Santa’s Slay (2005)

Posted: December 30, 2013 in Movie Review
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Santa's Slay (2005)

Director: Brett Ratner

Starring: Bill Goldberg, Douglas Smith, Emilie de Ravin, Robert Culp, Saul Rubinek, Dave Thomas

The important thing to keep in mind when viewing a movie like “Santa’s Slay” is that it doesn’t pretend to take itself seriously, so neither should we. How else could they get away with casting ex-professional wrestler Bill Goldberg as Santa? Like any good “bad” movie, “Santa’s Slay” revels in the power of its own lunacy. Never is this more clear than in the film’s opening scene: It’s Christmas Eve dinner for a particularly argumentative family, whose squabbles are interrupted by the one and only Santa Claus coming down the chimney. However, his drop-kicking of the family dog into the ceiling fan is a sign that ol’ St. Nick hasn’t come to deliver presents, rather to deliver a solid ass-kicking! But what is most remarkable about this opening scene of carnage is the cast of characters present: Fran Drescher, Chris Kattan, Rebecca Gayheart, and the uncredited James Caan among them.

Following that insanely hilarious pre-credits sequence, the early moments of the movie seem very much like another great comedy/horror, “Gremlins.” You have the mean old woman who offends everyone equally, an old man who is a wannabe inventor, a cute female lead who is romantically involved with the male lead for no apparent reason other than he’s the only guy her age you ever see her interacting with, and even a main character who has their own unique reasons for disliking Christmas. In Hell Township, Nicholas Yuleson (Douglas Smith) lives with his crackpot inventor grandfather (Robert Culp) and works for a local Jewish Deli owner (Saul Rubinek) with his girlfriend Mary (Emilie de Ravin).

All signs point to another insignificant Christmas until Santa shows up and starts with the killing, eventually racking up a body count that would put Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger both to shame. Santa, contrary to every story we’ve been told as children, was apparently not always the jolly old guy who shows up every December bearing gifts. He was once a murderous fiend, the product of an immaculate conception by way of Satan. December 25th used to be known as a “Day of Slaying” until 1005 AD when Santa was challenged by and lost to an angel in a curling match (of all things)! No points for guessing that Grandpa is the angel in question. Santa’s punishment for losing… the duty to deliver gifts to children on Christmas every year… has expired after 1000 years, making him free to get back to the killing.

Much of the film consists of Santa offing everything in his path, including an entire police force and all the employees of a local strip club. Keeping to the cheesy nature of the proceedings, Bill Goldberg is allowed to ham up every scene he’s in with amazingly effective one-liners. About the only complaint I have about “Santa’s Slay” is the false advertisement on the back of the DVD box: It lists the film’s running time at 95 minutes, when it is in fact a mere 78 minutes long. Whether it’s TV’s “Roswell” or “Lost,” or any of the movies I’ve seen her in, Emilie de Ravin manages to be cute as a button no matter what type of character she plays. When I first saw “Santa’s Slay” back in 2005, I really hadn’t familiarized myself with the late Robert Culp. I have since enjoyed him in reruns of “I, Spy” on TV and “Greatest American Hero” on DVD. Really, it amazes me that a movie of this kind was able to gather together the cast it presents, and I contend that it is because of their presence and the fact that the movie never takes itself seriously that makes it the fun ride that it is. Like other great horror/comedies such as “Gremlins” or the “Evil Dead” trilogy, it manages to thrive simply because it’s so damn silly!


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