20 killer Santas from Film and TV
The legendary and mythical figure of Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle or simply Santa, is best known in many Western cultures for bringing gifts to the homes of good children during the late evening of Christmas Eve. This jolly man dressed in a red coat with white collar and cuffs, is a beacon of all things good during the winter holidays. So it’s no surprise that a twisted section of the world has taken our beloved Santa, stuck an axe in his hand and sent him forth into a frenzied blood bath.
Yes, every Christmas us horror fans are all ways on the look out for a few good Xmas horror scares to add to the old playlist, and that’s exactly what we have done here, with our list of Killer Santa movies and TV shows that you just might want to add to your stocking this year.
This year Saint Nicholas is bringing you severed arms, a few strangulations (for the circulation) and shed load of decorations rammed into varieties body cavities. Oh…. It’s going to be a GREAT Christmas. Ho Ho Ho…here are 20 killer Santas from Film and TV! Enjoy….
…And All Through The House (1972 & 1989)
Our First festive entry is actually a two for one, as we look at The Vault of Horror story (The Vault of Horror #35) …And all through the house. A horrid little tale of a woman who ditches her husband at the WORST possible THYME. This terrifying tales had its first live action adaptation as a segment in Amicus Production’s 1972 anthology film Tales from The Crypt.
Joan Collins leads the way as Joanne Clayton, a woman how murders her husband on Christmas Eve. Unable to call the police without exposing her own crimes, she finds herself under attack from an escaped homicidal maniac dressed in a Santa Suit. Whilst the house is locked up tight, Clayton’s young daughter is more than happy to let in “Santa”, who proceeds to strangle Joanne to death.
A second adaption in 1989 took the story to the small screen with HBO’s Tales from the Crypt television series. Mary Ellen Trainor plays a wife who murders her husband for insurance but ends up facing a LIFE sentence when a psychotic Santa comes knocking. Larry Drake plays the escaped mental patient with hilarious but bloody results.
To All A Goodnight (1980)
We have all had an OFF day, but what happens in Santa gets SICK of being Mr. Nice Guy? Well the 1980 slasher film To All A Goodnight, looks at just that subject, when Santa-suited psychotic goes on a rampage at an isolated girl’s school during Christmas. Well I guess these girls forgot to put out some milk and cookies because this is one Santa that is mega pissed, as this film has a ridiculously high body count that comes with lashing gore. Whilst the film is pretty bad by any standards, the film does include a twist that even the Scream films would be proud of. You better watch out… this one will put you to bed!
Christmas Evil (1980)
Whilst you are placing your bundle of joy upon a stranger’s knee this Christmas, pay heed to the warnings screamed out by this little 80s gem. Christmas Evil places us in the hands of a deranged department-store Santa as we witness his bloody massacre and the path that led him into a cold-bloodied killer. Played more seriously than your usual slashers, Christmas Evil manages to be a thoroughly entertaining psychological study of a guy warped by Christmas.
Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
A few too many boozy mince pies can make anyone a little Merry, but whilst Santa’s greatest CRIME might be his penchant for indulgence, an axe murder he is not. But in Charles E. Sellier Jr graphic Christmas slasher, Silent Night, Deadly Night, our Santa suited villain really loves a good CHOPPING trip.
The villain of this tasteful Christmas story is Billy Chapman, a young man haunted by his parent’s murder at the hands of a man dressed as Santa Claus. When the local toy store Santa pulls out of his meet and greet duties, poor old Billy is given the job of filling in. But his psychotic tenderises are triggered when he witnesses an attempted rape of a co-worker and Billy goes nutzoid, still dressed as old Saint Nick.
If you love watching topless woman being impaled by deer antlers, or men being chocked to death with Christmas lights, Silent Night, Deadly Night is sure to please. This little Christmas cracker is crude, bloody and really should be on any Horror Fans Christmas rotation.
Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (1987)
“Looking back it’s so bizarre, It runs in the family” Level 42 once sung about how it’s impossible to run from your families heritage, and that meaning has never been more relevant than in the 1987 sequel to Silent Night, Deadly Night.
Taking up his brother’s mantle as a Killer Santa, Ricky Caldwell picks up where his brother left off, taking up the guise of Santa Claus and killing innocent townsfolk in a variety of gory and gruesome ways. Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 is better known for its hammy acting and terrible pacing, as the films slowly trudges through the snow to its bloody climax. It’s a terrible sequel, but you have to respect its heavy cult following.
