Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What Fun It Is To Ride and Sing a Slaying Song Tonight!!

Santa's Slay is an utterly ridiculous movie. The story is beyond goofy, the characters are cartoonish and the kills are completely over-the-top. I freakin' LOVED this movie!

The plot itself is fairly telling of the tone of the film. Turns out Santa is actually the son of Satan! 2000 years ago, he made a bet with an angel and lost. As a result, Santa has had to spend the intervening years being good and bringing cheer to children. Now, the time agreed upon in the wager is up, so Santa gets to return to doing what he loves: murdering people! Former pro wrassler turned "actor", Bill Goldberg, plays the aforementioned Santa, and boy is he a hoot! The director, David Steiman, never treats the material as anything near serious, and the result is a truly hilarious "horror" film. It is campy, silly and downright fun. Sure, it has all the prerequisites of a slasher film: gratuitous violence, plenty of bare breasts and bad acting, but it's all executed in such a way that it is impossible to take it as anything but tongue-in-cheek.

Oh, I should definitely mention the cast here: James Caan, Fran Drescher, Chris Kattan and Rebecca Gayheart all have cameos in the opening segment, and greats like Robert Culp and Saul Rubinek have sizable roles. Some may read a deeper meaning into the fact that the bulk of the cast is Jewish, thinking that perhaps it's an anti-Christmas statement, but I think that's going a bit far. I'm sure the actors had a bit of fun with this fact, but I don't think this flick should be construed as having anything approaching "depth". If anyone is in doubt of this, Santa even uses a Menora to kill off an explicitly Jewish character...so there!

While this film shares a certain motif with the past two films I reviewed (killer Santa), this one is definitely a departure in tone. It ultimately has more in common with a Wile E Coyote cartoon than it does either of those films. Oh, there are plenty of bloody impalements, decapitations and what-not, but this Santa is a wise-cracking, demented killer who enjoys his work. He isn't tortured by his childhood, and he doesn't discriminate between "naughty" or "nice". He's an equal opportunity murderer! In a nutshell, if you enjoy a bit of campy, violent, brainless fun, then check out Santa's Slay! All I want for Christmas...is a sequel to this flick!


Guillaume said...

There is something sinister in the Santa Claus character, even from earlier on. This movie might be influenced by that. Maybe I read too much into it.

The Gill-Man said...

I agree, Guillaume. The very fact that Santa is used to keep kids on their best behaviour, rewarding good children with gifts and bad with lumps of coal (or switches in some traditions), elevates him to a sort of bogeyman to many children. Sure, there is all the warm, fuzzy feelings of getting a wonderful present from St. Nicholas, but there is also the fear of being found "naughty".

In countries with the Krampus character, this is heightened even more so. You have a fearful, vengeful demon who will bring punishment to children who have not behaved properly (in some traditions he brings switches, while others he drags the mis-behaving malcontents to Hell!). I think it's important to note that, in these traditions, Krampus is depicted as a FRIEND to Santa, accompanying him on his journey! He takes orders from Claus, and doles out the punishments that he sees fit! Pretty frightening, if you ask me.

My next entry actually dovetails nicely into this discussion!