In this campy-on-purpose holiday horror comedy, we learn that Santa Claus (Bill Goldberg) is actually the son of Satan, and the only reason he's been "nice" for the past thousand years was because he lost a bet with an archangel. Well, the millennium is now up and he's free to go back to his old murderous ways unless a couple of teenagers can figure out how to stop him. Cheap, tasteless, black humored fun riddled with bizarre celebrity cameos (Fran Drescher? James Caan?).
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Move over Charlie Brown, you've been replaced.
A.N. Roman | Hillsboro, OR | 01/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You know what's funny? Bill Goldberg quit the WWE a few years ago because they wouldn't up his salary. He claimed that he was worth more than he was making at the time, which may or may not be true. The funny thing is- if Goldberg wasn't making enough money in wrestling, a multimillion dollar industry, why the hell is he making a B-horror movie? It baffles me to see his career come to this. In fact, I know anyone seeing this page, who knows who he is, must be in shock too. But the surprise is, it's the best movie of the year. Mark my words- nothing can match Santa's Slay as far as sheer insanity, coolness and...everything else really. God, I'm still shaking my head over how awesome this movie is. If you've seen Frankenfish and the Gingerdead Man, this is just barely better than those. Where else can you see a viking-esque Santa drop kick a Pomeranian into a fan, kill Chris Kattan (thank god), Fran Drescher, and the rest of a family using nothing but the Christmas dinner? If you came up with an answer, then shut the hell up and never talk to me again. Santa's Slay is the definition of cool.
The movie starts out with a nice family dinner. The husband and wife are arguing, and the wife is enjoying the young guest they have over. But just then, a noise is heard from the chimney. Someone doesn't roll out of it though. No, they walk through the chimney, breaking part of it as they stomp about. It's Santa, and he's keeping up on that naughty list. He drop kicks the family dog right into a fan, sending it packing, uses the tree topper star as a weapon on the youngest daughter, stuffs the husband with the turkey, burns Fran's hair off and drowns her in a bucket of wine. What a way to start the movie. Cut to Christmas Eve, and we're introduced to Nick and Mary- two workers at a deli. Nick's never had a good Christmas, and this year's isn't shaping up to be any better. He has a thing for Mary, who doesn't make much of him, but remains a friend. They have to deal with a naggy customer, complaining about how it's Christmas time, and they should wish her a a merry Christmas instead of the P.C. "happy holidays". Once she leaves, Santa deals with her in spades. Using his Hell Deer (ie- massive buffalo), he causes her to flip her car 10 feet in the air. My jaw was on the floor at this point. Later, we meet Nick's "crazy" grandpa, who goes by the name of Grandpa. He's an inventor, and has a bomb shelter in the basement. He also looks like a Christmas elf, which probably doesn't help his image. His newest invention is a projectile launching Nut Cracker, one of the coolest inventions to ever grace the land. Eventually, he shows Nick a book covering the history of Santa. As it turns out, Santa is the son of Satan, and used to torture and kill people. In a classic wooden puppet sequence, we see that Nick's grandpa was an angel sent down to deal with Santa. Winning a game between the two, Santa was forced to spread joy to everyone for 1,000 years. Obviously, his time's up, and he's out looking for Grandpa. The rest of the movie turns into a free for all between Grandpa, Nick, Mary, the town folk, and Santa.
