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The DIE HARD Conundrum – What counts as a Christmas movie?

The DIE HARD Conundrum – What counts as a Christmas movie?

It’s the biggest unanswered question in film. Every year, without fail, it comes up again; battle lines are drawn, families are divided, and the debate rages on. And the question, of course, is…

Is DIE HARD a Christmas movie?

On the one hand, a film about terrorists taking over a building is hardly a happy tale for the holidays. On the other… Well, it’s set at Christmas, and sees our hero trying to reunite with his family for some festive fun. That’s enough, isn’t it? Even if the festive fun is interrupted by bombs, bullets, and bad German accents?

Of course, by that logic, LIFE OF BRIAN is also a Christmas movie. After all, it too is set at Christmas – it opens in Bethlehem on the night that Jesus was born! The fact that it focuses on the stable next door where the hapless Brian is being born, and that the wise men visit him by accident, and in fact otherwise has nothing to do with Christmas…

Okay, let’s face it: there are some films that fall into a grey area. LIFE OF BRIAN probably isn’t a Christmas movie (although I’m sure someone’s bound to disagree!) but at the very least a lot of people have a heartfelt love for DIE HARD around this time of year, and that counts for something.

So, in celebration of this fact, here’s are some of our favorite films that exist in this grey area. Christmas movie or not Christmas movie? Let us know your thoughts!

  • THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS: Come on, it’s got the word Christmas in the title! The fact that Santa Claus (or rather “Sandy Claws”) get kidnapped by the king of Halloween, the reindeer are skeletal and led by a ghost dog, and all the presents handed out terrorize the children shouldn’t make a difference, right? Okay, maybe it should. Half Halloween movie, half Christmas movie – maybe this is best watched in mid-November.
  • EDWARD SCISSORHANDS: Let’s stick with Tim Burton for a moment. The most iconic scene in this American-Gothic fairytale sees Wynona Rider’s Kim dancing in the snow while Edward carves ice sculptures. A beautiful Christmas moment… Except that Edward is a leather-bound weirdo with scissors for hands. Things don’t end too well for Edward and Kim either, so only watch this one if you want to spend Christmas Day in tears.
  • FROZEN: Snow! Ice! Snowmen! Disney songs so iconic that half the world’s population bursts into song at the words “Let it Go” and the other half groans in frustration! On paper, Frozen has all the right ingredients for a Christmas movie and a lot of people will probably give it a watch over the coming week – except that it never mentions Christmas. Not even once.
  • GREMLINS: Don’t feed them after midnight. Don’t let them get wet. Once those rules get broken and these little critters get loose, all sorts of chaos ensues. Okay, this one is definitely set at Christmas, but it’s not exactly one to get you into the holiday spirit. Part horror, part comedy, GREMLINS is a film for people who really want to turn Christmas on its head.
  • HOME ALONE: Fans rejoiced when Macaulay Culkin recently reprised his role as Kevin McCallister for an advert, but this Christmas classic is actually pretty dark. While Kevin’s traps are dangerous enough to maim or potentially kill the would-be thieves, it’s his parents who are the real villains here. Not only are they neglectful enough to forget about him while they catch a flight to Paris, they don’t even bother trying to phone anyone back home once they realize he’s not with them – not the police, not a neighbour, nobody. Seriously, someone needs to call CPS on the McCallisters – they’re a danger to their own children.

Whatever you choose to watch this week – whether it’s a movie about Santa Claus being kidnapped, evil creatures running rampant, or a skyscraper being taken over by terrorists – we hope you enjoy it. From all the team at WriteMovies, we’d like to wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Enjoyed this article? Take a look at some of the other pieces on our website by clicking here!

Industry Diary – Top producers ask to see winning script!

Industry Diary – Top producers ask to see winning script!

The past month in our Industry Diary: It’s been a long year, but we’re always looking to get our scripts pitched to industry. As productions get back on their feet, here’s an update about what we’ve been up to lately:


  • One of our winners provided an excellent new draft of his powerful script yesterday, refined following our latest free Development Notes to get it pitch-ready. We’ve immediately sent the script on to Oscar-winning producers who asked to see the new draft once ready. Really excited to see what they think of it!
  • I attended the WGGB Open Session discussing the impact of Covid-19 and Brexit has had on the industry, and information and guidance people can receive in the future. I also heard stories from people’s personal projects that were postponed, cancelled, or fortunate enough to be adapted to go ahead during the pandemic.
  • Making enquiries through IMDb Pro with potential producers about some of our winners such as END OF THE LINE, RIDING WITH CHARLIE and MAKE THE WEATHER. You can read all about the writers and the scripts in the articles linked.
  • We’ve been communicating with our latest winners to get their work pitch ready. All our winners have now received Development Notes from our analysts and are hard at work on new drafts of their scripts. We’ve also been putting together one-page pitches for them, a key tool for us when pitching.
  • One of our recent winners is reworking their script into a different format after an expression of interest from one of our contacts, who is looking to pass on sci-fi scripts for an award-winning Hollywood professional to direct. Loglines for all our winners scripts were also sent out to top producers for consideration.

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