Five Favorite Films

Five Favorite Films with White Reindeer Director Zach Clark

The filmmaker behind this season's soon-to-be-cult hit on his favorite Christmas movies.

by | December 3, 2013 | Comments

The festive season has seen its fair share of movies that love to screw with holiday tradition — from Gremlins to Bad Santa to Rare Exports, to name just a few — and early reviews are suggesting that this year’s White Reindeer is a more than worthy addition to the canon. Written and directed by emerging filmmaker Zach Clark, Reindeer has been called “a pitch-black ‘holiday movie’ unlike any other,” while The Dissolve remarks that “as outrageous as it gets, it almost never loses its exquisitely wrought tone of bittersweet melancholy.”

To mark White Reindeer‘s opening in New York this week (with other locations to follow), we invited Clark to run down his five favorite Christmas movies…

All That Heaven Allows (Douglas Sirk, 1955; 92% Tomatometer)

It’s Christmas and Jane Wyman is sad and lonely. She and Rock Hudson are on the outs, and she hasn’t come to her senses and realized that she should love him no matter what anyone else says. Her kids give her a television, to keep her company. As it’s presented to her, the delivery man says it contains “life’s parade at your fingertips.” Sirk’s camera dollies in and holds on Jane’s distraught reflection in the golden television screen. It’s the most beautiful thing that’s ever happened in a movie.

Santa Claus (René Cardona, 1959; N/A Tomatometer)

As a children’s movie, this might be a failure, but as a surrealist nightmare set in a world of Yuletide kitsch, it’s a masterpiece. Santa lives in a castle in outer space, with a wizard and a giant room full of singing children of every ethnic stereotype imaginable. The reindeer are robots. He watches the earth with a giant all-seeing electronic eyeball. Satan sends a demon to corrupt the children of earth, and only you-know-who can stop him. And that’s only the beginning…

Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas (Jim Henson, 1977; N/A Tomatometer)

There are lots of amazing Muppet Christmas movies, but none come to close to touching the heart of this scrappy little story of a young otter who just wants his mom to have what she wants for the holidays. Henson presents poverty without pandering, no small feat for a made-for-TV puppet show. In its own way, it’s a beautiful retelling of O. Henry’s Gift of the Magi. The talent show at the end has some of Henson’s funniest gags ever. And what exactly are those squirrels doing?

Elves (Jeffrey Mandel, 1989; N/A Tomatometer)

This thing has everything: an evil killer elf, a pervy department store Santa, a heroic homeless department store Santa played by Dan Haggerty, neo-Nazi occultists, an exploding car, The Virgin of Anti-Christmas, perms on every female character, nudity aplenty, castration, electrocution, a kitten drowned in a toilet — I could keep going. Just watch the trailer on YouTube and then find this movie immediately by any means necessary. If Troll 2 had a holiday special, this would be it.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (Jeremiah S. Chechik, 1989; 63% Tomatometer)

Clark Griswald is the George Bailey of the ’80s.

White Reindeer opens at New York’s IFC center this week and expands to other cities next week.

