Christmas Slay!

While we here at Halloween Shindig understand that this is a Halloween blog, we also firmly believe that everyday is not Halloween. And one day that is definitely not Halloween is Christmas. However, we also understand that any good Weener is gonna wanna spook-up their Christmas festivities all the same. That’s just a given.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a list to get you in the spirit of the season without straying from the things you hold near and dear: murder and monsters. So let’s do a little side-step around the pumpkin patch for a moment and wander over into the Christmas Tree lot.

And there’s a lot of Christmas Slashers for you to choose from. But how much holiday cheer can expect from each? Should you even watch some of them?

Here, we’ll take a look at each one of these Christmas Slashers in depth and rank them based on 3 qualities:

  • Yuletide Quotient (how Christmasy it is)
  • Christmas Slay Quotient (how Christmasy the killing is)
  • Killer Santa Quotient (how Christmasy the murderer is).

From 0 to 5 we’ll rank each categories for the film and then combine them for a grand total of Christmas Slayability.  We will then present the films in order from least to most Christmasy.

Also a big shout out to Ernest Saves Christmas which is obviously not on the list but is the inspiration for its title.

 

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Silent Night, Bloody Night  (1972) ★★½

This bizarre entry is just a bizarre movie all around. Unfortunately, it’s not terribly Christmasy. As with Blood Beat, its taking place during Christmas seems almost completely incidental. Set this story at any other time of the year and it wouldn’t change things one bit. However, it does offer some seasonal spirit and won’t feel completely out of place.

Yuletide Quotient: 2


This is probably the category where Silent Night, Bloody Night is strongest. You’re getting some snow, a few decorations, a little Christmas music and even a nice scene with Diane wrapping some Christmas presents. That’s about it though.

Christmas Slay Quotient: 0


While not even really a slasher movie, its generalized slay quotient is pretty low in and of itself. What opportunities it does to have to capitalize on in this department it does not take. Mostly this is just a table setting for the slashers and holiday slashers to follow. There are a few fun kills though and a pretty creepy flashback involving the loosed inmates of a homemade asylum.

Killer Santa Quotient: 0


This one plays out more like a giallo (which feels even a bit gracious to say) and as such you’re never really seeing the murderer. Once you do though, you can rest assured there’s nothing festive about them.

Total Christmas Slayability: 2

Should you even watch Silent Night, Bloody Night then? Well, I’d say that really depends on your temperament. This is low (low) budget early 70’s fare, somewhat reminiscent of Lets Scare Jessica To Death. I wouldn’t suggest this one to maybe but a hardcore group of fans with that go-getum completist attitude. It definitely won’t liven up your Christmas Movie Marathon and I certainly wouldn’t expect it to entertain the average movie viewer.

Silent Night, Somewhat Unnerving But Mostly Boring Night



 

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Blood Beat (1983
) ★½


”Mama, tell us what’s going on here.”


“No. You wouldn’t understand.”


And thus, Blood Beat has spoken.

Here’s some Christmas what-the-fuckery for ya. A young man takes his girlfriend to meet his family for Christmas. Mom’s a psychic painter. Dad’s a simple man that hunts deer. The young man plays monopoly with his sister. The girlfriend has screaming orgasms while a ghost samurai appears and stabs the shit out of people. Oh. Well of course he does. That makes perfect sense.

Yuletide Quotient: 2


Outside of the basic excuse of getting a family together, there seems to be absolutely no reason for this film to take place during Christmas. As such, it’s Christmas Slay Quotient is particularly low. There is some snow however, a Christmas tree, some Christmas lights and a few presents. Don’t look for Blood Beat to really set off your holiday, however. While you’re at it, don’t look for Blood Beat to make one lick of goddamn sense either. In fact, don’t look for Blood Beat at all.

Christmas Slay Quotient: 0


As you can imagine, slashing people with a sword isn’t terribly festive. Well, maybe it isn’t. I guess that all depends on how you get down on Christmas.

Killer Santa Quotient: 0


Since ghost samurai are totally Christmasy, it’s Santa Quotient is off the fucking charts. Seriously, this movie is fucking weird and really doesn’t seem to concern itself with whether or not you are intrigued or just confused. It has no interest in your needs as a viewer and has no time for you piddling inquiries. Such as:

  • Why is this film set around Christmas?
  • Why is there a ghost samurai who appears whenever this chick is coming like old faithful?
  • Why is this dude’s mom so weird?
  • How is it that she is familiar with this spirit?
  • Is the girlfriend, in fact, the samurai?
  • Why can everyone produce the same strange blue lights from their hands?
  • Why is everyone making really intense faces while presumably psychic phenomena is occurring?
  • Is psychic phenomena even occurring, or are these people just a bunch of fucking weirdos?
  • Why is the dad watching a tiny TV with giant headphones?
  • Why am I even watching this?

These are all great questions that will not be answered by Blood Beat.

Total Christmas Slayability: 2

Oh cum all ye faithful

.

