Movie Characters With Anti-Holiday Spirit

by IMDb-Editors | last updated - 17 Dec 2015

Believe it or not, there are people in this world who just can't bear to get in the spirit of the holidays, choosing instead to turn a cold shoulder to all that is warm and cheery and peppermint-scented. Usually, when we think of holiday haters, what comes to mind is Ebenezer Scrooge, the quintessential misanthrope at the heart of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," or Dr. Seuss' unforgettable Grinch. But over the years there have been plenty of other not-so-jolly characters who have waltzed, however begrudgingly and sometimes distastefully, across the big screen. Here now is but a small sampling of holiday haters, folks who've embodied some true anti-holiday spirit. — Bret Federigan

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Ebenezer Scrooge in Scrooge (1970)

There have certainly been many cinematic renditions of Ebenezer Scrooge over the years, but there haven't been many versions who have broken out into song — numerous times — during the course of a film. Enter Albert Finney's interpretation of a show tune-belting misanthrope in this 1970 classic scored by noted composer Leslie Bricusse. Finney's performance earned him a Golden Globe Award and also foreshadowed another memorable on-screen performance as a singing grouch — that of Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks in 1982's Annie.

Michael Caine in The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Ebenezer Scrooge in The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Michael Caine meets the Muppets in this 1992 retelling of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." Like 1970's Scrooge, The Muppet Christmas Carol manages to present a song-and-dance version while remaining largely faithful to the original story. For scores of viewers, Caine's charming performance is one of the more definitive in recent Scrooge memory: gruff yet lovable, alternatively heartless and human, all the while serving as a deft counterpoint to Jim Henson's lovable Muppets. For Henson fans, this film is particularly poignant, as it was the first feature-length production to feature someone else as the voice of Kermit.

Bill Murray and Anne Ramsey in Scrooged (1988)

Frank Cross in Scrooged (1988)

Charles Dickens meets the cutthroat world of '80s-era network programming in this holiday comedy classic. Funnyman Bill Murray plays Frank Cross, a ruthless TV executive who burns more than a few bridges in his drive to launch a live production of "A Christmas Carol" on Christmas Eve. Murray's memorable performance is bolstered by a flurry of cameo appearances from the likes of John Forsythe, Miles Davis, Lee Majors, John Houseman, and Jamie Farr, to name a few.

Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa (2003)

Willie in Bad Santa (2003)

If you like your Santa Claus drunk, addicted to sex and overly caustic, look no further than Billy Bob Thornton's Willie T. Stokes. A professional thief accompanied by a conman sidekick, Stokes makes the most of his seasonal job as a department store Santa in order to execute large-scale robberies after hours. The only thing to thwart Stokes and his holiday hijinks? A budding friendship with a troubled boy and a nosy security guard (Bernie Mac) who discovers the plot.

Jim Carrey in How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

Grinch in How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

Jim Carrey plays the title role in this Ron Howard adaptation of Dr. Seuss' classic 1957 story of the same name, where a green, nasty creature spends most of his time hating Christmas and plotting to steal it away from the inhabitants of the magical land of Whoville. It's a role that required incredible patience for Carrey, who sometimes had to spend 8 hours for his prosthetic makeup to be applied. The Grinch costume included yellow contact lenses and a dyed green spandex suit covered in yak hairs. The effort was worth it: The movie is the highest-grossing holiday-themed movie of all time.


Oogie Boogie in Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Tim Burton's popular musical fantasy follows the adventures of Jack Skellington, the king of Halloween town, who opens a portal to Christmas Town and decides to bring the holiday back to his fellow citizens. The only problem? Jack and his friends don't really understand Christmas and just can't get it right. Of course, it doesn't help that resident bogeyman and gambling addict Oogie Boogie (Ken Page) is detaining a kidnapped Santa Claus in his lair. Thankfully, however, Jack thwarts the plan and defeats him in a final showdown.

