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Five of the greatest Christmas movie villains of all time

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Christmas movies are usually about the celebration of a time of year when everyone comes together to share gifts, affection and good will towards all. The plots range from grounded stories about families trying to survive the holidays, to adventures about mythical beings like Santa Claus and his elves working to ensure that every child wakes up on Christmas morning to an extravaganza of toys beneath their tree.

With all that in mind, what fun would these stories be without the antagonists that do everything in their power to derail everyone’s good time? Here’s our list of the best of the worst who tried to steal Christmas.


1. Mr. Oogie Boogie from “The Nightmare Before Christmas”

Tim Burton’s villains typically have a flair for the dramatic, but Oogie Boogie takes things to an entirely other level. He’s a magical, evil sack filled to the brim with every manner of creepy crawly. He lives in a place that is essentially one giant death-trap with a decorating scheme that reveals a crippling addiction to gambling.

This guy is so evil that he does a musical number about how awful he is while torturing Santa Claus, which is really as metal as a Christmas movie should get.


2. Scut Farkas from “A Christmas Story”

Part of what makes Sut such an effective villain in “A Christmas Story” is how relevant he is to childhoods in general. If you managed to make it entirely through grade school without being menaced by a bully, you were either a martial arts master OR, y’know…a bully yourself.

The other thing that makes Scut great is the two-dimensional simplicity of his nature. He hangs out cackling behind the fence every day, springing upon smaller children with his coon-skin cap and jaundiced eyes, pounding on the weak with his stout accomplice at his side. And then he lets them go. He’s the perfect antagonist for a film where the real enemy is a BB gun.


3. Stripe from “Gremlins”

Where villains like Scut Farkas are just evil enough to keep things fun for the whole family, Stripe is purely sinister monster with a homicidal thirst that won’t be satiated until the world is overrun with his water-generated offspring. There’s nothing even remotely tragic about him, he engineered everything from his transformation from mogwai to gremlin, to the onslaught that turned Chistmas Eve in Kingston Falls in to a full blown massacre.

Plus he tried to kill Gizmo. And seriously, how can you hate Gizmo?


4. Hans Gruber from “Die Hard”

It’s one thing to try to steal Christmas, it’s entirely another to try and steal Christmas along with $640 million dollars in bearer bonds from the Nakatomi Corporation during the holiday party while also posing as international terrorists. Hans is so eloquently over the top that Alan Rickman’s portrayal became the industry standard for what an international super-criminal should be.

I would pay money to see what this guy asked Santa for when he was a kid.


5. Old Man Potter from “It’s a Wonderful Life”

If they did a remake of “It’s a Wonderful Life” today, there would be an entire “Occupy Bedford Falls” protest outside of Potter’s office throughout the course of the movie. Instead, it’s really up to poor George Bailey, who finds out from an angel that if he didn’t abandon his dreams and stay in the same place for his entire life, Potter would have run the entire city in to the ground and turned the entire population in to criminals, thugs and head-cases.

Potter is so evil that after picking up the crucial deposit Bailey’s absent-minded uncle dropped in the bank, he pockets it and then watches Bailey’s life unravel. When George throws himself at Potter’s mercy on Christmas Eve, broken, suicidal and about to lose everything, Potter’s reaction is call the police on Bailey for not having the stolen money the old man has in his own possession. And the one thing that makes Potter worse than any of the other villains on our list? He gets away with it. The film takes the high road and celebrates the gift of family and community, while Potter counts his money. It’s for that very reason that instead of a clip from the actual film, we leave you with the the classic “Saturday Night Live” sketch about the director’s cut ending to the film, where Potter finally gets what’s coming to him.

Who are some of your favorite Christmas movie villains? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

Underworld

Under Your Spell

10 Otherworldly Romances That’ll Melt Your Heart

Spend Valentine's Day weekend with IFC's Underworld movie marathon.

