on her my her dying mother, by vowing revenge on the criminals who destroyed her family. Elegant and utterly ruthless, Yuki hunts down the three killers she seeks, leaving a bloody trail through the freshly fallen snow. A prime source of inspiration for the character O-Ren Ishii in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill Vol.1, this is one dangerous and original tale of revenge, served ice-cold.

Il Grande Silenzio (15)
Mon 8 Dec, Cinema 1
There’s not much that’s chillier than Sergio Corbucci’s snow-covered spaghetti western, set in Utah during the Great Blizzard of 1899. Silence (Jean-Louis Tritignant) is a mute gunslinger with enemies on all sides: criminal Mormons, bounty hunters, and a woman scorned. Deadlier than all of these is Loco (Klaus Kinski), a killer with a cool head and a steady hand, who tests Silence’s skill and patience in his pursuit for justice.With a soundtrack from the legendary Ennio Morricone, this is one Christmas bounty hunt unlike any other.

The Gold Rush (PG) 
Sat 13 Dec, Cinema 1
Set in the bleakest of midwinters, Charlie Chaplin’s most successful comedy is one of cinema’s warmest tales, featuring romance, humour and a giant, hallucinatory chicken. In the frozen north of Klondike, the Little Tramp (Chaplin) sets out to make his fortune by panning for gold. When a terrible storm forces him to seek refuge in a cabin, the Little Tramp must share with fellow prospectors Big Jim (Mack Swain) and Black Larsen (Tom Murray).Their hungry delirium inspires some of the funniest and most influential comedy skits ever committed to film, and the Tramp’s good heart and even better luck helps him to discover a fortune and win Georgia (Georgia Hale), the girl of his dreams.


The Prince Charles Cinema.

Inevitably, the PCC has an Elf Quote-Along and The Muppet Christmas Carol programmed for December, these are basically legal requirements for the year. But those with higher stamina can go for the Xmas Pyjama Party on December 6th. This basically involves hunkering down in the cinema in suitable bedroom attire for a marathon of xmas movies: Gremlins, Die Hard, Muppet Christmas Carol, Elf, Home Alone. The entire list of Christmas stuff at the PCC is here and includes a real eclectic mix: Its a Wonderful Life, National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, Tron, Batman Returns and Trading Places. Tron's a Christmas movie?

It's a Wonderful Life at the BFI (and other London cinemas)

Where would we be without this quintessential christmas tale from Frank Capra, starring James Stewart? The BFI, as per tradition, have a series of screenings of the film from 17 December, and you can also find it at the Prince Charles from December 1. Its unlikely they will be the only cinemas showing it so look around,

This year the Picturehouse cinemas in London are splitting their christmas programming into three strands – Vintage Sundays, Culture Shock and Screen Arts. You can see the entire list here. Choices include MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET , E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL ,THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS 2D and 3D , and some Screen Arts screenings including Royal Opera House Live: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Those of a SE London persuasion should check the umbrella website that brings together the listings for the medley of film clubs and societies that now cover the area: many screenings are free or super cheap. The Roxy for example has BAD SANTA on December 7th.


Owen Van Spall

Greetings. I am a Film History MA graduate from Birkbeck University of London and a trained NCTJ qualified journalist. Apart from a long history of film and news writing for this site and various other publications, I am also a trained photographer with my own camera kit. I write mostly every day. Along the way I have picked up work experience at Sight & Sound, The Guardian, The Independent, The FT, The New Statesman, and more. I have written hard news stories, features, arranged and conducted interviews with celebrities, film directors and other major cultural figures, arranged photo shoots, and covered film festivals, conferences and events in the UK and abroad. If you wish to commission me or enquire about full-time opportunities please find my CV and contact details below. A physical portfolio of print only cuttings can also be provided.