Alan Rickman and Wilhelm von Homburg in Die Hard (1988)

Hans Gruber in Die Hard (1998)

Long before Alan Rickman was menacing the students of Hogwarts Academy as Professor Severus Snape, he was making life hell for NYPD officer John McClane (Bruce Willis) in 1988's Die Hard. Rickman plays Hans Gruber, the leader of a group of bank robbers who end up taking control of the building where McClane's wife is enjoying a holiday party. While the movie was a milestone for Willis' career, it's Rickman's deliciously evil portrayal that remains the standout performance. Not too shabby for the British actor's first feature film appearance.

Luke Hawker and Emjay Anthony in Krampus (2015)

Krampus in Krampus (2015) According to some traditions, Krampus is a devilish counterpart to Santa Claus; instead of gifting well-behaved children with toys and goodies, Krampus visits the homes of ill-spirited kids and punishes them — sometimes with coal and sometimes with much worse. In this 2015 movie, Krampus (Luke Hawker) is summoned to the home of a dysfunctional family and unleashes his fury. In the case of this hapless family, bad weather and sibling squabbles are the least of the problems.

Zach Galligan in Gremlins (1984)

Stripe in Gremlins (1984)

The next time you come upon an unusual, furry creature in a store — and that creature comes with three important rules that must never be broken — it's safe to say you should probably just move along. Unfortunately for young Billy Peltzer, who ends up receiving a Mogwai for Christmas in this 1984 comedy horror movie, trouble begins when a glass of water is accidentally spilled on cute, little Gizmo. Five nasty Mogwai suddenly appear, led by destructive and mean Stripe (Frank Welker). This new band of Gremlins keeps on multiplying and ends up causing a whole lot of destruction for the town of Kingston Falls.

Ben Affleck in Reindeer Games (2000)

Rudy Duncan in Reindeer Games (2000)

Rudy Duncan (Ben Affleck) is a long-imprisoned criminal who wants more than anything else to have a cup of hot chocolate with his family after he gets released from parole. However, circumstance and a beautiful woman (Charlize Theron) throw some curveballs his way: He finds himself forced to take part in a robbery dressed as Santa Claus. Rudy does eventually make it back home by movie's end — but not after some unfortunate deaths, destruction and deception.

Chevy Chase in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)

Frank Shirley in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)

Whenever we check in with the latest Griswold family adventure, it's usually patriarch Clark (Chevy Chase) who's responsible for the mayhem and disappointment. In this Christmas edition of the comedy franchise, Clark's boss Frank Shirley (Brian Doyle-Murray) is at the root of the problem: Clark needs a seasonal bonus in order to install a long-desired swimming pool, but the only thing that comes in the mail from Frank is a free membership for a Jelly of the Month Club. Oh, the humanity!

Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, and Daniel Stern in Home Alone (1990)

Harry and Marv in Home Alone (1990)

Macaulay Culkin is the true star of this popular 1990 comedy classic, but Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern more than hold their own as Wet Bandits Harry and Marv. They provide plenty of laughs as a hopelessly hapless pair of scads who attempt unsuccessfully to burglarize the Winnetka, Ill., home of Peter and Kate McCalister. With plenty of slapstick antics and over-the-top banter, Harry and Marv are an on-screen crime duo that you can't help but love.

Lynne Griffin in Black Christmas (1974)

The Killer in Black Christmas (1974)

It's beginning to look a lot like bloodshed! Slasher films are fairly commonplace these days, but in 1974, when this horror film hit theaters in Canada some four years before the debut of Halloween, it sent ripples through audiences. The movie still enjoys a cult following today among genre enthusiasts. The film takes place during the holiday season in a sorority house, where a group of sorority sisters are harassed and eventually picked off by a murderer hiding in the attic. As for the identity of the killer? You'll have to watch to find out.

Trading Places (1983)

Louis Winthorpe III in Trading Places (1983)

While this movie is not a holiday movie in the traditional sense of the word, we can't help but include Dan Aykroyd's portrayal of Louis Winthorpe III, a polished business man who falls on hard times when he becomes an unwitting victim of a cruel social experiment. Having lost his job, home, and access to his bank accounts, Winthorpe shows up at his former company's Christmas party in his best version of Bad Santa: drunk, disheveled and desiring to pilfer under his suit some salmon from the buffet table.