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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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Stopping Robot Santa
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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.

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Space
Google Street View Now Lets You Explore the International Space Station

Google Street View covers some amazing locations (Antarctica, the Grand Canyon, and Stonehenge, to name a few), but it’s taken until now for the tool to venture into the final frontier. As TechCrunch reports, you can now use Street View to explore the inside of the International Space Station.

The scenes, photographed by astronauts living on the ISS, include all 15 modules of the massive satellite. Viewers will be treated to true 360-degree views of the rooms and equipment onboard. Through the windows, you can see Earth from an astronaut's perspective and a SpaceX Dragon craft delivering supplies to the crew.

Because the imagery was captured in zero gravity, it’s easy to lose sense of your bearings. Get a taste of what ISS residents experience on a daily basis here.

[h/t TechCrunch]

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6 East Coast Castles to Visit for a Fairy Tale Road Trip
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Lucy Quintanilla/iStock

Once the stuff of fairy tales and legends, a variety of former castles have been repurposed today as museums and event spaces. Enough of them dot the East Coast that you can plan a summer road trip to visit half a dozen in a week or two, starting in or near New York City. See our turrent-rich itinerary below.

STOP 1: BANNERMAN CASTLE // BEACON, NEW YORK

59 miles from New York City

The crumbling exterior of Bannerman Castle
Garrett Ziegler, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Bannerman Castle can be found on its very own island in the Hudson River. Although the castle has fallen into ruins, the crumbling shell adds visual interest to the stunning Hudson Highlands views, and can be visited via walking or boat tours from May to October. The man who built the castle, Scottish immigrant Frank Bannerman, accumulated a fortune shortly after the Civil War in his Brooklyn store known as Bannerman’s. He eventually built the Scottish-style castle as both a residence and a military weapons storehouse starting in 1901. The island remained in his family until 1967, when it was given to the Taconic Park Commission; two years later it was partially destroyed by a mysterious fire, which led to its ruined appearance.

STOP 2. GILLETTE CASTLE STATE PARK // EAST HADDAM, CONNECTICUT

116 miles from Beacon, New York

William Gillette was an actor best known for playing Sherlock Holmes, which may have something to do with where he got the idea to install a series of hidden mirrors in his castle, using them to watch guests coming and going. The unusual-looking stone structure was built starting in 1914 on a chain of hills known as the Seven Sisters. Gillette designed many of the castle’s interior features (which feature a secret room), and also installed a railroad on the property so he could take his guests for rides. When he died in 1937 without designating any heirs, his will forbade the possession of his home by any "blithering sap-head who has no conception of where he is or with what surrounded.” The castle is now managed by the State of Connecticut as Gillette Castle State Park.

STOP 3. BELCOURT CASTLE // NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND

74 miles from East Haddam, Connecticut

The exterior of Belcourt castle
Jenna Rose Robbins, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Prominent architect Richard Morris Hunt designed Belcourt Castle for congressman and socialite Oliver Belmont in 1891. Hunt was known for his ornate style, having designed the facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island, but Belmont had some unusual requests. He was less interested in a building that would entertain people and more in one that would allow him to spend time with his horses—the entire first floor was designed around a carriage room and stables. Despite its grand scale, there was only one bedroom. Construction cost $3.2 million in 1894, a figure of approximately $80 million today. But around the time it was finished, Belmont was hospitalized following a mugging. It took an entire year before he saw his completed mansion.

STOP 4. HAMMOND CASTLE MUSEUM // GLOUCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS

111 miles from Newport, Rhode Island

Part of the exterior of Hammond castle
Robert Linsdell, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0

Inventor John Hays Hammond Jr. built his medieval-style castle between 1926 and 1929 as both his home and a showcase for his historical artifacts. But Hammond was not only interested in recreating visions of the past; he also helped shape the future. The castle was home to the Hammond Research Corporation, from which Hammond produced over 400 patents and came up with the ideas for over 800 inventions, including remote control via radio waves—which earned him the title "the Father of Remote Control." Visitors can take a self-guided tour of many of the castle’s rooms, including the great hall, indoor courtyard, Renaissance dining room, guest bedrooms, inventions exhibit room, library, and kitchens.

STOP 5. BOLDT CASTLE // ALEXANDRIA BAY, THOUSAND ISLANDS, NEW YORK

430 miles from Gloucester, Massachusetts

It's a long drive from Gloucester and only accessible by water, but it's worth it. The German-style castle on Heart Island was built in 1900 by millionaire hotel magnate George C. Boldt, who created the extravagant structure as a summer dream home for his wife Louise. Sadly, she passed away just months before the place was completed. The heartbroken Boldt stopped construction, leaving the property empty for over 70 years. It's now in the midst of an extensive renovation, but the ballroom, library, and several bedrooms have been recreated, and the gardens feature thousands of plants.

STOP 6. FONTHILL CASTLE // DOYLESTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA

327 miles from Alexandria Bay, New York

Part of the exterior of Fonthill castle

In the mood for more castles? Head south to Doylestown, Pennsylvania, where Fonthill Castle was the home of the early 20th century American archeologist, anthropologist, and antiquarian Henry Chapman Mercer. Mercer was a man of many interests, including paleontology, tile-making, and architecture, and his interest in the latter led him to design Fonthill Castle as a place to display his colorful tile and print collection. The inspired home is notable for its Medieval, Gothic, and Byzantine architectural styles, and with 44 rooms, there's plenty of well-decorated nooks and crannies to explore.

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