This kid really really loves Santa Claus. Even grows up to work in a toy factory. But the other workers don't care about toys, the boss is greedy, nobody believes in Santa anymore, and rampant child naughtiness goes unrewarded with lumps of coal. Who will save Christmas?

hey cool
A killer Santa movie with heart
but YUCK
Maybe 30 seconds worth of kills

This is pretty much the definition of cult movie - it'll bore most people senseless but it's crazy as a box of frogs and if you're attuned you will upside down trip. Dig the Christmas music drifting off key, the relentless traumatic Santa imagery, the sleigh bells surely only he can hear when he's driving his van, that thing he does on the side of those people's house... this movie is a creep-gasm even for me, an actual creepy guy.

We all love a man in a Santa suit killing people, but most of 'em are just homicidal maniacs who figure what the hey I'll dress like Santa while I stuff this chick into a wood chipper. This is the only movie that really explores the whole insane Santa motiff. Explores the living hell out of it in fact, from the inside, with a microscope. I'm saying it's a slow burn, but it has to be. Going crazy is a slow burn.

Mental illnes in movies - you know the drill, some incredibly traumatic childhood makes a kid lose all his marbles at once and snap, basket-case frothing at the mouth psycho killer. And yes I understand that if your mom keeps you locked in a closet full of snakes and only opens the door to put cigarettes out on your tongue you'll probably be pretty effed up, but it's so heavily applied in these movies that the killer might as well be a cartoon caricature of a crazy person. Don't get me wrong, I love my Jason Voorheeses; I just don't believe them.

I'm not going to say this movie is a clinically accurate depiction of going round the bend, if such a thing even exists, but there's at least a kernel of truth here. Crazy can be wanting to believe in Santa so bad you literally can't stand it, until the brain alleviates the pressure by saying hey, maybe it's you. Maybe you're Santa. Maybe the compulsion is a sign. That happens in the real life non-movie world, though it usually results in religious cults and other less fun things than killer Santas. I even remember such flickerings about my own youthful obsessions back before my brain had developed the necessary protective callous. I think to go that crazy one also must be at least a little stupid. I mean I've known regular people who believe in all manner of fiction. Are they crazy? Pro tip: feelings are not manifestations of external reality. Remember that and you'll always be sane. Weirdo maybe, but cold white sane.

Then again maybe it's better to think you're Santa. But this is why I believe the movie; the guy is kind of stupid, he's a loser, he's not lovably eccentric, he's creepy like real creeps are, and it's inherent to the character instead of just a massive knee-jerk to having his parents murdered by Santa or something (no disrespect to Silent Night Deadly Night). Yeah he saw that thing with Santa and his mom but every kid sees something horrible like that. Childhood's full of that crap; it only makes you kill folks if your brain already has a worm.

And this movie has the guts to spend two thirds of its running time showing you that time bomb tick all the way to midnight. Yes it's a slow movie; every time I thought the killing spree was about to start it settled right back in for more petty annoyance with co-workers, spying on kids, making the Santa suit, brooding over Christmas. But it's that buildup of the character's compulsions and frustrations that makes it feel so different than the usual psycho killer movie. By the time it finally boiled over I was about ready to glue on a beard myself.

And that's the movie's moment, when he puts on the beard, pulls on it, it doesn't come off. He's really Santa. It's actually poignant to see the exultant epiphany and joy on his face. Wouldn't it be fantastic, even for a day, to believe in the most wonderful thing you can imagine? Of course the world takes it away from him, as it must.

It starts out well enough - let's not forget he did actually bring a toy to every last sick kid at the orphan hospital. Soon though events begin to unfold as they really would for a wacko who thinks he's a supernatural elf, which is to say it goes rather badly. People don't really fit too well down chimneys, and the kills are clumsy and half botched. He just wants to be Santa Claus and has no murder skills. Again it's all very believable; the movie shows you fantasy and reality. And I reckon there's all manner of subtext about Santa running from a torch wielding mob, but I've typed enough already so I'll leave that to some other poor soul who likes this movie way more than he ought. Maybe it's just saying that's how all our dreams and fancies end up.

Or do they? Folks complain about the ending, but what do you want? Honestly how is this a better movie if he crashes and burns? Maybe what we're seeing is the last instant of the character's life, through his own delusional eyes. Maybe he's going to heaven, or just slipped off the page. Maybe he put rockets on his van and got away. Or maybe, just maybe he really is Santa Claus. Did you ever stop and consider that?

Line: "But if you're naughty, your names go in the book of bad boys and girls, and Santa will bring you something horrible".