Let’s wrap up our little Batshit-Crazy-Santas review series with a look at the 2005 straight-to-DVD “starring” vehicle for ex-wrestler Bill Goldberg, Santa’s Slay, shall we? Glad you agree.
So, yeah, here’s the straight dirt on Jolly Old St. Nick — he’s really a demon, got it? in fact, truth be told he’s not just any garden-variety demon, he’s the son of the Great Horned One, good ol’ Lucifer himself! Okay, so you could already have guessed as much. Nobody’s that fucking cheerful out of the goodness of their heart, it just ain’t natural. He’s an unlucky demon, though, in that he lost a bet to an angel and had to go around being nice for the next 1,000 years. Time’s just about up, though, and this Christmas is the Christmas that Santa gets to revert back to his old ways and pay back the human race — with interest!
Teenage schmuck Nicholas (Douglas Smith, who’s absolute cardboard and represents the weakest link in this movie’s casting) lives amidst a family of typically nauseating Christmas-lovers (even his girlfriend, future Lost beauty Emilie de Ravin seems to enjoy the “festive” season), with one notable exception : his curmudgeonly old grandpa (the late, great Robert Culp, who I guess it’s fair to refer to here as a Christmas-horror veteran since he also featured in Silent Night, Deadly Night 3), who for some mysterious reason knows the truth about the jolly fat man and shares it with his grandson. It might be too little, too late though, since (again, for reasons initially unexplained) Santa’s set his newly-evil sights squarely on Nicholas and intends to make him and his family the first victims of his new campaign of sadistic evil!
I’m not much for the whole wrestlers-turned-actors thing, but Goldberg’s casting as the wicked Santa here was definitely a stroke of genius — he tackles the role with absolute relish and looks to be having the time of his life. Culp is fantastic as always as grandpa (sporting an uncharacteristic five o’clock shadow here), and Fran (The Nanny) Drescher , Dave Thomas of Mackenzie Brothers fame, and the always-solid Saul Rubinek turn in fun performance in smaller roles, as well. the direction from David Steiman (who also wrote the screenplay) is unremarkable in any sort of stylistic sense, but certainly workmanlike and highly competent. My only gripe with this flick is that some of the CGI looks pretty dated (and was probably even substandard for its time), but apart from that this is a fun, original, slapstick-ish Christmas horror-comedy.
Santa’s Slay is available on DVD from Lionsgate and features a nice selection of extras including a full-length commentary track and some behind-the-scenes-type stuff. The anamorphic widescreen transfer looks great and the 5.1 surround-sound mix is very nicely done, as well.
If foul-mouthed children, even-fouler-mouthed old ladies, a flying bison, a gaggle of strippers, a demonic St. Nick out for revenge, jokes about caulk, and a cinematic salute to the sport of curling sound like your cup of tea, look no further — you’ll not only enjoy the hell out of Santa’s Slay, it will become a new holiday tradition in your home.