About Christmas TV History

Monday, November 18, 2019

Where to Watch Christmas TV Programs (2019)

It's the most wonderful time of the year, isn't it? The Christmas TV movies have already begun airing. The viewing options for Christmas movies and specials during November and December each year can get a little overwhelming. Let me update you with the details of where to find the best holiday programming for 2019.

Hallmark's Countdown to Christmas block of holiday movies has already begun.

Christmas TV Movies:

For many Christmas TV movie fans, the Hallmark Channel is the network schedule to check first.  In 2019, Hallmark will be debuting 24 new Christmas TV movies, alongside many classics from their archives. If you didn't already know, the movie marathon has already begun--it started Friday, October 25th--and continues all day and all night through the end of December. They typically debut their new holiday movies on Saturday and Sunday nights. HERE is link to a checklist of Hallmark's Christmas TV movie premieres. The daily schedule of their holiday movies can be found on their website HERE.

Click on image to enlarge: the 2019 Hallmark *updated* movie debut schedule. I know it's frustrating--they always make changes.

HMM's *updated* schedule of movie debuts. Click on it to enlarge.

Hallmark's sister channel--Hallmark Movies and Mysteries (HMM)--also airs new Christmas TV movies and older classics. In fact, the older holiday movies they broadcast are pulled from a deeper archive so this is the place to see some of your older Hallmark Christmas TV movie favorites. Between Hallmark and HMM, this company will premiere 40 new movies this holiday season alone. Whew! Have you already started watching them?

Their original schedule had them rolling out their new movies on Thursday and Friday nights. However, and *please note* they have changed this schedule and moved their rest of their premieres to Saturday and Sunday nights (I think they are feeling the heat from Lifetime's debuts). So make sure you follow the updated schedules.

This is the seventh year that HMM is premiering their own new Christmas TV movies--this year they have sixteen new movies.  Click HERE for the checklist of HMM Christmas movies debuts. And, just like the Hallmark Channel, HMM has already begun their holiday programming--which will continue through the end of the holidays.  Click HERE for the link to the daily HMM Christmas movie schedule.

Lifetime is debuting 30 new Christmas TV movies in 2019 as well. I know, right? Those new movies will be airing on Saturday and Sunday nights. Click HERE for more info about each of those. Lifetime is all-in on the Christmas TV movies this year. They also started airing a 24/7 marathon of their new movies and Christmas classics from their archives. You don't want to miss out. I'm looking forward to their new movie "You Light Up My Christmas" which debuts on Dec.1st. It features cast members from the TV series The Facts of Life--I can hardly wait. Click HERE for the daily schedule of Lifetime Christmas movies.

Freeform's 25 Days of Christmas 2019 schedule. Click on image to enlarge.
Freeform is another major source of holiday programming every year. But I didn't need to tell you that, right?  We're all familiar with their marathons of Christmas animation, Christmas movies, and family-friendly entertainment. Freeform's 25 Days of Christmas programming marathon begin Dec. 1st. Click HERE for the on-line schedule.

Click on image to enlarge. 2019 schedule for UpTV.

UP TV Network will also debut 10 new family-friendly Christmas TV movies, as well as showing older favorites too. This year, the schedule looks exciting. I already shared on the website about their new movie "A Christmas Movie Christmas"--a hilarious send-up of the tropes found within Christmas TV movies. See that again HERE.  For more info about UP TV's 2019 Christmas programming, click HERE.

ION Television's schedule is filled with holiday movies too. They begin airing their holiday movies starting Sunday, Dec.1st. Look for the movie premieres on Saturday and Sunday nights. This year, they are debuting six new Christmas TV movies as well as airing favorites from the past. Click HERE for the complete schedule.

OWN is debuting new Christmas TV movies in 2019 as well.

OWN is entering the Christmas TV movie business this year too. Their holiday movies feature African-American characters in the lead roles. This is exciting! They have three new holiday movies each making their debut on Friday nights in November. Don't miss out. Click HERE for the OWN Christmas TV movie schedule on their website. TV One usually debuts a Christmas TV movie or two each year featuring African-American characters in the lead as well. This year's new movie is "Dear Santa I Need a Date" premiering Sunday, Dec. 8th. Here's more info on their website.

And of course, Netflix is debuting six new Christmas movies on their streaming service. Several of those movies have already premiered, including Klaus, an animated feature. So many Christmas movies, so little time, right?

