Yet another Santa slasher and Santa as the horror hero? Let’s get right to To All a Goodnight and Santa Claus vs. The Zombies!
TO ALL A GOODNIGHT (1980)
While Silent Night, Deadly Night wasn’t the first killer Santa movie, it definitely got the most recognition. To All a Goodnight is so overlooked that it hasn’t even been released on DVD (it could actually use a bit of mastering and cleaning up). It’s actually a pretty good pale imitation of the films it was trying to mimic from that era.
After a typical slasher opening, with something terrible happening to a student at a finishing school for girls, we flash ahead two years and things feel very Black Christmas, with a bunch of girls sitting around chatting during the holidays at the same finishing school. Before long, the girls invite guys over for a party. Uh-oh.
You guessed it. Santa knows who’s being naughty and has come to wish them each a Merry aXe-mas. There are tons of people to be killed, so there’s a high body count. There are chase scenes. There are gruesome body reveals. There’s even a sort of Friday the 13th ending, with a cool twist.
While the dark look and grainy feel of To All a Goodnight adds to its 1980 authenticity, the movie has other problems. The killings don’t all happen in one night! It goes on for a couple of nights. There’s even one murder that is discovered and has to be investigated, friends are missing, yet the kids stay and continue having sex and aren’t very cooperative with the police. Yeah. They all deserve to die.
That’s the other problem with the film—there’s a final girl, but you don’t get much of a sense of her until she IS the final girl. The kids are all interchangeable in this one. And finally, the biggest problem is that there’s no snow! It’s a warm weather location, so the kids have picnics and walk around in shorts—yet the Santa killer is still bundled up in a big warm red suit.
SANTA CLAUS vs. THE ZOMBIES (2010)
Santa Claus vs. The Zombies sounds like an awesome idea even for a terrible, shot-to-video mess, right? Unfortunately, Santa takes a back seat to the president and the military in this way too long shot-to-video flick that has very little zombie action.
We meet a typical dysfunctional family at Christmas. There’s mention of a terrible odor. The family has hired a personal Santa and elves to entertain their young daughter in their living room. Such potential. Especially when her father has a fight with his parents, kicks them out, and then won’t let them back in when they get ravaged by zombies.
The siege begins, and the hired Santa ends up outside on the ground…but the zombies won’t touch him! Those inside believe it’s a Christmas miracle and that he is Santa, come to save them all from the zombies. Santa Claus vs. the zombies!
If this had been an hour and fifteen-minute movie about that, it would have been awesome, even with no budget. Instead, it’s an hour and forty minute movie about the president and the military sitting in a room trying to figure out how they’re going to wipe out the zombies. I’m not kidding. There is very little focus on the family, on the cute daddy bear playing Santa, or on zombies. This is a nonstop talkfest. What a mess. If you can stick it out until the end, there’s finally a zombie horde. So I share with you a couple of pix of Santa. It’s virtually more than you get of him in the movie.
Here’s my video of loads of Christmas horror flicks you can check out: