4. Gremlins (1984)
Perhaps a controversial choice, but hear it out: Gremlins isn’t really a Christmas movie. Okay, Christmas-related imagery is all around, and it’s filled with Christmas music. It may be snowy and festive, but it’s also about tiny monsters that run amok throughout a small town. It’s also primarily about a boy who takes awful care of his new pet, which isn’t really Christmassy at all.
The juxtaposition of its story against its Christmas setting alone is something that feels distinctly un-festive. Of course, there is an interesting subtext about responsible gift-giving that is clearly linked to Christmas, but outside of that, Gremlins really isn’t a particularly festive story. Of course, that opinion might not be massively popular, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
If you need further convincing, consider this: the Christmas setting is largely irrelevant to Gremlins‘ story. If it wasn’t Christmas, Billy still would have been an awful owner, and the Gremlins still would have caused mayhem (it would have just been generic carnage rather than Christmas-themed). With that in mind, Gremlins really shouldn’t be considered a Christmas movie, even though it is a staple of the season.