Merry Christmas, everybody! I hope you’re all enjoying the holidays, be you alone, with friends, or with family.
With all of the great Christmas films and specials out there, it might be hard to decide what to watch. From classics like A Christmas Story and How the Grinch Stole Christmas to crap like the Pac-Man Christmas special, there’s a lot to choose from. This year, I decided to rewatch one of my personal favorites: Santa’s Slay.
Santa’s Slay is a yuletide comedy/horror film released in 2005. Starring former wrestler Bill Goldberg as the murderous Santa Claus, Santa’s Slay is a somewhat obscure gem that nonetheless has built up a bit of a cult following. I figured this would be appropriate for a Christmas article because hey, what’s more jolly than bloodshed?
The film wastes no time getting started, beginning with the greatest opening in film history. A family is settling in for Christmas Dinner, bickering and insulting each other all the while. But then… up on the rooftop, click click click!
Santa wastes no time viciously dispatching the entire family in all sorts of festive ways, from drowning in Egg Nog to using a Christmas Tree star as a shuriken. This opening sets the tone for the rest of the movie and lets you know you’re in for a bloody good time.
The main characters are Nicholas Yuleson and Mary Mackenzie, a teenaged couple living in the wonderfully named Hell Township. Nicholas’ grandfather is a looney old inventor who hates Christmas, even building a bunker in his basement. Grandpa is seen as a crackpot by the rest of the town, so you know he’s probably the only sane man.
Grandpa tells Nicholas the true story of Santa Claus, shown in a classic stop-motion style reminiscent of the Rankin/Bass Christmas specials. Santa Claus is actually the son of Satan and a human woman, who would go on a yearly “day of slaying”. In 1005, an angel disguised as an old man challenged Santa to a game of curling. The angel won, and Santa was forced to deliver presents for 1000 years. Now it’s 2005 and Santa Claus is free once more.
Meanwhile, Santa has found his way to Hell Township and is going on one heck of a rampage. He burns down a strip club, smashes a nativity scene, and of course murders a whole lot of people, including Nicholas’ boss. Yes, Santa Claus kills a guy with a menorah. Wow.
Other colorful characters include slimeball Pastor Timmons, and police captain Toby Caulk. Just look how festive that motherfucker is. Nicholas is brought in for questioning after the death of Mr. Green, and of course, they don’t believe his claim that Santa Claus is real and killing people.
I won’t go on about the rest of the movie, but suffice to say, it’s great. There’s a lot of Christmas horror films that fall flat, but this isn’t one of them… everyone involved was clearly having a great time, and the movie never looks or feels cheaply-made. There’s quite a bit of production value here and it’s clear a lot of effort went out of it. And while most of the acting is hammy, Bill Goldberg is fantastic as Santa; it was also one of the last performances of actor Robert Culp (best known as the voice of Dr. Wallace Breen in the Half-Life series), who passed away in 2010.
Overall, I highly recommend Santa’s Slay. It’s a hell of a ride, and I can think of few better films to watch this holiday season.