If you aren't interested in the movie yet, you must either be senile or too classy for movies like these. In between the main plot points, Santa is going nuts with the city. In one scene, he's outside a store ringing a bell for charity, collecting money. Don't bother with asking why, since there's no excuse for him doing something like this when he's out looking for Grandpa. No, because Santa deals with an attempted robbery with the power of a candy cane. A few minutes later, he's out killing perverts in a strip club shortly before burning it down. But don't think Santa is all fun and no professionalism. Before using a dancing pole as a weapon, he takes time to sanitize it (or maybe...SANTATIZE IT???). The strip club is also one of the few times in movies where I've seen an Asian bouncer. Sure, the special effects aren't that great, but they're used sparingly. A question I kept asking myself was, if Santa's the son of Satan, shouldn't he have special powers or something? He doesn't really have any until later in the movie where he shoots a fire ball from his mouth. Aside from that, he's usually brawling with everyone. They did a good job spacing everything out in that department. There's never too much fighting and not enough plot. Speaking of plot, the story regarding Santa being the son of Satan is surprisingly in-depth, taken care of with a brief history from the book, and the wooden puppet segment. Sure, it may be overly in-depth, but it's more than most movies attempt to provide. Then come the jokes, like old people doing one liners, kids swearing, kids having their heads blown up, the preacher's Christmas speech where he announces the names of dead strippers, Santa killing a Jewish deli owner and then bumping into 4 Jewish guys outside, Nick going to a Santa tracking site and asking if Santa's real, only to get the reply, "how old are you?" before getting a true answer. There's so much in this movie, that I found myself watching it over and over without it losing the humor. I tell you, this is the new Christmas classic to watch each year. Verily, this could replace A Christmas Story.
Sadly, the transfer isn't as good as the movie. There's some edge enhancement to be found, and colors tend to be faded in a few scenes, despite this taking place during a festive time. It does look better than most direct to video/dvd movies, so I'll give it credit there. The audio fares about the same. Voices are a bit quiet, and you'll have to turn up the volume a bit in order to hear them, but everything's clear. The sound effects are great, making full use of the Dolby 5.1 track.
Amazingly, there's a commentary on here, featuring the director/writer David Steiman and one of the producers. This is their first movie, and with that note, I'm impressed. The two talk a lot about the shooting process, incidents on set, strippers, and the class act special effects. While they tend to watch the film in some spots, they more than make up for it with their information. I liked the small errors they pointed out too- like how Nick's house is the only one lit up with lights on Christmas Eve. David does a great job here- practically providing a bibliography of where he got some info, like translation sites he got the Norse from, movies he made shout outs to, and more. This is a great track also thanks to them not taking everything so seriously. Slay Ride: Hell on Hooves is a short featurette dealing with making the Hell Deer. It covers everything: using baby powder to color the buffalo white, the different antlers they made for him, how it got scared of Goldberg's voice, and more. They also cover the sleigh/slay design and have concept art for the original designs. It ends showing how they made the buffalo fly, putting it on wires against a green screen. I don't care who you are, but flying buffalo and buffalo on wires are funny. There are 11 deleted scenes, but you don't get a play all option, so going through one at a time gets irritating. Most of them don't add much to the movie, except for the second one. Amazon would never allow me to type the name of the scene, much less describe it. It's a great idea though. There's also a 5 minute making of featurette, which covers the concept behind Santa's Slay. The director does most of the talking here, and again, he comes off as a cool guy and it shows that he had fun making the movie. The longest featurette is 11 minutes, and that's a blooper reel, starting out with the sack scene. It also has an alternate ending, similar to Adam Sandler's movies with an epilogue showing what happened to each character in the end. To get this extra, you have to move the arrows on the menu around until you make a blue face pop up. Hit that, and you'll go right to it. Finally, there are trailers for other Lion's Gate movies. Sadly, I couldn't find the Taking the Reins: My First Movie extra that the back of the box listed. Maybe it's more well-hidden than the blooper reel.
You get a great movie on a great disc here, and it's worth every penny. I don't see not buying Santa's Slay as an option. This is the new Christmas classic that we've been waiting for. Seriously, where else can you see a buffalo eat a valet parking guy while Santa's off burning a strip club down with a piece of coal? That's what I thought."
It's Not "It's A Wonderful Life"!
