The recently released dodgy sequel Bad Santa 2 is just the latest villain to rear it’s ugly head this year, potentially signalling a year where we don’t even get a decent Christmas film to raise our spirits. So before we reaffirm the purpose of our lives with an annual watch of It’s a Wonderful Life, and we wallow in a Scrooge type stupor, let us take a look at the baddest Santas committed to film who will forever be on the naughty list.
Maniac Santa – Tales from the Crypt – Segment “…And All Through the House” (1972)
Traits – Strangulation, Window Creeping, Murder
And the worst Santa beard award goes too….In the first segment of this Amicus classic titled ‘…And All Through the House’, Joan Collins finds herself the target of an homicidal maniac dressed as Santa. However because of some dastardly deed she has already committed she is unable to call for help. Apart from the occasional peering through the window you don’t see much of this nutter dressed as Santa until the end of the segment. But any Santa that kills is a bad Santa.
Bad Rating: 2/5 lumps of coal – Yeah he’s an escaped lunatic, but Joan got what was coming to her, so he isn’t that bad in fact it ups his cred a little. But he does have the worst Santa beard I’ve ever seen.
Harry Stadling – Christmas Evil (1980)
Traits– Murder, Christmas obsessed , Spying on kids, Making toys
Christmas Evil is a strange film, and one that has only retained notoriety due to it being a Christmas horror film. It hasn’t dated well, but it’s worth a watch if not just for it’s unusual yuletide tale. Harry lost faith in Santa at a young age, and has dedicated his life to becoming the perfect Santa. When he isn’t creepily watching children be good or bad through his binoculars, he is being exploited at his workplace by colleagues. Then he snaps. His intentions aren’t bad, he just goes about everything in the worst way possible, like straight up murdering folk with an axe on the stairs to a church…maybe his intentions aren’t that good.
Bad Rating: 1/5 lumps of coal – Poor Harry and his warped mind, he sort of tries to do the right thing so we can’t hold that against him too much can we?
Santa – A Christmas Horror Story (2015)
Traits – Beheading zombie elves, Fighting with staffs, killing Mrs. Claus
There should be more horror anthologies set around Christmas, but for now we have this silly delight to amuse us. In one of the segments we follow Santa try to escape his factory that has become overrun with zombie elves. As he fights his way through what was once a delightful place to work, he cuts, kicks and chops down all his little helpers. But just when you think he can’t get more badass, he engages in fisticuffs with Krampus. However the way this film ends is what truly cements this Santa on this list, which you’ll just have to watch to find out.
Bad Rating: 3/5 lumps of coal – This Santa might be badass for most of his story, dispatching zombie elves like your uncle does pigs in blankets, but how it ends makes this Santa a little gnarly.
Willie Sokes – Bad Santa & Bad Santa 2 (2003-2016)
Traits – Swearing, Alcoholism, Sexual deviancy, Robbery, Greed, Preying on women with Santa fetishes
Now he may not murder anybody but across two films Billy Bob Thornton manages to embody a version of Santa that engages in every possible activity that is distinctly devoid of festive cheer. A career criminal who robs, drinks, and fucks his way through life, Willie Sokes wouldn’t even get a piece of coal for Christmas. Despite all his faults, he does have a speck of a soft spot in his tar black soul for Thurman Merman. So though he is a bad santa, he isn’t the baddest.
Bad Rating: 3/5 lumps of coal – Willie is one of the few Santa’s on this list that hasn’t murdered anyone, but he does steal from charities so he isn’t a nice guy. But as both films have shown, he does have a slightly soft centre which prevents him from being the baddest.
Santa & Elves – Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)
Traits – Kidnapping, Streaking, Indecent exposure, Stealing, Slaughtering reindeer
In this dark delight of a Christmas horror Santa Claus is a behemoth of a creature frozen underneath Korvatunturi in Lapland, and his little helpers are abducting the local children to feed him when he wakes up. You’re more likely to wind up in their sacks than receive presents from these evil festive spirits. I’d say this Santa & his elves are pretty bad. In fact can you imagine anything more terrifying than butt naked elves chasing you through the woods, in the snow, so that big evil Santa can eat you? Me neither.
Bad Rating: 5/5 lumps of coal – Can you imagine anything more terrifying than butt naked elves chasing you through the woods, in the snow, so that big evil Santa can eat you? Me neither.
Killer Santa – Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
Traits – Murder, Robbery
The most famed murderous Santa from this cult film is yet to come, but we would be foolish to ignore the wicked criminal dressed as the iconic festive character that started it all off. Before little Billy went on to decide who was naughty or nice, he witnessed his parents be deceived then murdered by a criminal dressed as Santa on the roadside. Murder is bad enough, but to do it in front of children…it’s just plain nasty.
Bad Rating: 3/5 lumps of coal – This killer Santa is pretty bad, and shoulders half the responsibility of Billy’s murderous transformation. But that’s not a totally bad thing, because Billy’s murderous “naughty” rampage is what makes the film mildly fun so we can’t hate on him to much for that.
