CLOSE

You Better Watch Out: 7 Evil Santas in TV and Film

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus...and chances are he's evil.

Hollywood has tried to explain away the cheeriness and unending generosity of Santa to meet all sorts of sordid and disturbing plotlines with varying degrees of success and failure—but mostly failure. These are the Santa Clauses who never knew the meaning of the word "nice."

1. The evil Santa from Santa's Slay

Former WWE phenomenon Goldberg donned the red hat and coat for this high budget, lowbrow slasher comedy about Santa's evil side. It seems the Santa we all know and love is just a harsh rouse that keeps the evil Satan (Santa, Satan—how could we BE so blind?!?) in check. Unfortunately, the clause on Claus' contract has expired and the not-so-jolly one goes on a Christmas murder spree in which he punctuates each kill with more groan-worthy puns than a Norm Crosby special co-hosted by Charlie Manson.

2. The evil serial killer Santa from Silent Night, Deadly Night and Silent Night, Deadly Night 2

Killer Santa Claus movies are a dime a dozen these days, but back in the early 1980s, the concept was fairly new, and this Christmas slay fest got a lot of attention when it hit the theaters. The antagonist, Billy, played by soap opera star Robert Brian Wilson, witnesses his parents being murdered by someone dressed as Santa. When he grows up, he kills people in the same costume in all sorts of festive ways (impaling horny teens with reindeer antlers, decapitating a bully as he sleds down a hill, the usual). The film caused quite a stir and even boycotts, but film critic Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert told parents to beware for a much different reason: It stinks.

The sequel didn't fare much better, but it did feature perhaps the strangest kill-line in movie history:

3. The evil escaped lunatic dressed as Santa from Tales from the Crypt

The pilot episode of HBO's long-running horror serial featured a tale of holiday horror taken straight from the pages of William M. Gaines' EC comic The Vault of Horror. "And All Through the House" tells the twisted story of a woman who has just murdered her husband on the same night a homicidal mental patient has escaped a local hospital dressed as Santa. In the climatic final scene, the woman's little girl lets the killer in the house, believing him to be Santa. It ends with a long and ridiculous scream from the woman realizing she's about to be chopped like a moist fruitcake (assuming that fruitcake is moist; I've never had the guts to try one). The ridiculously long and loud screaming was a stage direction from Gaines himself, who appeared on the set along with director Robert Zemeckis.

4. The evil robot Santa from Futurama

In the future, the Friendly Robot Company (not to be confused Mom's Friendly Robot Company) built a robotic Santa that could do the same work as Santa on Christmas, but also improve on Santa by existing. Unfortunately, the software used to help Robot Santa judge who is naughty and nice wasn't specific enough, so he not only judges everyone as naughty, but punishes them with everything from mean guard dogs that bark "Jingle Bells" to his "tow missile." The voice of Robot Santa was first provided by John Goodman, but John DiMaggio, voice of lovable ol' Bender, took over for Goodman in the subsequent episodes.

Futurama Weeknights, 9p/8c
Stopping Robot Santa
www.comedycentral.com
Joke of the Day Stand-Up Comedy Free Online Games

5. The evil alien band disguised as Santa from Doctor Who

Yes, Virginia, it seems that not even a crazy science-fiction epic like Doctor Who is exempt from the TV Christmas special requirement. The 2005 reincarnation starring David Tennant in his first full episode as the good doctor takes place just before Christmas, as the Tardis crash lands in London. Since he has just undergone regeneration and needs time to rest, Rose and Mickey go shopping and are attacked by a band of instrument-toting aliens dressed as Santas known as the Sycorax who aim to control the human race, just like every other alien race that invades the Earth. Seriously, did every non-Earth race of beings have a meeting and decide they each needed to try to take over the Earth one at a time?

6. The evil self-cloning Santa from The Tick

We know. Santa already has millions of clones posted in shopping malls and Christmas villages all over the world so he can keep a better eye on us and learn what we want for Christmas. (He even makes them bathe in gin every morning just to throw us off his tracks.) This Santa, however, can actually clone himself—and he's evil. A criminal dressed as Santa, nicknamed "Multiple Santa," realizes he can harness the power of electricity to create a never-ending army of himself, which just happen to be obedient Santas that only have enough intelligence to follow orders and utter "Ho" as a language. When he hooks himself to the local power supply, he causes a "Santalanche."

7. The criminal who stabs Nicholas Angel dressed as Father Christmas from Hot Fuzz

This evil Santa who stabbed Officer Nicholas Angel in the hand in the opening scene barely had two seconds of screen time in Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright's second entry in their Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy. But the classic beard and hat do a good job hiding director Peter Jackson as the evil fat man behind the blade. The opening sequence also features fellow British director Garth Jennings, the man behind the big screen remake of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and the sleeper hit Son of Rambow, as the armed man in the SWAT team raid. (The Santa violence in this video is a bit graphic.)

Danny Gallagher is a freelance writer, reporter and humorist living in Texas. He can be found on the web at dannygallagher.net and on Twitter.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
holidays
Bleat Along to Classic Holiday Tunes With This Goat Christmas Album
iStock
iStock

Feeling a little Grinchy this month? The Sweden branch of ActionAid, an international charity dedicated to fighting global poverty, wants to goat—errr ... goad—you into the Christmas spirit with their animal-focused holiday album: All I Want for Christmas is a Goat.

Fittingly, it features the shriek-filled vocal stylings of a group of festive farm animals bleating out classics like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The recording may sound like a silly novelty release, but there's a serious cause behind it: It’s intended to remind listeners how the animals benefit impoverished communities. Goats can live in arid nations that are too dry for farming, and they provide their owners with milk and wool. In fact, the only thing they can't seem to do is, well, sing. 

You can purchase All I Want for Christmas is a Goat on iTunes and Spotify, or listen to a few songs from its eight-track selection below.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
holidays
What Are the 12 Days of Christmas?
iStock
iStock

Everyone knows to expect a partridge in a pear tree from your true love on the first day of Christmas ... But when is the first day of Christmas?

You'd think that the 12 days of Christmas would lead up to the big day—that's how countdowns work, as any year-end list would illustrate—but in Western Christianity, "Christmas" actually begins on December 25th and ends on January 5th. According to liturgy, the 12 days signify the time in between the birth of Christ and the night before Epiphany, which is the day the Magi visited bearing gifts. This is also called "Twelfth Night." (Epiphany is marked in most Western Christian traditions as happening on January 6th, and in some countries, the 12 days begin on December 26th.)

As for the ubiquitous song, it is said to be French in origin and was first printed in England in 1780. Rumors spread that it was a coded guide for Catholics who had to study their faith in secret in 16th-century England when Catholicism was against the law. According to the Christian Resource Institute, the legend is that "The 'true love' mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself. The 'me' who receives the presents refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith. Each of the 'days' represents some aspect of the Christian Faith that was important for children to learn."

In debunking that story, Snopes excerpted a 1998 email that lists what each object in the song supposedly symbolizes:

2 Turtle Doves = the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

There is pretty much no historical evidence pointing to the song's secret history, although the arguments for the legend are compelling. In all likelihood, the song's "code" was invented retroactively.

Hidden meaning or not, one thing is definitely certain: You have "The Twelve Days of Christmas" stuck in your head right now.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios