You can always re-watch Miracle on 34th Street for a little holiday magic, but if you’re tired of the same old sweet Santa Claus, there are plenty of options out there – movies made from sick people who chose to pervert Santa Claus into either something he’s not or something he used to be back when he stole bad little children and cooked them into stew.
Man, Icelandic Santa myths are messed up.
There’s Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa, the ridiculous Hulk Hogan Santa With Muscles, and the always iconic mall Santa from A Christmas Story, but this list isn’t for those who simply don the red costume. This list is for the man himself – the giant elf who flies around the world giving presents and coal, and drinking your milk.
Oh, Santa. What have these filmmakers done to you?
7. Santa Claus Conquers The Martians (1964)
The Disturbance: Bad acting and ridiculous writing
The Pitch: It’s mostly what’s happening around Santa Claus in this film that leads to nightmares. Claus and his elves are elfnapped by Martians because they don’t have a Santa Claus of their own (sound familiar?), but between sabotaging his workshop and trying to murder him, the Martians don’t have a grasp on Christmas.
Beyond that, it’s really the acting choice of making Santa a sarcastic asshole that really seals the deal here.
Disturbing Dialog: “Oh, no, I’m not tired. But my finger is.”
6. The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006)
The Disturbance: Elitism and bad hair
The Pitch: Whoever thought up Martin Short as Jack Frost as Santa Claus is a genius that should be punished. Even though he’s the evil character, Short plays the Frost Saint Nick as far, far too creepy – believing, for some reason, that he’s not in the safe boundaries of a children’s movie.
Plus, his reign as Santa is a chilling one. The North Pole has been sold out to the tourism industry, and the wealthy buy their children’s ways onto the Nice List.
Disturbing Dialog: “Would you like to be my elf?” uttered lecherously at Ann-Margaret.
5. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005)
The Disturbance: Endangering the youth
The Pitch: Father Christmas returning to Narnia is a major sign that Good has all but triumphed Evil. However, Good still needs some swords, daggers, and bows and arrows to get the kick ass job done. Who better to supply the children with instruments of death than Merry Old Santa Claus himself?
It might be easy to gloss over in an adventure movie for kids, but Arms Dealer Santa is giving weapons of fantasy destruction to teens and pre-teens.
Disturbing Dialog to be Read Like an Action Movie Villain: “Winter is almost over.”
4. Santa’s Slay (2005)
The Disturbance: Murdering rampage
The Pitch: More than a few serial killers have put on a fake beard and jingle bells to take lives due to Christmas-based psychological problems. Silent Night, Deadly Night and Christmas Evil come immediately to mind, but there are surely more killers being made after watching some of the entries on this list.
Santa’s Slay gets rid of the rosy-cheeked image of Coca-Cola Santa, and replaces him with a vicious demon doomed to serve children for a thousand years.
After the sentence is up, though…he kills everyone and flexes his muscles. Thanks, Santa!
Disturbing Dialog: “I’m Santa Claus, not Dracula!”
3. Santa Claus (1959)
The Disturbance: Battling Satan, force-feeding people chocolate ice cream
The Pitch: This is most likely the strangest export from Mexico since piñata porn, and it sees Santa going head to head with a demon from Hell who hates eating chocolate ice cream.
For some reason, Santa is an alien that lives on a satellite above the North Pole, uses child slave labor to make his toys, carries a magical umbrella, utilizes something called “Powders That Will Make You Dream That You Are Awake” on the little children he visits, eats clouds as his primary foodstuff and is assisted, of course, by a pentagram-owning Merlin the Magician. It is a terrible and frightening vision.
Disturbing Dialog: “Oh! Darn that Devil Pitch! Why, if I were on Earth right now, I’d put him in his place! But even he knows I can only return to Earth one night a year.”
2. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)
The Disturbance: Santa wants to eat you
The Pitch: From the origins of Santa as a arbiter of Good and Evil comes the real nightmare of a man breaking into your house in order to reward you or punish you for your behavior. In this film, Santa is a frail being that looks like one of The Devil’s Rejects who doesn’t utter a word or make any motion save for sniffing the air with ghoulish delight whenever a child is nearby.
Plus, he’s not alone. If you’ve seen the film, you know exactly how monstrous Santa actually is.
Disturbing Dialog: Santa’s silence is far, far, far more disturbing than any one line of dialog could be.
1. Santa’s Magic Kingdom (1966)
The Disturbance: The horror…the horror…
The Pitch: Words fail to capture the sheer insanity of this entire short film and the Santa Claus portrayed in it.
Claus seems like an 80-year-old dementia patient who woke up only moments ago. His entire elf team is made up suspiciously of 14-year-old girls, he pals around with a Merlin who is clearly high on LSD, and it all has the innocent skin-crawling feel of the Rock-afire Explosion coming to animatronic life and escaping Showbiz Pizza to hang out with Santa.
It is a beautiful failure of marketers trying to make a video to appeal to children and having no idea that they’ll be causing impoverished night terrors with their low-rent sets and actors instead.
The entire thing, including its Santa, deserve to be killed with fire forever and ever.
Disturbing Dialog: It’s better if I show you:
Honorable Mention: Nightmare Before Christmas – Santa is actually pretty lovable here, and he teaches everyone a lesson, but the things done to torture him are creepy and unspeakable.
Which Santas scare you the most?