10 Holiday Movie Grinches We Love to Hate

Every classic holiday movie needs a good villain to kidnap Santa or interrupt an office holiday party with guns blazing. Some big screen Grinches learn heartwarming lessons, while others meet decidedly un-merry fates. While you might not want to invite them over for cocoa, yuletide baddies make for some seriously fun seasonal viewing. 
Read on for a tribute to the misers, crooks, Grinches, Scrooges, Gremlins, and more naughty listers who prefer to deck the halls with trouble instead of tinsel. And for a dark twist on the holidays that’ll please even grouchy old Ebenezer Scrooge, check out Silent Night streaming now on AMC+.

10. Frank Cross, Scrooged
Frank Cross (Bill Murray) has but one Christmas wish – that people stay home and watch the IBC network’s live adaptation of A Christmas Carol. Friends, family, coworkers, and holiday cheer mean nothing to Frank, the Ebenezer Scrooge of this hilariously skewed take on the Charles Dickens’ classic. Anyone who crosses Frank gets a litany of insults, be it meek IBC employee Eliot (Bobcat Goldthwait) or the staff at the homeless shelter where his lost love Claire (Karen Allen) works. Frank even insults the ghosts who try to show him the error of his ways. There are many Scrooges in holiday movie history, but few are as acidicly misanthropic as Bill Murray’s updated take on the iconic grouch.

9. Mr. Oogie Boogie, The Nightmare Before Christmas
While “Pumpkin King” Jack Skellington’s attempt to take over Christmas leads to holiday chaos, he isn’t the true villain of The Nightmare Before Christmas. That would be Mr. Oogie Boogie, a literal bogeyman who kidnaps Santa with the help of his nasty minions Lock, Shock, and Barrel. Sure, he might be a tad obsessed with gambling and you definitely don’t want to look under his rags. (Spoiler alert: it’s bugs). But this creep can really croon a villainous tune, living up to the “boogie” part of his name with the wicked ditty “Oogie Boogie’s Song.”

8. Gin and Marcus, Bad Santa
Shopping mall Santa/thief Willie Soke (Billy Bob Thornton) is a drunken lech who swears more than a suburban dad putting up Christmas lights. However, he turns out to be a secret softie after his curmudgeonly heart is melted by young Thurman (Brett Kelly). The real villains of Bad Santa are Willie’s assistant Marcus (Tony Cox) and shady mall security chief Gin (Bernie Mac). Gin catches wind of Willie and Marcus’ scheme to rob the mall, and blackmails the duo for half of the score. But these greedy Grinches lose in the end, as Gin meets his demise in a most painful way and Marcus is busted after trying to kill Willie.

7. Granville Sawyer, Miracle on 34th Street
It’s bad enough when a holiday movie character doesn’t believe in Santa Claus. Granville Sawyer (Porter Hall) takes his lack of faith in Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) even further by attempting to toss the jolly old elf into a psych ward. At the behest of Macy’s, Sawyer evaluates the department store Santa who claims to be the genuine article. Sawyer is no fan of the kindly bearded fellow, and suggests that he be fired. Even worse, he exaggerates his injury after Santa taps him on the head with his cane and gets Saint Nick institutionalized. Granville gets the boot from Macy’s in the end – and likely a massive lump of coal to go with the one on his noggin. 

6. Jim, Edward Scissorhands
Shy outcast Edward Scissorhands (Johnny Depp) charms the townsfolk with his creative hairdressing and topiary skills. Hotheaded jock Jim (Anthony Michael Hall) isn’t impressed, and becomes jealous of the attention his girlfriend Kim (Winona Ryder) gives to the sensitive loner. Jim takes advantage of Edward’s trusting nature, tricking him into committing a robbery. Adding insult to injury, Jim interrupts Kim’s magical dance in the snow, causing Edward to accidentally cut her hand. Like a classic movie villain, Jim meets his maker by plummeting out of a tower window after being stabbed by Edward. A fitting end to the true beast of Tim Burton’s holiday fairytale. 

5. The Wet Bandits, Home Alone
Robbing houses around Christmas is enough to put Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern) on Santa’s naughty list. But Marv’s idea to also leave the water running in the looted homes is downright rude. As the self-proclaimed (by Marv at least) Wet Bandits, the duo sets their sights on “the silver tuna”: the McCallister family’s epic house. Unfortunately for Harry and Marv, their felonious pursuits are thwarted by young Kevin (Macauley Culkin) and his many painful deathtraps. Undaunted, Harry and Marv returned in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York rebranded (by Marv) as The Sticky Bandits. 

4. Hans Gruber, Die Hard
As holiday party crashers go, you could do worse than Hans Gruber. Sure, he’s a murderous bad guy with an itchy trigger finger, but he’s also an impeccably dressed bad guy. And what a conversationalist! Quick with a Forbes magazine reference or a compliment on your John Phillips suit (he has two himself), Hans is the perfect stylish foil to everyman hero John McClane. Even his demise is classy, plummeting to his death while still determined to shoot that pesky McClane. 

3. Scut Farkas, A Christmas Story 
You can’t really blame Scut Farkas for being a bully. With a name like that, you’re pretty much destined to clobber four-eyed geeks. As memorably played by Zack Ward, Scut is a nasty piece of work who, along with his flunky Grover Dill, adds to Ralphie’s holiday indignities. But Ralphie gets his revenge on Scut, unleashing a torrent of blows (and obscenities) on the bully in front of the other kids. In the end, Scut is the one crying like a baby.

2. Stripe, Gremlins
Whether singing along to Snow White or trashing a bar, the Gremlins spread yuletide havoc. Their leader Stripe is definitely the nastiest of the bunch, with a murderous side and a goal of creating more Gremlins to overrun the town. He would’ve succeeded if not for adorable mogwai Gizmo exposing Stripe to sunlight. But before his demise, Stripe proves he’s the Gremlin with serious bite. 
1. Mr. Potter, It’s a Wonderful Life
No matter how many times we watch It’s a Wonderful Life, Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore) telling George Bailey (James Stewart) that he’s worth more dead than alive never fails to sour our eggnog. Potter’s cruelty in denying a loan to poor George leads him to attempt suicide and see what life would’ve been like had he never been born. (Not to mention what quaint Bedford Falls looks like when it becomes the rundown Pottersville.) Greedy old Potter is the ultimate miserly adversary standing in the way of the hero’s perfect holiday season.