* * (1996, 120 minutes, Rated R)
The family that slays together, stays together.
I have to admit, I was a bit nervous about this film when Shock-o-Rama appeared in the
opening credits, largely because I thought these were the same folks that made this movie.
Fortunately, no. Shock-o-Rama makes their own assortment of smut. Having said that, this
holiday leftover was much like actual holiday leftovers: Lukewarm and not very satisfying.
We start off with a scene that's a whole lot like the opening scene in Halloween, but on
Christmas. It becomes immediately clear that this film will be chock-full of two things:
gratuitous boobies and dialog that would have been at home in Walk Hard. The dialog is
brilliant, no so much people talking as people expositioning at each other. Like this gem from
the opening scene: "No, Bobby, no. I love your Mom just as much as your dad did! I'm sorry he's
And then there's this one a bit later: "Now that you're the mother of two darling children
(approximately ages five and seven), you really ought to look for a more dignified line of work."
That's exposited at our hero, a b-movie actress with the totally not made-up name Raven
Quinn. Raven is busy starring in the new film Scream Queen Christmas (which appears to
consist solely of topless women dancing) and dealing with her separation from her
cameraman husband, a Mr. Big-wannabe whose main purpose is to provide more reasons to
include topless women in the movie.
Raven also has socially-stunted neighbor to deal with. Yes, you guessed it: he's the kid from
opening, all grown up. And totally obsessed with Raven, which makes him… want to kill
people? Huh? Maybe I missed something in his "creepy" monologues, which played like a pro
wrestler cutting a promo. It's probably best not to over-think this movie too much.
Speaking of over-thinking movies, a college buddy and I recently got into a discussion about the
things you need to make a successful slasher film villain. It comes down to this: 1) A "look," 2)
A trademark weapon and 3) a gimmick. Let's see how Mr. Santa Claws measures up:
The Look. Despite the title of the movie, the killer doesn't pull out the Santa suit until the
exciting climax. Until then, he's just a scrawny, socially inept hippy in a black ski mask. Yawn.
The Weapon. The killer uses a gardening claw… and a plastic-looking one at that. For the life
of me, I don't know why – I can think of a dozen more threatening items in my kitchen alone.
Watching this sad little hippy use his gardening claw made me laugh out loud, and not in a nice
The Gimmick. Obsessed psychotic?
Okay. Obsessed Christmas-themed
psychotic? LAME! Remember when it was
all the rage to have your slasher film villain
make lots of snarky quips? It’s like that, but
Christmas-centric. "Seasons greetings,"
It all builds up to the goofiest fight
sequence ever as Santa Claws and the Mr.
Big-wannabe have it out. Unfortunately,
because the Mr. Big-wannabe character is
such a charismatic black hole, I found
myself in the unenviable position of
cheering for lame-ass Santa Claws.
For all the cheese and toplessness, this
just doesn't add up to a good bad movie.
More like a good bad movie on cough
syrup. Or like a lump of coal in your
stocking, which, with the cost of heating
these days, isn't completely worthless.