 

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Silent Night, Deadly Night III: Better Watch Out! (1989
) ★½

From a purely festive standpoint Silent Night, Deadly Night 3 is a step in the right direction following the largely unChristmasy Silent Night, Deadly Night 2. From just about every other standpoint, it’s just about 2 steps in every wrong direction. This dull, plodding, joyless film may feel a bit more coherent and finely crafted than its predecessor, but it is so much less enjoyable for it.

Ricky is back, though unfortunately Eric Freeman is not. This time Bill Mosley shows up to play a half retard(er), dome-headed version of Ricky that shares a mental link with a blind psychic girl. I’m sorry, what? Yeah and she has the ability to tap into scenes from the original that Ricky can’t possibly remember. Bonus.

Yuletide Quotient: 3

Seeing as how this installment mostly takes place on Christmas Eve, there’s a bit of Holiday ambiance to go around. Not a lot though and certainly not as much as there should be. Like its predecessor, its penchant for reusing scenes from the original helps a bit in this department. It starts out pretty promising in this regard too, with a dream sequence that is pretty festive and SNDNy, but it quickly looses it way.

Christmas Slay Quotient: 0


I guess it doesn’t matter which Caldwell brother shows up or what actor is playing him. This family refuses to murder its victims in festive ways. Goose egg.

Killer Santa Quotient: 0


Holy shit. They managed to fuck this up too somehow? You might not get much of Ricky in a Santa suit out of Part 2, but at least you get it. He’s too busy here wandering around with his salad bowl head stabbing people in boring ways to even attempt a wardrobe change. Which is a shame, because he does kill a drunken Santa in the beginning. I consider that a missed opportunity to suit up. If you count the footage from part 1 and that dream sequence where a Santa brandishes a a knife, you might could muster up a measly 1. But fuck that, and fuck Silent Night, Deadly Night 3. You better watch the fuck out, alright.

Total Christmas Slayability: 3

and even that feels fucking generous.

Silent Night, Squandered Night



 

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Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation (1990
) ★★½

How do you make a Silent Night, Deadly Night sequel and just rip any Christmas spirit it had left from its rotting, frozen carcass? I guess you call up Brian Yuzna and let him run amuck with some kind of bizarre Society meets Rosemary’s Baby tale of witchcraft and femanism. What the hell is going on here?

I actually don’t mind The Initiation on its own merits. It’s pretty interesting, with some great FX from Screaming Mad George and a couple of seriously weird and creepy scenes. More than that, it’s also an vast improvement in many ways over Silent Night, Deadly Night 3.
 The problem is it feels more like Yuzna and Woody Keith already had this idea for a film called The Initiation and somehow convinced the producers to get it funded (or released) under the Silent Night, Deadly Night banner. Which is a shame, because it ain’t half bad, but as a Christmas Slay and a SNDN installment it kinda just shits the bed.

Yuletide Quotient: 2


While not devoid of Christmas, The Initiation seems content on giving you as little as possible. There’s some decorations here and there, the main building has a neat Christmas light tree, there’s a giant nutcracker and a couple of quick Christmas gatherings shown. Mostly these touches seem like a way to justify its SNDN moniker as this story has absolutely no need to be taking place around Christmas.

Additionally, setting your batshit non-Christmas story in perpetually sunny LA does not help your Christmas movie be more Christmasy.

Christmas Slay Quotient: 1


Yeah, ok but is there any chance there’s some Christmasy murders?

Murders? No, but miraculously in a last ditch clutch effort, Clint Howard strangles the shit outta one dude with some Christmas tree lights. After that, the whole damn tree goes up in flames, taking the house with it. Give it a 1.

Killer Santa Quotient: 0


But c’mon, this is a Silent Night, Deadly Night, there’s gotta be some kinda Christmasy killer, no? Well, in case you’ve been a asleep from the last 2 sequels, murderous Santas aren’t really on the menu any more. And apparently moving on to some other festive type murderer, The Initiation is content to just sort of throw some witches at you. Merry fucking Christmas.

Total Christmas Slayability: 3

Silent Night, Deadly Night?

 

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Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 (1987)
 ★★★★★

Hmmm, Silent Night, Deadly Night 2, eh? That cover looks pretty damn Christmasy. I love this movie to pieces but lets see how one of the worst sequels ever stacks up to some festive scrutiny.

Yuletide Quotient: 2

About a 3rd of Silent Night, Deadly Night 2’s meager runtime is comprised of footage from Part 1. This is cheating. I would like to give it a negative point for that but the act of watching the film still provides a bit of Christmasiness. Not much though, as the majority of the actual film isn’t even set during Christmas at all. With the exception of the last scene or 2, when Ricky decides to don a Santa outfit and attack Mother Superior and the movie decides it wants to be a Silent Night, Deadly Night sequel.

Christmas Slay Quotient: 0

Ricky offs a few people, most famously with a gun on Garbage Day. Garbage Day is not Christmas Day and a gun is not festive. Nor is car battery electrocution or an umbrella impaling. They’re pretty awesome, but not at all Christmasy. No points awarded SNDN2.

Killer Santa Quotient: 2

Ricky is no Billy. Eventually though, he does dress up like Santa, but it’s too little, too late. I love this movie. I really do. It’s one of the most enjoyable headscratchers of all time and it has my highest recommendation. However, when it comes to Christmas Slayability, Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 gets a lump of coal.