Matlock: Season 1 – Santa Claus (1986)
Remember when Matlock tried to get a killer Santa off the hook? Yep that cantankerous attorney once crossed paths with Santa Claus when Old Saint Nick’s landlord kicks the bucket, thanks to a stabby man dressed in a Santa suit and beard. The crime is pinned on down-on-his luck Santa Tom McCabe (Pat Hingle), who finds himself accused of murder, but good ol’ Matlock (Andy Griffith) knows just where the blame really lies. Thanks to some clever deceive work, Matlock fingers a jealous husband for the crime, and McCabe walks away free! Hazaar!
In the far-flung future of 2247, hard core police trooper Jack Deth (Tim Thomerson) is hot on the track of an evil mastermind, with devious psychic mind-powers, who is turning innocent people into zombies bent to his will. In a bizarre swerve to the left, our protagonist finds himself flung far into the past, inhabiting the body of a relative from 1985. Yep… really!
It’s here in the 80’s that Jack faces a store Santa, that becomes “tranced” by the villain, turning good old Saint Nick, into a sweating, dribbling killer ready to pop the troopers head clean off. Maybe a cool glass of gold milk might sooth those killer urges?
Satan Claus (1996)
There’s low budget and then there’s LOW BUDGET, and 1996’s effort Satan Claus kinda sticks to the back of your throat like last night’s vomit. There’s little story, and no effort made to even give a backstory to the villain. An actor and his detective girlfriend join forces with a voodoo priestess, to track down a murderer hacking his way through New York dressed as Kris Kringle.
Yep this is one of those films for people that just LOVE bad films, but it does have a one redeeming features with killer’s MO being unique. Our jolly red reindeer wrangler is collecting body parts to use as Christmas ornaments. Yep, nothing says Merry Christmas like a severed ear hanging on your tree.
Futurama: Series Two – Xmas Story (1999)
Designed by The Friendly Robot Company, in the year 2801, Futurama’s killer Santa was originally built to judge whether people were naughty or nice and sort out presents accordingly. However a glitch in his programming sets his standards way to high, and the Santa Bot invariably judges everyone naughty (with the exception of Dr. Zoidberg).
Rather than a lump of coal, this crazed bot comes to Earth on his robot-reindeer sleigh to destroy the naughty in a variety of xmas themes ways. The popularity of the characters has seen him feature in three episode and one of Futurama’s films.
X-Files: Season Seven – Sein und Zeit (2000)
Nothing says Christmas like a good alien abduction, and if your life is missing a little other-wordly cheer this Xmas, then now is the perfect time to delve back into the X-Files seventh season, for a killer Santa story titled, Sein und Zeit (Being and Time).
Investigating the potential (Alien) abduction of a young girl, Mulder and Scully discovers notes left behind that reference Santa Claus, leading Mulder down a dark path of reflection on his sisters’ own disappearance. It’s a dark and disturbing episode that strikes hard at Mulder resolve and leads to a shocking discover at a “Santa Park” ranch where the local Kris Kringle is not what he seems.
Reindeer Games (2002)
Waiting for Christmas Day can be HELL! Some people just can’t wait to tear into the presents and chow down on some fine food. The folks in 2002 action crime thriller Reindeer Games, decide to just take their Christmas cheer in a movie about a casino robbery that goes terribly wrong.
A group of ex-cons take on a big heist, the group robs the casino, each dressed as Santa Claus. However, things take a turn for the worst, when shots are fired and a massive gun fight ends with both dead Santas and security guards. Who would have thought that Santa had been carrying round an Uzi in his sack all these years?
Psycho Santa (2003)
If you’re into anthology films, the 2003 Psycho Santa spins three terrible tales about a psychopathic Santa killer and the urban legends behind the man in red and white. The films penchant for softcore full-frontal nudity sadly derides any sense that this film is for real Horror Fans and sits it firmly into that niche for young teens. But if you’re into that type of thing, Psycho Santa is the perfect watch over the seasonal holiday!
Doctor Who – Christmas Specials “The Christmas Invasion” and “The Runaway Bride” (2005 & 2006)
If you think Killer Santas are entirely “Earth” bound issues, than think again as our next subject is resoundingly non-human. Proving that psycho Saint Nick can come in many different guises, the BBC TV show Doctor Who tangles with some slippery characters in two Christmas Specials.
Time Travelling maverick “The Doctor” has had a couple of encounters with Killer Santas through his years as the Tenth Doctor ( David Tennant). These angry Kris Kringles are robots called Roboforms, who are deep space scavengers disguised to fit into the Christmas holiday. They come armed with machine guns, flamethrowers, and rocket launchers, all designed to look like musical instruments. Next time you see a yule time band, best to tip!
Santa’s Slay (2005)
If you’re looking for something different for Christmas, you would not go wrong with picking Santa’s Slay as your Christmas day feast. Whilst many of the Santas on this list are just men in suits, here Farther Christmas is in fact the son of Satan, an antichrist who spent every Christmas day killing. In A.D. 1005, an angel defeated him in a curling match and sentenced him to deliver presents on Christmas for 1,000 years.
