Drinking With The Dread: SANTA’S SLAY Lays A Christmas Horror Smackdown
HAPPY KRAMPUSNACHT MY HOLLY-JOLLY DRINKING WITH THE DREAD FANS! Excuse my excessive showing of enthusiasm, but IT’S MOTHERFLIPPIN’ DECEMBER. Do you know what that means? CHRISTMAS HORROR SEASON. Sharpened candy cane daggers, possessed ugly sweaters, Krampus’ plucking of naughty children for Hell’s headcount – THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR. I’ve been planning this month’s Drinking With The Dread since last January when Dread Central foolishly approved my monthly boozer column, and after much patience soaked in more alcohol, the jingle bell finally tolls. Today we pay tribute to a *true* Christmas movie classic: David Steiman’s Santa’s Slay.
For those of you naughty boys and girls out there who have no idea what 2005’s winter slaughterhouse entails, strap in. Pro wrestler Bill Goldberg stars as Santa, son of Satan, who’s newly freed from a 1,000-year debt that banned him from massacring innocents on December 25th. The Santa Claus you know only gifted toys on Christmas for this reason – before the bet, December 25th was a “Day of Death.” Now Santa’s back to murdering, he’s pissed, and the frigid, snowy town of Hell Township will face his wrath unless local boy Nicolas Yuleson (Douglas Smith) can thwart the not-so-jolly demon.
Let’s set a few expectations straight because Santa’s Slay exists as this anomaly of B-level, bloodless brutality and maximum effort seasonal jokes. Sounds dull, right? WRONG. Steinman’s script is so on-the-nose it shines brighter than Rudolph’s schnoz, Goldberg sells his Nordic Santa product harder than Furby or Tickle Me Elmo commercials, and the majority stress on R-rated but not overly graphic deaths compels. It’s like an evil Christmas cartoon come to life; an unholy war against competing holidays (hissing at Chanukah). Did I mention there are interruptions by an undercover angel, a stop-motion Rankin-Bass diversion, and a *major* thematic plot hinged on Curling?
This movie shouldn’t work. It actively defies logic. Yet as I type these words after my yearly December rewatch, nothing but roasting chestnut bullets and Gold Diggers’ Mrs. Claus strippers dance cheerfully through my head.
Of all the 90+ Christmas Horror films I’ve endured so far in my lifetime, Santa’s Slay stands as the most enthusiastic regarding weaponized traditions. Black Christmas (2006) is up there, Krampus of course, and a slew of other “ornaments as killer tools” titles, but Santa’s Slay thinks of it all. Exploding parcels on Christmas morning, tree-topper ninja stars, a menorah through a Jewish actor’s throat who plays – shockingly – Hell Township’s favorite deli owner. Both Grandma *and* Grandpa get run over by a reindeer (er, hungry white buffalo in this version), and that’s not even the *half* of it. Santa’s Slay drags Christmas carols, Christmas decorations, Christmas greed, Christmas *anything* through fiery underworld damnation. Nothing is sacred.
Bill Goldberg earns an obvious shout out as Steiman’s muscly, chimney-crumbling, fire-breathing Santa with attitude. Most phrases out of his mouth are Decembery one-liners (song titles, book names, etc.), but even his most primal growls evoke the shit-kicking Santa we should fear once a year. He’ll spear you through a delicatessen display case, toss present bombs from above, assassinate your whole family during dinner, use glow-in-the-dark festive gadgets – I love everything about Goldberg’s WWE Santa. No matter how much of a cheese log you consider him to be.
Highlight moments include but are not limited to:
- “Move, bitch. Get out the way!” – Santa, right before running granny off the road.
- Santa disinfects a stripper pole before using it to bash bartenders and truckers.
- Santa tosses a valet the keys to his wooden, ready-for-battle sled.
- Multiple horror movie references (Necronomicon).
- Goldberg’s zingers (“Not a creature was stirring?”).
- Rebecca Gayheart, Chris Kattan, Fran Drescher, and James Caan all play victims in the opening feast disaster.
- Santa’s manners, for example, always taking his hat off when entering a house/establishment.
- Who thought Curling could be so important?
- More Christmasy than Macy’s NYC window display.
Alright, I’ve made you wait long enough to unwrap this month’s rules. Let’s see how you’ll get tipsy as an elf on December 26th while watching Santa’s Slay – Drinking With The Dread style.
- Drink whenever someone says “Santa.” (Characters only, unless you want to include song lyrics at your discretion!)
- Drink whenever someone dies.
- Drink whenever a known Christmas song is used or remixed.
- Drink for every Christmas themed pun out of Bill Goldberg’s mouth.
- Drink TWICE whenever someone says “Ho, ho, ho!”
- Drink TWICE – well, I’ll let this be a dealer’s choice. Drink twice whenever you feel like one of the Christmas themed deaths deserves a second toast.
- TAKE A SHOT when Mr. Mackenzie gets to use his bazooka.
Please, raise your glasses to honor a midnight holiday classic that knows what it is: Santa’s Slay. Grandpa’s (Robert Culp) inventions and Christmas nervousness hide nothing. Nicolas’ relationship with Mary Mackenzie (Emilie de Ravin) doesn’t distract from Santa’s rampage. Pastor Timmons (Dave Thomas) is a sleazebag from sermon #1. The *very first scene* features prominent Jewish actors who make a mockery of Christmas spirits and pay a dear price whether it be asphyxiation by turkey leg or punch bowl drowning. Ho Ho Ho’s and Ha Ha Ha’s dashed with a blitzin’ of steroid rage Santa coming to eviscerate Hell Township. Clearly, without argument, Bill Goldberg’s crowning cinematic achievement.