A 5 year old child Billy (Jonathan Best), his baby brother Ricky and his parents are arriving home on Christmas Eve in Utah but stop to the mental hospital to visit Billy's crazed Grandfather (Will Hare) but his Grandpa says nothing but sits in a chair until Billy is in the room alone with him and posion's poor Billy's mind about Santa's evil deeds to children when they are naughty all year round.
Later on they are still driving home but are stopped by a killer in a Santa suit (Charles Dierkop) who kills his parents and then Billy and Ricky are sent to an orphanage led by an abusive Mother Superior (Lilyan Chauvan) who poisons his mind about the evils of fornication, profanity and sexual fantasies leaving Billy to think that Santa will punish him as he thinks that Santa is evil.
A nice caring Nun Sister Margaret (Gilmer McCormick) tries to help Billy out in any way she possibly can.
Then when Billy (Robert Brian Wilson) turns 18, he gets a job at a warehouse but then he is greatly disturbed after he sees the Christmas supplies of the Santa Claus merchandise and the employee dressed as Santa for the children causing him to have terrible flashback memories of that night when his parents were murdered.
Eventually the employee drops out and Billy is asked to be dressed as Santa for the kids.
During a Christmas Eve party at the warehouse Billy suddenly snaps and kills his employers and slowly heads to the orphanage killing bullies and fornicators along the way and plans to kill Mother Superior who is now in a wheelchair and wouldn't be able to escape from Billy's evil clutches.
First Michael Myers, then Jason, next Freddy and now.... Santa???? Well this film tried to carry on in the seasonal slasher film tradition showing that Halloween isn't the only time to watch John Carpenter's flick as you can watch one close to Christmas too. However, this flick seems more along the same lines as Wes Craven's A Nightmare On Elm Street which came out during the same year.
This film sparked alot of controversy and the people tried to prevent it from being released especially the fact that it was shot in Utah.
The writing seemed quite well for the beginning with the Chapman family travelling home but of course they make a stop in an insane asylum visiting Grandpa Chapman who just sits there expressionless and says nothing but then that changes big time when little Billy is in the room alone with him as it was totally creepy when he poisons his mind telling him Santa punishes kids who are naughty the odd time all year round. Man this was truly disturbing to watch imagining if you were a child believing in Santa and then someone coming along and telling you this evil story. Yet it's a nice start to a horror film. But more terrible incidents happen like a killer in a Santa suit killing the parents with little Billy hiding and seeing this especially when this maniac tries to rape the mother before he kills her too. This scene is definetely not for anyone who hates watching a disturbing moment with a peaceful family being terrorised like this.
But it gets worst as Billy and his little brother Ricky are in an orphanage which looks like an unpleasant place to be as Billy draws evil artwork as well as being nastily abused by Mother Superior or a couple caught fornicating. The story draws in well to drawing Billy to be more disturbed by what he encounters.
There's even a moment when he punches a guy dressed in a Santa suit on Christmas morning which is not pleasant at all.
The story gets even juicier with Billy now 18 years of age working in a warehouse who seems a little unnormal but friendly enough. Plus there's nightmare scene's with him having a sexual fantasy on one of his co-workers and then a knife stabbing through them which I'm sure that Freddy Krueger would take a nod to. There's some good peaceful moments with him working at the warehouse helping others out which seemed to make the story a little more pleasant along with one of his bullying assitant employers named Chuck offering some alcohol to him during lunch break and he shows him his drink which is milk which works well for a soon to be maniac not drinking or doing drugs at all as well as keeping his virginity as this is a rule for any killer in a slasher film.
The story gets clever when a person supposed to be dressed as Santa calls in sick and so the employers decides to hire Billy for the position which of course can make anyone snap after what he encoutnered when he was 5 and his nutcase of a grandpa was poisoning his mind beforehand. You do see how he deals with kids who are crying or not behaving when they sit on his lap speaking silently towards them getting demanding and then store owners comment that he's so good with his job offering a little dark comedy to the darkness of this horror film.
Then the party starts up with everyone celebrating and Billy snaps big time killing Chuck for being abusive towards his girlfriend employee Pamela and some nicely focused shots on Billy staring at this with flashbacks on what happened to his parents which was perfectly edited in and making this look dark and then he kills this jerk off by strangling him with Xmas lights on a wire which seems to suit the film well since it's that time of a season for a slasher flick like this one. Of course Billy tries to reason with Pamela but she freaks out at him as this can be disturbing for him to snap again and he does. Next the main employers are at stake and while he does those ones away there's good mechanical displays like a Santa figure moving or other objects at the store which were supposed to look like a happy time of the year but yet on how everything took place with Billy going on a killing spree they look kinda deadly. He tries to look for his next victim in the store which was done an A Nightmare On Elm Street type of fashion in which offers just as much as a dark theme on this scene.
