Santa's Slay (2005)

DVD Cover (Lions Gate)
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Overall Rating 54%
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Bill Goldberg
Bill Goldberg
Douglas Smith
Douglas Smith
Emilie de Ravin
Emilie de Ravin
Robert Culp
Robert Culp
Dave Thomas
Dave Thomas
Review by Chad
Added: December 17, 2011
Santa's Slay is one of those movies that I mean to watch every year around Christmas, but for some reason or another, I never get around to actually popping it in. I swore that I would make time for it this year, and thus, here we are. This is a movie that sounded incredibly ridiculous on paper and upon first hearing about it, I thought that it would be incredibly stupid and passed on it. Then, I saw the opening five minutes on YouTube and my pre-watching opinion was completely changed.

For those who haven't seen it, the opening scene features James Caan, Rebecca Gayheart, Chris Kattan, and Fran Drescher as rich elitists sitting around a Christmas dinner when a muscled-up Santa busts in, kicks the family dog across the room, and proceeds to murder everybody in humorous ways while spouting off one-liners. Five minutes of screen time, one sentence in writing. You're either sold on the movie (as I was), or you're clicking away from this right now.

You see, there have actually been two immaculate conceptions in the history of mankind. You all know about Mary popping out Jesus Christ courtesy of God, but what you may not have heard about is that "other" virgin that popped out Santa Claus (Bill Goldberg) thanks to Satan. Being the son of Satan, Santa took great pleasure in doling out death and destruction, and as it turns out, Christmas was his favorite day of the year to go on murderous rampages. That came to an end when an angel took advantage of Santa's gambling addiction and beat him in a curling match, resulting in Santa being forced to turn into a good guy and deliver presents to children on the day that he'd normally be out slaughtering them. This sentence lasted for a thousand years, and this Christmas... the little "good guy" stipulation has come to an end.

That brings us to today, where we meet up with Nicolas (Douglas Smith) and Mary (Emilie de Ravin), two teenage lovers living in the small town of Hell (not a typo) alongside Nicolas' crazy inventor of a grandfather (Robert Culp). Soon, they will find themselves running from a deranged Santa who wants nothing more than to add them to his body count, and considering that they are "running" while Santa is driving a Helldeer-drawn sleigh, I think that it's safe to say that Saint Nick definitely has the advantage.

So, as I mentioned, I loved those first five minutes. It set up a movie that could have been a holiday classic for the Troma fans in the same vein as ThanksKilling, but it quickly went downhill from there. The filmmakers came up with this novel concept for a Christmas movie, they came up with an amazing way to introduce their version of Santa Claus, and then they just sort of winged it from there.

Now, I realize that ninety minutes of Santa running around punting dogs and killing little old ladies might start to get boring, I don't know, around the eighty minute mark, so I understand the need to insert some sort of "real" story to go alongside it. Antagonist versus protagonist, I get the concept. However, I just didn't enjoy the two heroes that we got, I didn't care about them, and they did nothing but get in the way of the real fun of the movie. Emilie de Ravin may wish that this wasn't listed in her filmography, but she is as cute as can be here - that's a thumbs up, but it is the only thumbs up I can give for the heroes. They are otherwise as lifeless as can be and you just wish that Santa would get his hands on them as soon as possible so that he can move on to more entertaining targets.

Speaking of Santa, I have to say that I loved Bill Goldberg in the role. For those who don't know the man, he is a former NFL defensive lineman and a five-time WCW / WWE champion - he's also Jewish, but that's neither here nor there. Needless to say, he is one big, scary individual. So, he certainly has the look going for him, but he also has a lot of fun with the role and is entertaining as all hell whenever he is on the screen. He spits out one-liners with glee, and he's also a treat to watch in the various fight / kill / chase sequences, so the big man gets nothing but a big thumbs up from me.

Unfortunately, he only takes up about half of the screen time, with the heroes getting the other half of the running time - they drag it down, he picks it back up, and then they drag it down again. There are plenty of bright spots in here (watch for Santa's encounter with a pack of "Ho Ho Hos"), there are plenty of nods to traditional holiday elements, and yes, there are a lot of laughs to be had. Santa's Slay could have been a holiday classic, but thanks to the drag with the leading characters, it's really only good for a one-off viewing. 6/10.
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