Classic Christmas Specials and Episodes:
Every year one of the MOST EXCITING holiday programming schedules has to be GetTV. They pull out all the stops every year! What I'm most looking forward to watching are the older Christmas TV movies, The Soul & Spirit of Christmas, 2017's A Nashville Christmas special, classic Perry Como Christmas specials, the Mac Davis Christmas Special, classic Johnny Cash Christmas music specials, a best-of Andy Williams Christmas special, and the Father Knows Best Christmas TV movie reunion. There's even a marathon of Bing Crosby Christmas TV specials scheduled for Friday after Thanksgiving--don't miss it! There's so much good stuff on their schedule, I'm overwhelmed--and you should be too. This is an abundance of riches. Check out the 3-page GetTV holiday schedule HERE.

Me TV is rolling out their retro programming's Christmas installments on Sunday afternoon marathons throughout the holiday season. HERE's the schedule of episodes for the Sunday marathons.If you scroll down their schedule from the link above, you'll see additional holiday episodes airing beyond the Sunday marathons. Look at all those Thanksgiving episodes!! Enjoy.
Antenna TV, another retro programming network, usually airs a Christmas Eve and Christmas Day marathon of holiday episodes from their current classic TV line-up. I hope they repeat that tradition.

AMC has invested in airing a tremendous amount of holiday programming too. Their website says it all begins Nov. 25th, but they still don't have a posted schedule. Here's a list of all the Christmas movies and animation coming on AMC.

The 87th annual tree lighting ceremony in Rockefeller Center is Dec. 4th on NBC.

Major Networks:
Of course, the major networks have their holiday programming as well. NBC is already promoting their annual screenings of the 1946 movie It's a Wonderful Life (Nov. 30th and again on Dec. 24th). Christmas in Rockefeller Center, the live concert and tree lighting ceremony always airs the first Wednesday after Thanksgiving (Dec. 4th this year). There's also Holidays with the Houghs--Derek and Julianne Hough, that is. Their special debuts on Dec. 16th at 10pm(ET). Don't say "Christmas variety on TV is dead" if you don't watch it! NBC is also airing classics from the past. Check out their schedule HERE.

ABC is once again airing the variety special CMA Country Christmas. This year's concert features a new host Trisha Yearwood. It airs Tuesday, Dec. 3rd at 9pm(ET). They are also airing A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rankin/Bass' Santa Claus is Comin' to Town, The Great Christmas Light Fight, Olaf's Frozen Adventure, Prep & Landing, and more. For more on ABC's holiday programming, click HERE.

CBS is airing the animated classic Frosty the Snowman again this year. This is exciting because it is the 50th anniversary of Frosty the Snowman--an important part of Christmas TV history. Earlier in the year when networks were releasing their holiday schedules, Frosty was included in several other networks' airings and it wasn't certain if CBS would also continue to air it. But it will be airing on Friday, Nov. 29th. That means Frosty has aired EVERY YEAR on CBS since its original debut back in 1969. What a tremendous history. There's really nothing else to compare it to in TV history!

Look for Frosty and Frosty Returns on Friday, Nov. 29th, and Rudolph will air on Monday, Dec. 2nd. The colorized 1956 Christmas episode of I Love Lucy will air on Friday, Dec. 20th. For more about CBS's holiday programming, click HERE.

Stay close to my social media links for more announcements about fantastic holiday programming. If you'd like reminders of the new Christmas TV movie debuts and other exciting holiday TV  programming, don't forget to follow my Facebook page Tis The Season TV and/or my tweets at @TisTheSeasonTV.  Where on the metaphorical television dial do you watch your favorite Christmas movies and specials?  Feel free to share in the comments below.

Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. More about the TV programs mentioned on this website can be found in her book "Tis the Season TV: the Encyclopedia of Christmas-themed Episodes, Specials, and Made-for-TV Movies." Her latest book "Triple Dog Dare: Watching--& Surviving--the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story" was released in 2016. She is currently updating and expanding the encyclopedia for a 2020 release. Her books can be found at the publisher's website: 1701 press.com

*Support this website and its research by purchasing the books at 1701 press.com

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Christmas Con 2019 in New Jersey

I feel like I'm still riding the glow I got from last weekend's Christmas Con 2019. The three-day adventure was a whirlwind of meeting new people, bumping into celebrities, and finding the right words to express my thoughts about Christmas TV movies. If you don't already know: Christmas Con 2019 was a first-time fan convention for Christmas TV movie fans, in Edison, NJ.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to participate in the Writers Panel, and I also had a booth where I was signing books all weekend. When tickets sold out weeks before the event, the rest of the world found out what you and I already know: Christmas TV movies are hugely popular and successful!

