DID YOU READ

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.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.