His task is to put an end to Mother Superior for her wicked deeds heading back to the orphanage but before he does that he decides to go on a local nieghborhood killing spree which is my favourite moment in the film including impaling a horny teen on some deer antlers hanging in a living room near a chimney as this was quite an original slaying in a slasher film which makes me wonder if the writer from The Lost Boys saw this and decided to do something similar in that film. In a horror film we do need a teenager being murdered for trying to fornicate with her boyfriend. After all that's what we need to entertain the slasher fans.
There's also two older teenage bullies in a snowy forest beating up on younger one's and stealing their sleigh but Billy does more killing deeds here as this was my second favourite in the film since we all wish in our school days that something deadly would happen to dickheads like these two. Plus a great camera shot on Billy standing in the woods with his axe in hand as this looked wonderfully done.
There's some comedic moments with two Sheriff's trying to track the killer Santa down and finding the wrong person which made the plotline necessary for a slasher flick since there's got to be some humor in it since we have seen different types of humor in Friday the 13th, A Nightmare On Elm Street and Halloween.
When the orpahange scene's happen in Christmas morning there's alot of stuff that's hard to watch which I won't give away since the violence really adds up. Also there's a door opening for a sequel at the very end.
Bottom line in the film is dark, sick, extremely disturbing, intense but very well done. However, when the story really gets going it ends way too soon. There's many great dark creepy settings in the snowy areas as well as the deep dark woods and the neighborhood houses too. We also see great shots on the snowy mountains with the people driving along the road whether it was a family during the beginning of the film or police trying to track down the Santa killer before he reaches the orphanage.
It's just disturbing when the killer Billy tries to stay sane and he snaps when something isn't good is happening or when he spots pictures of Santa while working at the warehouse or killing the wrong person close to the end of the film.
The film also reigned in as a cult classic to top it all off along with it sparking controversy during it's theatrical release causing parents to picket the cinemas it was showing at.
The acting is in good shape for a movie like this as in many slasher films the acting can be wooden but not in this one.
Lilyan Chauvan (Mother Superior) is by far the best one out of all the cast members with her role as the nasty, bitter and abusive head Nun at the orphage as she shows great energy and coldness to her character and her voice even sounds less pleasant. She does well when talking to a child about punishment which looked strongly done. She almost meets up to Piper Laurie with her role in Carrie. No doubt, you'd feel like killing her yourself for her nasty deeds. She is of course a veteran actress in lead and supporting roles in numerous TV and film work.
We have a nice co-starring role by Gilmer McCormick (Sister Margaret) as the nice nun and she makes her part very convincing as you'd want her to be in your life if you had to go to a strict orphanage with nuns. She just had a great warm attitude to her part in it making her part very realistic.
We have a nice debut performance by Robert Brian Wilson (Billy Chapman) as the killer in the Santa suit which he shows no expressions when he goes into a killing spree which is perfect for his role and can easily be cast in future horror films due to this like Robert Englund did but of course made appearances in TV soap opera's instead. He had a good size to his role which he can overlook you which was also impressive. Shows nice sensitive type of behavior as well as having a good nervous speaking on his behalf. Also does well showing a nervous expression when he spots a Christmas sign posted up in the warehouse. Does well trying to reason with someone showing perfect seriousness. Does well with his sneering expressions having a nice horror character to his presence before or after killing someone.
We have a nice supporting role byToni Nero (Pamela) as a nice employee who likes Billy as that's what we need for a slasher flick before she gets killed as you've seen these characters before. She was good by acting nice and understanding. She also does well with her emotional attitude towards the end of her performance too by freaking out.
Of course we have the sleazy bullying boyfriend played by Randy Stumpf (Andy) as he knows how to portray one and you yourself thinks that I hope he gets what's coming to him very soon. He made it believeable that he was one of those people you don't like working with showing a perfect cocky attitude. Does well getting forceful and a bit violent towards his onscreen girlfriend. Seemed to bring alot out of his role by behaving like this.
Britt Leach (Ira Simms) was quite a ham in his role as a warehouse owner in which he brings a good jolly attitude into his part who seems to enjoy life. He was perfect by acting someone who was loud with a ton of energy into his role. Really knew on how to act full of life after the store was closed for the evening making his actions truly happy and exciteable. Plus was impressive by acting drunk in a scene of the film too.
Now for the special appearances:
Local child actor Jonathan Best (Billy at age 5) was great playing the 5 year old version as he seems so innocent and doesnt want anything bad to happen to him. He brought a likeable and sensitivity to his part as this was done impressively well too.
We have a good one by Will Hare (Grandpa Chapman) as the demented grandfather and he's believeably scary when he poison's his grandson's mind about Santa being evil making it extremely intense and wondering why he would do that especially with his creepy expressions. Plus has a real insane speaking in his voice too which was even more creepy to his character and incredibly energised too.
