The trimmings of the Christmas season are inescapable in December. One of these is the massive pink beacon of Santa Claus himself. However even Saint Nick hasn’t been immune to a facelift.
Santa Claus has seen some subversion in a quantity of disturbing methods by way of the years, however alongside these perverse visions of Kris Kringle have additionally been different nations’ takes on the fabled character. Some of these ghoulish figures are Ded Moroz and the Snow Maiden from Slavic roots, the Joulupukki and Mikulas from Finland and Hungary respectively, in addition to Olentzero and Tomte, Basque and Scandanavian characters. My favourite of these are the Xmas Lads who come from Icelandic historical past. Right here, the concept of Santa Claus transforms into 13 disarming kids, with every one representing a completely different facet of the character.
Nonetheless, whereas many of these is likely to be appropriately creepy international Santa Claus interpretations, they aren’t stated to be Santa himself, who’s the main focus right here. We’re particularly examples the place the ol’ Saint Nick character has been reworked into one thing unnatural.
As a tradition we will’t appear to get sufficient of remodeling this common figurehead of the vacations. Even when Christmas means nothing to you, there’s no denying that you simply’re conversant in Santa Claus and what he represents. Whether or not or not you even have a relationship with the character goes to inform how these subversions work on you. Quickly the time will come while you received’t know what’s creeping down your chimney in December…
SECRET OF MANA
Video video games are a favourite reward for a lot of to obtain over the vacations so it’s solely acceptable that our first instance of an off-kilter Santa can be present in a Tremendous Nintendo title. Squaresoft’s legendary Secret of Mana has you going by way of the everyday RPG rigmarole till you pledge battle with a Frost Gigas.
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Upon beating this boss the creature transforms into Christmas’ savior and explains that this metamorphosis happened as a result of kids stopped believing in him. So the subsequent time you’re fast to shoot down the legend of Santa and demand that his existence is children’ stuff suppose of the implications. You’re gonna make Santa go Gigas!
With every passing yr it looks like cinema’s fascination with mixing Santa and horror turns into extra prevalent. It’s a pleasant pairing for a quantity of causes, and whereas many of these movies don’t shoot for the moon, 2015’s Santa’s Slay is a welcome shock.
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The movie principally says that Santa is definitely a demon who misplaced a guess with an Angel. His punishment is he’s pressured to hand out toys—in a sensible twist on the character’s trademark kindness—till the guess is lastly over and Santa’s true in poor health intentions can come to life. Santa’s Slay won’t be a traditional by any means, however the concept that Santa has solely been a jolly outdated soul out of obligation is a chilling one.
Saints Row IV: How the Saints Save Christmas DLC
Saints Row is a sequence that has achieved a stunning job at distilling absurdity into a madcap franchise of video video games. Saints Row IV noticed the franchise pushing itself to new extremes with one of essentially the most outstanding examples coming within the title’s vacation themed downloadable content material.
additional studying: The Greatest Christmas Motion pictures on Amazon Prime
Right here, a villainous model of Santa is created by the sport’s resident baddie, Zinyak, with this Santa bent on ruining the vacations for good. The creation of some nega-Santa is an upsetting concept in its personal proper, however extra gasoline is added to this hearth by Santa Clawz’ creation being the outcome of Zinyak tapping into and abusing the actual Santa’s thoughts.
Sint deserves factors for its ambition, if nothing else. The movie takes on the Sinterklaas custom, which could not technically be the identical as Santa, however it’s awfully shut. The movie presents the tragic story of a bishop, St. Niklas, who’s murdered on December fifth many centuries in the past. Accordingly, St. Niklas’ ghost returns on horseback each 23 years (when Christmas syncs up with a full moon, making him nearly a “werewolf Santa” in a sense) in honor of the anniversary of his demise and the Sinterklaas custom.
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Director Dick Maas is a grasp of exploitation (simply watch his Amsterdamned for those who don’t consider me) and Sint doesn’t maintain again from the gratuitous violence and kidnapping. The movie even induced a stir of controversy in its homeland, managing to scare many kids. And other people say that the vacation spirit is lifeless.
