A cheap and opportunistic project, SANTA CLAWS adds little to the "killer Kringle" subgenre or to the world of horror films in general.
Young Wayne (Christopher Boyle) finds his very recently widowed mother (Terri Lewandowski) and Uncle Joe (Ed Lewandowski) in bed together and shoots them. Years later, he lives next door to horror film star Raven Quinn (Debbie Rochon), on whom he has a psychopathic fixation. Believing model Laura
Britton (Christine Cavalier) to be a threat to Raven's "stardom," Wayne kills her at a photo studio.
Unaware of Wayne's dementia, Raven takes him up on his offer to baby-sit her daughters Savannah (Savannah Calhoun) and Angela (Dawn Michelucci), as her photographer husband Eric (John Mowod) is out of town (and, unbeknownst to her, having an affair with one of his models). Wayne drugs the kids,
dresses in a Santa Claus suit, and commits more murders. Eric calls off his affair and returns home--just in time to confront Wayne, who has painted his Santa suit black and is threatening Raven. A fight ensues, and Raven kills Wayne with his own weapon.
In the 1990s, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968) co-author John A. Russo has devoted most of his time to the softcore "horror" magazine Scream Queens Illustrated, for which his SANTA CLAWS depressingly amounts to a barely disguised 83-minute product plug. Many of the mag's models and workers have
acting roles, a good deal of the movie was shot at its offices, and there's much functional dialogue revolving around the dubious "scream queen" phenomenon.
Needless to say, there's not much room for interesting or original horror here. The plot is cliched from the "source of the psycho's madness" opening on down; Russo's direction is clumsy (particularly in the murder scenes), and the technical credits are barely passable, with often overmodulated
sound and a host of lousy songs on the soundtrack. The only positive thing one can say is that unlike so many cheesy "scream queen" movies, this one was at least shot on film instead of video. Horror fans will recognize Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman, and Bill Hinzman, who appear briefly, from the
cast of the original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. (Graphic violence, extensive nudity, sexual situations, profanity.)
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- Released: 1996
- Rating: NR
- Review: A cheap and opportunistic project, SANTA CLAWS adds little to the "killer Kringle" subgenre or to the world of horror films in general. Young Wayne (Christopher Boyle) finds his very recently widowed mother (Terri Lewandowski) and Uncle Joe (Ed Lewandowsk… (more)