We also have low budget scream queen Linnea Quigley (Denise) as a loose teenager and represents herself very well for her role with a different type of hairstyle too. Plus was good with her anxious attitude too. Her role became very effective for the film even if it was under 5 minutes. This part was perfect for her and this was so far the beginning of her career before being crowned in the horror film industry.
Charles Dierkop (Killer Santa) is believably menacing as a killer dressed in a Santa suit sometimes making it hard to watch which starts the film off on Billy's life. His speaking was highly energised as well as having a gruff speaking voice to all of this. Has a great sneer to his speaking during the end of his performance making his performance truly disturbing.
There is plenty of nudity in this film.
One of the scenes is where the killer Santa tries to rape Tara Chapman's character as he tears open her shirt and her breasts are fully exposed
Two teenagers played by Barbara Stafford and Paul Mulder are naked fornicating in a bedroom at an orphanage showing a butt shot on each of them and a breast shot on Stafford.
During a sexual dream sequence on Wilson's character, there is an infant played by Melissa Best as she appears naked, breasts exposed and a butt shot on Wilson too.
Toni Nero has her shirt torn open and her breasts fully exposed when she is nearly raped in the storage room of a workplace.
Linnea Quigley is topless as a babysitter nearly fornicating with her boyfriend on a pool table and then wears nothing but Daisy Duker shorts when she lets a cat in and then gets killed topless by Billy.
Various gory scenes.
A store owner is bloodily shot in the head
A mother's throat is slit
During a dream sequence a guy is sliced by a knife
The back of a hammer is stabbed on the top of a store owner's head
A babysitter is impaled by deer antlers hanging on a display wall (I think this is how the writer got his idea for Kiefer Sutherland's character's death scene in the Lost Boys)
A bully's head is chopped off while he rides a sleigh that he steals from a younger kid with the rest of his body.
An axe is whacked in a police officer's chest.
Bloody gun shots too.
Perry Botkin is terrific with his composing in it bringing sad and tragic piano sounds and the terrifying synthesizer sounds as it very much reminds me of the music used on A Nightmare On Elm Street. He was a true winner for the music without a doubt. Lots of good screeching metal sounds and bonging too especially during the opening credits.
We also have a nice soundtrack by Morgan Ames having great 80's type touches to this motion picture especially with the country flavoured tune during the warehouse scene titled "Warm Side of the Door" in which there's great singing on the song really making the scene pleasant looking too but yet it was sung by a man and composed by her.
There's a nice little ballad of "Sweet Little Baby" during a baby crying in the prologue while a Santa killer is doing in the family which will boggle you as it was a peaceful song while a tragedy was happening during this moment.
Then we have a song called "Santa's Watching" which was used on a radio during an after hours party as the warehouse as well as on the closing credits which was necessary for the film if you listen to the lyrics of it sounding like a golden oldie on how it was all done.
Then when the terror starts to happen after a girl named Denise is impaled on the antlers while her boyfriend Tommy is impatiently waiting for her in the recroom there's a perfect pop-rock 60's type tune fit for the movie called "Merry Christmas Baby" performed by both Morgan Ames and Carmen Twillie with terrific vocalising showing great energy that's briefly played in the recroom radio.
Grandpa: You scared, ain't ya? You should be! Christmas Eve is the scariest damn night of the year!
Grandpa: Santy Claus only brings presents to them that's been good all year. All the other ones, all the naughty ones, he punishes! What about you, boy? You been good all year?
Grandpa: You see Santa Claus tonight you better run boy, you better run for ya life!
Mommy: Billy, calm down. Grandpa's nothing but a crazy old fool!
Billy: Mommy, you shouldn't have said that. It's naughty to say bad things about old people. Santa Claus will punish you!
Killer Santa: 31 bucks. Merry fucking Christmas.
Mother Superior: They thought they could do it without being caught. But when we do something naughty, we are always caught. Then, we are punished. Punishment is absolute, punishment is good.
Billy: Yes, Mother Superior.
Mother Superior: You left your room, William.
Billy: Yes, Mother Superior.
Mother Superior: Very, very naughty!
Andy: So what the fuck are you doing now?
Billy: You know, you shouldn't talk like that.
Andy: Oh? Well pardon me, Ann Landers!
Ira Sims: Time to get shitfaced!!!!
Billy: (Looking around the warehouse to kill his next victim) Twas the night before Christmas and all throught the house not a creature was stirring.... (Looking around) Not even a mouse
Tommy: If this is a joke I'm going to kill her!
Cop: Can you believe this? It's Christmas Eve and we got orders to bring in Santa Claus.
Billy: You're safe now... Santa Clause ... is gone...
Ricky (Angrily looking at Mother Superior): NAUGHTY!