Total Christmas Slayability: 4

Silent Night, Garbage Day!

 

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Black Christmas (1974) 
★★★★★

The film that not only gave birth to Christmas Slasher genre, or the Holiday Slasher genre but maybe even the entire slasher genre as we know it altogether, Black Christmas is no joke.

Chances are, if you’re reading this list you either :

A) already love Black Christmas or

B) need to be watching Black Christmas

Regardless of how it stacks up here (which admittedly will be below some movies that it is much, much superior to) this is one of great Christmas Slays of all time.

Yuletide Quotient: 5

While perhaps the least ostentatious offerings to score so high, Black Christmas doesn’t trade subtlety for a lapse in atmosphere. Bob Clark maintains a festive air without ever bludgeoning the audience with Christmas. From the eerie opening echoes of “Silent Night” to Pi Kappa Sigma’s ever present glow of colored light emanating from its wreaths and tree, draped in its ominous web of snow – you never forget it’s Christmas. The story here is allowed to be enhanced by its setting rather than be indebted to it. While the impending holiday break offers the opportunity for confusion and isolation, it always feels like you’re watching a slasher film that takes place during Christmas, rather than a Christmas slasher film.

Christmas Slay Quotient: 0

For this reason, the other 2 categories are non-factors for the film, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. Black Christmas is handedly the finest film on this list. It is no novelty, like the majority of the movies here, with their devilish Santas hurling present bombs, or goofy Christmas creatures causing Yuletide havoc. The deaths on display are few and far between but they some of the most effective the genre ever mustered. Whether it’s the alarming suffocation of Clare, the guttural hoisting of Mrs. Mac or the practically impressionistic stabbing of Barb, these murders are memorable, influential and disturbing.

Killer Santa Quotient: 0

There’s no holiday themed marauder running amuck in Black Christmas. To the contrary, you barely see the killer at all. What you get instead in one the most deranged and intense killers of the entire genre, depicted almost entirely off camera. His phone calls are disturbing and psychotic. Once he leaves the confines of the attic, his actions are fierce, swift and chaotic. The Moaner, or Billy, who is never seen in full view nor identified, with motives that remain a complete and utter mystery, is one of the creepiest slashers of all time.

Total Christmas Slayability: 5

This number completely misrepresents how Christmasy and requisite Black Christmas is to any horror fan’s (or any movie fan’s) December rotation. As influential as it is well made, I can’t say enough good things about this movie. From its effective and groundbreaking POV camera work, to its gorgeous cinematography, to its unnerving score and pacing, to all the genre tropes it installs, Bob Clark’s best Christmas movie is also one of the best slasher (and horror) films of all time.

Black Don’tmiss. (Yeah, that one’s not great.)

 

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To All a Goodnight (1980) 
★★½

Somewhere between Prom Night and Friday the 13th falls this also-ran which never really makes the cut. If you took Bob Clark’s Black Christmas, added a killer Santa and then made a much less impressive movie, you’d probably get To All a Goodnight. It’s not the worst thing imaginable, but it is recommended for Christmas slasher completists and perhaps no one else.

Yuletide Quotient: 2

Moderate. Feels subduded, like Black Christmas, only a little less concerned. Lots of lights and wreathes adorning shots but nothing terribly overt, except for the murderous Santa, but even he’s kinda lurking in the background until the end.

Christmas Slay Quotient: 0

Zero. No Christmas kills. Santa’s old standard, the Christmas Axe, makes an appearance though, as does a knife and some garrote  wire. But none of that is Christmasy

Killer Santa Quotient: 4


There’s actually 2! Bonus! That’ oughta kick To All a Goodnight up a notch in the rankings. Probably undeservedly.

Total Christmas Slayability: 6

A Merry Christmas to a Select Few and…

 

 




Psycho Santa (2003) 
½

It may have the dumbest and most uninspired title on the list. It may plod along with all the efficiency of of ’68 Mustang in rush hour traffic. It may have about as much charm as a high school AV project, but Pyscho Santa has a few interesting ideas going on under its amateur hood.

Unfortunately, it can’t edit any of them into something even resembling a watchable experience. I’ve trudged through a lot of unbelievably difficult movies and Psycho Santa is a slog of a slog. It’s not even that it’s so terrible. In fact, there’s some stuff to like. I’ve seen plenty of worse films. But it’s been a while since I’ve seen a movie that struggles this much to get through even the most basic of actions.

Every move is labored. Every task takes twice as long as it should in real life and 4 times as long as it should in a movie. Every scene drags on well passed the limits of reason. What amounts to about 80 minutes of movie, which could easily be pare down to 40, ends up feeling like 120.
 However, for the masochistic Christmas slasher completist, there’s some holiday cheer to be had here.

Yuletide Quotient: 2

Though obviously (and detrimentally shot) in what appears to be the full bloom of spring, Psycho Santa attempts to offset this fact by throwing around as much royalty free Christmas music and decorations as it can muster. It should have tried harder, as it isn’t quite enough. The Christmas spirit barely edges through the green leaves and T-shirt clad actors. Having a girl with a nice set of sugar plums dance around in a Santa hat is all well and good, but Santa Claws has it dead to rights in this dubious category. And though its brief indulgence in full frontal may be the least of bones these producers can throw to the poor victims of their dispassionate exercise, it’s hardly Christmasy.

