From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Randym Thoughts: Oh No — It’s Santa Movie Season

9. Santa Claus: The Clone War (2008)

This film reveals the adventures of Santa in the period of time between “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “The Year Without a Santa Claus.” Santa sees his workload double and quadruple as divorce becomes more and more common, leading to an exponential increase in Christmases for every child and their parents. Unable to maintain the massive increase in workload, Santa clones himself an apprentice. But his apprentice falls under the corrupting influence of the Winter Warlock, who, unbeknownst to Santa, is a Dark Lord. In the end, Santa must battle his own clone to save Christmas. Be sure to also check out the action figures, ornaments, happy meals, Lego sets, and other merchandise available soon everywhere near you.

10. Santa is a Wanker (1964)

Not to be confused with Bad Santa, this puppet-animation movie features Santa as a straight up A-hole. He treats his hard working, Santa-loving elves as inconvenient pains in the rear, and he is condescending and cruel to his reindeers. Check it out.

I can only assume that the writer of this holiday classic was working out some daddy issues, and projecting them onto Santa. I can see it now:

“Father, my dream is to make stop-animation Christmas movies.”
“What? No son of mine is going to play with dolls for a living! And what is that racket?”
“That’s my sister practicing on the piano. She wrote a song for you for Christmas.”
“Well tell her to knock it off while I’m trying to read my newspaper, at least until she’s any good. And tell your mother to hurry with my turkey pot pie!”

I mean, imagine if Judd Nelson’s character from The Breakfast Club grew up to make a Christmas movie where he modeled Santa after his father, and this is pretty much what you’d get. I kept expecting Santa to throw a pack of cigarettes at some kid and say, “Smoke up, Johnny.”

By the way, this film was officially released under the title “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.” But I think my title is more fitting.

11. The Santa Clause 2 (2002)

Who can thaw out the heart of a stereotypical cold-hearted female high school principal faster than you can say “melting ice caps”? Why, Tim Allen as Santa, of course, the epitome of charm and sensitivity. When Santa discovers that he has to get married or lose his Santa powers, he’s off to woo and wed quicker than a pop star in Vegas. But while he’s away, a robot toy Santa goes all dictator and turns the North Pole into a totalitarian nightmare (in a subplot that is in no way reminiscent of the film “Toys”). There are also guest appearances by the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and other holiday icons. This is a film just full of amazement. Like, it’s amazing a woman could fall in love with Tim Allen and decide to abandon her career and her current life for a man she hardly knows because he gives her the doll she wanted as a child. I mean, I know things can be difficult out there in the dating world, but that’s setting the bar a bit low, don’t you think?

12. Quentin Tarantino Presents “Kill Santa” (2008)

The tooth fairy (aka Ms. White) is supposed to help her fellow holiday icons to pull an inside job to rob the tooth money bank. But when she walks out on the job to marry a mortal instead, team leader Santa orders the other team members — Beaster Bunny (Aka Mr. Pink), Mother F’n Nature (aka Ms. Yellow), Leprechaun Larry (aka Mr. Green), and the New Years Babe (aka Ms. Tan) — to assassinate the sucrose-sensitive fairy by pelting her with sugar cubes. Fairy miraculously survives, albeit in a sugar coma, and comes back to seek vengeance — with a vengeance. The film is chock full of bloody action, pop cultural nods, and old school celebrities. DVD includes the short film “I Saw Mummy Eat Santa Claus” by Robert Rodriguez.

13. Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

In this fine entry into holiday filmdom, Little Billy sees his parents murdered by a thief dressed as Santa, and then is put into an abusive orphanage (because what’s a Christmas movie without orphans?). All growed up, he gets a job at a store where he is asked to dress as Santa. This, and a gratuitous sex scene between coworkers, sets Billy off on a Christmas killing spree of course. If you’re a big fan of the typical ’80’s slasher flicks, and you like Santa Claus, you’ll love this film. Of course, this movie had the misfortune to compete against another 1984 holiday short film called “Last Christmas”. I’m not sure which is more frightening, but “Last Christmas” definitely has better hair. Speaking of better hair, there was also this 1984 Christmas classic. Man, what an amazing year, huh? Could Orwell have been more wrong?

