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Santa Claus: The Dark Side

Posted by Billyjam, December 11, 2012 08:09am | Post a Comment

The Killers "Don't Shoot Me Santa" (2007 Def Jam)

After recently checking out the funny-but-dark humored Bargin Bin Blasphemy Tumber page featuring some Christmas / Santa Claus album covers like the one left that have been adjusted with some simple sharpie and paint to make Santa look more like Satan (there's many other non-Santa ones but equally "blasphemous") I began thinking about instances when Santa is portrayed as the opposite of his usual kindly benevolent self. The first thing that came to my mind of course was the 2003 film Bad Santa starring Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, Brett Kelly, Lauren Graham, and the two late greats Bernie Mac and John Ritter, which you can find at Amoeba in Blu-ray.   This film, which people seem to either love or hate, has been released in two versions: the regular original version and the later unrated version. Yes if the original theatrical version didn't portray Santa behaving badly enough for some viewers the unrated version took the badness up a notch with even more cursing, nudity, and criminal activity.  See clip below from original version - but be forewarned it has explicit language.

Next in terms of Santa going to the dark side I thought of those group Santa Claus bar/pub crawls where guys (and some women too) dressed up as Santa go out in a large group and get their collective swerve on - usually civilized but oft times getting stinking drunk and getting into fights. Then there's The Killers non-album track "Don't Shoot Me Santa" from five Christmases ago which the Las Vegas band recorded as a digital download-only track with all proceeds going to AIDS charities as part of the (PRODUCT)RED campaign. The entertaining video (above) and great song, delivered in the band's usual Springsteen-esque style, portrays Santa far from his normal North Pole residence but as a kidnapping killer deep in the desert who lives in a tore up old trailer. "Well the party's over kid cos I've got a bullet in my gun!," warns bad Santa (played by Ryan Pardey who has taken Brandon Flowers captive) and is about to kill the Killers main man. But fear not it has a happy ending when our kidnapped hero is rescued and the video ends with the note 'Merry Christmas from The Killers."

Then on the opposite far end of the bad/good spectrum there is the goodie good Santa - even more PC than the one most people grew up with. In both the UK and Australia certain watchdog groups have attacked Santa's image as being negative: specifically in his language and in his girth/body size. In Britain some politically correct groups criticized Santa Claus for being overweight, as well as too fond of eating cookies, saying that as such he is a bad role model to children. Meanwhile an Australian department store training school for would be Santa Clauses told their trainees to lose the "Ho, ho, ho" in their spiels because such words are derogatory to women.



Foul-mouthed scene:  Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, and Bernie Mac from Bad Santa (2003)

Relevant Tags

Bad Santa (1), Christmas (76), Santa Claus (4), The Killers (7), Brandon Flowers (2)