Christmas Slay Quotient: 2

Another category Psycho Santa flirts with but never fully commits to. Body parts in separate Christmas gifts is a nice touch, but it’s mostly implied. There is a few giant candy cane stabbings, one of which is a Santa and that always a crowd pleaser. Otherwise this Santa isn’t too psycho for festive killings.

Killer Santa Quotient: 3

This is usually a tough call when there is in fact a killer Santa. Does that earn a 5 straight off the mark? I dunno. I don’t think so, particularly when he’s as menace-less and pedestrian as “Chris” here is. His name is Chris though, that should count for something and he is, for some inexplicable reason, obsessed with Christmas and Santa. He jacks his Santa suit from a real Santa whom he kills with a giant candy can, that’s a plus. Otherwise Chris is a dull slasher who’s never really given opportunity to rise above just a burned up weirdo in Santa suit.

Total Christmas Slayability: 7. Really? 7?

Numbers don’t lie, unless you’re talking about Psycho Santa, I guess. If I could gut rate this one based how much Christmas enjoyment it actually provides, it’d probably get a fucking  1. It tries, but it’s misguided, amateurish business that’s really tough to sit through. Not in the least bit recommended.

Slowmo Claus



 

 

Satan Claus (1996
) ★½

Here’s another no budget Christmas winner featuring a murderous Santa Claus. How many of these are there? Welp, quite a few apparently, with another (hopefully quality) addition coming in 2016 in the form of Good Tidings.


Satan Claus however, is not an offering of quality. The good news is that it’s refreshingly short (67 mins!) somewhat unintentionally amusing and filmed almost entirely without lighting so as not to offend the eye. Ah, but how much Christmas Slay does it pack into those 67 mins?

Yuletide Quotient: 1


Is it even Christmas in Satan Claus? Presumably, but you could have fooled me. If not for the murderous Santa and a light sprinkling of Christmas music I doubt the casual viewer would pick up any holiday ambiance. It’s one of the least Christmasy movies on this list. But hey, who the hell knows? This movie looks like it was lit with a couple of Bic lighters and a glow stick. Maybe it’s the most Christmasy movie ever but we just aren’t allowed to see any of it.

Christmas Slay Quotient: 2


Satan Claus isn’t the most prolific of killer Santas, nor is he the most Christmasy. However, Satan Claus does deliver one very unique and murderously festive concept and it’s enough to earn it at least a 2. This Santa is trimming his Christmas tree with the body parts of his victims, complete with a severed head for a tree topper. This is pretty awesome but it only partially makes up for the rest of its seasonal shortcomings.

Killer Santa Quotient: 4


For all the many things Satan Claus does wrong, it handles its titular maniac pretty well, making him perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of the entire affair. He looks weird, he cackles madly and heckles the police by phone. I did like Satan Claus even if I didn’t much care for Satan Claus.

Total Christmas Slayability: 7

Against the odds, Satan Claus pulls a pretty median score here, more proof that this number of mine hardly factors in how competent or watchable the film in question may be. I can’t exactly recommend this one but you could do a lot worse. If it’s between something like Psycho Santa or (God forbid) Christmas Season Massacre (which I flat out refused to include on this list) Satan Claus is improbably the wiser choice.

Sans Light Claus



 






Santa Claws (1996
) ★ 


Silent Night Deadly NightChristmas Evil, Don’t Open Till Christmas, … Santa Claws
. Apparently seeing adults fuck on Christmas really screws a kid up. Especially when one of them is this guy:

See, when Wayne was a kid, he caught his widowed mother fornicating with his uncle on Christmas, so he shot them both. Flash forward and Wayne is now an adult. He’s also a deranged and obsessive fan of Scream Queen Raven Quinn. So he embarks on a mission of conquest which for some reason involves killing her colleagues around Christmas.

This low rent slasher from John Russo is definitely worth missing, yet it still scores pretty high on the Slayability scale none the less.

Yuletide Quotient: 5


The Christmas meter’s almost red lining for this little micro budget skinfest. Snow, Christmas trees, lights, decorations and even original (and terrible) Christmas songs. Additionally, there’s the film within a film Scream Queen Christmas being shot by Raven’s production company. Since this “film” appears to be comprised of nothing but chicks in Christmas outfits getting naked and writhing in front of Christmas decorations, it’s mostly just erotic padding and a marketing point. Other than that, It seems to serves as a mouthpiece for Russo to justify his own brand of sleaze and shoot barbs at his “critics.” But we all know Russo has no actual critics. No one could be that invested in attacking John for his inconsequential titty pictures.

Christmas Slay Quotient: 0


Do you think gardening cultivators are Christmasy? Oh, you don’t? Well, than you’ll find nothing Christmasy about Santa’s claw. Or intimidating for that matter. This guy’s a real weenie.