Tag Cloud

satire The Arrangement Red Carpet TV travel all-time Podcast Certified Fresh Ellie Kemper Captain marvel blaxploitation Star Trek rotten Amazon Prime Sundance TV President reviews GIFs sitcom Marvel Television french ViacomCBS CNN Rom-Com The Walking Dead Turner biography crime Lifetime Adult Swim X-Men First Reviews 2017 Extras Anna Paquin james bond Disney Plus golden globes children's TV worst dark video 24 frames Musical christmas movies Super Bowl Vudu Pride Month USA award winner sag awards political drama zombie HBO Max 2016 asian-american festival Awards IFC Films Awards Tour cinemax superhero Elton John NBC Pet Sematary See It Skip It name the review 99% cancelled television Trophy Talk breaking bad 007 Pop TV 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards PlayStation Kids & Family 45 a nightmare on elm street BET Awards Drama die hard Comedy Central movies Country The Walt Disney Company Lucasfilm Creative Arts Emmys blockbuster WarnerMedia TCM strong female leads adventure halloween Photos MCU AMC joker Hear Us Out films Apple witnail 2019 crime drama richard e. Grant MTV game of thrones archives Tomatazos YouTube Red Disney+ Disney Plus sequel LGBTQ Marvel Spectrum Originals universal monsters finale Apple TV Plus nfl emmy awards spy thriller miniseries Oscars scary movies Mindy Kaling HBO Go ESPN BET Ovation Polls and Games Superheroes Fantasy YA nbcuniversal Marathons Premiere Dates renewed TV shows CBS All Access Universal Sony Pictures doctor who Stephen King serial killer cults Showtime ITV Lionsgate boxing comics Pop VH1 DC Comics stand-up comedy Family ABC Signature Christmas Shudder Columbia Pictures Pixar obituary Box Office rotten movies we love best Paramount screen actors guild screenings Horror Shondaland nature crime thriller Freeform pirates of the caribbean The Purge Nickelodeon Black Mirror Film Reality Winners sports cops canceled TV shows Funimation talk show Fox News Mary Tyler Moore teaser independent ID Cannes science fiction slashers LGBT Academy Awards news Hallmark Christmas movies Thanksgiving reboot 2020 transformers documentary GLAAD Year in Review Nominations YouTube Food Network halloween tv TCA Winter 2020 psycho Rocketman justice league discovery Lifetime Christmas movies Comedy Opinion dramedy BBC America remakes Teen ratings critics romance streaming TCA 2017 black E! Best and Worst Rocky singing competition The CW DGA Epix Countdown Amazon Prime Video Mystery TIFF Writers Guild of America period drama Bravo DC streaming service what to watch San Diego Comic-Con Heroines VOD twilight space trailers Trivia spanish Watching Series documentaries robots Musicals casting batman Brie Larson FX on Hulu social media TBS Alien historical drama tv talk SundanceTV adaptation Disney streaming service Peacock Disney Channel Biopics diversity Mudbound spinoff TNT toy story disaster toronto Infographic unscripted Cosplay quibi Set visit Character Guide IFC Animation E3 technology Martial Arts australia cars Tumblr Fall TV Comic Book Sneak Peek rom-coms Syfy Tarantino franchise Pirates natural history FOX elevated horror BAFTA TruTV Grammys cats Trailer versus psychological thriller spider-man RT History USA Network TCA stoner Binge Guide crossover comic docudrama football comedies sequels Netflix TV renewals CMT Quiz TV One stop motion Television Academy Logo mutant OneApp WGN Nat Geo anime indiana jones Superheroe Mary Poppins Returns APB First Look venice Mary poppins free movies Spike series video on demand National Geographic latino Summer PaleyFest dragons indie fresh golden globe awards Amazon YouTube Premium 72 Emmy Awards Holiday Television Critics Association Valentine's Day History SDCC TLC A24 OWN child's play PBS The Witch supernatural Star Wars dogs VICE werewolf El Rey Classic Film BBC One Spring TV 2018 New York Comic Con ghosts Acorn TV zombies laika chucky FX Video Games FXX American Society of Cinematographers spanish language aliens medical drama Baby Yoda festivals Paramount Plus Chernobyl 2015 Warner Bros. ABC Winter TV 4/20 Sundance dc Sci-Fi Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt worst movies police drama binge Esquire Election Discovery Channel Women's History Month cooking animated parents vampires cancelled TV series rt archives harry potter true crime mission: impossible BBC theme song Tubi Travel Channel Toys Turner Classic Movies comiccon comic books canceled game show composers Marvel Studios Cartoon Network GoT cancelled kids south america anthology Action Crunchyroll A&E Crackle cancelled TV shows DirecTV facebook concert jurassic park war television MSNBC Apple TV+ ABC Family Masterpiece TV Land 71st Emmy Awards hollywood zero dark thirty Reality Competition boxoffice Sundance Now RT21 Hallmark directors Ghostbusters Netflix Christmas movies Hulu based on movie Emmys Black History Month jamie lee curtis women Fox Searchlight Western CW Seed DC Universe Interview revenge deadpool romantic comedy politics Music cartoon HBO classics Chilling Adventures of Sabrina movie Paramount Network Holidays criterion CBS mockumentary Disney book hispanic Calendar spain Rock 21st Century Fox Schedule green book Comics on TV thriller scorecard NYCC Song of Ice and Fire Arrowverse Endgame Emmy Nominations Amazon Studios SXSW foreign TCA Awards fast and furious hist Walt Disney Pictures japanese The Academy Film Festival dceu Avengers Starz 20th Century Fox Dark Horse Comics Britbox italian