Standing in front of my booth at Christmas Con.

Since it was a sold-out event, the crowds were immense! There were thousands of people each day standing in line for the celebrity greetings, photos and autographs. Long lines were formed by attendees for the various panel discussions, and even the photo opps throughout the venue. Christmas Con was like the San Diego ComicCon of Christmas TV movies! But I'd like to add that these crowds were all filled with the holiday spirit. Kindness and generosity filled the convention space. When you inevitably bumped into people while trying to navigate the crowds, everyone was understanding and kind. Trust me--a friendly atmosphere goes a long way!

With Melissa Joan Hart.

The list of Christmas TV movie actors at Christmas Con included Lacey Chabert, Jonathan Bennett, Cameron Mathison, Jackée Harry, Alicia Witt, Nikki Deloach, Erin Krakow, Paul Greene, Holly Robinson Peete, Ryan Paevey, Chad Michael Murray, Melissa Claire Egan, Jack Wagner, Melissa Joan Hart, Andrew Walker, Rachel Boston, Danica McKellar, Ashley Williams, and Jesse Metcalfe.

It takes no stretch of the imagination to comprehend how crazy popular these actors were in the celebrity autograph room. THE LINES WERE LONG. What an amazing collection of Christmas TV movie stars! Many of the actors also participated in panel discussions, and the auditorium was jam packed all weekend. There was quite a bit to be excited about at Christmas Con.

The multi-gifted Alicia Witt in concert on Saturday night. 

Saturday night also offered another experience. There was a concert in the auditorium, with Paul Greene performing an acoustic set, and singer/songwriter Alicia Witt sharing her musical gift. Alicia opened her set singing "I'm Not Ready for Christmas"-- a song she wrote and sings in the 2015 Hallmark movie of the same title. By some weird stroke of luck, I found myself seated in the front row at the concert. I loved every minute of it.

The crowds in the auditorium waiting for Lacey Chabert to come on stage for one of the panels. I wasn't kidding about the crowds.

The Writers Panel discussion was on Sunday morning. The author of the great book  Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas Alonso Duralde moderated (and contributed) to our discussion of Christmas TV movies. Alys Murray has written her first Christmas TV movie which will debut later this season on TV.  Joany Kane--who wrote the TV movies "The Christmas Card," "Moonlight & Mistletoe," "Matchmaker Santa" and more, was our expert. Julie Sherman Wolfe has experience writing for TV series. She also wrote the TV movie "Finding Santa" as well as three new Christmas TV movies debuting this year. I joined in to talk about Christmas TV movies in general. Our discussion was well attended and was a lot of fun! I still can't believe I shared the stage with Joany Kane--IS THERE A BIGGER CHRISTMAS TV MOVIE THAN "THE CHRISTMAS CARD!?" The answer is no. What a fantastic experience.

This is Alonso's awesome photo--taken on stage just after our panel.

One of my favorite activities at Christmas Con was the experiential marketing booth by Hallmark in the center of the convention hall. The booth offered several points of participation, and there were several lines of attendees eager to experience them all. You could step into the photo booth and get your photo taken as if you were inside a snowy Christmas tree ornament. You could also get in line for a cup of hot cider and a Christmas cookie. There was also a cozy living room set, complete with a fireplace and TV playing Hallmark Christmas TV movie promos. As you can imagine, the Hallmark booth was extremely popular.

Outside the four-walled booth, the Hallmark windows were actually TV screens showing Christmas TV movie promos.

The Hallmark photo booth was like stepping into a fancy snowglobe/Christmas TV ornament!

I had to get a Christmas cookie, of course.

Victorian carolers harmonized outside the Hallmark booth all weekend long. What a delight!

But the best experience was talking with Christmas TV movie fans all weekend long. I have tabled at other fan conventions/pop culture shows before. I'm used to having to convince people that Christmas entertainment is worthy of attention. At this convention, we were all on the same page as Christmas TV movie fans. So the conversation was elevated and these were well-informed viewers. It was a delight to share my experiences about what makes Christmas TV movies unique and successful. I loved listening to other people's stories and which movies are their favorites. It was just so great to be surrounded by others who "get it." Thanks to everyone who came over and shared their stories with me.