Killer Santa Quotient: 3


Eventually Wayne decides to push his mania to the Christmas limit (to justify the film’s title I guess) and purchases a Santa suit. After which, he strangles a girl and then ditches the suit altogether for the rest of the killings. Then, for some completely unknown reason, he shows up at the end wearing a black Christmas suit. This is interesting. He calls himself Santa Claws and says all kinds of dumb Christmasy shit. I guess that can earn you a 3.

Total Christmas Slayability: 8

Basically, if you like tits and Christmas decorations, you might be in for a winner. If you like anything else, like reasonably plotted movies, servicable scripts, scenes that don’t drag on forever, halfway decent acting or actual gore, then Santa Claws will most likely just piss you off.

What the majority of this film looks like.

Scantily Claws





 

Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker (1991
) ★★★

Well it only took 4 sequels but Silent Night, Deadly Night finally decided to get back on track and become a series about Christmas again.

Perhaps the most (legitimately) watchable SNDN since the original, The Toy Maker isn’t half bad. It has some fun effects, an interesting premise and a genuinely unnerving finale. If you’re gonna pop in a Silent Night, Deadly Night other than Part 1, for pure Christmas Slayability there’s no better choice than Part 5.

Yuletide Quotient: 4

Inside of 3 minutes and you’re already getting more Christmas from Silent Night, Deadly Night 5 than from previous 3 installments combined. Lawn decorations, lights, a Christmas tree and a mysterious present. Throughout the rest of its runtime you’ll be treated to more presents, more decorations, a visit to a mall Santa with Clint Howard and a little bizarre Christmas scoring. Still set in LA however, it’s no winter wonderland, though it overcomes this burden much better than The Initiation.

Christmas Slay Quotient: 2


Not too many people are killed in The Toy Maker, in fact I think it’s only 4, as it doesn’t so much play out like a slasher. One of those victims is dispatched by a Santa toy in front of a Christmas tree though, and that’s festive enough to earn it a 2.

Killer Santa Quotient: 3


The aforementioned Christmas toy is a Santa. Score it a 1.

Two of the other murders are from other (non-festive) Christmas toys. Score it a 2.

Later, Mickey Rooney dons a Santa suit and it’s the scariest fucking Christmas image I’ve seen since Larry Drake stalked around in Tales From The Crypt’s And All Through the House. He also releases the murderous toys and kidnaps a child with a Santa sack. Score it a 3.

Total Christmas Slayability: 9

Silent Night, Back on the Right Track Sorta Night

 

 

Don’t Open Till Christmas (1984) 
★★★½

This sleazy British answer to Silent Night, Deadly Night flips the script. Instead of killer Santas someone is killing Santas! It’s actually totally watchable and its grimy atmosphere of drunken hobos, peep shows and murder feels appropriately disproportionate to the standard holiday fare making it a great Christmas slay addition.

Yuletide Quotient: 4

There’s actually quite a bit here. Tons of Santas, some holiday music, tinsel, a Charlie Brown tree, a Christmas pageant and a sizable Christmas Day flashback. It even opens up at a Christmas party, but you’ll half believe it’s a Halloween party until someone says “Merry Christmas.” Now I’m not British, so is this just how they traditionally roll on Christmas or is this movie just making shit up? It’s a little bizarre.

Christmas Slay Quotient: 3


I’m gonna sock it a 3, because while no one is killed in any Yuletide ways, exclusively killing Santas is pretty fucking festive. Plus one victim is choked out with some tinsel garland, there is the titular Christmas present and the murderer does use a lot of red handled weapons while attacking “Dungeon Santa.” Does that count? Ah, why not? That dungeon scene rules by the way. Creepy.

Killer Santa Quotient: 2

Murdering 10 different Santas, a few in some pretty gruesome ways (looking at you bathroom Santa) is enough to cut you some slack in this category. Adding to that the murderer’s very festive motivation I think is enough to pull a 2 here.

Total Christmas Slayability: 9

Happy Bloody Christmas, Mate!

 

 

Black Christmas (2006) 
★★★½

I love Bob Clark’s 1974 slasher classic. Just scroll up for evidence of this. That being said, I actually didn’t hate this remake as much as I should have or expected too. Oh it has problems, no doubt about that, but Glen Morgan serves up a much more enjoyable, effective and affectionate remake than I thought he might and certainly more than Steven Miller’s drab and foolish Silent Night.

Yuletide Quotient: 5

This remake doesn’t skimp on the Christmas by a long shot. Trading out the ominous and subtle atmosphere of its forebear, this one says fuck it and goes straight to main-lining eggnog and it’s a solid choice. It ends up delivering one of the more festive entries on this list. Trees, presents, snow, garland, Christmas music and an almost seizure-inducing amount of Christmas lights, it spares the rod and spoils the viewer. If you’re looking for a newer Christmas Slay that packs on the Yuletide spirit, this is the one.

Christmas Slay Quotient: 5


Billy (actually named Billy here) is a huge fan of Christmas and as such delivers the Christmas slay. Apart for small things like stabbing with a candy cane or hallmarks like a Christmas light strangling, Billy goes the extra mile and makes some hellish Christmas cookies. Though the plastic bag suffocation is beaten like a dead horse, there’s so much murder in this movie that he has time to spread the holiday cheer all over the walls. Billy even trims his tree Satan Claus style. How about that? Gets a solid 5 by featuring perhaps the most Christmasy kill of all time. It’s the last one and it’s a doozy.