As Christmas falls on 2005, Old Saint Nick gets his killing privileges back and he has a lot of catching up to do. Filled with lots of gore and some wicked one-liners from professional wrestler Bill Goldberg, playing the slayer Santa Claus, Santa’s Slay is a thrill RIDE of tongue in cheek horror that will turn the snow red!
Kazuo Umezu’s Horror Theater: Present (2005)
Turning to the East now for a different take on Killer Kris Kringle’s, Kazuo Umezu’s Horror Theater is an anthology series that spin terrifying tales for our Japanese buddies. The 2005 short called Presents is a Silent Night Deadly Night inspire story about a group of teens trapped in a hotel with a mad man dressed as Santa. Keeping with the “Silent Night” tradition, our antagonist rips of people’s limbs with chains, impales people with Christmas decorations and generally cause chaos and gore wherever he Ho Ho goes. Bloody and not in the awful type of way!
Yule Die (2010)
If you ever wanted to know what Michael Myers would look like if he dressed like Santa Then this nasty little surprise from 2010 will satisfy that itch, as a criminal obsessively hunts people with little to no explanation. Made on the budget of a KFC order, Yule Die looks like it was filmed on the way to said order on a cheap mobile phone. And whilst you might have had some enjoyment out of a greasy bucket filled with coated chicken breasts, Yule Die satisfy you about as much as licking the outside of the bucket.
Haunted by the memories of a Santa suited hijacker the year before, a mother and daughter head to a remote country house when they hear that the hijacker has escaped prison. Shallow, cold and about as entertaining as some of my puns!
American Dad: Season 6 – 13 (2010 – 2017)
American Dad’s Smith Family have had a very long and bitter feud with Santa Clause for many years, originating from the season 6 episode For Whom the Sleigh Bell Tolls. When Steve accidently shoots Santa on Christmas Day, the family attempt to hide the body in the woods. Despite their efforts, Santa’s Elves discover the body and resuscitate him back to life. Filled with a strong rage, Santa vows to kill the entire Smith family. His revenge sees a force of elves, reindeer and snowmen all ascending on the family. However, the family are saved when Santa’s army is forced to retreat at dawn. But the jolly man in red vows to return the next year.
Further encounters see Santa battling the Krampus, Kidnapping children and he even becomes a zombie when his powers are stolen by Roger. One thing is for sure, this thing between the Smiths and Santa is NOT over!
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)
If there is one film on the list that deserves to be bigger than it is, it the Finnish horror film, Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale. A surprising entry in 2010, the film never really made the heights that it should, telling the story of a deep core drilling company that awaken something very ancient in a Finnish province of Lapland, as a Killer Santa runs amok. Rare Exports excels in storytelling and manages to be extremely satirical and funny. It’s a Christmas black comedy you just can’t afford to miss.
American Horror Story: Asylum – Unholy Night (2012)
The second season of American Horror Story took us to the fictional mental institution, Briarcliff Manor and weaves the deep and twisted story of the inmates and staff that work there. During the eighth episode of the show, we are introduced to Leigh Emerson (Ian McShane) a psychotic patient that once went on a killing spree dressed a s Santa Claus.
Emerson is seen as a danger to everyone and is always kept shackled and is locked permanently in s solitary confinement. In the hope of find redemption, Leigh is given the opportunity to dress up once more as Santa to lift everyone spirits, but he instead goes on a bloody rampage.
Silent Night (2012)
Silent Night is a 2012 remake/sequel that appears hear as the sixth instalment in the Silent Night, Deadly Night franchise. The film yet again sets a man dresses in a Santa Claus suit against a bunch of hapless town folks, who have all been “Naughty” in some way. The modern nature of the film has swerved the film towards the noughties obsession with masked killers and mystery behind the killer’s identity, something the franchise never really embraced.
It’s a great horror film, filled with semi-nude woman being fed into wood chippers, people being electrocuted with Christmas lights and a rampage with a flame thrower. To say that this film doesn’t chuck the whole sink at its efforts would be an underestimate. It’s violent, gory and has a wicked sense of humour.
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“Merry Christmas Horror Fans. Phew…what a list. i’ve not seen so much red outside of a Friday the 13th film! There are a few CHILLS in there, along with a couple of THRILLS. Don’t miss Santa’s Slay (2005) and Rare Exports (2010) as they are particular good. Also, never neglect your classics, so make sure to take a turn with Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) and Christmas Evil (1980). Well, I hope you get more than coal in your stockings this year. So have a great time everyone, and don’t forget to drop us a message in the comments below!