Thanks Tanya :)

With Tim Babb from "Can't Wait for Christmas" podcast.

Christmas Con was also an opportunity to meet several online friends in-person for the first time. I mentioned Christmas movies book author Alonso Duralde above, and it was wonderful meeting him. He's also a film reviewer and podcaster--but you knew that, right? Tim Babb from the Can't Wait for Christmas podcast was there all weekend too. He was a part of the Christmas podcasters panel discussion, along with Brian Earl from the Christmas Past podcast. Brian has had me on his podcast a couple times--most recently talking about my own Christmas TV History audio series. Check out that episode of Christmas Past HERE. Even if we've talked several times, it's always a treat to meet face-to-face.

With Brian Earl from Christmas Past podcast.

Talked with so many great people all weekend. Thanks Ramos family.

The crowds!

There were a few hiccups at Christmas Con due mostly to the large crowds that filled the convention hall. With that many people in one space, you're bound to experience long lines and confusion. I found that the extended lines in the vendors' room, for the food and the restrooms mostly became tolerable by early afternoon each day. The lines for the celebrities were always going to be....long. But I spent some time walking around on both days and found that fans could reach most of the Christmas TV movie stars in reasonable lengths of time. Except for Lacey Chabert--she was busy all weekend long. Good for her! She's earned it.

Thanks again to everyone who came and spoke to me and purchased books. I had a wonderful weekend, and hope there are more Christmas Cons in the future. I'd love to do it again.

Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. More about the TV programs mentioned on this website can be found in her book "Tis the Season TV: the Encyclopedia of Christmas-themed Episodes, Specials, and Made-for-TV Movies." Her latest book "Triple Dog Dare: Watching--& Surviving--the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story" was released in 2016. She is currently updating and expanding the encyclopedia for a 2020 release. Her books can be found at the publisher's website: 1701 press.com

*Support this website and its research by purchasing the books at 1701 press.com

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Christmas Movie Christmas (2019) on UpTV

UpTV's A Christmas Movie Christmas made its debut on Oct. 27th, 2019

Feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of Christmas TV movies debuting this holiday season? Me too. There will be close to one hundred *new* Christmas TV movies airing across more than seven TV networks in 2019 (Check the schedules for Netflix, Hallmark, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Lifetime, UpTV, Ion, OWN, and TV One. I'll be posting my annual update on where to find Christmas programming soon). Christmas TV movies continue to grow in number each year--and they have already begun airing. To give a little heads up about one that already stands out, let me draw your attention to one in particular: A Christmas Movie Christmas, directed by Brian Herzlinger. Christmas TV movie fans will love this UpTV original comedy movie that pokes fun at the tropes found in almost all Christmas TV movies.

In this story, Eve Bell is obsessed with watching Christmas TV movies. On December 24th, Eve and her sister Lacy make a Christmas wish while talking with a street-corner Santa Claus. Both women wake up the next morning living inside the perfect fantasy: a Christmas TV movie world. Eve is delighted to find herself a new resident of the small town Holiday Falls, while her sister Lacy is not as enthusiastic.

Eve immediately recognizes the star of several of her favorite Christmas TV movies: Chad Matthew Monroe (played by actor Randy Wayne). Monroe's role in Holiday Falls is playing the handsome popstar/singer Russell Clark.

When Eve learns that the town’s Christmas Festival needs saving, she is happy to find an offer of help from the hunky innkeeper Dustin AND the celebrity popstar Russell Clark (played by her favorite Christmas TV movie star Chad Matthew Monroe). Clark offers to perform at the Christmas Festival to entertain the town’s residents.

The sisters find Holiday Falls the ideal Christmas location. All the residents are cheerful and dressed in red for Christmas.

Eve’s fantasy is so perfect, she finds herself dating both Dustin and Russell. Meanwhile, her sister Lacy is being courted by Holiday Falls' cookie baker named Paul.

Lacy and Paul hit it off too. Lacy's wish for Santa Claus was to meet the perfect man for Christmas.

Lacy is asked by the town's baker to help him bake dog treats--what could be more perfect?

