It's true, Hollywood gets off on knocking Jolly Old Saint Nick. In Trading Places, dressed as a bell-ringing Santa, Dan Aykroyd gets ugly drunk, swipes a full fish from a smorgasbord (stuffing it into his red velvet jacket), vomits in his white beard and wanders incoherently through the city streets. Ben Affleck's underwhelming Reindeer Games began and ended with the corpses of a half-dozen Santa-suited bank robbers lying facedown in the snow. But those were amateur insults. If you're going to insult Father Christmas, don't pull your punches!
• Silent Night, Deadly Night, Part V: The Toy Maker (1992)--The sight of Santa shishkabobing a topless virgin on the antlers of a reindeer was enough to pull Part I from most theaters. But the series endured for eight years and only improved with each macabre version. Directed by Martin Kitrosser, a scriptwriter for Pulp Fiction, the final installment is a romp of a horror movie. A shadowy toy maker is producing an army of killer toys, and Mickey Rooney plays a homicidal Santa!
• The City of Lost Children (1995)--The genius Krank has one maddening flaw: He can't dream! In this hallucinatory fairytale, Krank sends out his one-eyed henchmen to kidnap the town's kiddies, so he can steal their dreams. Attempting to induce thoughts of sugar-plums and gumdrops, Krank sings the nabbed kids to sleep wearing a Santa outfit; but the dreams always devolve into maniacal Father Christmases and reindeers trampling through nurseries, leaving steaming piles of poop. Bizarrely captivating.
• Silent Partner (1978)-- With a mostly languid, occasionally explosive, plot that would make David Mamet proud--Elliot Gould plays a bankteller who takes advantage of a Santa-disguised bank robber and squirrels away $50,000 for himself. When the obsessive thief (Christopher Plummer, Twelve Monkeys, The Insider) gets wind of the missing loot, Santa has never been so sadistic, informing the police about Gould and setting up a relentless war of nerves. Three cheers for offbeat Canadian humor! PHIL BUSSE