Interesting fact: 1984 must have been a slow year for the morally righteous, because they actually took the time to picket this movie in outrage over turning Christmas into a slasher movie. Or maybe they were mad that the film revealed the closely held secret that nuns can be mean.

14. The Santa Incident (pre-production, 2011)

The fifth Tom Clancy movie featuring CIA analyst Jack Ryan. When Ryan’s daughter writes a letter to Santa and gets a reply, Ryan realizes that there is a code hidden in Santa’s letter — a call for help. He takes the letter to his bosses, but is simply laughed at for believing in Santa Claus. Putting his career on the line, Ryan uses his CIA resources to put together a mission to the North Pole with a crack team of Navy SEALs, supposedly to investigate a potential Russian base. What they find is Santa’s Workshop overrun by terrorists intent on slipping nuclear devices under the Christmas tree of every world leader. Can they stop the terrorists in time to save Christmas … and the world?

15. A Highlander Christmas (post-production, 2009)

There can be only one. So an evil Russian voodoo witch doctor priest goes to the North Pole to take the immortal Santa’s head and his power, and only Duncan MacLeod can stop him. In this holiday reimagining of the cult fantasy classic, we learn that the immortals are not the result of aliens, or “the source,” but they are in fact the children of Santa, who each Christmas gives one woman a special gift that he calls the “ultimate quickening.” In the end, Santa sacrifices himself upon Duncan’s sword so that MacLeod will have the strength to defeat the Russian, and gain the ultimate prize — the ability to hear everyone’s thoughts, and know if they are naughty, or nice.

16. The Boy Who Saved Christmas (1998)

Your first warning comes in the title sequence, when you see that the production company is named “Cabin Fever Entertainment.” I can only imagine they came up with that name while trying to sit through their own film. I too felt overwhelmed with the feeling of being trapped and suffocated and wishing to tear out my own eyes. But I digress.

This not so touching film features Atnas, Santa’s evil twin. Yes, not since Alucard has there been such a clever character name. Atnas and his minions (imagine MST3K henchman rejects) invade the North Pole by mailing themselves there, and boot Santa out. Their evil plan is to have the world send them gifts, instead of giving gifts to the world. The rest of the film involves an ABC123 plot as clever as the film’s title, about a boy looking for Santa, finding Santa, taking Santa to a sports card shop with a convenient magical portal to the North Pole, and going with Santa back to the North Pole to take it back from Atnas. I don’t want to spoil how it ends.

While the plot is pretty thin, at least you can lose yourself in the majestic scenery of a California suburban neighborhood.

By the way, if you want a decent tale about Santa’s twin, check out “Santa’s Twin” by Dean Koontz. It ain’t Shakespeare, but the pictures are cool.

17. The Day After An Inconvenient Christmas (2006)

Climatologist Dirk Studwell realizes that, with the shifts in global temperatures, Santa’s workshop is in danger of sinking beneath the melting ice of the North Pole. He attempts to warn the U.S. President, but is stonewalled by the vice president, who insists that global warming is a myth (although he ironically avoids questioning the existence of Santa Claus for fear of being slammed by Fox News pundits as being anti-Christmas). So Dirk sets out in his pickup to rescue Santa.

This movie was widely criticized for its alarmist depiction of global warming effects, and the scene in which polar bears, desperate for survival, begin a bloody feeding frenzy on elves. Also, for the fact that you can’t drive to the North Pole. To which the female costar, Paris Hilton, replied, “Well, like, it’s a science fiction Christmas movie. Science fiction has all kinds of weird stuff, like traveling to the third dimension or having ESPN powers, you know? So I think those critics are just being stupid. But it was great to work with everyone on the cast, I learned so much, and I think this is going to be one of the best films about Santa’s workshop sinking or whatever that’s ever been made.”

Randall Scott Henderson is no cliché — he’s a talking cat with a soul stealing sword, employed by a vampire detective and sent back from the future to stop aliens from sabotaging the space program, who ended up as his own great-grandfather. Or (gasp) was that all a dream? His fiction has appeared in Alienskin Magazine, The Harrow, and From the Asylum, and most importantly he has won the prestigious Fantasy Friday Blog for a Beer award three times (to date). For his genre-related musings, go to his blog.

(The real films are: 1, 3, 4, 7, 10, 11, 13, 16)

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