These outstanding films will ensure that your holidays are far from ordinary, whether it be through captivating visuals or unanticipated storylines.
Are you looking for something different and trippy over the holiday break? Look no further! Here is a list of 10 mind-bending, jaw-dropping, psychedelic movies that will have you losing track of time and space. Whether it be through vivid visuals or baffling storylines, these amazing films will make sure your holidays are anything but ordinary. Step into another world while being safe in yours and take a crazy ride down the rabbit hole with this unique selection – it's time to get glamorous!
1. The Nightmare Before Christmas
The Nightmare Before Christmas is a psychedelic experience, from its mind-bending plot to the kaleidoscopic visuals. Tim Burton's 1993 classic follows Jack Skellington – a seemingly immortal skeleton who stumbles out of his own Halloween town in search of adventure and winds up accidentally taking over Christmas. The resulting thrilling story arc and spooky characters are as psychedelic as they come; however, even more psychedelic is the movie's set, art direction and animation, with its saturated colors that create an incredibly vivid imagery. Watching The Nightmare Before Christmas can only be compared to a surreal ride down the rabbit hole!
It's a cult classic, full of wit and charm that will take viewers on a unique journey unlike any other movie out there. People often forget that this style of movie paved the way for many psychedelic-inspired movies later on; we owe it to Jack Skellington for setting the standard!
2. Edward Scissorhands
Edward Scissorhands is an experience unlike any other—psychedelic, surreal, and oddly relatable all at once. Yes – another Tim Burton classic! The film takes us on a journey through the eyes of Edward, whose literal scissorhands make him an outcast amongst his otherwise ‘normal' peers. Watching Edward's story unfold as he attempts to find acceptance has all the psychedelic hallmarks of a head trip. It's an exploration of what it means to be human and a portrayer of the disconnect between people served in Tim Burton's signature witty visual style.
While it may not seem like your typical psychedelic flick, once you dive into the film’s visuals and imagery, you may be surprised to find just how many psychedelic elements are present. The visual effects in Edward Scissorhands are nothing short of remarkable. From giant flowers to floating bubbles, there’s plenty for viewers to take in during this visually stimulating movie. The music in Edward Scissorhands is just as psychedelic as its visuals. Composed by Danny Elfman (who also composed Beetlejuice), the soundtrack consists largely of whimsical piano pieces that evoke a feeling of nostalgia and wonderment—perfectly encapsulating the tone of this beloved film.
From editing that warps time and space to lighting that leaves your head spinning, Edward Scissorhands does one thing for sure—it invites viewers on a ride in one of the best psychedelic-inspired movies of all time.
Gremlins may be the quirkiest, most psychedelic movie of all time. After taking a walk on the wild side with a mysterious creature known as a Mogwai, mysterious creatures start to appear that are known as Gremlins. Given that Gremlins is set in a holiday setting with festive decorations, shopping malls and snow, it’s easy to forget the psychedelic elements of this unique movie. From its iconic 80's synth soundtracks and trippy special effects to its psychedelic themes, this movie really stands out from the crowd.
The score for Gremlins was composed by Jerry Goldsmith, who was already known for creating some pretty trippy soundtracks (like Alien and Planet of the Apes). His work on Gremlins is no different –– in fact, it might be even more psychedelic than his previous works! The score for Gremlins is full of strange synth sounds and odd rhythms that create an eerie atmosphere. This kind of music has been used in many horror films since then, but at the time it was something totally unique.
The visuals in Gremlins could be described as nothing less than surreal. From the tiny gremlin creatures themselves to the strange landscapes they inhabit, there are plenty of weird visuals that seem to have been inspired by hallucinogenic drugs. The film also features bright colors, flashing lights, and dream-like sequences –– all elements that are commonly associated with psychedelia. Even when things don't seem overtly psychedelic, there are still hints at something deeper going on beneath the surface (like when Billy discovers his Mogwai in a mysterious Chinese shop!).
Whether you’re looking for something funny, spooky or simply psychedelic – Gremlins is definitely worth checking out!
4. He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special
The 1980s saw a psychedelic influence creep into the popular television of the decade, none more so than the He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special. He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe was a very popular kid’s TV show in the 1980's. It is set on planet Eternia where Adam, a young prince, uses a magical sword to become the superhero He-Man and protect his planet from Skeletor – an evil villain who wants all the power.
The Christmas special, which aired on December 1985, featured psychedelic elements like intense lighting effects, complex dream sequences, and special “magical” powers. While some fear psychedelic influences can have a negative or unnatural effect on the mind and body, it seems these elements were embraced in this iconic holiday special. It has since become one of the most memorable pieces of programming from the era, thanks in part to its psychedelic influences.
