The cringiest ‘A Christmas Carol’ remakes you’ve probably never seen

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The ghost of Scrooges past

Ah, it’s that season again! It’s time to plop down on the couch with a big glass of something strong enough to make you feel merry even as recessions, inflation, and a slew of other grumpy grinches try to damper your holiday shine. No matter your drink of choice, anyone can enjoy it while watching one of the most overplayed, cringiest, eye-roll-inducing Christmas plot point perhaps ever to haunt our Christmas past, present, and probably future: A Christmas Carol. Santa told us you’re on the naughty list this year (the best of us are!), so here’s your punishment – er, consolation prize: the most cringey retellings of A Christmas Carol we could find.

And a quick tip before you get your holly, jolly binge(s) on: Maybe don’t play the drinking game where you take a sip every time you cringe. We don’t want to end up in the hospital on Christmas, after all.

Related: 12 fun holiday movie-inspired snacks for Christmas

The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
IMDB

1. The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009)

IMDB score: 5.8/10

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Starting off our list is a movie that plays up not one, but two-holiday tropes: Christmas ghosts and a bad guy-turned-softie. In case the title didn’t give away what this one’s about already, photographer Connor Mead is visited by the ghosts of his girlfriends’ past, present, and future (we’re assuming they’re not really dead, though), right before, you guessed, he attends his brother’s wedding.

The Ghosts of Boyfriends Past
Hallmark / IMDB

2. The Ghosts of Boyfriends Past (2021)

IMDB score: 6.1/10

Because women can be serial daters too, Hallmark put a twist on the 2009 movie by having Lauren get visited by the ghosts of three ex-boyfriends (who we’re also assuming aren’t dead). This time, our “shero” must learn to not be so cold or risk losing her relationship with Nate, her best friend.

A Carol Christmas
Hallmark / IMDB

3. A Carol Christmas (2003)

IMDB score: 5.1/10

In another cringe-fest courtesy of none other than Hallmark, this Christmas carol take is about a TV talk show host named (deep sigh) Carol. Her ghosts are trying to get her to stop ruining her inferiors’ holiday fun around the studio.

Ms. Scrooge (1997)
USA Network / IMDB

4. Ms. Scrooge (1997)

IMDB score: 5.4/10

USA Network attempted to flip the script by having Scrooge be a Black female instead of the typical white guy. While the attempt is admirable, the name of our heroine is cringey enough to make us want to do a table flip: Ebenta.

 

The Christmas Carol (1949)
IMDB

5. The Christmas Carol (1949)

IMD score: 6/10

In what’s probably the worst script to ever grace Vincent Price’s otherwise storied portfolio, this hidden gem is one we’d like to throw back into the ocean and hope it never sees the light of day again. This retelling was incredibly low-budget – think middle school play quality. Another gaggy fact? It spelled Ebenezer’s name wrong in the opening credits, as “Ebeneezer.” Yikes.

A Christmas Carol (1997)
IMDB

6. A Christmas Carol (1997)

IMDB score: 5.9/10

An animated musical retelling of a Christmas classic starring Tim Curry, of Rocky Horror fame. What could go wrong? Well, everything. Critics pointed out that Curry didn’t even attempt to sound like an old English dude; he was pure “sweet transvestite” throughout the entire thing.

A Christmas Carol (2018)
IMDB

7. A Christmas Carol (2018)

IMDB score: 4.2/10

In this modern retelling, Scrooge is a hot Scot who, of course, owns a brewery and lives in a manor. He also has a license plate that reads “scrooge” and has a sword in too many scenes. If you figure out why he’s got that sword, do please let us know why in the comments. We’re awfully curious.

VeggieTales: An Easter Carol (2004)
IMDB

8. VeggieTales: An Easter Carol (2004)

IMDB: 6.6/10

Ah, yes. Just like VeggieTales to smash Easter and Christmas up into one holiday and run them over with a roller coaster. No, really. The movie is about a grey cucumber who wants to bulldoze a church to build an Easter-themed amusement park. There are also robot chickens for some reason.

A Christmas Carol (1982)
IMDB

9. A Christmas Carol (1982)

IMDB score: 6.6/10

Sometimes, it’s best to just let lying Christmas ghosts rest, yeah? While there isn’t one thing that really makes us cringe in this one, it’s just an overall very amateur, boring retelling that isn’t even ridiculously cheesy enough to make it worth hate-watching.

Bah Humduck!: A Looney Tunes Christmas (2006)
IMDB

10. Bah Humduck!: A Looney Tunes Christmas (2006)

IMDB score: 6.3/10

Not to ruin your childhood with this one, but watching it again in the 2020s just really doesn’t age well. A bah-humduck boss who treats his superstore employee Speedy Gonzalez (who, as a reminder, is a Latino character), like garbage isn’t exactly the warm, fuzzy vibes we’re looking for.

It's Christmas, Carol!
Hallmark / IMDB

11. It’s Christmas, Carol! (2012)

IMDB score: 5.8/10

Come on, Carol! Hallmark gives us yet another Scrooge named Carol in this cringe-fest. The Chicago-based publishing she-devil gets a hard reality check with her dead ex-boss showing her Christmas past, present, and future.

