It seems only appropriate that a killer Santa would first appear in the subversive cinema of the 1970s. The Amicus anthology TALES FROM THE CRYPT (1972) made history by having a wacko in a Santa suit terrorizing an equally evil housewife (to show how far ahead of the times EC Comics producer William Gaines was, the story was originally featured in “The Vault of Horror” in 1954). It seems only appropriate that the Killer Santa theme exploded in the “go big or go home” cinema of the 1980s. Audiences were treated to a myriad of killer Kris Kringles starting with CHRISTMAS EVIL (1980) and continuing with DON’T OPEN TILL CHRISTMAS (1984) and the SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT (1984) series. Hell, even the TALES FROM THE CRYPT cable revival in 1989 remade the classic “And All Through the House” story. Now in most cases it was just a loony in a Santa suit, but the deal was done. The dude scared people and was perfect horror movie material. After all, with a quick letter switch Santa becomes Satan.
The movie opens with a woman clad all in black performing some kind of satanic ceremony over an 8X10 of some random dude. The next scene has a lady walking home at night and she is confronted by a guy dressed as Santa Claus. Apparently she was on the naughty list as he quickly decapitates her with an axe and puts her head in his sack. Cut to a downtown police station where Captain George Ardison (Barie Snider) gets the word that it was his wife that was the victim. Oh damn, Ardison was the dude in the photo in that opening ritual. Somebody must not like him. Our killer Santa proves his lack of Yuletide cheer by taunting the police captain with phone calls and placing the lady’s severed head on top of his Christmas tree.