Billy Chapman – Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
Traits – Murdering co-workers, Punching Santa, Decapitating kids, Archery
Poor Billy was traumatised as youngster by seeing the brutal death of his parents at the hands of a man dressed as Santa. Then following years of living in an orphanage under the strict rule of a mother superior he was left a little edgy. After witnessing the attempted rape of a co-worker when he is older, he snaps and goes on a murderous rampage in a Santa suit whilst hilariously declaring whether his victim has been naughty or nice. Hint…everybody who dies is naughty.
Bad Rating – 4/5 lumps of coal – Even before Billy dispatches a group of naughty children in a number of creative ways, as a child he punched Santa. Then as an adult he even goes to kill the mother superior of a nunnery. If that itself doesn’t get you on the naughty list I don’t know what will, but the only thing holding him back is he failed to finish the job.
Ronald Jones Jr. – Silent Night (2012)
Traits – Arson, Murder, Mask making, Interrupting porn shoots
This ill fitting Christmas jumper of a remake to Silent Night, Deadly Night is laden with issues, more of which you can check out here. But for now lets focus on the rampaging Santa who decides to eviscerate half of a sleepy town with seemingly little motive. Whether he’s electrocuting folk with Christmas lights, burning the house down with a flame thrower, or expertly throwing axes with pinpoint accuracy to cut some poor victims achilles tendon, it’s clear this Santa likes to be creative with his killing. Take that away and all you have is some nondescript murderous man in a Santa outfit who, if I remember correctly, has one line. It’s a bad Santa for a bad movie.
Bad Rating – 0/5 lumps of coal – Ronald Jones Jr. is a pretty naff Santa. He might get a bit gnarly shoving people into wood chippers but there is absolutely nothing to him other than he is the first Santa I’ve seen wield a flamethrower. RJ Jr. is just a bad Santa.
Sinterklaas – Saint (2010)
Traits – Riding horseback, Kidnapping children, Beheading teens with a staff, the odd bit of pillaging.
Eschewing the usual Western iconography of Santa Claus, this Dutch comedy horror takes the character back to it’s European roots and warps them a little. In this feature the evil spirits are the ghost of disgraced Bishop Niklas and his merry gang of black Peters (A bunch of dutch people in black up. You have to read about Sinterklaas to understand it’s not totally racist…). Every 42 years when a full moon rises on the 5th December these evil ghosts return to Amsterdam like they did centuries ago, to pillage the town of clogs and children whilst gorging themselves in a little blood lust. Though Sinterklaas is one ugly looking mofo, a burnt to a crisp Bishop in full get up, you don’t see him do too much in the film other than ride around on a horse. He commits the occasional murder, but on this list who hasn’t?
Bad Rating – 3/5 lumps of coal – Sinterklaas is a good bad Santa. He sports a nasty look (thanks to being burnt to a crisp centuries ago), he’s prone to a touch of pillaging and is fairly handy at separating limbs with his staff. As good as Sinterklaas is, he does have an army of “Black Peters” at his disposal, so he doesn’t always do the heavy lifting so he isn’t as bad as some of the cohorts on this list.. Did I mention he rides a dead horse?
Leigh Emerson – American Horror Story “Unholy Night” (2012)
Traits – Murder, Creative quotes
American Horror Story is a frustratingly inconsistent TV show that’ll captivate you one week, and fob you off the next. However one of it’s dastardly finer moments was in recruiting the perpetually captivating Ian McShane to play a sadistic Santa. Because of the 1001 plot lines that go on in an episode of AHS he doesn’t get as much time as you’d hope, but it’s still long enough to kill somebody else dressed up as Santa and torture a few people with threats of murder and rape. Sounds pleasant doesn’t he…
Bad Rating – 5/5 lumps of coal – This evil Santa is the only one to achieve so notoriety in such little time. Confined to a small role in the second season of AHS, McShane chews up his screen time with sinister delight. Anybody who threatens to rape a nun is pretty bad, it’s an act that even overshadows his murders, and of the all the Santa’s on this list he is the one I’d like to meet the least.
Santa Claus – Santa’s Slay (2005)
Traits – Gambling, loosing bets, kicking dogs, murder…lots of murder
There is nothing that says bad Santa more than a demon loosing a bet with an angel, where the forfeit is to give gifts for 1000 years. What is even badder, is when those 1000 years are up said demonic Santa goes on a murderous rampage, resulting in possibly the highest death count within a Christmas horror film. However it isn’t all doom and gloom, because former professional wrestler Bill Goldberg plays the demonic Santa spreading “Yuletide fear” in the same merry fashion of an in-ring promo. It’s dumb, funny, and so bad it’s good. Did I mention his reindeer are called…Hell-deer…genius.
Bad Rating – 4/5 lumps of coal – The award for So Bad he’s Good Santa goes to Bill Goldberg, who professional wrestles his way through a small town in the daftest way possible. With enough bourbon infused egg nog in your system he might even swing a high 5 on the lump of coal rating.
So who do you think is the baddest Santa