I’m back today with another gifts list. Except these are prezzies that you’re not going to find under the tree when you stumble into the living room on the morning of December 25. The history of cinema is rife with great examples of poor gift-giving, and I’ve collected some of the worst right here. So hit the jump and enjoy MTV’s Guide to Crappy Christmas Gifts in Movies!
Don’t you hate it when the new “Good Guy” doll you’ve bought for your kid in fact turns out to be harboring the soul of a ruthless serial killer? And that said soul allows the doll to move and speak (and kill) of its own accord? You’ve only got yourself to blame of course; you cheaped out and bought the toy from a creepy street vendor rather than at full price in a proper store. Still, a murderous Chucky doll makes for a pretty crappy gift.
Most people will probably tell you that a kitten, or even a full-grown cat, isn’t such a bad present to receive as gifts go. There’s an argument against that if you’re a dog person of course, but no matter. In the pantheon of s–t gifts, cats are pretty all right. Unless the feline comes to you fidgeting and enraged at being sealed up in a wrapping paper cocoon. That’s what happens in the unforgettably fantastic “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” Aunt Bethany (Mae Questel, the voice of Betty Boop and Popeye’s Olive Oyl) shows up for the holiday festivities with her precious kitty wrapped up as a gift. And that’s a high moment for the cat during that particular trip. Poor kitty.
Let’s be honest with ourselves. Gizmo the Mogwai is a cute little critter. He’s covered in soft, downy fur, he understands basic words and phrases, and he even sings/hums in an adorably lilting croon. He is also capable of transforming into a beastly, murderous Gremlin. These green, scaly jerks cause trouble wherever they go. And not the sort of trouble you can laugh at then wipe up with a sponge. More the sort that involves a police report, an autopsy and a funeral. You can tell yourself all you want that you’ll never get him wet and never feed him after midnight. Mistakes happen, and people die when they do. Just avoid the risk all together and give a safer pet… I hear Nicolas Cage has some King Cobras that he’s looking to sell.
Poor Karl. He may be the right-hand man of a world-class thief posing as a terrorist — and Gary Oldman, no less — and a generally nasty dude, but he’s still a human being with feelings. And a family. A family which shrinks by one after off-duty NYPD detective John McClane arrives on the scene. McClane, shoeless and without a reliable way to defend himself, manages to off Karl’s brother by giving him a nasty tumble down the stairs. Then he leaves the dead sibling in an elevator for Karl to find, complete with a Santa hat and a cheery Christmas message scrawled in blood on the deceased’s sweatshirt.
I know, I know. This is technically not a Christmas gift. Detectives Somerset and Mills finally catch up to John Doe, a serial killer whose crime scenes are staged to reference one of the Seven Deadly Sins. In truth, Doe turns himself in. It’s all part of a plan to lure the two detectives out into the desert, where they can have a nice, private chat until Mills (Brad Pitt) receives Doe’s carefully orchestrated gift: the detective’s wife’s pretty head in a box. She was murdered because Doe Envied Mills’ happiness and Doe is then shot dead in Mills’ Wrathful act of vengeance. And thus Doe’s murderous game planned around the Seven Deadly Sins come to their end.
Honorable mention: Since “Scrooged” is one of my favorite Christmas movies, I would be remiss for not giving a shout to Bill Murray’s ruthless TV network exec Frank Cross. While a lucky few on Cross’s Christmas list score a shiny, new VHS player, the bulk of them receive the ultimate in booby prizes: a network-branded bath towel. Ouch.