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Photo Credit: Screen Gems/courtesy Everett Collection

Romance takes many forms, and that is especially true when you have a thirst for blood or laser beams coming out of your eyes.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a werewolf, a superhero, a clone, a time-traveler, or a vampire, love is the one thing that infects us all.  Read on to find out why Romeo and Juliet have nothing on these supernatural star-crossed lovers, and be sure to catch IFC’s Underworld movie marathon this Valentine’s Day weekend.

1. Cyclops/Jean Grey/Wolverine, X-Men series

The X-Men franchise is rife with romance, but the steamiest “ménage à mutant” may just be the one between Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), Cyclops (James Marsden), and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). Their triangle is a complicated one as Jean finds herself torn between the two very different men while also trying to control her darker side, the Phoenix. This leads to Jean killing Cyclops and eventually getting stabbed through her heart by Wolverine in X-Men: The Last Stand. Yikes!  Maybe they should change the name to Ex-Men instead?


2. Willow/Tara, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Joss Whedon gave audiences some great romances on Buffy the Vampire Slayer — including the central triangle of Buffy, Angel, and Spike — but it was the love between witches Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Tara (Amber Benson) that broke new ground for its sensitive and nuanced portrayal of a LGBT relationship.

Willow is smart and confident and isn’t even sure of her sexuality when she first meets Tara at college in a Wiccan campus group. As the two begin experimenting with spells, they realize they’re also falling for one another and become the show’s most enduring, happy couple. At least until Tara’s death in season six, a moment that still brings on the feels.


3. Selene/Michael, Underworld series

The Twilight gang pales in comparison (both literally and metaphorically) to the Lycans and Vampires of the stylish Underworld franchise. If you’re looking for an epic vampire/werewolf romance set amidst an epic vampire/werewolf war, Underworld handily delivers in the form of leather catsuited Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and shaggy blonde hunk Michael (a post-Felicity Scott Speedman). As they work together to stop the Vampire/Lycan war, they give into their passions while also kicking butt in skintight leather. Love at first bite indeed.


4. Spider-man/Mary Jane Watson, Spider-man

After rushing to the aid of beautiful girl-next-door Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), the Amazing Spider-man is rewarded with an upside-down kiss that is still one of the most romantic moments in comic book movie history. For Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire), the shy, lovable dork beneath the mask, his rain-soaked makeout session is the culmination of years of unrequited love and one very powerful spider bite. As the films progress, Peter tries pushing MJ away in an attempt to protect her from his enemies, but their web of love is just too powerful. And you know, with great power, comes great responsibility.


5. Molly/Sam, Ghost

When it comes to supernatural romance, you really can’t beat Molly and Sam from the 1990 hit film Ghost. Demi Moore goes crazy for Swayze like the rest of us, and the pair make pottery sexier than it’s ever been.

When Sam is murdered, he’s forced to communicate through con artist turned real psychic, Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg in her Academy Award-winning role) to warn Molly she is still in danger from his co-worker, Carl (a pre-Scandal Tony Goldwyn). Molly doesn’t believe Oda is telling the truth, so Sam proves it by sliding a penny up the wall and then possessing Oda so he and Molly can share one last romantic dance together (but not the dirty kind). We’d pay a penny for a dance with Patrick Swayze ANY day.


6. Cosima/Delphine, Orphan Black

It stands to reason there would be at least one complicated romance on a show about clones, and none more complicated than the one between clone Cosima (Tatiana Maslany) and Dr. Delphine Cormier (Evelyne Brochu) on BBC America’s hit drama Orphan Black.

Cosima is a PhD student focusing on evolutionary developmental biology at the University of Minnesota when she meets Delphine, a research associate from the nefarious Dyad Institute, posing as a fellow immunology student. The two fall in love, but their happiness is brief once Dyad and the other members of Clone Club get involved. Here’s hoping Cosima finds love in season four of Orphan Black. Girlfriend could use a break.