5. Christmas at Pee-Wee’s Playhouse
Christmas at Pee-Wee's Playhouse is a psychedelic experience unlike any other. With an abundance of bright colours, catchy musical interludes, endless puns and unforgettable characters like Chairy and Conky the Computermation—Pee-Wee's Christmas special should be taken with a grain of salt, as it may just leave you in a trance! In this fantastical production, Pee-wee is having a great time until he realizes that his Christmas wish list is so long that there won't be enough presents for all the other kids in the world. When Santa Claus pleads for help, Pee-wee reluctantly learns a lesson about the true meaning of Christmas.
Beyond just being visually stimulating, the show also contains themes of magic and transformation—both elements commonly associated with psychedelia. In one episode, viewers get to witness the transformation of Randy into his alter ego “Captain Carl” who uses his magical powers to bring joy back into Pee-Wee’s holiday celebration after it has been ruined by Mr. Kite (played by John Paragon). And then there are also scenes where we see Conky 2000 come alive and use its robotic powers to help save Christmas from being stolen away by Santa Claus (played by Phil Hartman). These magical moments add an extra element of fantasy to this already whimsical special that make it stand out even more from other holiday shows.
All joking aside, this production had to make the cut in our top psychedelic movies for this holiday season. It is truly a magical experience; one that will stay with you even after it's over. So get ready to take a deep dive into the technicolour world of Pee-Wee's Christmas adventure—it'll put its own psychedelic spin on your holidays.
6. A Christmas Carol
When you think of psychedelic trips, the first thing that might come to mind is Far Out Friday nights, but in Charles Dicken's classic novel A Christmas Carol, the psychedelic trip is put more literally. Each scene and bit of characterization brings with it a wave of nostalgia, terror, and tenderness – an experience that can only be summed up with one word: psychedelic! The twisted spirits Ebenezer Scrooge encounters, the foggy night of his travels guided by them through London — it feels almost as if he's been caught up in a massive psychedelic journey with each revelation he discovers about himself and other people around him. Talk about one long night of the soul!
It’s no secret that A Christmas Carol contains some trippy visuals. Whether it’s the scenes of snowflakes melting into stars or the psychedelic colors used for Scrooge’s transformation, there are plenty of visual elements that draw on psychedelia. These are all intentional, as they help to emphasize the magical nature of the film and keep viewers engaged throughout its entirety.
The Ghost of Christmas Past has an ethereal quality to it, with its flowing robes, bright colors, and sparkles that seem to come out of nowhere. This is meant to evoke a dreamlike state in viewers as they watch Scrooge journey through his past experiences with the ghostly visitor or some may say a spiritual guide. The same can be said for The Ghost of Christmas Present—his costume has an almost cosmic feel to it, with swirling patterns and bright colors helping to convey his otherworldly presence.
A Christmas Carol may not be one of your typical psychedelic movies but its visuals definitely contain some trippy vibes! Whether it’s the vivid colors used by The Ghosts or the dancing snowmen popping up out of nowhere, there are plenty of moments throughout this classic holiday tale that will leave you feeling like you just stepped into another world! So next time you watch A Christmas Carol, remember—it might not have been intended as such but it does have some psychedelic elements tucked away inside! Happy Holidays!
7. Jack Frost
Jack Frost is certainly a psychedelic experience, with a plot that is incredibly out of the ordinary. As if people didn't have enough to wonder about – what would it be like for your dad to suddenly become a snowman? That's exactly the kind of strange magic that Jack Frost weaves, allowing viewers to suspend their disbelief as they take a fun and psychedelic journey with him. It transcends being just an ordinary children's movie and becomes something special through its exploration of personal maturation. Strap yourselves in for this wild psychedelic movie ride that highlights the power of familial love! You can expect hilarious hijinks and twisted tales as you navigate this fantastic world filled with mesmerizing psychedelic visuals. Get ready, 'cause here comes Jack Frost!
Jack Frost has many subtle references to transformation — both physical and spiritual — which can be interpreted as psychedelic themes in the film. For example, when Jack transforms into a snowman, he undergoes a physical transformation that mirrors his inner transformation from being selfish to selfless. As he physically melts away in the end, his spirit lives on through his son Charlie — another form of transformation.
From enchanted forests to talking snowmen, Jack Frost is full of fantasy visuals that evoke a sense of wonder in viewers. These visuals bring out our inner child while also providing us with a glimpse into a surreal world where anything is possible. The combination of fantasy and reality creates an atmosphere that can only be described as “psychedelic” — one that stays with viewers long after they finish watching the movie.
Whether you're watching it for the first time or revisiting it from your childhood, there's no doubt you'll appreciate all the hidden gems this beloved classic has to offer which is why it made the list of our top psychedelic movies for this holiday season!
8. Brazil (1985)
Brazil (1985) is an absolute psychedelic ride that will leave you feeling befuddled but still in awe. If you're looking for an eventful and trippy experience that's sure to have you laughing and scratching your head, then this is the perfect pick. Sam Lowry is the focus of the film; he's a man with a tedious job and minimalistic lifestyle who searches for a woman he's seen in his dreams. The story takes place in an uninviting world that runs on shoddy, yet elaborate machines. With its unforgettable mix of characters, crazy plot twists, and creative visuals, Brazil is an unbelievably psychedelic movie that everyone should watch at least once. The sensory overload of scenery and sounds will leave viewers amazed by Terry Gilliam's twisted vision. So if it's bizarre humour and a unique viewing experience that you want, pick up Brazil – you won't be disappointed!
This twisted take on classic folklore is the perfect flick to watch after a few too many pints of eggnog. When it comes to psychedelic movies, this one definitely takes the cake-pu (see what we did there?) You'll be tripping out on how amazingly, creatively bizarre this comedy horror movie truly is; it's sure to leave you saying, “Krampus? More like Kramped-up!” Plus, with its startling effects and star-studded cast, this movie has all the psychedelic vibes you need for an incredible viewing experience. The real takeaway from Krampus is that sometimes the monsters that lurk in our darkest nightmares may look a little different than we imagined.
The legend of Krampus dates back centuries ago to Alpine Austria, where tales of the horned half-goat/half-demon were used to keep naughty children in line during the holiday season. As parents would warn their mischievous kids to behave lest they be visited by Krampus at night, the figure gradually took on an almost mythical quality. As the years passed and stories were shared around campfires and village gatherings, Krampus went from being a simple bogeyman to something far more terrifying—and strangely fascinating.
In fact, modern depictions of Krampus have become increasingly bizarre over the past few decades. With its combination of Christmas cheer and horror imagery, it only makes sense that filmmakers would lean into psychedelic visuals when creating movies about him. From Tim Burton’s iconic The Nightmare Before Christmas to Michael Dougherty’s 2015 cult hit Krampus (which featured some seriously trippy scenes involving snow globes and talking teddy bears), there are plenty of ways to experience this festive demon in a totally new light.
So why is he so often portrayed as something out of an acid trip? It all comes down to two words: juxtaposition and irony. By placing dark themes within typically bright and cheery settings like Christmas markets or snow-covered forests, filmmakers create a unique blend of humor and terror that can’t help but make you think—or cause your eyeballs to spin in their sockets à la John Lennon in Yellow Submarine!
Whether you love him or fear him, one thing is certain—Krampus has been embraced by pop culture for his unique mix of holiday horror and psychedelic fun. So if you want to get your mind blown this holiday season (in more ways than one), check out one of these wild Krampus films for yourself! You never know what kind of crazy visuals you might find lurking inside those snow globes…Happy Holidaze everyone!
10. Santa Claus Conquers The Martians (1964)
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964) has become a top contender for one of the weirdest psychedelic movies ever. It’s a movie that defies logic and leaves viewers scratching their heads in bafflement and amusement. Why, you may ask?
It's a hilarious far-fetched comedy featuring otherworldly beings who abduct jolly old Saint Nick to teach Martian children about Christmas cheer – and don't forget to drop a few gifts off along the way. What better way to learn about a human culture than from a centuries-old fellow dressed in red who single-handedly revolutionizes interplanetary relations? It's a whimsical romp through galaxies unknown with the world’s most famous chimney climber leading the charge!
One scene in particular stands out from the rest: when Santa visits one of Mars’ mysterious underground caves. Here he discovers an array of colorful creatures living in harmony with each other—all set to some truly trippy music. This scene alone is enough to make even the most jaded viewer raise an eyebrow or two as they ponder what creative minds were behind this strange film.
But that's not all there is to “Santa Claus Conquers The Martians”! From aliens dressed like clowns singing about peace on Earth, to a giant robot made out of tin cans, this movie has plenty of surreal moments that will leave you scratching your head—in a good way! Even today, its unique blend of campy comedy and vibrant visuals makes it stand out from any other holiday flick you might find.
So if you're looking for something different this season, why not check out “Santa Claus Conquers The Martians”? It may not be your typical holiday movie experience—but trust us when we say it's worth every second of your time! After all, where else can you find an extraterrestrial adventure complete with psychedelic elements and visuals?
These are the top 10 psychedelic-trippy movies for this holiday season! If you want to watch something that will really get you in the holiday spirit, then make sure to check out one of these films. From Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas to Brazil (1985), there is a trippy movie for everyone on this list. So sit back, relax, put your feet up, grab your popcorn (or candy corn), and let's get ready for a wild ride!
If psychedelic movies are not enough and you need an auditory stimulation, here's our list of the top 5 psychedelic artists to help you Soundtrack your trip.