Killer Santa Quotient: 0


Aside from killing exclusively on Christmas, there’s nothing festive about Billy Lenz himself. He’s much more present and active than The Moaner, but he is so much less scary. His calls are weak and underplayed. His methods (to this films benefit) are cartoonish. Violent as fuck and effective, but more of the novelty variety. The whole film feels that way honestly. This is Black Christmas for people who don’t think the original is violent or gory or Christmasy enough. It works on its own and it’s pretty fun and bizarre but it is a cheap caricature of a superior product.

Total Christmas Slayability: 10

Though it turns the dial to 11 in the Christmas Slay areas where the original suffers, that’s precisely why I don’t like it as much. The story is there and fittingly modernized with plenty of appropriate nods well handled. But it is garish and ostentatious. It has none of the grace, or subtlety, or craftsmanship of Bob Clark original. It is the very novelty movie I’m glad the original is not. The idea of filling in Billy’s back story is a logical place to go (if you’d like to do something different) and makes for some great sequences. But this also neuters Billy and the movie a bit.
 As I said, I enjoyed this more than I thought I might, but it’s far from being great. As a Christmas slay though, it’s certainly a winner and will definitely be a crowd pleaser for people looking for some festive mayhem.

Red Christmas

 

 

Elves (1989) 
★★★★

Ok, so Nazis genetically engineered mutant Elves as carriers for the DNA of the master race. What good does that do?

Well, on Christmas Eve they are to mate with the the perfect Aryan virgin, thus giving birth to the master race. Dan Haggerty is the ex-cop/ex-security guard/ex-drunk department store Santa that was prophesied to stop them. Got that? Alright, here comes fuckin’ Elves

Yuletide Quotient: 5

Big numbers from Elves out the gate. Christmas is in full swing in 1989. Decorations, lights, trees, a Santa village, Elves, Elves wearing Christmas hats and even a Sisters of Anti-Christmas crew of teenage floozies. Boom.

Christmas Slay Quotient: 2


The drop-off for Elves is the typical drop-off point for most of these Christmas Slayers: festive kills. The Elves, or rather Elf (as there is really only one) is a big stabber. He does electrocute a woman, which is pretty cool, but mostly he’s just stabbing. One victim is a pervy department store Santa who simply whispers the word “oral” creepily (and hilariously) to our teenage heroine while feeling up her leg. He gets stabbed up just before blasting some freshly driven snow up his chimney. That’s pretty Christmasy. I’m calling it a 2.

Killer Santa Quotient: 3

The Elves are elves, which is pretty festive. But he doesn’t really look or dress up much like a typically elf might. This is a detraction from its Santa Quotient.  However, he’s still and elf and at one point rocks a Santa hat before stabbing a chick. This helps.

Total Christmas Slayability: 10

Elves fucking rules. Between a little kid swearing his head off and telling his sister “you have fuckin’ big tits and I’m gonna tell everyone I saw them” to the handsy and suggestive Santa, to Dan Haggerty, to the low rent Nazis, to the incest, to the goofy looking titular monster himself, Elves is a holiday winner.


Fucking Little Ninja Trolls



 

 




Silent Night (2012
) ★★

There isn’t much to distinguish the polished turd known simply as Silent Night from any number of less glossy opportunistic slashers looking to cash in on the juxtaposition of a murderous Santa. Aside from a few terribly ineffective nods to the original (and a really stupid and pointless reference to its sequel) Silent Night plays out like Friday the 25th meets CSI: North Pole and it’s just about as dull as that sounds. But how much Christmas Slayability is to be had?

Now I’m sure to many viewers this will seem like an improvement over many of the older titles on this list (maybe even the original) and though I can assure them it is certainly not, to each their own. Modern audiences may want a more modern slasher and this will deliver that with a fairly hefty dose of Christmas evil.

Yuletide Quotient: 3


For all the festive trappings of Silent Night; its many Santas, its lights, its trees and presents, the film somehow doesn’t feel all that Christmasy. Maybe it’s the lack of snow. Maybe it’s the lack of appropriate music. I’m not sure what it was, but for me it lacked a truly memorable festive air. There is a creepy opening rendition of “Silent Night” that repeats subtly throughout that is a nice touch though. There’s also plenty of Christmas looking stuff and lighting all over the place. It definitely seems Christmasy, so I’ll sock if a 3 but for me it never really captured that feeling.

Christmas Slay Quotient: 3


This is where I was really expecting Silent Night to up the ante, but surprisingly this Santa pulls his Christmas punches a bit. It starts promising too with a Christmas light electrocution but tappers off to more standard slasher fare after that. There is a pretty awesome wood chipper execution at a tree lot which is fairly festive. There’s a couple of Santas that die too, that’s always a plus. Though not a Christmas kill, there is an excellent head splitting that is worth noting.

