Santa’s Slay (2005)

Taking almost no time at all to get to the action, Santa’s Slay begins with a sequence that firmly cements its credentials in the horror-comedy camp, with the emphasis heavily on low-brow, deliciously dark comedy. We are treated to a glimpse at a family Christmas during which time Santa Claus, in the form of giant Jewish wrestler Bill Goldberg, appears from the chimney and proceeds to kill each one of them in hilariously outlandish ways. That’s more than enough to set the tone but when you add to that, the fact that the family is made up of cameo’s from James Caan, Rebecca Gayheart, Fran Drescher and Chris Kattan then you know you’re in for a maniacally bumpy ride.

We soon meet our protagonists; fledgling teenage couple Nicolas Yuleson (Douglas Smith) and Mary Mackenzie (Emilie de Ravin), the former of whom has a crazy Grandfather who soon admits to knowing a little more about the recent crop of festive murders than he initially lets on. It comes to light that Santa Claus was once a demon who lost a bet to an angel that forced him to bring happiness and cheer to the World. When the terms of the wager expire, he returns to his formerly evil ways and visits Hell Township to exact some revenge.

Santa’s Slay is a comedy first and a horror movie second. It’s easy to see why anyone expecting realistic carnage and heartless violence would be disappointed but if you prepare yourself for a movie that never, even for a second, takes itself seriously then there’s no reason not to fully enjoy what’s on offer here.

Bill Goldberg makes for a formidable evil Santa and appears to be thoroughly enjoying himself in every scene, as do the rest of the cast. Their enthusiasm for the project is catching and it would have to be a hard-hearted viewer that failed to appreciate the sheer sense of fun that pours from the screen.

There are some suitably silly, quotable one-liners that help to make up an absurd but tight script and they are delivered with gusto by all involved. The pacing is quick and the action will leave most with a satisfied grin on their faces. Despite the gore on display, most of the deaths verge on slapstick (splatstick, perhaps) and never veer too far away from the movies’ comedic roots.

Overall, Santa’s Slay is a movie that you will undoubtedly either love or loathe. It isn’t ever cerebral or intellectually taxing, far from it in fact, but that doesn’t mean it’s a movie that will only appeal to the lowest common denominator. It’s a film that has an innate, brainless appeal and should be watched by anyone who likes a little bloodshed to accompany their comedy. It’s awful, but in a really, really good way. A potential future cult classic.

Rating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

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