Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Christmas Horror Show for Boxing Day

Imagine hearing your favorite Christmas carols sung by a choir consisting of Johnny "Bowtie" Barstow, William Hung, Tiny Tim, Regis Philbin and Wing, and imagine they're all singing really loud, with a cameo appearance toward the end by Donald Trump (just like in Regis Philbin's version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer). Well, I think I've found the cinematic equivalent of that train wreck, and it's called Santa Claus, a 1959 film noir by Mexican director Rene Cardona. Although it was apparently conceived as a children's movie, the plot involves a blood feud between Santa Claus and Satan — hardly the sort of thing I'd want my children watching, thanks. What's more, in a contest to determine which of these two characters is more terrifying, I'm inclined to give a slight edge to this film's version of Santa, who appears positively demonic, especially during the first few minutes. He does become slightly more sympathetic in time (with an emphasis on the pathetic), but only after he's chased up a tree by a small dog and appears almost too infirm to climb in and out of his sleigh. If your taste in films leans toward the bizarre and you've got time to kill on Boxing Day, you might give this film a look. But make sure there are no children around. (Thanks to Listener Mindwrecker on WFMU's Beware of the Blog.)

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