10 Slaying Santa Movies
What’s the difference between Santa and Satan? Well, letter-swapping aside, they seem to be cut from the same blood-stained crimson cloth judging from these 10 slaying Santa flicks.
1) Saint aka Sint (Dick Maas, 2010)
As Amsterdam prepares for the annual 5th of December celebrations, A Christmas-hating cop vows to stop an evil St Nicholas and his zombie Black Peters from turning the season to be jolly into the season to be slaughtered. This thrilling non-stop ride, which resembles John Carpenter’s The Fog fused with Pirates of the Caribbean-style action, comes from Dick Maas, who’s best known for the 1980s cult favourites De Lift and Amsterdamned.
2) Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (Jalmari Helander, 2010)
After a scientific team unearth a frozen beast in Lapland, the occupant, which turns out to be the original Santa Claus, is awakened. When local children and reindeer start to disappear, Santa is blamed, so a boy and his dad set out to trap the supernatural creature. This darkly comic thriller (in Finnish and English) is pure class and totally original. Just don’t choke on that turkey leg when the naked Santas make their frosty entrance.
Screens Christmas Eve, Film4 HD, 12.45am
3) Black Christmas aka Silent Night, Evil Night (Bob Clark, 1974)
Sorority girls Olivia Hussey, Margot Kidder and Andrea Martin are tormented by a killer (sans Santa suit) making obscene phone-calls while hiding out in their dorm attic. Who’d guess that this seminal slasher, which is now regarded as a post-modern masterpiece, comes from the same director who helmed Porky’s? A must see, unlike the pointless 2006 remake. The chilling final scene will haunt you forever.
Screens Christmas Eve, The Horror Channel, 11pm
4) Tales From the Crypt: …And All Through the House (Freddie Francis, 1972)
A housewife (Joan Collins) murders her husband on Christmas Eve only to find she is trapped in the house by an escaped mental patient dressed up as Santa Claus. Adapted from a 1954 story that appeared in Issue 35 of Vault of Horror, this was the first of five tales of terror in Amicus’s fourth portmanteau horror based on the cult EC Comics. It’s also a seasonal favourite of mine, thanks to the out-there 1970s colour scheme and décor, and Collins’ excellent turn as the immaculately coiffured, chain-smoking murderess.
5) Christmas Evil aka You Better Watch Out (Lewis Jackson, 1980)
Toy company executive Harry, who’s never got over witnessing his mother making out with Santa (actually dad) under the Chrissy tree when he was a child, goes on a killing spree after a mental breakdown. John Waters regards this as ‘the greatest Christmas movie ever made’. Irony aside, it’s an effective psychological thriller dressed as a Santa-wearing slasher.
Screens Christmas Day, The Horror Channel, 10.50pm
6) Silent Night, Deadly Night (Charles E Sellier Jr, 1984)
Tortured by the brutal murder of his parents by a burglar dressed as Santa, troubled teen Billy flips when he’s asked to wear the festive costume at his work Christmas party and goes on a axe-wielding rampage to ‘punish the naughty’. The most infamous of all killer Santa films, this slasher caused so much outrage in the US, it was pulled from cinemas. Its notoriety spawned a host of dire sequels, including one with veteran Hollywood star, Mickey Rooney.
7) Don’t Open Till Christmas (Edmund Purdom, 1984)
A lunatic stalking the streets of London stabs, burns and castrates a parade of shopping centre Santas. OK, so this is one film where Santa is the victim rather than the killer, but it makes my list because: (a) its British, (b) its directed by Edmund Purdom, who acted in 1960s sword and sandals fare like Nefertiti: Queen of the Nile with Vincent Price; and (c) has Hammer’s Caroline Munro playing herself.
8) Santa Claws (John Russo, 1996)
Scream queen Raven Quinn (Debbie Rochon) and the cast and crew of her latest horror film get stalked by a garden claw-wielding maniac. John Russo, who wrote the cult classic Night of the Living Dead, writes, directs, producers and acts in this poorly-shot low-rent slasher that must have been a right embarrassment for the legendary screenwriter, who is capable of superior fare like 1982’s Midnight, currently slated for a remake.
9) Santa’s Slay (David Steiman, 2005)
After losing a bet with an angel, Satan’s son is forced to become Santa Claus and hand out gifts to the deserved for 1000 years. But when the bet expires, the not-so jolly hulk boards his hell-deer for a day of slaying. Former WWE wrestling star Bill Goldberg plays the lead in this comedy horror spoof directed by a mate of X-Men’s Brett Ratner and co-stars Emilie de Ravin and Fran Drescher.
10) Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (Mike Russell Hills, 1964)
There’s no murderous Santa to be found here, but you’ll probably be reaching for an axe yourself after watching this sci-fi musical turkey in which Mr Claus and two kids (including a nine-year-old Pia Zadora) are despatched to Mars to teach little green men the universality of (Bar, humbug!) Christmas Cheer. The film is regarded as one of the worst films ever made, but it’s also a genuine cult favourite and the theme tune is ever so catchy.