The movie opens with little Billy seeing his parents murdered by a robber in a Santa suit (and man, they milk that kill for all it’s worth, rerunning that footage repeatedly). Interestingly, that opening kill is far more brutal than it was originally scripted as. The screenplay simply says Santa yanks open the car door. Ellie’s screams stop and he stands over her lifeless body. there’s no mention of him pulling her our, ripping the blouse and cutting her throat. This is curious considering ti’s the single most re-used piece of footage throughout the entire series.
Of course this all happens right after a visit with the most terrifying grandpa ever, who warns Billy about Santa punishing the wicked. The message is only reinforced at the catholic orphanage (They sure did know how to build ugly buildings in the 70’s an 80’s) he finds himself in as he suffers bad flashbacks. Still, when we flash forward 10 years later to his job at a toy store, everything seems to be alright. He seems well adjusted.
I got to admit, I’m digging the toy store he works at, spotting familiar boxes. Things start to go wrong right after the Christmas banner goes up though, and the flashbacks return.
And then, the store owner asks him to fill in for Santa. Because this won’t end badly at all will it? I’m not sure how the parents don’t notice their kids are terrified by the dire Santa, but the nun from the orphanage realizes just how bad a scene this is.
The killing starts around forty minuets in and it turns into an earnest slasher.Don’t let the early kills fool you, the murders get more outrageous as we go on.
It’s an odd slasher though, lacking a final girl or a defined set of victims. Our Santa killer is more of a wandering villain, popping targets of opportunity.
As Christmas thrillers go, this one has some chilling moments and a very grindhouse feel. It’s cheap but a good VHS throwback.
But does it really deserve 5 Sequels?