But all is not perfect for Lacy--she is put out by Paul’s devotion and affection, attention Lacy feels she doesn’t deserve. Every Christmas TV movie needs a conflict, and Eve soon finds that Dustin’s former girlfriend Noele from the big city, wants to come in and save the Christmas Festival herself. Noele is jealous and ends up revealing to Russell and Dustin that Eve is dating them both. Not only does Eve lose her dream men but her plans for the Christmas Festival have failed. She feels she’s let the residents of Holiday Falls down. Sisters Eve and Lacy find that escaping to a perfect fantasy isn’t always the answer to your problems.

Yes--this town also includes an adorable child. London is played by young actress Cleary Herzlinger.

Hot chocolate is served in Holiday Falls--a delicious warm treat that accompanies all their activities!

The funnest part of this Christmas TV movie is how it winks at all the familiar character types, holiday activities, and elements found in all Christmas TV movies. Could you recognize all the tropes of Christmas TV movies? There are dozens of them, from the token adorable child to the wise grandmother, a hunky cookie baker, delicious hot chocolate that improves every situation, the lead character’s holiday name (Eve Bell!?), a small town, and the Scrooge character (Mr. Peterson) whose heart softens just in time for the end of the story. Christmas TV movie fans will love this story with a sense of humor and an eye to detail about what we love about these TV movies.

The cast includes Lana McKissack as Eve Bell, Kimberly Daugherty as Lacy Bell, Brant Daugherty as Paul, Ryan Merriman as Dustin, Randy Wayne as Chad Matthew Monroe/Russell Clark, Brigid Duffy as the wise Gram Gram, Addy Stafford as the jealous Noele, and Cleary Herzlinger as young London. Interestingly, the movie was written by two of the movies' stars: real-life husband and wife, Brant Daugherty and Kimberly Daugherty who play Paul and Lacy.

A sure sign that the Christmas TV movie has reached peak genre status is the existence of meaningful parodies, not only pointing out what these tropes are but using them for continued meaning in storytelling. Let me know what you think of this Christmas TV movie and if you find it a satisfying entry among all the others debuting in 2019.

If you haven't yet found it, please give my podcast episode on the history of Christmas TV movies a listen. I discuss more of these common tropes and how they developed through the years. My podcast series is entitled Christmas TV History and can be found: Apple Podcast
or, you can listen to it on your computer or phone from my website HERE.

Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. More about the TV programs mentioned on this website can be found in her book "Tis the Season TV: the Encyclopedia of Christmas-themed Episodes, Specials, and Made-for-TV Movies." Her latest book "Triple Dog Dare: Watching--& Surviving--the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story" was released in 2016. She is currently updating and expanding the encyclopedia for a 2020 release. Her books can be found at the publisher's website: 1701 press.com

*Support this website and its research by purchasing the books at 1701 press.com


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Curse of the Cat People (1944)

Many of us are already getting ready for Halloween. It's fun to anticipate the autumn holiday by spending the month of October watching horror movies. And many Christmas movie fans like to spend the month of October watching the dozens of Halloween/Christmas cross-over films and TV programs too. In that spirit, I'd like to remind you about the 1944 movie The Curse of the Cat People, directed by Gunther V. Fritsch and Robert Wise. This delightful black-and-white classic includes both horror elements and significant Christmas scenes.

The Curse of the Cat People is a sequel to 1942's Cat People. The first film tells the tragic story of Oliver Reed (played by Kent Smith) who falls in love with and marries Irena (played by Simone Simon), a fashion illustrator who believes she's cursed based on a folktale from her Serbian hometown. Irena becomes consumed by fear that her passions will transform her into a monstrous beast--a deadly cat--a fear which ultimately dooms her marriage and her life.

In Curse, Oliver and Alice return. They are now married and have a young daughter named Amy.
The black-and-white film's story is told with gorgeous extreme lighting, showing off dramatic shadows. The story expresses the themes of Romanticism--remember studying late 18th century-early 19th century Romanticism from literature and art classes? This is a rejection of Realism. Nature (and animals) are wild, threatening, and dangerous. And, the film's story becomes even richer if you begin to recognize the dichotomies set up within the story. The tension between these dichotomies is what fuels the story's interest and moves it forward. (Think of the tension between the rational and the irrational, the civilized and the animalistic, reality and fantasy, the male and the female, et al).

I'm pulling some of these threads out because the follow-up movie The Curse of the Cat People continues to draw upon the same themes. While I don't think it's necessary to see the first movie to follow along with Curse, your experience of Curse will be much richer if you've seen the first movie. I recommend watching both movies as a double-feature--you'll love it.

