Xmas a.k.a. Halloween Part 2: A Movie Makeup Extravaganza

Once again, the December Holidays are upon us. I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that this year’s holiday season is probably going to be a little more stressful than usual because, well, it’s 2020. Last year, I was working A TON of extra hours in December (i.e. 12 hour work days), so I gave myself a work appropriate dress-up challenge to help keep me happy and sane. I put together an outfit for each of the 12 days of Christmas. This year, I am once again staring down the stresses of the holiday. But this year I don’t have to worry about dress codes or looking a certain way. I have decided to go over-the-top and do 12 Days of Christmas makeup looks.

But wait! There’s more!

Because I miss Halloween and wish we could have had another month of the spooky season, I’m going for horror movie inspired makeup! That’s right, each of my 12 Days of Christmas looks will be inspired by a horror movie that can be linked in some way to the gifts in the song. And, because this year has been strange and unusual, I’m taking this one step further. For each horror movie I chose as inspiration for my look, I’m going to come up with an argument to explain why these horror movies should be considered as Christmas movies. Some of my arguments will probably (definitely) be a stretch, and things may get silly, but what better way to blow off steam at the end of a hectic year. Brace yourselves. Things are about to get weird.

The Ritual (2017): I chose this film for A Partridge in a Pear Tree because of the trees. There are so many birds in the 12 Days of Christmas that I knew I would need to use the descriptions and actions of the birds as inspiration for picking a suitable horror/spooky movie. In The Ritual the monster stays hidden amongst the trees for most of the film; and even when it is revealed, it looks very tree-like. I used the makeup to tell the story of the film, in this case. On one side of my face, I have the trees and the monster holding out a pear to tie it in to the 12 Days of Christmas. On the other side, I reference the fluorescent lights that feature prominently in the memory and dream sequences of the film.

This is a Christmas movie because of the rituals. There are two main rituals in this film. The first is the trip the protagonists plan. Not only do they embark on this adventure to spend time together and celebrate their friendship, but they are also honouring the passing of the one friend who is no longer with them. This time of year, we all have our little rituals, things we do every single holiday season that usually involve spending time with family and friends. The second ritual is that of the cultists who live in the forest. For many, the holiday season is a time of religious celebration.

So, could this be a Christmas film? If people didn’t get murdered, yes.

The Birds (1963): For Two Turtle Doves, I decided to go with the obvious choice. With so many birds in the song, it was inevitable that this Hitchcock classic would make the list. Since the film is from the 60s, that’s the main inspiration I used for the makeup. I chose an eyeliner style that could be seen on the likes of Twiggy back then. Over top of this, I added blood and feathers in order to specifically link this look to the film. What makes the look festive? Glitter eyeshadow in the feathers, of course.

Clearly, this is a Christmas movie because of the birds. Just look at the 12 Days of Christmas – there are plenty of birds in this song. Plus, this is the time of year when we are reminded of “peace on Earth, and good will toward men.” The animal most associated with this phrase is the dove, the bird of peace. And, who can forget the most important Christmas bird of all: the one that ends up on your dinner table. Whether you’re eating turkey, goose, or just plain chicken, chances are there is going to be a delicious roast bird on your table at some point this holiday season.

So, could this be a Christmas film? If the birds weren’t so angry, yes.

American Werewolf in Paris (1997): Because of the Three French Hens, it made sense to pick a horror movie that took place in France. I combined the idea of a werewolf transformation with the hens in the song to create a were-chicken. Yes, you read that right. Not my best work but, then again, American Werewolf in Paris wasn’t exactly a good movie, so I guess my makeup really pays homage to the film.

This movie involves a lot of partying, which is one of the things that makes it a Christmas film. I know it may be hard to remember, but in the pre-pandemic world Christmas parties were a big thing. Office parties, parties with friends… It’s a great time of year to party. But that’s not all. The werewolves are followed around by the ghosts of those they have killed, just as Ebenezer Scrooge is followed by the ghosts of Christmas in A Christmas Carol. Ghosts are really important parts of Christmas stories.

