Jolly old St. Nicholas is known for his good cheer and extreme generosity. But within the horror genre, Saint Nick has a very different reputation. From Santa Claus-inspired serial killers to demonic beings, these Santas or ant-Santas make Christmas every bit as frightening as Halloween. Read on to see who made the cut!
Santa Claus is actually the son of Satan in this campy horror comedy. Satan procured a virgin lover and Santa is the result. Until the year AD 1005, Christmas was “The Day of Slaying.” But when Santa loses a bet with an angel during a curling match, he must be kind and give gifts on Christmas for the next 1,000 years. When the story begins, the year is 2005 and there’s hell to pay. Santa terrorizes Hell Township, killing residents at random in creative and festive ways. Teenager Nicholas Yuleson lives there with his eccentric grandfather, who shows Nicholas The Book of Klaus which tells the true story of Santa. Nicholas and his friend, Mary “Mac” Mackenzie team up to put a stop Santa’s “Day of Slaying”.
In this story, if you lose your Christmas spirit, Krampus will retaliate by dragging you to hell!
Krampus is based on a demonic horned creature from Austro-Bavarian folklore who punishes naughty children on Christmas. In the movie, Max Engel loses his Christmas spirit when his dysfunctional family gets stuck spending Christmas together. After being taunted by his cousins for still believing in Santa Claus, Max tears up his letter to Santa and throws it out the window.
His teenage sister goes missing during a blizzard, then the real chaos ensues. Max’s German grandmother tells the family that she believes Krampus is responsible. She grew up during the war. Her family and many others lost their Christmas spirit. Krampus showed up and took her family away. The Engel family must figure out a way to put their differences aside to fight Krampus and survive Christmas.
Harry from Christmas Evil
Better watch out because this Santa won’t just give you coal in your stocking for bad behavior, he’ll kill you. When Harry was little, he saw a man he believed was Santa engaging in very unSanta-like behavior with his mother. Realizing that Santa is actually was father, he stormed up to the attic where he broke a snow globe and cut himself.
As an adult, Harry is Christmas-obsessed. His apartment is cluttered with toys and he even wears Santa Claus pajamas. Harry is also a manager at the Jolly Dreams toy factory and a doormat for anyone that wants to step on him.
Harry takes his Christmas obsession to the next level as he monitors the neighborhood kids and keeps “naughty” and “nice” logs. He even makes his own Santa suit. But things really go off the rails when he begins making a naughty list for the adults who’ve done him wrong and starts killing them on Christmas Eve.
Billy from Silent Night Deadly Night
Santa Claus is coming to town and he’s got an ax to grind…right in your head.
This is another Santa serial killer tale with a much darker backstory and an even more deranged Santa. As children Billy and Ricky Chapman witnessed their parents murdered by a man dressed up as Santa Claus. The boys are sent to a Catholic orphanage run by a nun who physically and verbally abuses them.
Billy is triggered to set off on a killing spree during an office Christmas party where he is playing Santa Claus. He witnesses his co-worker (and love interest) being sexually assaulted by a male co-worker. Billy proceeds to kill them both and then continues the festivities by murdering anyone he deems as behaving badly.
This movie stirred up real life fear among parents and religious groups over it’s serial killer Santa theme and portrayal of the Catholic Church. There was so much protesting that the movie was pulled from theaters.
Santa and His Helpers in Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
In this story, Santa isn’t the benevolent figure we believed in as children. He beats naught kids and boils them in a cauldron. He is even depicted as a horned creature like Krampus.
An American company is excavating something deep in the mountains in Finland, arousing suspicion in the local village. Two boys, Pietari and Juuso, sneek a peek at the excavation. Pietrari looks around the site and finds a book which tells the true story of Santa. Pietari’s friends begin to disappear. Pietrari’s father captures an old man who is actually one of Santa’s helpers who abducted the children. Pietrari is determined to make the adults listen to him and save his friends from a terrible fate at the hands of Santa Claus.
So, we have demonic beings who drag the naughty to hell and serial slashers that just hack them up into pieces. These Santas aren’t going to conjure any visions of sugar plums on Christmas Eve.