I don't know about you guys but I'm excited for the new Finnish evil Santa Claus movie, Rare Exports. It's refreshing to have a disheveled, child-massacring version of St. Nick in the cultural mix just to keep sappiness levels under control. Here's the trailer:
See? That looks like fun, dunnit? Rare Exports opens in Portland next week (look for our review!) but in the meantime it made me think of some of the other off-color Santa Clauses that I've enjoyed over the years. I've decided to make a list. Join in in the comments section with some of your picks.
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus Santa Claus
In 1902 L. Frank Baum (of The Wizard of Oz fame) wrote a book on the history of Santa Claus. It is a crazy book. From the Wikipedia entry: "Santa Claus, as a baby is found in the Forest of Burzee by Ak, Master Woodsman of the World, and placed in the care of the lioness, Shiegra." Santa, his lion-mother and the other immortals of the forest end up battling creatures called Awgwas who hate seeing children made happy by the toys Santa brings. This not-so-classic story was adapted into a fittingly insane Rankin-Bass special in 1985 (with some changes, including the addition of an elf sidekick named Tingler). When ABC Family airs Life and Adventures every year bookended by all the much more successful, much less bizarre Rankin-Bass Christmas specials I always try and catch it.
Santa's Slay Santa Claus
According to the 2005 crapfest Santa's Slay, Santa is Satan's only son who only spreads holiday cheer because he lost a bet. Really the movie is just an excuse to put WWE wrestler Bill Goldberg in a Santa suit and have him punt dogs into ceiling fans and make bad puns... Wait, did I say "just an excuse", as if the fact that someone felt the need to make that excuse in the first place is unremarkable? It is remarkable. This is a movie that should not be.
Bad Santa Santa Claus
I know you've seen the film. Its fucking great. I ain't even embedding the trailer. This is the movie I watch when I feel miserable during the Christmas season, whether I'm hungover or seasonally depressed or just feeling like all my relatives can choke on a big candy cane dick and die. I always take comfort, as I lay catatonic on the couch, drool trailing down the leather upholstery onto a plate of sugar cookies I made to fill the hole inside, that I am not as shitty as Billy Bob Thornton's character. In fact, I'm awesome compared to him.
Silent Night, Deadly Night Santa Claus
The original cinematic bad Santa, though, was 1984's Silent Night, Deadly Night Santa. The childhood trauma of seeing a man in a Santa suit kill and attempt to rape his mother and father causes a little boy to become a psycho killer some years later and go on an axe-killing spree in his own Santa suit. Everything about this movie is grimy and sleazy and awesome. It caused such a stir upon release that Siskel and Ebert read the production credits on air to shame the people involved. You should watch that clip just to see Siskel describe Santa's list of misdeeds.
The Santa Clause Santa Claus
Ok, let's think about this: Tim Allen kills Santa Claus (it's at least manslaughter) and, as either a reward or punishment, becomes Santa Claus? This movie would have me believe that what what call Santa Claus is actually a succession of murderers and the fatally clumsy? Is the North Pole really a bloody fiefdom that rewards incompetence and cruelty with its top position? That is a fucked up clause, dude.
Dutch Santa Claus (Sinterklaas)
According to the Dutch, Sinterklaas resides in Spain where he is assisted by his Moorish friend/servant/slave Black Peter. To this day it is traditional in the Netherlands for people to dress in blackface and afro wigs and accompany street corner Santas where they give children candy and threaten to take naughty kids back to Spain in a sack. It should be noted that, before Black Peter was invented, Santa was accompanied by a devil or Krampus who would take bad children to Hell.
Just like every year, on this December 4th a bunch of people will dress up in Santa suits and keep Portland weird enough to sell bumper stickers. I wish I had something snarky to say about this. I wish I could say I was going to dress as a Krampus and crash the party but I don't actually think anything about SantaCon is that interesting. I will hazard a guess that several of my least favorite Santas will be joining the parade, though, and they will be obnoxiously drunk. That's why I'll be spending Saturday like I spend most Saturdays: not going downtown.
If anyone wants to have a KrampusCon, though.... let me know.