Joe Dante's 1980s classic Gremlins will always be a subversive Christmas favorite. From Spike exploding in the microwave to Mrs. Daigle's "stairlift to hell", the movie is packed with deliciously transgressive moments that turn the holly jolly season right on its ear.
None are more memorable, though, than Phoebe Cates delivering her legendary "worst thing that ever happened to me on Christmas" monologue. It's a jaw-dropping, tour-de-force moment, a truly horrific story that's also one of the most darkly comic moments in Christmas movie history.
Cates really shines during this scene. There's no denying just how seminal that scene of hers in Fast Times at Ridgemont High was for a generation of young people, but her speech in Gremlins is equally important and a wonderful showcase for her serious and comedic acting skills.
Here's the speech, in its entirety. No Christmas season is complete without at least one viewing of this horrifying yet hilarious scene that skewers everything that's considered holy about the season. And I couldn't possibly love it more.
Kate: Now I have another reason to hate Christmas.
Billy: What are you talking about?
Kate: The worst thing that ever happened to me was on Christmas. Oh, God. It was so horrible. It was Christmas Eve. I was 9 years old. Me and Mom were decorating the tree, waiting for Dad to come home from work. A couple hours went by. Dad wasn't home. So Mom called the office. No answer. Christmas Day came and went, and still nothing. So the police began a search. Four or five days went by. Neither one of us could eat or sleep. Everything was falling apart. It was snowing outside. The house was freezing, so I went to try to light up the fire. That's when I noticed the smell. The firemen came and broke through the chimney top. And me and Mom were expecting them to pull out a dead cat or a bird. And instead they pulled out my father. He was dressed in a Santa Claus suit. He'd been climbing down the chimney... his arms loaded with presents. He was gonna surprise us. He slipped and broke his neck. He died instantly. And that's how I found out there was no Santa Claus.