Friday, December 25, 2015

Top 5 Christmas Scrooges

Late December. The days get shorter, the nights get colder, and people start knocking on your door so they can sing at you. 'Tis the season for drinking eggnog, wearing ugly sweaters, and watching people be horribly, disgustingly mean to each other. We all deserve a little coal in our stockings every once in a while, but some people take the naughty list to a whole new level. This week, we're counting down the top five movie Scrooges, those heartless holiday-haters who make life miserable for everyone else, and then never learn their lesson!

Number five: Mrs. Deagle, Gremlins
Any elderly woman who threatens to murder a cute, little puppy dog is bound to get some holiday comeuppance. And that's exactly what happens to Mrs. Deagle, when the titular monsters sneak into her house and rewire her electric chair into a death trap. Will anyone mourn her passing, though? Not likely. Mrs. Deagle is a prime example of a movie Scrooge.

She shuts down local businesses, cuts in line, throws buckets of cold water onto Christmas carolers, kicks innocent families out on the street, and threatens to kill that aforementioned dog with household appliances. The only time she ever shows kindness is when she's talking to her dozen-or-so cats. Perhaps it's best that she died before seeing her beloved felines turn into Gremlin food.

Number four: Uncle Frank, Home Alone
Every family has an Uncle Frank, the relative that always shows up for family gatherings, eats the food, and says cranky and inappropriate things to virtually everyone else. Sure, he doesn't do anything evil, but he's just not pleasant. And because the movie is from young Kevin McCallister's perspective, everything is amplified.

Still, any non-family member would recognize Frank as the Scrooge of the family. He refuses to pay for the pizza, he blatantly ignores his wife, and he calls Kevin a little jerk. Plus, in a rare deleted scene, he even pulls down Kevin's pants as some sort of prank. "Look what you did, you little jerk" indeed.

Number three: The Mouse Queen, The Nutcracker Prince
The only thing worse that an ugly old mouse is an ugly old mouse with the voice of Phyllis Diller who can curse you with ugliness if she ever bites your big toe. Not surprisingly, this character and the ugly-toe curse were not part of Tchaikovsky ballet, but were added to the animated movie version.

The Mouse King might be the main villain, but his angry old mother was the true Scrooge of the story, busting out weirdly specific curses and crawling through delicious-looking food like she was auditioning for Ratatouille. She was the one who turned some innocent boy into a nutcracker, all because... Well, her motivations don't quite make sense. And isn't that the Scroogiest thing of all?

Number two: The Penguin, Batman Returns
Superhero movies aren't typically Christmas-y. The flashing lights and tinsel tend to distract from the action scenes and the tight tights. Leave it to Tim Burton, then, to make the darkest, creepiest, most Christmas-y superhero movie of the 90s.

It's late December in Gotham City, and guess who's not feeling the holiday warmth: That's right. The deformed circus freak living in the sewers under the city. And can you blame him? It isn't his fault that his parents abandoned him into the sewers because he had six total fingers and the face of Danny DeVito. It is his fault, however, that he kidnaps half of the city's children and unleashes a troupe of evil circus performers on the street. That might be a little much. By the time he starts shooting his own minions with umbrella guns, it's pretty clear: The Penguin is a grade-A Scrooge.

Number one: Killer Santa, Rare Exports, Santa's Slay, Christmas Evil, and Silent Night, Deadly Night 1 and 2 
It may come as a surprise that there are so many killer Santa movies out there, but if you think about it for a second, it makes perfect sense. Santa sneaks into your house with the sole purpose of rewarding the good and punishing the wicked. Swap the red and white clothes for a blue jumpsuit and you basically have Michael Myers.

In some versions of this story--Rare Exports and Santa's Slay--jolly old Saint Nick is an ancient being with the murderous drive to dispense old world punishment on new world victims. In all the other versions, Santa is really just a crazy person in a suit, dealing with inner demons and past trauma by dressing up and murdering. In most of pop culture, Santa is such a jolly old fellow, that when he snaps and stabs someone with a candy cane, that makes him the biggest Scrooge of all.

So the next time you feel a little cranky this December, try to learn from these cautionary tales. Don't be a Scrooge. Or at the very least, don't threaten someone's puppy dog. You know that's not going to end well.

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