Santa Claws

Film review by Thomas M. Sipos




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Santa Claws  (1996, dir: John A. Russo; writer: John A. Russo; cast: Debbie Rochon, Grant Kramer)






I wouldn't even call this a horror film. Horror requires an unnatural threat. Something mysterious and larger than life. What made Halloween a horror film is that Michael Meyers couldn't die.

Santa Claws is more akin to The Toolbox Murders and Visiting Hours (but not as slick) in that we see the killer right away (rather than hidden by a mask), and we see that he's a seedy, pathetic little man. So he lacks the awesome power of a Michael Meyers or Jason Vorhees.

Santa Claws is also not a horror film in that about half the film (and it's a short 82 minutes) is just various women posing semi-nude for the camera. No suspense or deaths. Just semi-nude models.

The story is about an obsessed fan (Grant Kramer) who kills everyone in the life of his favorite actress (Debbie Rochon), who specializes in horror-porn films. So we spend much time at the porn studio watching various actresses being filmed topless. If that's what you want, great, but know that this is as much a soft-core porn film as horror.

The story is scant. (What porn film has a substantive story?) The acting is uniformly bad. "Walls" wobble when struck, and we can glimpse where they don't connect to the ceiling. (Seems much of the film was ineptly shot on a cheap sound stage.)

And the special effects are laughably poor. Unlike many slashers, this killer sticks to only one implement, a relatively mild-looking garden rake. He hits people with it, leaving small red dots, which we're supposed to think are gashes. Doesn't look it. See the above DVD cover? The skeleton with the ax? No axes in this film. No skeleton either. Not even a skeleton costume.



Debbie Rochon bears some resemblance to Parker Posey, though without the talent. Grant Kramer evokes Chris Elliott, though not as funny. All of the actresses in this film appear to have had massive breast implants.

Certainly there are many better "killer Santa" films. While Silent Night, Deadly Night has historically garnered the most attention, I'd say that Christmas Evil is the most inspired and thought-provoking, while Don't Open Till Christmas is a personal favorite.

Because I'm a fan of both Chris Elliott and Parker Posey, I'm giving Santa Claws a generous two stars for casting actors who resemble them.


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