Professional wrestlers transitioning to movies has a mixed track record. While The Rock has made the leap to mega-star and John Cena’s Peacemaker is a hit, no one’s asking Hulk Hogan to make No Holds Barred II. In what’s perhaps a wise move, Bill Goldberg has limited his acting career to supporting roles in movies. In what was probably his most unexpected role, Goldberg turned up in Canadian horror comedy Santa’s Slay playing … Santa Claus himself. While it may seem like an obviously ‘bad movie’, maybe Santa’s Slay is … ‘so bad, it’s good’.
It’s Christmas Eve and the small Alberta, Canada, town of Hell Township is preparing for Santa Claus’ arrival. That is, everyone except Nicholas Yuleson’s grandfather who hate Christmas. According to Grandpa Yuleson, Santa Claus is really a demonic entity who lost a wager to an angel a 1000 years ago thereby forcing him to deliver toys and good cheer. But the wager has ended and now Old Saint Nick is free to fulfil his true purpose – bloodshed for all.
Santa’s Slay Delivers Childish But Admittedly Fun Christmas Carnage
As far as horror comedies go, Santa’s Slay leans heavily into the stupid. Think less Army of Darkness and more Sharknado. The town’s called Hell Township, the protagonist’s last name is Yuleson, and a demonic buffalo pulls Santa’s sleigh. Oh, and in a wonderful piece of Canadiana, Santa’s lost wager was over a game of curling. Clearly, writer and director David Steiman doesn’t intend for any of this to be taken seriously. For approximately 78 minutes, Santa’s Slay delivers Yule-themed puns and Christmas-themed carnage. This jacked up Santa Claus drowns a victim in eggnog, chokes someone with a turkey drumstick, and strangles another victim with a wreath. Steiman even carries on the Canadian flavor in a later scene where Santa tries to run someone over with a Zamboni.
For approximately 78 minutes, Santa’s Slay delivers Yule-themed puns and Christmas-themed carnage.
Despite the colorful kills, Santa’s Slay doesn’t fully commit to R-rated horror-comedy gore. In all likelihood, the R-rating comes courtesy of a scene at a strip club called Gold Diggers. As a result, it’s a tonally odd movie that’s humor veers from dark and irreverent to childish and, sometimes, almost sentimental. Like many horror comedies, many of the jokes don’t land. But when they do, there’s a few nuggets of gold. Most importantly, Santa’s Slay maintains a consistently amicable tone from start to finish.
Santa’s Slay Finds a Lot of Familiar Faces Who Maybe Lost Wagers of Their Own
Either Steiman has a lot of friends or he knows a lot of secrets about Hollywood stars. Expect quite a few surprising cameos for what’s essentially a lowbrow B-movie about a Killer Santa. In the opening dinner scene, James Caan (Misery), Fran Drescher, Chris Kattan (House on Haunted Hill), and Rebecca Gayheart (Urban Legend) turn up, albeit briefly. Anyone who’s a fan of 60s or 80s television will recognize veteran actor Robert Culp playing Grandpa Yuleson. Veteran character actor Saul Rubinek and SCTV alumnus Dave Thomas also pop up in supporting roles. And everyone seems to be having fun. In addition, Santa’s Slay even recruits two up-and-coming stars – Douglas Smith and Emilie de Ravin – to play its teen leads.
Expect quite a few surprising cameos for what’s essentially a lowbrow B-movie about a Killer Santa.
Of course, Santa’s Slay hinges on whether pro wrestler Bill Goldberg can actually turn Santa Claus into a goofy killing machine. While it helps that the movie doesn’t demand too much from Goldberg, he seems to be having just as much fun as the rest of the cast. Armed with hammy one-liners that a latter-day Freddy Krueger would have turned down, Goldberg plays well to the material. Certainly, if you have fun with this movie, you’d likely be open to seeing Goldberg back in the role.
Santa’s Slay Mostly Comes Baring Gifts of Goofy Humor
If Santa’s Slay is a thoroughly stupid movie, it’s also a frequently fun and, occasionally, charming movie. Not all the absurdist horror lands and even when it does, it’s the kind of groanworthy stuff you’d find in the Sharknado series. Steinman also awkwardly straddles a line between the goofy comedy and a level of violence that wants to but never does lean into full horror comedy. But everyone involved in this one looks like they’re having fun. And if you’re will to turn off your brain, you might be surprised by how much fun you’ll having watching it.