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

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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.

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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.

December 22, 2009 - 4:45am
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