Simon Davis | 01/09/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I only recently had an opportunity to see this rather odd little Christmas film for the first time and I have to admit that despite being a great fan of traditional Christmas stories along the lines of "Miracle on 34th Street", and "White Christmas", I did greatly enjoy this "different", take on dear old Santa Claus. From the ferocious looking cover on the DVD it certainly didn't appear a terribly promising cinematic experience however I found myself feeling equal parts fear, laughter and amazement at what unfolded. Wrestler Bill Goldberg surprisingly makes an inspired casting choice as Old St. Nick as we certainly have never seen him before and his mean looking face, huge bulky body and deep sinister voice really made the character a memorable one. For a low budget production "Santa's Slay", actually manages to have a polished expensive look to it and some of the special effects were actually very well done considering. Turning just about every well loved Christmas tradition on its head the most memorable visual for me in "Santa's Slay", in among the excessive violence and grisly deaths, is the impressive "slay' driven by Santa which is a sinister looking vehicle led not by Reindeer but by a rather menacing Buffalo with big horns that somehow is a most suitable companion for this very angry Santa who would never be mistaken for Edmund Gwenn's "Kris Kringle"."
Alexander The Great | Michigan | 10/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this movie on Spike TV a few days ago. It was awesome and unbelievable seeing Goldberg playing an evil santa claus who kills people. Awesome Movie! Good Job, Goldberg!!"
I knew it Santa is SATAN ! ! !
Remo Chiun | New England | 11/16/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Just saw it on Spike TV and was dissapointed that it wont release until 20th of December. I would have loved to give as a gift to co-workers.
This was awesome... 3 scenes I thought were hilarious.
1) Beginning scene where everybody acts obnoxious and Santa comes in and kills them all. (Futurama rip-off?) 2) He walks into a stripper bar and says "ho ho..." and as one of the strippers walks past him he looks at her and says "HO". 3) The flashback history scene done in the Rankin Bass animation style. I was cracking up through that one."
Good for some laughs. Best viewing with friends and beer
M. Celaschi | California | 11/17/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It turns out there were 2 Immaculate Conceptions: One was Jesus and one was Santa Claus. One day, Santa loses a bet with an angel and must play nice for 1000 years (this part was told in stop motion animation). Well, his punishment is up and he's here to wreck havoc. Only an old inventor, his grandson "Nicholas Yuleson", and girlfriend "Mary" (played by Emilie de Ravin) can stop him.
This film takes a fun look at the Holidays with the blackest of black humor. It opens with Chris Kattan, Rebecca Gayheart, Fran Drescher, and James Caan getting slaughtered by Santa. There are countless of other cameos strewn throughout the movie. Oh, and did I mention that WWE wrestler Bill Goldberg is playing Santa and doing his own stunts? And that Brett Ratner (Rush Hour 1-3, X-Men 3) produced this?
There is much fun to be had here such as Santa beating up Christmas Carolers, kids running from Santa on snow mobiles, and a Jew holding up the Star of David to Santa (similar to a cross to a Vampire) in hopes his faith would save him. You will see a candy cane in the eye, a Christmas star in the back, Santa's sleigh getting valet parking, and some Ho-Ho-Hoes in stripper attire.
The production values were very high and it looks as though it was shot on 35mm. They had great props like a Santa's Slay driven by a yak/ buffalo (?). The sound varied a bit during dialogue-heavy and action-heavy scenes, which caused me to raise and then lower the volume a few times.
I only have two minor gripes. While there is a high body count, they skimp on the gore. The film overall is more comedic than scary, so Gorehounds will not be as amused.
Another thing was girlfriend Mary's personality inconsistencies. (Yes, I pay attention to character development even in horror films). They show her as a strong woman driving a big truck, shooting guns, and putting her boyfriend's hands on her breasts. But once Santa arrives, she can only whine about how scared she is. She even pulls out the Stupid Card by stopping dead in her tracks while in the middle of a getaway to talk to her boyfriend about her feelings.
Favorite Quote: A few good ones, but my favorite was when Nicholas shines a flashlight in Santa's eyes temporarily blinding him and Santa yells, "I'm Santa Claus, not f*cking Dracula!"
DVD Extras: Scene Selection, Audio Set Up, Deleted Scenes, Casting, "Taking the Reins" (Steiman's First Film), 2 Easter Eggs (one features 6 trailers), and of course Commentary with the Director and Producer. This explained how Goldberg met his wife. She was a stunt double for the trapeze stripper in pasties whose crotch his face was buried in for 4 days. Duh. How else would they have fallen in love?
Bottom Line: Good for some laughs, but minimal gores/sex. Best viewing with friends and beer.