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

ITV comedies BBC One VH1 OneApp natural history wonder woman theme song Elton John dc Apple TV+ Action Brie Larson remakes aapi Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 2019 anime comic book movie A&E comic VICE directors FOX unscripted spinoff Women's History Month Star Trek worst San Diego Comic-Con godzilla USA slasher Travel Channel christmas movies gangster Vudu elevated horror Paramount Mary poppins Syfy American Society of Cinematographers batman Cosplay Television Critics Association TCA 2016 TruTV miniseries Pirates Holidays festivals foreign 24 frames animated independent Spectrum Originals posters discovery Comedy Central a nightmare on elm street kong DC Comics TCA Winter 2020 nature Alien basketball Drama PBS Thanksgiving renewed TV shows rt labs reboot talk show feel good breaking bad GLAAD medical drama cancelled dramedy Sundance TV classics Polls and Games Rocketman Character Guide target TV boxing worst movies Election Peacock free movies Black History Month werewolf high school spanish DGA halloween tv DC Universe streaming 73rd Emmy Awards OWN Nickelodeon Tomatazos Captain marvel sitcom vampires Lucasfilm superhero Marvel Studios crime thriller Heroines Western LGBT BET Awards strong female leads documentaries Photos PlayStation Arrowverse dogs slashers BBC Sci-Fi Mudbound DC streaming service venice HBO Max Mystery 2017 movie joker Columbia Pictures 71st Emmy Awards CW Seed saw Turner trailers Acorn TV series video sag awards Musical RT21 Paramount Network name the review quibi Lifetime scene in color Set visit prank Toys Schedule period drama sequels Trailer Pixar FXX HBO Go PaleyFest Logo Superheroe hispanic heritage month TV movies all-time sports Tubi Fantasy Shondaland Awards LGBTQ franchise 2015 NBA thriller young adult Pacific Islander Christmas new york Reality Competition Marvel ABC award winner Disney+ Disney Plus documentary football new zealand Shudder Video Games Awards Tour live action space scorecard Film Hallmark Christmas movies MTV Winners mutant comic book movies Broadway marvel comics Cannes FX Spring TV satire CMT rom-coms Marathons YA italian romance cancelled television game of thrones GIFs richard e. Grant Extras cops screen actors guild Amazon Prime Epix Best and Worst docuseries Fox News Disney streaming service crime BAFTA IFC Films TCA Awards social media SundanceTV Oscars facebook Masterpiece Summer Year in Review legend witnail ghosts 90s toy story TBS reviews japanese Academy Awards Countdown WarnerMedia Apple spy thriller adenture stoner NBC book nfl blockbusters Black Mirror movies Legendary Hear Us Out biography Sundance cartoon serial killer Horror Universal biopic E3 toronto Opinion pirates of the caribbean women based on movie AMC 2020 Showtime cooking latino die hard child's play Ovation See It Skip It singing competition Lifetime Christmas movies FX on Hulu sequel Interview First Reviews Wes Anderson deadpool monster movies Holiday comic books nbcuniversal Pop TV The Walking Dead universal monsters spider-man psychological thriller Quiz dceu ratings politics TCA 2017 fresh game show harry potter dexter hidden camera WGN Musicals Freeform jurassic park Comic Book news royal family what to watch Turner Classic Movies Television Academy ID El Rey rt archives aliens films international romantic comedy Pop critics hollywood cults binge Bravo Pet Sematary Podcast Hallmark true crime Comic-Con@Home 2021 Adult Swim cancelled TV series police drama Avengers streaming movies Netflix Food Network ViacomCBS Song of Ice and Fire 2018 rotten movies we love TCM MCU Chernobyl canceled Binge Guide Funimation technology A24 science fiction political drama Crackle Mindy Kaling disaster Baby Yoda Exclusive Video ABC Signature stand-up comedy Endgame cinemax Stephen King Biopics President Infographic 20th Century Fox lord of the rings TNT doctor who Disney Plus rt labs critics edition Lionsgate comics emmy awards Netflix Christmas movies Kids & Family golden globe awards mockumentary suspense Image Comics blaxploitation kids Sneak Peek supernatural CNN Fall TV zombie 1990s stop motion chucky new star wars movies Hulu green book Creative Arts Emmys Amazon Studios know your critic boxoffice Sundance Now marvel cinematic universe casting olympics versus TV renewals 21st Century Fox action-comedy CBS APB Winter TV crossover indiana jones BBC America Mary Poppins Returns New York Comic Con Apple TV Plus revenge TV One australia razzies Valentine's Day debate twilight Music king kong The Witch television The Purge war Teen children's TV Trivia National Geographic zero dark thirty The Academy canceled TV shows hispanic festival SXSW IFC Starz comiccon Cartoon Network superman Ghostbusters Warner Bros. Paramount Plus historical drama Superheroes docudrama Mary Tyler Moore Esquire parents cats video on demand Sony Pictures indie TV Land jamie lee curtis Rock Country concert YouTube scary movies 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Comedy Red Carpet Film Festival BET SDCC diversity Watching Series Discovery Channel dark E! black TIFF DirecTV blockbuster king arthur Tumblr heist movie psycho Star Wars Tokyo Olympics ABC Family cancelled TV shows ESPN Grammys crime drama Nat Geo 72 Emmy Awards popular Trophy Talk critic resources X-Men transformers Crunchyroll Classic Film GoT HBO Animation Writers Guild of America composers adaptation Ellie Kemper Tarantino First Look The CW Marvel Television james bond halloween mission: impossible Premiere Dates Rom-Com History TLC MSNBC golden globes Comics on TV justice league Martial Arts Emmys Certified Fresh 93rd Oscars Dark Horse Comics french adventure anthology Family The Walt Disney Company 007 Super Bowl dragons Britbox Amazon Prime Video Fox Searchlight finale archives The Arrangement Reality rotten teaser Amazon YouTube Premium Pride Month japan Anna Paquin telelvision kaiju Disney 2021 NYCC best tv talk cars Box Office Rocky spain criterion VOD Disney Channel RT History YouTube Red USA Network hist 4/20 CBS All Access obituary laika book adaptation zombies Calendar robots Walt Disney Pictures asian-american 99% south america 45 screenings fast and furious Spike mcc Nominations Emmy Nominations spanish language Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt travel