Welcome to a special holiday horror edition of Master Sardus Archive. My name's Mike D and I will be your guide on this journey into celluloid depravity. Hope you sharpened your candy canes and your tree trimming shears… this is going to be a wild ride!
First up we have one of the wildest holiday movies ever made. Australia is known for their unique weirdness and Red Christmas (2016) does not disappoint. When your movies opens with a botched abortion and immediately trasitions to a good old fashion family Christmas get together you know that you are in for an interesting trip. Scream Queen Dee Wallace plays the matriarch of this group, providing some gravitas to this quirky little film. Once “Cletus” shows up to meet his long lost family in his long black cloak covering every inch of his body you get the sense there is no way this is going to go well. Brutal murders and mayhem ensues… a true Christmas Miracle! (Peacock, Pluto TV, Tubi)
Alternate histories about the origins of Christmas are nothing new, especially in the realm of horror films. There have been dozens of films that take the Santa Claus mythos and turn it on its side. Sint (2010) takes this well known story and turns it into a razor sharp yule log of death, challenging the viewer to watch their beloved “Saint Nick” commit all kinds of heinous acts alongside his murderous gang of crooks. Legendary Dutch director Dick Maas proves once again that there is no depth to depravity in the Netherlands. (VOD rental only)
Finally we will finish off with a true sleazefest of holiday fun. Christmas Evil (1980) takes the very overused idea of a “Killer Santa” and brings some originality into the mix by infusing childhood trauma and mental illness associated with Christmas iconography. The main character watches Santa Claus sexually assault his mother (I told you this movie was crazy!) and has his idealistic view of Christmas stained forever. Having grown up to be a middling adult, our intrepid hero decides to adopt Christmas as a full time lifestyle in his private life. He is quite enraged that everyone doesn’t have the same optimistic view of the holiday season as he does… so he begins to dish out some pain-filled gifts himself. He makes his list, checks it twice and then descends into complete madness as he spreads Christmas Joy (aka violence galore) throughout his hometown. (Tubi, Vudu, Hulu)
Stocking Stuffers: Here are a few bonus choices to fill out your Christmas horror watchlists. Alex de la Inglesia is known for his off the wall features, so when he takes a crack at a holiday season movie you know it’s going to be fun. Day of the Beast (1995) tells the story of a disgraced priest trying to stop the ascension of the antichrist, who is set to arrive on Christmas Eve. He teams up with a television psychic and local metalhead stoner to do battle with the infernal forces of evil against a holiday season backdrop. Deep Red (1975) is one of Dario Argento’s most well regarded films and a staple of the giallo genre. While not a full on Christmas movie, the opening scene is one of the most iconic holiday scenes ever filmed. To end off on a solid note we must revisit an oldie but goodie. The “And All Through the House” segment of the original Tales From the Crypt movie (1972) is one of the best portrayals of a psycho Santa ever! Joan Collins and her young daughter being menaced by a maniac in one of the filthiest Santa suits in history will go down as a must watch every Christmas season.
(Originally published in All We Need Is Sleeze: Merry Sleeze-mas Issue. December 2021)