Killer Santa Quotient: 5


You’re definitely getting a killer Santa in Silent Night. He even makes his own mask ala Christmas Evil though he’s nowhere near as committed as Harry. He’s hulking and formidable, but he feels like a Jason clone, which is a shame seeing as how this is supposed to be a Silent Night, Deadly Night remake and all. There is one point where our killer Santa battles an unruly Santa for Santa supremacy which is pretty Santay too.

Total Christmas Slayability: 11

While nowhere near as fun or interesting as it should be, Silent Night still can make for appropriate Christmas horror viewing for those that don’t really care about the original or just generally like newer slashers. Personally, I didn’t care for it all that much. The failure to lift one iota of the charm, heart or the uniqueness from the original was a big turn off for me. The original is anything but a typical slasher and here they’ve boiled it down to the complete basics and churned out a totally forgettable outing. Thinking of it as Silent Night, Deadly Night 6 could help (its more conventionally watchable and Christmasy than any of the sequels) as it does bring the “series” back to its roots. But they didn’t do that. They billed as a remake and it loses points for me in that respect. I could go on an on here for pages about the things I didn’t like or how it totally lets down the original (especially when it tries to honor it) but I’ll leave that for another day.

Violent Night



 

 

Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) 
★★★★★

Billy has had his fair share of Christmas tragedy. From his creepy grandfather scaring the shit out of him about Santa, to that guy dressed In a Santa suit that murdered both his parents, to being continually assaulted by a mean old Nun ever december, Christmas is a rough time of year for the little guy.

Is it any wonder when Mr. Simms at Ira’s Toys asks Billy to fill in as the store’s Santa on Christmas Eve, all holy hell breaks loose? Naw, not at all.

This is my favorite Christmas movie ever, full stop. I love Silent Night, Deadly Night. And though my love for this holiday horror-fest is as pure as the driven snow, I will try to rank this objectively. If I was making a regular list it’d be #1 no question, no need to even check it twice. But lets see how it stacks up. 

Yuletide Quotient: 5


Massive. Silent Night, Deadly Night is positively brimming with Christmas spirit. From the opening title card wrapped up in a wreath to the creepy chorus of “Santa’s Watching. Santa’s Waiting” during the credits, this one packs more yuletide cheer into its runtime that many others combined. Multiple Santas, decorations galore, snowmen, presents, trees and even its own original Christmas songs? Oh Holy Night.

Christmas Slay Quotient: 2


While Billy does murder 8 people in some pretty creative ways, there’s only one that’s terribly festive; a strangulation by Christmas lights, the gold standard of the Christmas killer. Unless you count Matt, who gets decapitated while sledding, which I don’t. Ah, fuck it, I’ll give it a 2. Punish!

Killer Santa Quotient: 5

2 murderous Santas + 2 murdered Santas + 1 Santa getting cold cocked by an 8 year old = 5. Add to that some attempted Santa rape, nun whipping and Billy’s awesome Grampa and there’s no debate. Naughty!

Total Christmas Slayability: 12

 


It’s always Christmas on the warm side of this door.

 

 

Jack Frost (1997
) ★★★★

Oh I know it looks bad, and perhaps by some accounts Jack Frost is, but it’s pretty damn fun, and funny and above all Christmasy.

The brutal murderer Jack Frost (whom you’ll hear all about in one of the greatest and most Christmasy openings on the list) is being carted off to death row one snowy night. Unfortunately his transport collides with a chemical truck hauling some exotic and toxic substance. This chemical essentially melts Jack to death and then fuses his DNA with the snow. Now Jack’s back as a snowman and he’s out to get his revenge on the small town Sheriff who put him away.

This movie is silly, ridiculous, cheesy and is very much aware of that fact. Now you may not find it as enjoyable as I do, but it’s certainly not just another low budget, shitty horror movie. It’s not a failure. If anything, Jack Frost is a comedy…a comedy about a murderous snowman. And in that sense it is a success. Humor is a funny thing though and it may not succeed for you. I think it’s fairly well put together and humorous with tons of low budget heart and commitment.

Yuletide Quotient: 5


This present is stuffed so full of Christmas it’ll blow a tinsel load all over your holly bush. In a town literally called Snowmanton, there are snowmen and decorations everywhere, Christmas trees galore and the Christmas spirit is topped off with some original and awesome holiday surf music.

Christmas Slay Quotient: 3


A few of yuletides death trim this tree. Jack sees to a sled decapitation, shoots icicles out of his mitts and smashes one ladies face into box of ornaments after strangling here with some Christmas lights. Then he places her on the tree! Ho Ho Horror!

Killer Santa Quotient: 5


Jack may not be a Santa, but a killer snowman is definitely festive enough to get some high marks here. He’s full of Christmasy one-liners (some good, some bad) and with his icicle teeth and projectiles, his T-1000 like ability to liquify then reconstitute himself, Jack is more than equipped for some Christmas Slay.

Total Christmas Slayability: 13

Christmas is gonna come a little early this year.



