Friday, December 21, 2007

Santa's Slay (2005)

The most criminally underrated Christmas horror movie (one that is actually clever, funny and GOOD) is Santa’s Slay, a 2005 release that was helmed by first-time director David Steiman (Brett Ratner’s longtime assistant!). Not many people know about this film, but it is one of the funniest and most fun “Holiday Horror” films!

From the opening sequence where an annoying and screwed-up rich family (starring the familiar faces of Fran Drescher, Chris Kattan, Rebecca Gayheart and James Caan!) gets butchered by Santa (WWE wrestler Bill Goldberg), I was hooked!

You see, Santa is actually the son of Satan and 1,000 years ago he lost a bet to an angel in human disguise (a scene shown in stop-motion animation that is reminiscent of the older Christmas specials and actually WORKS!). Ever since then, he’s been forced to deliver presents to children, spread holiday cheer and be the holly-jolly do-gooder we’ve all come to know. Now, the 1,000 years are up and Santa is once again free to spread some Christmas FEAR!!

Santa descends on Hell Township and it’s up to residents Nicolas Yuleson (Douglas Smith), his eccentric inventor grandpa (Robert Culp) and Nicolas’ friend/girlfriend Mary (Emilie de Ravin of Lost fame) to try and stop the son of Satan!

This film is surely no masterpiece, but it is an insanely fun ride in Santa’s Slay! Bill Goldberg is great as the hulking, Viking-like Santa Claus. His one-liners are hilariously cheesy, but in the best way possible, and his gruff delivery is uproarious. Santa’s killing spree includes taking out a group of carolers, killing someone with the sharpened tip of a candy cane, running someone over with his sleigh (pulled by a gigantic buffalo, by the way!), stringing someone up with Christmas lights, taking out a group of festively-dressed strippers, death by menorah and lighting someone’s hair on fire.

The only problem with all the killings is that there wasn’t that much grue to go around. This was a low-budget film, and unfortunately they just didn’t have enough dough to throw around some of the wet, sticky stuff. Gorehounds will be sadly disappointed, especially if they are used to bloody films like Silent Night, Deadly Night or Christmas Evil, two other “evil Santa” horror movies!

Still, despite the lack of gore, the film still delivers. David Steiman, who both wrote and directed, did a pretty competent job, even if he did emerge from the fire pits of hell as Brett Ratner’s assistant. The story is cohesive, entertaining and engaging. The film moves at a fast clip, and once the action starts, it doesn’t let up.

The film is never scary, but its black comedy and mean-spirit are more than enough to entertain! Also, even though it had a limited budget, the film looks great! The production values are very high and it looks like it was shot on 35mm. Again, the only thing that was lacking was the gore.

Santa’s Slay is a clever, wacky and very fun horror film that shouldn’t be taken too seriously but also shouldn’t be missed! Instead of re-watching Black Christmas this year, take a chance on the rip-roaring and riotous Santa’s Slay!

And remember, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been naughty or nice; Santa Claus is coming to town…to kill you!!

Available on Amazon!

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