* * * (2005, 78 minutes, Rated R)
"He's scary, yet educational."
The mere existence of this movie boggles my mind. I mean, Christmas-themed horror movies
have been done. And the idea of a demonic Santa is creative. But it took someone with far more
vision than I to look at this guy and think "Santa":
|Bill Goldberg (above), six-time pro wrestling
champion, destined to play Santa Claus.
For the uninitiated, Bill Goldberg is a pro
wrestler who was extremely popular about
10 years ago. Goldberg, 6-foot-4 and 285
lbs., knows exactly two moves: the spear
and the jackhammer, and was most notable
for his ability to snarl and then pulverize his
opponent in roughly the same amount of
time it will take you to finish reading this
A natural Santa.
Equally mind-boggling to me was the
number of cameos in the opening scene
alone. The Noxzema Girl! Chris Kattan! The
Nanny! James Caan ?!? What the hell are
you doing, James Caan? You were frickin'
The opening scene is not a taping of
"Hollywood Squares" but of a highly
dysfunctional family about to have Christmas
dinner. The scene features the first of many
shots across the bow of the Culture War with this heart-warming prayer, straight out of the
Supply-Side Jesus playbook:
|(Above) The Noxzema Girl.
"Dear Lord, thank you for the
bountiful food that you've provided
for us, and that our loving family
can be together this Christmas.
Also, thank you for not making us
poor or Samoan. Thank you for Maxim
Pharmaceuticals, the latest M-Class
and let those that are less fortunate
Then Santa busts through the chimney like the Kool-Aid
Man and kills everyone to the tune of "The Nutcracker Suite.
It's that kind of movie, and that's my main beef with the film.
Films like Scream and Shaun of the Dead prove that it is
possible to make a film that excels in both horror and
comedy. Santa's Slay tries to walk that line, too.
Goldberg's Santa spends much of the movie stomping
around town looking like a deranged viking, distributing out
creative deaths and witty wisecracks. Perhaps I've become
a fart in my old age, but... are we supposed to be cheering for the demonic, psycho killer Santa?
Is the audience supposed to think, "Look! He's killing indiscriminately! Wee!"?
It's not like we don't have anyone in the movie to cheer for. Our hero is 16-year-old Nicholas,
who works in a Jewish deli with Claire from TV's "Lost" and lives with his paranoid Grandfather
(Robert Culp) who is forever having "wacko inventing binges." Turns out there's a good reason
why Grandpa is so paranoid -- in a scene awesomely told in stop animation, Nicholas learns
that Santa is the spawn of Satan, forced to spend his birthday giving gifts to kids for 1,000 years
when he lost a bet to an angel.
Of course, you've already guessed that Santa's 1,000 years are up. But did you guess that the
bet was who would win a game of curling?
Like I said, it's that kind of movie.