79 min., 1984
Written by Michael Hickey
Directed by Charles E. Sellier Jr.
My rating: ★★★★★
Still one of my favorite Christmas horror movies!
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Little Billy is going with his family to see his grandpa the night before Christmas. They get there and grandpa (Will Hare) doesn’t talk, that is until his parents leave. He talks to Billy and tells him that Santa comes and gives gifts to the good kids, but if you have been bad he will punish you. Severely! On the ride home Billy and his family, mom Ellie, dad Jim and baby brother Ricky see Santa is having car trouble. They pull over and ask if he needs help and that’s when he pulls out a gun. Jim flies into reverse and ends up in a ditch. Santa approaches and shoots him. He goes around to the other side and takes out Ellie and starts trying to rape her. She fights back so he just cuts her throat. Billy has run away, is hiding in the bushes and sees the whole thing. A few years later he is at an orphanage where the Mother Superior (Lilyan Chauvin) is quite mean and teaches him that punishment is necessary. The only one nice to him is Sister Margaret (Gilmer McCormick) but she is forced to keep her distance. Another few years pass and Billy (Robert Brian Wilson) is now 18 and he is given a job at a local toy store. He has found a girl he likes, Pamela (Toni Nero) and he is doing well. But how will he react now that it’s Christmastime again and now he has to dress up and play Santa?
I was really surprised by the acting in this movie. Robert Brian Wilson plays his role extremely well. He swings from happy-go-lucky to terrified in a matter of seconds and there is no sense of question if it’s real. The terror he shows in his eyes is just great. Even the movements of his body show the amount of fear and terror that he feels. The other actor that stands out was Will Hare. He has such a small role but he is so good at it that he is very memorable. When he is talking to little Billy about Santa, it really is terrifying. He’s creepy and it really sets the tone of the movie from the get go.
The effects of the movie range from great to just okay. The gunshots are actually pretty darn well done. Yes they use squibs, but when they use other techniques it comes off great. Another one that was great was the pushing of Linnea Quigley’s stomach through the deer antlers. It looks very painful, and it’s very well done. Most of the other effects are very minor, but they are (for the most part) pulled off with very few flaws.
This movie is still a great Christmas horror movie. Yes there is a bit of dating to it, but that happens with all movies. Then again if you grew up in the 80’s you will have a field day with the toy store scenes. All the 80’s toys will bring back a flood of memories about Christmases past. This is a great and fun slasher that has actually stood the test of time. Actually it may have gotten even better with age. Just remember that everyone is naughty at some point in time and that’s a whole lot of punishment that Santa needs to deal out.
The award for Worst Cop Ever goes to: Officer Barnes
You see, the cops are looking for Billy who is dressed as Santa and they think that Billy is going to be heading toward the orphanage where he grew up in order to get revenge on the Mother Superior. Officer Barnes gets there and sees a man in a Santa suit. He then guns him down in front of a dozen kids. He did yell for the Santa to stop, but he didn’t even try to stop him in any other way. Just imagine the best time of year and as you are about to meet the one and only Santa and he is shot numerous times right in front of you. You failed Mr. Barnes! Merry Fuckin’ Christmas everyone!Have You Read...?