Killer Kringles (Mania.com)
Date: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Ah, Christmas season! A chill wind sweeps by, rosing your cheeks raw, and driving passers by further into the bundled layers of scarf equipped warmth. The traditional trappings are abound: logs tossed onto fires, eggs mixed with nog, and snow kissed evergreens being adopted by loving families with care. The sounds of the season broadcast from every boom box and iPhone within earshot, as America prepares to welcome the fabled Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas himself, back into our homes to spread good tidings and joy. That's right, a magical fat man with a plethora of super powers, traipses around your home; the home where you and your children sleep, unprotected from any maliciousness which might come your way. We don't give it very much through, do we? Our full faith is that this heavy set, gifting ninja has nothing but our best materialistic interests in mind. What if Santa wasn't a good guy? Let's explore four uniquely evil instances of Killer Kringles, hellbent on wreaking holiday horror and heartache.
Santa's Slay (2005, David Steiman)
This direct to video black comedy stars former professional wrestler, Bill Goldburg, as an evil Icelandic demon. After losing a bet, he has to spend one thousand years giving gifts to the children of world. Well, that wager has run it's course, and now old Saint Nick is back to punish the wicked with improvised weapons and puns alike. Exactly how bad ass is this evil incarnation of father Christmas? With whatever's at hand, he brutally snuffs out Fran Dresher, Chris Kattan, James Caan, and Rebecca Gayheart, all within about sixty seconds. If you've ever wanted to watch Fran Drescher be set ablaze, then drowned in a bowl of egg nog (and who hasn't?), this is the bad Santa for you. Added bonus: Saul Rubinek of Warehouse 13 also makes an appearance.
Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984, Charles E. Sellier Jr.)
Have you ever wondered just what makes a man into a hulking, unstoppable, slasher killing machine? If we are to take the truth of it from the events of Silent Night, Deadly Night (whose remake just hit select theaters simply as Silent Night), witnessing the murder of your parents, as a young boy, by a Santa suited brigand, then ten years of mental and physical abuse at the hands of evil orphanage nuns, isn't quite enough on it's own. The camel's back breaking straw is being forced to dress as the jolly fat guy for you toy store's display. To be fair, having to weather the demands of whining children would drive me into murdering a topless Linnea Quigly on taxidermied antlers too. Ok, so maybe I would reconsider when she answered the door, but I can sympathize with his point of view. SNDN is a Christmas classic, as much loved for working from the standard slasher toolbox, as for its unintentional comedic notes. Just don't be naughty, and you'll be fine (probably).
Christmas Evil aka You Better Watch Out (1980, Lewis Jackson)
Though not nearly as well known as Silent Night, Deadly Night, Christmas Evil is a fair bit more disturbing as it doesn't push the black comedy angle nearly at all. Here our murderous Kris Kringle starts out as a boy who catches mommy kissing (and being groped by) Santa Claus (really our boy's father out for a little kinky role play action). He grows into a disgruntled toy factory worker, who pervertedly spies on all the neighborhood children from the roof of his constantly Christmassed home. After he has a work related breakdown, jolly old Harry dons the famous costume and murders those he deems naughty, while giving great toys stolen from his job to the good kids. With a depressing ending, and none of the fun of it's contemporaries, it's no wonder this Yule tide trail blazer comes bargain bin ready, with Kung-fu grip, and marked down story action.
Rare Exports - A Christmas Tale (2010, Jalmari Helander)
This bizarre and delightfully fresh tale spotlights Old Saint Nick as a fairy demon, who was lured onto a frozen lake by outraged townsfolk. When he fell through, the villagers hid his frozen carcass under the largest burial mound ever constructed. Centuries come and go before an obsessed American discovers it and unleashes the monstrous old beast. It's up to three wise cracking reindeer herders, and a boy who knows the truth, to put the pieces together and avert disaster. I can promise that you will not see the end coming. This unique take on our traditions turns plenty on it's head, while wrenching out plenty gore. I'd tangle with the other three kringles on this list combined before stepping the the squared circle with this wicked thing.
And there you have just a taste of holiday inspired madness. No doubt plenty of you can regale us with in-law inspired tales more horrifying then those assembled here. I'll recommend charging those tablet and phone batteries so you can stream away the crazy, this family dinner season.
Chuck Francisco is a columnist and critic for Mania, writing Saturday Shock-O-Rama, the weekly look into classic cult, horror and sci-fi. He is a horror co-host of two monthly film series at the world famousColonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA (home of 1958's 'The Blob'): First Friday Fright Nights and Colonial Cult Cinema. You can hear him on awesome podcast You've Got Geek or follow him out on Twitter.