 

 

Christmas Evil (1980) ★★★★½

You Better Watch Out was inappropriately renamed Christmas Evil and it’s been misleading people with its posters and new title ever since. If you enter this movie expecting a typical slasher movie or something more along the lines of Silent Night, Deadly Night you may find yourself disappointed. However, this takes nothing away from Christmas Evil. Quite the contrary! This is perhaps the most interesting, strange and enjoyable films on this list.

Harry it’s absolutely obsessed with Christmas and Santa Claus. His modest apartment is a winter wonderland in dedication to old Saint Nick. He even works at a toy factory.

However, Harry has grown increasingly disillusioned by the greed and spiritlessness his fellow man has shown in the face of giving and believing.
 After an epiphany during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, Harry decides this year he will become Santa and reclaim the joy once found in this magical day.
 He beings crafting his own suit, painting his creepy van as a sleigh and even keeping a “Bad Girls and Boys” ledger where he catalogs all the activities of the neighborhood children.
 In the midst of all these good intentions, Harry slowly descends into madness and it isn’t long before the spirit of giving turns to the spirit of punishment.

Yuletide Quotient: 5


There’s no doubt you’re watching a Christmas movie here. Between Harry’s apartment, the toy factory and several stops under the Christmas tree as Santa himself, Christmas Evil has enough Yuletide ambiance to satisfy. But you get so much more. In addition to the seasonal soundtrack (featuring several songs from the essential Phil Spector Christmas album) Harry is humming Christmas songs in just about every scene. There’s snow, lights and presents all over the place. It’s one of the most Christmasy movies on the list.

Christmas Slay Quotient: 4


Harry doesn’t kill many people during his Christmas Eve rampage, but when he does, it’s festive as fuck. It all begins with him stabbing a toy solider into the eye of a Santa hater outside a Christmas mass on Christmas Eve. Now that’s enough right there to get you high marks. He then tries to suffocate a co-worker with his Santa bag. When it doesn’t work out so effectively, he slices his throat with a Christmas star. Harry loves Christmas. I give it a 4 only out of low body count.

Killer Santa Quotient: 5


Harry may not be the most productive murderous Santa around, but he may just be the most committed. His love for Santa, his toy making, his van painting and his homemade Santa costume all put Harry in a league of his own. The fact that he spies on the neighborhood children and keeps a running tally of when they’ve been naughty is just another Yule log on the fire. He steals a van load of toys from the factory and delivers them to a “Hospital for Retarded Children.” Harry is Santa. He’s not out to punish, he’s just a little too into the whole idea and then everything goes awry.

Harry is not “evil.” He is no slasher. He’s just misguided. He’s almost the antithesis to Billy Chapman. Billy hates Santa and Christmas, and with good reason. When forced to step into the role of Santa, Billy’s years of repressed psychosis and punishment all just come to a head. Harry loves Santa. He loves Christmas. He loves them so much he just ends up embodying the whole ideal. When that ideal is rejected, Harry just snaps. They are both damaged from childhood and the end result of their mania is similar, but their roads run parallel.

One of my favorite Christmas movies, slasher or otherwise, Christmas Evil is a bizarre slice Christmas dementia and essential Christmas viewing

Total Christmas Slayability: 14

You Better Watch Christmas Evil

 

 

Santa’s Slay (2005
) ★★★

This one is pretty fucking silly. Sometimes it’s an enjoyable silly and other times less so.

Basically Bill Goldberg (WCW wrestler and Atlanta Falcon’s defensive tackle) plays Santa, who in this tale is the son of Satan. Having lost a curling match to an angel, he was forced to make Christmas (hitherto a time of death and horror) merry and joyful for 1000 years. Well predictably, that time is up and Santa is out to make good on 1000 year of repressed aggression.

If you’re not terribly lactose intolerant and can get passed its post-millennium sensibilities, you’ll be treated to one of the heaviest hitters this list has to offer.

Yuletide Quotient: 5

There’s is no shortage of Christmas on Santa’s slay(sic). From the set decoration, to the snow, to the titular “sleigh,” to its musical selections (which can get grating at times) – just about every tradition and decoration is marched out during its runtime. It’s a Christmas movie that never stops feelings like Christmas movie.

Christmas Slay Quotient: 5

Though not all of the seemingly countless people Santa murders throughout Santa’s Slay are handled festively, there’s tons of Christmas kills. People are strangled with wreaths and Christmas lights. There’s candy cane stabbing, tree topper shuriken and Christmas present bombs. Santa torches an entire strip club with some incendiary Christmas coal. Even his buffalo (?) reindeer gets in on the murderous action. Santa’s Slay may very well be the greatest achiever this category has to offer. High marks.

Killer Santa Quotient: 5

There’s a killer Santa alright, perhaps the most formidable ever seen on screen. If SIlent Night, Deadly Night’s Billy and Ricky, Harry from Christmas Evil, both incarnations of the escaped lunatic from And All Through the House, the 2 from To All A Good Night, plus that hulking Voorhees Santa from Silent Night all tagged up against this murderous Santa, they would each of them swiftly die by his hand.

Total Christmas Slayability: 15!

While certainly not the finest film on the list, no movie quite ticks the boxes like Santa’s Slay.

 

Thanks for letting us guide you through  this Winter Murderland. Scary Christmas, Weeners!

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