Amy leaves a group of children in the middle of a game to chase after a butterfly. Oliver thinks there's something wrong with his daughter.

The Curse of the Cat People follows the characters from the first movie, at least seven years in the future. Oliver (Kent Smith again) and Alice (played by Jane Randolph in both movies) have married, and they have a six year-old daughter named Amy (played by Ann Carter). Amy doesn't get along with the other children in her school and she doesn't have any friends. Amy doesn't seem to know the difference between reality and fantasy, between lies and the truth. She's known as a dreamer, and she spends most of her time alone in her garden enjoying her time with nature. Her father thinks there's something wrong with Amy. She's most comfortable using her imagination rather than pursuing math and rational thought like he does--he's a boat designer/engineer.

The "normal" children know not to go near the haunted house in the neighborhood where they believe a witch lives. Amy is drawn to the house.

After walking past a spooky house in the neighborhood, Amy approaches it and she's given the gift of a ring from a stranger in the window. Her parents want her to return the lavish gift but when she goes back, Amy is invited into the home to meet the old woman Julia Farren who lives there. The old woman insists that Amy keep the ring, and she and the young girl strike a bond. Farren is a former actress from the stage and she immerses herself in fanciful stories--just like Amy. Here, Amy hears Washington Irving's story of The Headless Horseman for the first time. Later, Amy makes a wish on her ring, expressing her desire for a friend.

Julia Farren (played by Julia Dean) is a grown-up version of Amy--a woman who relishes stories and fantasy over reality.
Remember the exotic woman who spoke Serbian to Irena in the first movie Cat People? She's back--here she's known as Barbara. Frighteningly, Julia insists Barbara is her daughter's imposter. She's played by Elizabeth Russell.

Amy's wish for a friend comes true when a beautiful woman named Irena keeps her company in the garden. Oliver is happy that his daughter is kept occupied in the backyard not fully aware that she's actually playing with someone he can't see! (Don't bother trying to nail down whether Irena is from Amy's imagination or a ghost. That will only reduce the experience).

Irena and Amy are bathed in both light and shadows--get it?

The Reed family is happy together at Christmas. Amy has a wrapped gift under the tree for her "friend."

At Christmas, the family decorates the tree together and carolers arrive at the door. Amy hears her friend Irena also caroling in the garden and she joins her there. Amy offers a gift to her friend which Irena graciously accepts. Days later when they are taking the Christmas tree down, the family takes out the photo album and young Amy sees a photo of her father and his first wife Irena. She identifies the woman as her friend in the garden and her father insists she's lying. Spoiler: Irena's death came before Amy was even born. And, he punishes his daughter. Confused, Amy still doesn't understand the difference between reality and fantasy and why she's being punished, so she runs away.

Amy leaves home to run through the darkness, wind and snow. Will the storm overwhelm Amy?

Will Barbara's jealousy overwhelm Amy?

The young girl runs away into a storm on a dark night, through the woods behind her house. At one point she is covered in snow, laying along the ground. She ends up running to Julia Farren's home, seeking the comfort of the old woman who seems to understand her. Unfortunately, Julia's daughter Barbara is jealous of her mother's affection for Amy. The end is very satisfying so I won't spoil it. This is certainly a film best enjoyed when one experiences it for themselves. So I'll leave you to it.

Irena awaits in the backyard (played by Simone Simon).

If you aren't already familiar with this movie, I encourage it as a Halloween and Christmas cross-over. It's also one of those horror movies that isn't a slasher and contains no blood or gruesome scenes. (The photo of the hands above is the most horrifying image in the film--and is very restrained). If slashers are not your style or you're looking to experience something more thoughtful and different, this is the movie for you.

If you're looking for more suggestions of Halloween and Christmas cross-over movies and TV programs, follow by daily posts at @TistheSeasonTV on Twitter, and Tis the Season TV on Facebook. Merry October!

Joanna Wilson is a TV researcher and book author specializing in Christmas entertainment. More about the TV programs mentioned on this website can be found in her book "Tis the Season TV: the Encyclopedia of Christmas-themed Episodes, Specials, and Made-for-TV Movies." Her latest book "Triple Dog Dare: Watching--& Surviving--the 24-Hour Marathon of A Christmas Story" was released in 2016. Her books can be found at the publisher's website: 1701 press.com

*Support this website and its research by purchasing the books at 1701 press.com