Monstervision's Joe Bob Briggs Looks At

Santa Claws (1996)

You better watch out, I'm telling you why

"Joe Bob's Drive In Review" for December 8, 1996
By Joe Bob Briggs
Drive-In Movie Critic of Grapevine, Texas

Have you seen these shows on ESPN 2 where some guy rides a tricycle off a cliff, does a triple-reverse upside-down back flip, free falls toward a raging white-water river, opens his parachute, grabs a tree limb on the way down, hooks his ankles into a bungee cord, dunks his head one time in the water, grabs the rudder of a helicopter and does pull-ups while twirling through space with his camcorder partner getting it all on videotape?
They make up these new "extreme sports" all the time, and they all involve towheaded muscleboys wearing crash helmets, and the announcers act like we're supposed to KNOW WHAT THE HECK THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT.
"Mark looked good on his Axel Layout at 10,000 feet, but he's gonna lose points for that Kickstand Cuff on his way out of the plane."
And you're sitting at home going:
"They have actual TERMINOLOGY for this? Wasn't this sport invented, like, TUESDAY?"
But they act like they're talking about a sport that's thousands of years old.
"You know, Jim, some of your veteran Brain-Suspension Parasailers-guys like Scooter Hagen and Brian Fuchsia-they wouldn't really approve of these moves we're seeing today. There was a time when Butt-Mincing was unheard of in this sport. Scooter would say, 'That's not true Brain-Suspension. That's a torso-based move."
I mean, where do they get these guys? Most of 'em are named Skip or Darren or Brad, and they have those high-pitched whiny voices like California dudes who have spent way too much of their lives on skateboards. And they like to wear those shorts that look like Leroy Neiman threw up on 'em. And they're all fascinated by stuff like: "Wonder if we could Roller-Blade down the side of that rock while wearing scuba gear? Wouldn't that be cool?"
But think about what it would be like if these sports were NOT televised on ESPN 2. You'd be tooling through the desert one day and you'd say, "Hey, look, honey, somebody's trying to Roller-Blade down the side of that rock while wearing scuba gear."
And your girlfriend would say, "What an idiot."
And you'd say: "Yeah. Must be an idiot."
But if it's on ESPN 2, the guy gets a Nike endorsement for his special all-weather reinforced-steel Scuba Rappelling footwear.

You tell me what it's all about. I'm fresh out of ideas. And speaking of psychos with a death wish, "Santa Claws" is here, just in time for the festive season. We haven't had a really good Killer Santa movie since the original "Silent Night, Deadly Night," which was picketed by PTAs and banned in Boston-LITERALLY banned in Boston.

This one stars Grant Kramer as a geek horror-movie fan who just hasn't been the same since that day he found his mom nekkid in bed with a fat guy and had to blow holes through both of 'em with a .22 pistol. Now he's fixated on next-door neighbor Debbie Rochon, the real-life scream queen who plays a scream queen in this flick, and he's determined to go to work with a three-pronged garden tiller on anyone who gets in the way of her B-movie career.

Grant has the little altar full of candles, the Debbie Rochon blow-up party doll, the maniacal laugh, the cloying boyish voice-he's pretty much got the whole bundle of tricks we've come to recognize as Creepy Psycho Fan.

Fortunately for us, Debbie is in the middle of filming "Scream Queen Christmas," the movie-within-the-movie, which is basically a bunch of bodacious babes writhing around the Christmas tree and peeling off their little elf costumes, so we get to watch Wayne garden-prong THEM to death while he's supposed to be baby-sitting Debbie's two adorable little girls.

One nice thing about this picture is that it features Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman, Bill Hinzman-all veterans of the original Night of the Living Dead - back together for the first time in almost 30 years. And that's enough to make it one of the best films made this year in Pittsburgh.

Eight dead bodies.
Twenty-five breasts.
Multiple aardvarking.
Multiple death by garden implement.
Claw to the stomach.
Cardboard box to the head.
Multiple strangulation.
Claw fu.
Hot chocolate fu.
Drive-In Academy Award nominations for ...
Debbie Rochon, as the troubled scream queen who fears she may be wasting her zoology degree, but who looks incredibly sexy in the psycho-geek fantasy sequences, for saying, "I have a very dark side."

Grant Kramer, as the psycho geek who dances with a plaster bust and says, "If you reject my true and honest love, then you'll get what's coming to you!"

Susan Ellen White, as the brazen hussy redhead who aardvarks with Debbie's photographer husband on the carpet, then says, "I'm gonna do you a big favor, Eric-I'm gonna make you forget about your wife, forget about your kids and forget about your job-the only thing on your mind from now on is gonna be me."

John Mowod, as the cheating husband who finds his two daughters unconscious on the sofa and decides to call everyone EXCEPT the ambulance.

Christine Cavalier, as the silver-sequined redhead who writhes around on a sled and takes a shower, for her two enormous talents.

And Lisa Delien, as the Santa elf with an arm tattoo who lets Santa Claws in to use the phone.

Two and a half stars.
Joe Bob says check it out.
To discuss the meaning of life with Joe Bob, you can reach him at: Joe Bob Briggs, P.O. Box 2002, Dallas, Texas 75221; fax him at 213-462-5982; or e-mail them to Joe Bob on the Internet:
© 1996 Joe Bob Briggs All Rights Reserved

For more of Joe Bob's pre-TNT reviews in Grapevine, Texas, go to his Drive-In Reviews Archive over yonder at www.Joe Bob

"Santa Claws" availability on video and on DVD from

Silent Night, Deadly Night 5 starring Mickey Rooney

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Elvis has left the building, and he took Joe Bob with him. Santa Claws is comin' to town