7. Aragorn/Arwen, Lord of the Rings

On a picturesque bridge in Rivendell amidst some stellar mood-lighting and dreamy Elvish language with English subtitles for us non-Middle Earthlings, Arwen (Liv Tyler) and Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) bind their souls to one another, pledging to love each other no matter what befalls them.

Their courtship is a matter of contention with Arwen’s father, Elrond (Hugo Weaving), who doesn’t wish to see his daughter suffer over Aragorn’s future death. The two marry after the conclusion of the War of the Ring, with Aragorn assuming his throne as King of Gondor, and Arwen forgoing her immortality to become his Queen. Is it too much to assume they asked Frodo to be their wedding ring-bearer?


8. Lafayette/Jesus, True Blood

True Blood quickly became the go-to show for supernatural sex scenes featuring future Magic Mike strippers (Joe Manganiello) and pale Nordic men with washboard abs (Hi Alexander Skarsgård!), but honestly, there was a little something for everyone, including fan favorite Bon Temps medium, Lafayette Reynolds (Nelsan Ellis).

In season three, Lafayette met his mother’s nurse, Jesus, and the two began a relationship. As they spend more time together and start doing V (short for Vampire Blood), they learn Jesus is descended from a long line of witches and that Lafayette himself has magical abilities. However, supernatural love is anything but simple, and after the pair join a coven, Lafayette becomes possessed by the dead spirit of its former leader. This relationship certainly puts a whole new spin on possessive love.


9. Nymphadora Tonks/Remus Lupin, Harry Potter series

There are lots of sad characters in the Harry Potter series, but Remus Lupin ranks among the saddest. He was bitten by a werewolf as a child, his best friend was murdered and his other best friend was wrongly imprisoned in Azkaban for it, then THAT best friend was killed by a Death Eater at the Ministry of Magic as Remus looked on. So when Lupin unexpectedly found himself in love with badass Auror and Metamorphmagus Nymphadora Tonks (she prefers to be called by her surname ONLY, thank you very much), pretty much everyone, including Lupin himself, was both elated and cautiously hopeful about their romance and eventual marriage.

Sadly, the pair met a tragic ending when both were killed by Death Eaters during the Battle of Hogwarts, leaving their son, Teddy, orphaned much like his godfather Harry Potter. Accio hankies!


10. The Doctor/Rose Tyler, Doctor Who

Speaking of wolves, Rose “Bad Wolf” Tyler (Billie Piper) captured the Doctor’s hearts from the moment he told her to “Run!” in the very first episode of the re-booted Doctor Who series. Their affection for one another grew steadily deeper during their travels in the TARDIS, whether they were stuck in 1950s London, facing down pure evil in the Satan Pit, or battling Cybermen.

But their relationship took a tragic turn during the season two finale episode, “Doomsday,” when the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and Rose found themselves separated in parallel universes with no way of being reunited (lest two universes collapse as a result of a paradox). A sobbing Rose told a holographic transmission of the Doctor she loved him, but before he could reply, the transmission cut out, leaving our beloved Time Lord (and most of the audience) with a tear-stained face and two broken hearts all alone in the TARDIS.

Our 10 favorite movie feasts to whet your appetite this Thanksgiving

Our 10 favorite movie feasts to whet your appetite this Thanksgiving (photo)

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Sure, Thanksgiving is supposed to be a day that honors the Wampanoag Native Americans sharing their harvest with the Pilgrims, but to us, Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate everything we love about food. With that chow-happy sentiment on the brain, we decided to compile a list of our favorite onscreen movie feasts that had us wishing we were there to devour them too.

Did the Never Feast in “Hook” get you hungry? Us too. Did you want to go to Hogwarts only so you could pig out at dinner in the Great Hall? We hear you. Check out our top 10 list of movie feasts that get our bellies grumbling below. Who knows, maybe they will inspire some meals for your Turkey Day celebration next year.


“Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006)

There’s nothing that should get you in the mood for the holidays quite like a feast hosted by a child-eating monster with eyes for hands. Though we must say, of all the food at the Pale Man’s table…grapes? Really Ofelia? Over that ham? But in any case, it’s hard to fault the girl from breaking Pan’s clearly dictated order of not eating anything at the Pale Man’s table when everything looks so tasty. Though that whole “if you do it, he’ll kill you” threat does sort of leave a bad aftertaste. Judging by the pile of empty shoes in the corner of the feast room, though, there were enough children for whom that threat just wasn’t good enough.


“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (2001)

There’s only one reason that we believe without a doubt that there’s no way Hogwarts can actually exist in the real world: the food for dinner can’t possibly be as good as it looks in the movies. Sure, the meals at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter are top-notch, but they just don’t stack up to the plates after plates of delicious dishes and tasty treats featured on the dinner tables in the Great Hall. And to think, they get to eat like that every night.


“Babette’s Feast” (1987)

When it comes to movies with feasts in them, “Babette’s Feast” takes the cake. And the turtle soup. And the buckwheat cakes with caviar. And the quail in puff pastry with foie gras. And the rum sponge cake. Is your mouth watering yet? The Danish film — which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film the year it was released — is a real testament to the love one woman has for food. After winning 1,000 francs in the lottery, a servant named Babette decides to use the money to create a lavish feast for the Christian sect she lives at instead of returning to her home in Paris that she was forced to leave 14 years earlier because of the counter-revolutionary rebellion in 1871. In the end, she is left again without money but with the knowledge that “an artist is never poor.”


“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (1989)

We’re jumping holidays a little bit right now, and the company Chevy Chase keeps at Christmas isn’t exactly our favorite clique. And, to be fair, that turkey looks like it tastes god awful, and there’s not really anything else on the Christmas dinner table to eat. It doesn’t matter: we just want to feast with Chevy Chase. Clearly he has been doing something right in the 22 years since this film was release, because he looks pretty healthy in “Community.” But it’s the Pledge of Allegiance moment in this scene that really sells this onscreen feast for us, regardless of whether the food was good or even edible.


“Big Night” (1996)

When a movie’s climax is a giant dinner scene for 16 people, you know the flick is doing something right. “Big Night” — also known as Stanley Tucci’s directorial debut — centers around two Italian brothers living in American trying to run a restaurant. Their big break comes when a famous jazz singer is supposed to pay a visit to their restaurant, and they pour their hearts into preparing the perfect dinner for the big night. Though things don’t end up going as planned with the dinner, the meal looks absolutely fantastic. Chicken soup, a trio of risotto, timpano, roasted chicken, fish, asparagus, roasted garlic, beets, tomatoes, artichokes, potatoes, carrots and a suckling pig. It’s making us drool just thinking about it.


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Five Tim Burton Movies We Love

Five Tim Burton Movies We Love (photo)

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Tonight at 10:15 p.m. ET we are showing Tim Burton’s “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” Starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, Burton’s adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway smash musical, is twisted, dark, and demented. Which is exactly why we love it.

When Tim Burton is behind the camera he makes dark magic happen on screen. Whether he’s directing “Batman” or “Beetlejuice” (or the “Beetlejuice” sequel), Johnny Depp or Jack Nicholson, aliens or Frankenweenies, animation or live action, Burton’s vision is clear. His movies are so distinctly his own, there’s never mistaking a Burton production for, say, a Scorsese. And there’s not a one of them that’s not fantastic, fun, and always the best thing to watch.

We like a challenge — and an argument — so here are our five favorite Tim Burton movies. What are yours?

5. “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”

4. “Peewee’s Big Adventure”

3. “Beetlejuice”

2. “The Nightmare Before Christmas”

1. “Edward Scissorhands”

“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” airs tonight at 10:15 p.m. ET;
Friday, Nov. 18 at 3 a.m. ET; Monday, Nov. 28 at 8 p.m. ET; Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 12:30 a.m. ET; and Saturday, Dec. 10 at 3:30 a.m. ET

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