Santa is huggable and lovable, and one heck of a nice guy, but these ten films show a different side of Santa, bringing a touch of the bizarre to a world full of run-of-the-mill Christmas movies.
1. Santa Claus Conquers The Martians (1964, USA)-
This kooky old sci-fi flick features Santa Claus squaring off against militant Martians who have abducted him, along with a couple of kids, so they can put Santa to work making toys for the children of Mars.
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is an admittedly schlocky flick, but there's something delightfully kitschy about the film that makes it a yearly Xmas tradition in my house!
2. Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984, USA)-
When Santa comes down your chimney with a bag full of toys he's your buddy, but when he shows up with a fire axe you'd better watch out!
Silent Night, Deadly Night is one of two movies from the 80s featuring a crazed killer in a Santa outfit, but unlike the earlier Christmas Evil this film almost makes you feel sorry for the killer!
3. Santa Claus (1959, Mexico)-
This odd film from Mexico gives us a glimpse inside Santa's Toyland castle in outer space where he employs the famous wizard Merlin and watches over all the boys and girls in the world. His operation is threatened when Satan sets out to kill him by making every kid in the world turn naughty, sending the slapstick devil Pitch to Earth so he can finish the job.
Can Santa save the children of the world (mostly Mexico, of course) from turning in to rotten little brats? Hunt this vintage oddity down and find out! (The MST3K version is on Netflix).
Santa has never looked as badass, or as physically imposing, as he does in the dark comedy Santa's Slay, starring WWE wrestler Goldberg as angry old Saint Nick.
In this horrifically funny flick you can't spell Satan without Santa, the Devil's only son who lost a curling match to an angel and was forced to be nice and deliver presents for 1000 years. His contract expires in 2005, so Santa makes up for lost time by going on a killing spree, with some help from his hell-deer and an incredible physique that allows him to waste puny humans in lots of festive ways!
5. Rise Of The Guardians (2012, USA)-
Rise of the Guardians is admittedly the tamest and least bizarre flick in the bunch, but its portrayal of Santa as a badass Russian woodsman who sports tattooed sleeves and some wicked looking sabers is quite unusual.
This mighty manly version of Santa also employs a bunch of Yetis in his workshop, because elves just aren't macho enough for Nicholas St. North!
6. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010, Finland)-
If there's one Christmas movie that must be seen to be believed it's Rare Exports, a ghoulishly good import from Finland. This dark, depraved, and downright surreal flick centers around a group of reindeer herders who, thanks to some scientific excavations, discover the one and only Santa Claus buried deep beneath the earth.
Rare Exports is a great Christmas horror flick for those who have strong stomachs, and Santa's elves in the film will scar you for life!
7. Christmas Evil aka You Better Watch Out (1980, USA)-
Christmas Evil is the original 80s Santa slasher flick, and it's definitely the better of the two films. The filmmakers actually manage to create an interesting, and disturbing, character study of a truly psychotic individual who is obsessed with taking on the role of Santa.
This is the Santa movie that left many 80s kids scared to death that Santa was going to come down their chimney and "get" them if they were naughty! (Trailer has some NSFW violence)
8. Santa With Muscles (1996, USA)-
The Hulkster has starred in some pretty terrible movies after his professional wrestling career, but none of his movies can hold a pine scented candle to Santa With Muscles.
It's a strange flick, yet not really watchably strange like the rest of the movies on this list, but if you're brave enough to attempt a full viewing here it is in its entirety!
9. Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny (1972, USA)-
Santa flicks don't come much more surreal than Santa Claus and the Ice Cream Bunny, a laughably bad movie that has become a cult classic because of its bizarre thematic elements and bad dialog.
Santa's sleigh is stuck in the sand on a Florida beach, so he calls forth children, animals and a guy in a gorilla suit to help him out, but nothing seems to work so the Ice Cream Bunny comes to the rescue in his red fire engine.
10. J'ai rencontré le Père Noël/I Believe In Santa Claus (1984, France)-
Santa helps two young children rescue their parents from an African prison in the French Christmas comedy J'ai rencontré le Père Noël (I Believe In Santa Claus/Here Comes Santa Claus). This obscure film stars Karen Cheryl as a fairy who helps the kids, and Santa, rescue the captive parents just in time for Christmas, and Karen's singing is showcased whenever possible throughout the film.
If you're tired of watching the same old Christmas movies and you're looking for a fun flick that's a little off you can't go wrong with any one of the ten flicks on this list. But be forewarned- Santa will never look the same again after you watch these movies!