 

Ghosts of Christmas Always (2022)
Hallmark / IMDB

12. Ghosts of Christmas Always (2022)

IMDB score: 7.7/10

Joy to the world! Hallmark graced us with another retelling this year! In this one, Katherine, who’s the ghost of Christmas present, is assigned a guy to reignite his Christmas spirit. But this year, things don’t go as planned. Can someone say mistletoe kisses…?

Carol for Another Christmas (1964)
IMDB

13. Carol for Another Christmas (1964)

IMDB score: 6.5/10

For some history, this movie is brought to us by The Xerox Corporation, which spent $4 million throughout the ‘60s to promote the U.N.’s peacekeeping efforts. This movie makes it really obvious that the actors indeed were not paid. And if the acting wasn’t cringy enough, here’s the general plot: The ghost of Christmas present shows our lead, Daniel Grudge (sigh) a concentration camp with starving prisoners … and their suffering is then compared to Daniel’s very rich people-esque meals.

A Christmas Carol (1914)
IMDB

14. A Christmas Carol (1914)

IMDB score: 5.5/10

This may be the closest to a fun, old-timey cringe you’ll find on our list: At just 22 minutes in length and, thankfully, a silent film, the over-the-top hand gestures and physical acting are quite comical to watch, even if the drag-queen-thick eyeshadow on everyone is a bit distracting.

Brer Rabbit's Christmas Carol (1992)
IMDB

15. Brer Rabbit’s Christmas Carol (1992)

IMDB score: 5.9/10

This movie is definitely not “PC.” Starring a rather racist Scrooge, the most exciting thing about this movie is a very, uh, colorful alligator who definitely isn’t gay (wink).

A Christmas Carol: The Musical (2004)
IMDB

16. A Christmas Carol: The Musical (2004)

IMDB score: 6.2/10

OK, you can take a holly jolly shot every time a new song starts in this one. I mean, that is the only way you’re going to get through this one without throwing your Christmas tree at the screen.

An American Christmas Carol (1979)
IMDB

17. An American Christmas Carol (1979)

IMDB score: 6.8/10

What makes this retelling American, you may ask? Apparently casting Henry Winkler as a grump named “Benedict Slade” and making the whole thing a thinly-veiled metaphor for the horrors of materialism. (And speaking about veiled, I don’t think Sephora had any powder left by the time the crew was done with Winkler’s makeup!).

Scrooged (1988)
IMDB

18. Scrooged (1988)

IMDB score: 6.9/10

In perhaps one of the most famous retellings on the list, Bill Murray plays a TV producer who sees the network’s Christmas special as nothing but a big ‘ole cash cow. The biggest cringe in this one is that the audience just never really gets a chance to find anything redeemable about this Scrooge; he isn’t even portrayed as “changed” or semi-human until pretty much the end credits.

The Passion of Scrooge (2018)
IMDB

19. The Passion of Scrooge (2018)

3.7/10

I mean, oh boy. Talk about middle-school-level productions. This retelling takes on an opera slant, but not even an OK-ish orchestra can save this ghost bad Scrooge adaptions past. And that’s where it belongs: our past. Next, please.

 

Christmas Carol: The Movie (2001)
IMDB

20. Christmas Carol: The Movie (2001)

IMDB score: 5.4/10

Nicolas Cage plays Marley. Need we say more? OK, but we will. Here’s a sparkling piece of gold dialogue to get you into the holiday spirit: “Cough it up, Tim — it might be a gold watch!”

Scrooge (1935)
IMDB

21. Scrooge (1935)

IMDB score: 6.5/10

OK, so the acting is so bad here. But what in the world was up with the amateur camerawork and effects? They couldn’t even be bothered to give Scrooge his signature candlestick!

Ebenezer (1998)
IMDB

22. Ebenezer (1998)

IMDB score: 5.5/10

Does anything say “made for TV movie” like a wild-west-themed Christmas carol? I don’t think so. This Scrooge cheats as cards, gambles, and gets into gun fights. Yawn.

A Christmas Carol (2000)
IMDB

23. A Christmas Carol (2000)

IMDB score: 6.8/10

In yet another modern remake, we’re gifted a London loan shark with a really boring-looking apartment and an even more boring love story.

 

The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol (2011)
IMDB

24. The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol (2011)

IMDB score: 6.1/10

On a slightly more original spin on the Christmas classic, our favorite blue people (no one tell the Avatars..) pretend to be ghosts in an attempt to make Grouch smurf not grouchy on Christmas. The moral of the story? If you don’t celebrate the holiday like “the rest of us,” then something called a Gargamel will eat you. (Spoiler: In case you’re worried about scarring your children while watching this on family movie night, Grouchy doesn’t get eaten.)

A Diva's Christmas Carol (2000)
IMDB

25. A Diva’s Christmas Carol (2000)

IMDB score:6.4/10

Picture it: Really cheesy, 2000s special effects, Kathy Griffin, Vanessa Williams, and, of course, plenty of diva behavior. Cringey, yes, but also kind of fun!

couple-tv-christmas
DGLimages / iStock
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Kaitlyn Farley

Kaitlyn is MediaFeed’s senior editor. She is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, specializing in social justice and investigative reporting. She has worked at various radio stations and newsrooms, covering higher-education, local politics, natural disasters and investigative and watchdog stories related to Title IX and transparency issues.