Movie Review: Santa’s Slay (2005, Canada)

The “evil Santa” trope has been around for ages…. or it least it seems that way. Krampus doesn’t count (no matter what the contrarians trying to revive his legend might think), nor does Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. For some reason, the idea of the traditional holiday bringer of cheer becoming the holiday bringer of death is popular with the producers of cheap horror films. The producers of Santa’s Slay decided to take that idea, toss what must have been some decent cash at it, and turn it into a comedy.

It doesn’t take long for the fun to start. The pre-credits opening scene has what must be the World’s Most Obnoxious Family sitting down to Christmas dinner. You’ll know Fran Drescher by her voice, and can play “Spot the Famous Actor” with the rest of the family. At the moment when you can’t take any more of them and wish someone would burst in and put them out of your misery, Santa (wrestling champion Bill Goldberg) drops out of the chimney. After a minute of disbelief from the family, he proceeds to put them all out of your misery in appropriately entertaining fashion.

The deal is that Santa is really a son of Satan, and he used to travel the Earth terrorizing people on Christmas Eve. But an angel came down and challenged him to a curling contest (it’s a Canadian movie; you are required by law to mention curling). If Santa lost, he’d have to spend a thousand years being nice and handing out presents in atonement. Well, Santa lost. And now the thousand years are up…

Our hero is a young teen named Nicholas Yuleson (Douglas Smith). He figures out rather quickly that Santa’s the one doing all the crazy killings, and with the help of his kooky grandfather (Robert Culp!) takes up the challenge to defeat Santa. Or at least keep him busy until Christmas is over.

Yes, this really is a comedy. Nicholas and his girlfriend Mary (Emilie de Ravin) are the only ones who play it straight. Everyone else has a twinkle in their eye as they go through their roles (but there’s no mugging at the camera). There’s enough snappy dialogue to keep you chuckling, and so many of the slayings are really silly. You know how pointy you can make a candy cane by sucking on it? Yep…..

Being a wrestler, Goldberg is an imposing screen presence as he goes around Hell Township (that’s about the only lame joke in the entire movie) driving his one-white-painted-bison open sleigh. And he can really turn up the menace when a scene calls for it. Pro wrestling has a lot of acting in it, after all.

It should be mentioned that given the comedic nature of the movie, there’s not a lot of gore involved. Other than that opening scene, there are relatively few on-screen deaths, and very little blood. However, there’s one lengthy scene in a strip club. So you’ve got a lot of breasts on display. Not Safe For Kids, in case you were wondering.

But if you’re mature enough to handle casual nudity like that, along with a good deal of comic violence sprinkled with quips, Santa’s Slay is definitely worth looking for.

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