Silent Night time Lethal Night time, Christmas Evil, And All By means of the Home… and extra!
So long as the custom of mixing Christmas with horror has existed, so too has the favored staple of “homicide Santas.” Beginning all the way in which again in EC Comics in the course of the ’50s after which exploding in film theaters in the course of the ’70s, most of these twisted tales do not steep themselves in a cumbersome backstory. Usually the straightforward visible of trusted Santa brandishing an axe was sufficient to hammer the purpose dwelling.
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That being stated, that did not cease these monsters from complicating issues when obligatory (such because the case in Devil Claus from 1996, the place a serial killer dressed as Devil begins to construct a tree out of his victims’ limbs, in what looks like an antagonist that may pop up in an episode of Hannibal). Whether or not we’re laughing at their antics in Silent Night time, Lethal Night time or watching by way of shielded eyes like in Christmas Evil, homicide Santas are a bona fide hit. With Ryan Murphy’s well-liked American Horror Story even embracing the trope throughout its Asylum season (with Ian McShane within the function, no much less), it seems like these psychos aren’t going anyplace.
Grant Morrison is a grasp author and one of essentially the most refreshing voices working in comics. He’s chargeable for such distinctive classics like, Animal Man, The Multiversity, and All-Star Superman. Described (relatively brilliantly) as “Santa Claus: Yr One,” Morrison’s comedian sequence makes an attempt to deconstruct and reinvent the standard Santa lore.
learn extra: Grant Morrison Returns to the DC Universe
Santa right here is a Norse barbarian who lives within the woods, looking reindeer and attempting to steal presents from the corrupt monarchy to bestow upon the kids. The outcome feels nearly impossibly recent and an instance of the facility behind subverting such a well-known character.
ROBOT SANTA CLAUS
Futurama has all the time delighted in playfully poking enjoyable on the future. Round all of the aliens, transportation tubes, and suicide cubicles, the Christmas vacation has undergone a facelift and turn out to be a wasteland. Now, a forbidden and feared time, Santa has turn out to be a patrolling Gestapo-like determine who kills everybody on his naughty listing due to a programming error that provides him impossibly excessive requirements. He’s additionally gone about turning Neptune into his galactic North Pole, remodeling it into a veritable 1984-esque slave world within the course of.
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The awful tackle the vacations was in actual fact so darkish that FOX insisted the episode transfer from its normal 7 p.m. timeslot to 9:30. In spite of the subject material points, Robotic Santa would seem a quantity of instances by way of the present’s run (together with Hanukkah Zombie and Kwanzabot). There’s nothing fairly like a morbid Christmas carol in any case.
South Park has seen a shocking rejuvenation lately, however many individuals overlook that this sequence that’s practically twenty seasons within the making started as a foolish gag between Santa and Jesus. Whereas Santa’s presence has seen waning over the course of the present’s run, the character ultimately discovered his voice and got here out blazing, with “Crimson Sleigh Down” as a super piece of the puzzle.
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Contextualizing Santa by way of struggle homages and the likes of movies similar to, Black Hawk Down and Three Kings is a transfer that’s so loopy that it really works. Turning Santa into a badass pseudo-assassin who finally ends up dying and even changing into a Christ-like determine is likely to be one of the neatest issues that the present has achieved.
WEIRD AL YANKOVIC “THE NIGHT SANTA WENT CRAZY”
Very first thing’s first: that is a tousled music and music video. Bizarre Al has gone to all kinds of loopy locations all through his profession, however this video (which additionally incorporates an “Additional Gory Model”) has an unstable Santa Claus torturing his reindeer with a flamethrower earlier than consuming them, solely to finally find yourself dying in a barrage of bullets courtesy of a SWAT Workforce. Watching these horrendous visuals go hand-in-hand with catchy pop music is a weird technique, however one which helps solidify this as a traditional.
THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF SANTA CLAUS
Everybody remembers L. Frank Baum for The Wizard of Oz, however few are conscious that he wrote a complete sequence devoted to Christmas’ cheery mascot. Baum’s The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus definitely carries Oz’s sense of whimsy in addition to the darkish underbelly that accompanies it. Identical to how Morrison’s Klaus is all about demystifying Santa, Baum’s works do a lot of the identical, albeit on the other finish of the spectrum. Each facet of Santa is damaged down and receives clarification right here, similar to why he chooses chimneys to be his level of entry into properties.
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Whereas Baum’s tales depend on the extra well-liked Santa preconceptions, he nonetheless modifications the character in his personal method, too. Santa is initially an orphan right here, rising up within the Forest of Burzee earlier than finally ending up in Laughing Valley. He nonetheless has his acquainted associates, similar to reindeer (though Glossie and Flossie are removed from Rudolph), in addition to a cat companion named Blinkie. Baum’s model of Santa is all about attempting to present a purpose for every little thing, and a quantity of quirky elements would connect themselves to the character as a outcome.
SAM AND MAX: BEYOND TIME AND SPACE
The journey puzzler sequence, Sam and Max, manages to take Santa to some unpredictably darkish locations. The routinely sardonic video games see the titular heroes waging struggle towards a Shambling Company Presence that’s attempting to take over Christmas. This has Santa all out of kinds and leads to him locking up the Spirits of Christmas in a secure. This paranoid, trigger-happy Santa turns into much more fascinating after changing into possessed by the evil Shambling Company Presence (it was in some Jello that he ate, natch).
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After Santa’s merciless defeat, he finally ends up banished to Hell which reveals even extra layers of the man. Seeing Santa trapped in an eternity of product recollects and ungrateful kids is a genuinely distinctive tackle the character. Who’d have thought you possibly can get a lot mileage out of turning Santa into a struggling martyr?
SUMO SANTA FROM CLAYFIGHTER 63 1/3
Maybe not essentially the most inspiring reinvention of Santa on the listing, however Sumo Santa nonetheless deserves factors for effort. The cult traditional fighter sequence, ClayFighter, wore its sense of humor on its sleeve, so it shouldn’t be shocking that one of its characters was Santa Claus. Sumo Santa is outwardly an evil twin of Santa who’s obsessive about exacting management of the North Pole.
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ClayFighter 63 1/3 may deal with Sumo Santa as a villain, however he actually simply looks as if he needs to get his toys made in time and to unfold as a lot cheer as doable. Embellishing Santa’s weight and bloodlust won’t be the most important shift, however the sheer prospect of taking part in as Santa in a preventing recreation is just too ridiculous to move up.
Rick and Morty
Mr. Chimney has solely made an look in Oni Press’ line of Rick and Morty comics up to now, which implies you’ll get bragging rights while you deliver up this character and wow all of your folks. Rick and Morty is consumed in alternate universes the place actually something is feasible, so the concept of throwing Santa underneath that microscope holds a lot of attraction. Hell, the sequence might do an episode that was solely about all of the completely different Santas all through realities needing to work collectively to save a multi-dimensional Christmas.
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We don’t get to see an excessive amount of of Mr. Chimney, and once we do he’s actually simply a creepy trying punching bag. The character extra represents how Santa truly is fairly creepy while you take him out of his context, or current him to a bunch of outsiders. Mr. Chimney is the champion of Blumbus, and whereas he may freak out Rick, Morty, and us, everybody on his dwelling planet are excited to see him. Mr. Chimney makes us explicitly handle how intrinsically bizarre Santa is, making him the proper inclusion to shut this listing out with.
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Daniel Kurland is a revealed author, comic, and critic whose work may be learn on solar, Vulture, Bloody Disgusting, and ScreenRant. Daniel is aware of that the owls aren’t what they appear and his perma-neurotic thought course of may be adopted at @DanielKurlansky.
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