You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I'm telling you why—because Santa Claus if f***ing terrifying.
Oh, the holidays! It's that time of year when families get together to drink egg nog with peppermint Schnapps and watch some classic Christmas movies, like A Christmas Story and Home Alone. But, have you ever noticed just how horrible the characters that play Santa in these films actually are? I mean, they're either kicking kids down slides or being drunk and disorderly—or worse—slaying entire families with a giant ax. ('Tis the season.)
This video essay by Philip Brubaker of Fandor rates a bunch of naughty St. Nicks from the genre, from Dan Aykroyd in Trading Places to Billy Bob Thorton in Bad Santa to the hoard of murderous Kris Kringles in all of those Christmas-themed horror flicks from the '80s. Check it out below!
Considering how many Christmas movies there are, it's astonishing how few "nice" Santas are represented onscreen. I thought for sure I had gazed in awe at a ton of them in my adolescence, but the only ones I can come up with offhand were in A Miracle on 34th Street and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer—Edward Asner was a pretty nice Santa in Elf, and arguably so was Tim Allen in A Santa Clause, but only eventually. I mean, the one in A Nightmare Before Christmas was pretty salty (even bitchy) toward Jack after his ordeal.
So, what gives with all of the horrible, drunken, blood-thirsty Santas? I mean, I'm no psychologist, but I know that I've never recovered from learning that Santa wasn't real. It makes sense that a filmmaker would project their violent disillusionment onto the screen.
And to our massive four-to-seven-year-old demographic: Sorry for letting the cat out of fake Santa's bag of presents that were absolutely and painstakingly chosen for you with great care even though we all know that children prefer quantity over quality when it comes to their Christmas bounty. What I'm trying to say is, Santa's not real and he's super mean in movies. Welcome to December.