So, could this be a Christmas film? If the dogs were better behaved, yes.

The Crow (1994): Another bird related movie for Four Calling Birds. And for this look, it was hard to resist The Crow’s iconic makeup look. This was so much fun to wear that I seriously considered cosplaying The Crow. I made the whole thing more festive by ensuring that each and every ounce of black and white makeup on my face had some glitter in it.

All you have to do to see this as a Christmas movie is to look up the movie poster. One version of the poster features the tagline “Believe in Angels.” From a Christian perspective, angels are very important to the story of Christmas and the birth of Jesus. Eric Draven is certainly an avenging angel in this film, especially since he has been brought back to life in order to punish murderers.

So, could this be a Christmas film? If there wasn’t so much crime, yes.

The Ring (2002): Believe it or not, I actually haven’t gotten around to watching this film yet. But, it was the obvious choice for Five Golden Rings. When recreating Samara’s look from the film, I used a lot of blue makeup because I noticed that a lot of the stills from the film had a bluish tint. I then added the five golden rings to my face in a way that referenced the ring of the movie poster by adding black in the center of the gold. Overall, I ended up with a kind of frost queen look.

Although I haven’t seen the film, I know that it’s about watching a videotape, which is what makes it a Christmas movie. This time of year, lots of people watch, and re-watch plenty of holiday films. Whether your go-to is cheesy, Hallmark romance movies, or the classics like Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer, watching movies might as well be an official Christmas activity.

So, could this be a Christmas film? If Samara wasn’t so creepy, yes.

Alien (1979): Since Six Geese a Laying was next, I needed a horror film with eggs, and there are no eggs more iconic than those of the Xenomorphs. Although I considered doing both a Xenomorph look and an egg look, in the end it was hard to resist the face hugger. How could I say no to this bundle of holiday cheer that bursts out of the Xenomorph eggs? I made this little guy look festive by adding touches of gold throughout his body.

That unforgettable dinner scene is what makes this a Christmas movie. With family gathered round the table to feast and celebrate the holidays, it’s inevitable that not every dinner is going to go smoothly. Just as some family dinners result in chaos around the holidays, so does that deadly dinner on the Nostromo. Plus, in Christian households, this is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus, so the birth of the baby Xenomorph adds another layer of Christmas cheer to this movie. The face huggers have the added bonus of being living Christmas crackers. It’s so much fun to open those up during a festive gathering – you never know what’s going to pop out.

So, could this be a Christmas film? If the face huggers weren’t so aggressively affectionate, yes.

Black Swan (2010): Another obvious choice. It’s the only thing that came to mind for Seven Swans a Swimming. For this look, I attempted to recreate the makeup on the movie poster. Although I used the same colours, I picked brighter hues and made sure to use a glittery black eyeliner to complete the look.

Ballet has easily become an integral part of Christmas. It is a significant component of many holiday traditions in the form of The Nutcracker. I personally have many fond memories of attending this classic ballet with my family. And the fact that there are live streams of The Nutcracker amidst the pandemic just goes to show that we cannot have Christmas without ballet. This means that a thriller about ballerinas absolutely earns its place in this Christmas movie list.

So, could this be a Christmas film? If Nina wasn’t so intense about her job, yes.

The Nun (2018): For Eight Maids a Milking, I had to think of where I would find a large number of maids in a horror film (since I have yet to encounter any spooky movies about cows or milk). The clear choice was this film from The Conjuring universe. The nuns are all maids, essentially. Although Valak the nun certainly has an interesting, and creepy look, I wanted to go with something different. Yet again, I used the movie poster for inspiration to do a split face look of Valak and Sister Irene. And, once again, gold glitter in the fiery parts of the makeup helped make it festive.

As I mentioned before, the holidays are a religious time of year. Unless you’re like me and only celebrate the more commercial form of Christmas, this is a religious holiday for Christians. The nuns featured in The Nun are of the Christian variety, so it absolutely makes sense to consider this as a Christmas movie. They probably do some of their best work around the holidays – when they’re not warding off demons, that is.

So, could this be a Christmas film? If the nuns weren’t quite so creepy, yes.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975): When I thought of Nine Ladies Dancing, it took a while to come up with a spooky movie that involved dancing. Black Swan was already taken, but eventually I decided to go with this cult classic. Once I picked the film, I debated with myself over and over – I couldn’t decide which character I wanted to do for my makeup. I settled on Columbia because she is a lady, she dances, and her gold sequined suit makes her perfect for this festive lineup.

This is a Christmas movie for many of the same reasons as some of the earlier films on this list. There is partying, and there is a tense “family” dinner in which roast meat is carved. Although the outfits of the partygoers doing the Time Warp suggest that this is more of a New Years Eve party than a Christmas party. Then again, New Years Eve is technically part of the holiday season.

So, could this be a Christmas film? If they hadn’t had Meatloaf for dinner, yes.

Hellraiser (1987): For Ten Lords a Leaping, the Cenobites came to minds as the most lordly beings of horror films. I was really close to doing Pinhead makeup, but his look really doesn’t have a lot makeup wise. Without prosthetic pins, it would really just be a bunch of white eyeshadow smeared on my face. I decided to go with The Female instead because even without prosthetics, she has a lot more going on in her makeup. Plus, the blue tones in her skin provided me with another frosty look for the winter holidays.

At its core, this film is about relationships between family members and loved ones. There’s truly nothing more important around the holidays than the love of those around you. Plus, there are a few references to Jesus here and there throughout the film. Plus, one of the movie posters features the tagline “Demon to some. Angel to others.” Clearly, this is one of those more religious Christmas films.

So, could this be a Christmas film? If Frank didn’t have such strange fetishes, yes.

The Pied Piper (1972): I suppose that first, I need to explain why I chose this movie as my horror film for Eleven Pipers Piping. First of all, nothing but this came to mind when I thought of pipers in movies. Second, this film features death, the plague, anti-Semitism, the disappearance of children… All horrible things. Plus, John Hurt is in it, and he’s the first person to die in Alien. With this look, I wanted to focus on the rats more than the piper because it not only gave me the chance to get more creative, but it also gives me something to use in my argument that this is a Christmas film. I wanted to make the rat fur close to my current hair colour as I had planned on using my hair to make rat ears. However, this experience reminded me why I rarely wear my hair up in any style other than a ponytail, and the ears were quickly abandoned.

This is a Christmas movie for many reasons. There are parties and feasts, religious plays, and the importance of family is a significant part of the plot. But the rats also help to make this a Christmas story. I’ve already mentioned how important The Nutcracker is this time of year – that ballet features a rat king. Thanks to The Nutcracker, rats are a very important part of Christmas.

So, could this be a Christmas film? If the people had paid the piper properly, yes.

Hocus Pocus (1993): It was really hard to come up with something for Twelve Drummers Drumming. I tried to think of spooky movies in which drums were an integral part, and not just a component of the musical score. Drawing a blank, I decided to use visual representations of drums as inspiration. On some cartoon drums, the sides have that zigzag pattern, so I wanted to use that to create a stitched mouth look. There are plenty of horror movies that feature characters with stitched mouths, but I had to pick my all-time favourite: Billy Butcherson. Yes, he’s only my favourite because he’s played by Doug Jones.

This is absolutely a Christmas movie because not only are family relationships important – specifically sibling relationships – this is a Disney movie. Hocus Pocus is a family-friendly Disney movie that has gained a cult following over the years and is predominantly watched around a specific holiday. Based on that description, that puts it in the same category as A Nightmare Before Christmas, and that is definitely a Christmas movie.

So, could this be a Christmas film? If Winifred wasn’t so self-conscious about looking youthful, yes.

On the ___ day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

An old god in a tree

2 psycho birds

3 were-hens

4 avenging angels

5 creepy kids

6 face huggers

7 swans a dancing

8 nuns a haunting

9 time warp dancers

10 females frightening

11 rats a scurrying

12 bumbling zombies

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