Tuesday 8 December 2009

Santa's Slay

My general dislike of Christmas extends, unsurprisingly, to Christmas movies. I do my best to stay the hell away from all holiday-themed comedies, though I have of course seen a few of the staples. I'm not a total Scrooge, after all. But I do pass over a lot of Xmas movies, including those in my beloved horror genre. So it was through no fault of my own that I ended up watching Santa's Slay. That was all Roommate Number 3.

It's Christmas Eve in Hell Township and Santa's on a killing spree. His ultimate goal is to murder Grandpa Yuleson, and he dispatches everyone standing between him and the old man. As well as some people off to the side. Grandpa, however, knows that Santa's come for him and has been preparing for this night. But when his grandson Nicolas becomes a target, Grandpa makes the ultimate sacrifice to save Nick from the wrath of one majorly pissed of magical being. Nick believes that all he has to do is run out the clock and he'll be free of the murderous Santa Clause, but when the clock strikes twelve, Santa's still calling for his head.

And why is Santa possessed of an insatiable bloodlust? Because he's the son of the Devil! Born of pure evil, Santa used to terrorize the earth. And then one night an angel bet him he couldn't win a game of closest-to-the-pin. Santa lost and had to give up his evil ways for a thousand years, delivering presents and joy every December. Now that those thousand years have passed, Santa's making up for lost time.

This movie, of course, is completely ridiculous and the irony that Santa is played by a man named Goldberg is not lost on me. In spite of the film's lunacy, I found Santa's Slay to be actually quite enjoyable in a it's-so-bad-it's-good kind of way. Also, the film is meant to be funny, and it runs the gamut from sardonic to slapstick.

Lightly plotted, Santa's Slay is mostly about Santa killing people. It features none of the general Christmas movie tropes such as overcoming differences, family togetherness, or greed. Because the film rewrites the Christmas story, the movie takes a decidedly secular approach to the holiday and even goes so far as to cast the town priest as a bad person. I might even suggest that Santa's Slay is anti-Christmas. I don't mean the movie is anti-religious--religion plays a large role in the film's mythos--but the only scene to really feature Christmas in all its splendour is the opening kill.

Wrestler Bill Goldberg, who is Santa, is a huge guy with an angry look and a deep, gravelly voice--the antithesis of jolly old St. Nick. Grandpa, for his part, though his character is supposed to be Norwegian, gives off a distinctly Scottish vibe, due in no small part to his hat. When the two face off, they settle their differences with a gentleman's wager on a single end of curling. The idea that any conflict, no matter how deep-seeded, can be resolved through sport is incredibly uplifting, but context is so preposterous the film stops short of offering up any kind of commentary.

And I guess there's really no reason why a film called Santa's Slay should be anything more than a lark.


MatthewJ said...

Sounds very delightful indeed. During this time of feel good everything works out for the best movies. Nice to have a few chop em up Santa movies to bring it back to what really matters... ;-) lol Merry Christmas everyone

MinaW said...

i'm with you on x-mas themed movies - but allow me to add the original black christmas to the "worth watching" stack

deadlydolls said...

I watched and reviewed it earlier this week and agree that it's certainly a film that knows what it is. I think most of the writing is doggone awful and nowhere near as funny as it wants to be, but Goldberg is amusing enough and I agree that it's more than passable for 90 minutes of entertainment.

My biggest problem was that I had just watched Don't Open Til Christmas, which is a far less intentional/more enjoyable so-bad-it's-good flick and Christmas Evil, another take on homicidal Santa that's surprisingly effective. Burnout, thy name is xmas horror!