Seasonal Reminder: The Santa Clause Movies Are Insane

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Christmas movies: They let us celebrate the birth of Jesus while also basking in the warm irradiating glow of television. There’s everything from the magic of Miracle On 34th Street to the commie propaganda of It’s A Wonderful Life. Hell, even a movie in which a small boy tries to straight up murder petty cat burglars somehow became a seasonal classic.

If you hadn’t noticed, Disney has a real boner for money, which is presumably why they turned one of their hit Christmas flicks into a whole trilogy. Yup, there are three goddamn Santa Clause movies. And while most Christmas stories pretty much keep their shit together, the Santa Clause franchise is a wacky Yuletide fever dream that inexplicably stars Tim Allen.

Let’s start by looking at the first movie, The Santa Clause, in which Allen stars as Scott Calvin, a divorced executive spending Christmas Eve with his son, Charlie. While most divorced dads only metaphorically kill the spirit of Christmas with their crappy presents, Scott literally kills Kris Kringle in the first ten minutes.

Walt Disney Studios

Walt Disney Studios“If you don’t stop snitchin’, the only gift you’re getting is stitches.”

It’s all an accident, of course, but it’s also more than a little weird that a Disney movie opens with the lifeless corpse of Jolly Old Saint Nick, like a surprisingly festive episode of Law & Order. Scott then puts on Santa’s suit in order to begrudgingly deliver the rest of the presents.

Walt Disney StudiosLuckily, he had some experience delivering snow-covered presents.

Here’s where things start to get really fucked up. After travelling to the North Pole, Scott learns that by putting on the suit, he has now been cursed to forever be Santa, thanks to a hidden “clause” which “waives any and all rights to any previous identity.”

Walt Disney Studios

Walt Disney StudiosWait, does Apple run the North Pole?

There are a couple of horrifying implications to this. One, it suggests that no one wants or chooses the life of Santa. Delivering toys to bratty kids and spending an eternity in the Arctic is so shitty that apparently elves have to trick people into taking the job. Two, you may assume that the Santa who died at the beginning of the movie was some ancient being, but who’s to say that was the original Santa? For all we know, the Santa who died in this movie was some teenager who accidentally ran Santa over with his car the previous Christmas.

We also get a scene wherein an immortal elf who looks like a small child hilariously thinks Tim Allen is hitting on her, and- wait, who the fuck thought that was a good idea?

Walt Disney Studios

Walt Disney Studios

Walt Disney Studios“Hey, we cut the ‘sit on Santa’s lap’ joke. What more do you want?”

In Disney’s only dalliance with body horror, Scott’s body soon transmogrifies into that of an elderly heavyset bearded guy, no matter what he does. Which raises so many questions. If a child puts on the suit, do they also grow a beard? If it’s a woman, does Christmas magic reassign her gender without her consent? What if a serial killer offs Santa and puts on the suit? This elven system of doing things is pretty much the worst.

As hard as it is to believe, the second movie is even stranger. In The Santa Clause 2, Santa discovers that there’s a second hidden clause, which states that he has to get married to “a woman of his choosing.”

Walt Disney Studios

Walt Disney StudiosHold on … What happened to the original Mrs. Claus?

So now Santa is being forced to marry, and is seemingly not allowed to be gay. So Santa treks back to the real world and tries to hook up with ladies in order to save Christmas.

Walt Disney StudiosWe’re surprised the elves didn’t create a Tinsl app.

He ends up honing in on his son’s school principal, which would be more romantic if we didn’t know that he was essentially auditioning Mrs. Clauses in the same way Scientology does Mrs. Cruises.

Walt Disney StudiosAnd like Scientology, whomever decides to marry him will have to cut off all contact from their friends and family.

Scott/Santa eventually convinces her to marry him, and then immediately (and disgustingly) morphs back into Santa Claus. As a crowd of elves cheer on the rapid degradation of his body, his new bride looks super confused.

Walt Disney Studios“No backsies!”

We didn’t even mention Santa’s dead-eyed animatronic reindeer monstrosity, who talks like a meth-addled Scooby-Doo and farts all the damn time. This movie’s so dumb that I know a married couple which almost split after an evening of watching it. It’s like the Ring video, but it just breaks your soul, and the curse doesn’t stop after seven days.

And you’d think that when the creative well had dried up to the point where the writers were putting gassy reindeer and evil robots into the script, they’d pack it in, but they didn’t!! They made another one! Holy shit!

Things get immediately creepy in The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause. Santa’s hanging out with his pregnant wife (the one Christmas forced him to have) in front of an ominous fireplace that was seemingly bought at Zardoz‘s garage sale.

Walt Disney StudiosAnd nary a Christmas decoration in sight.

Hey, remember how all the elves look like small children? Now the true horror of that premise comes to light, as we meet Mrs. Claus’ OB-GYN, who is a small boy. Ask any woman; we pretty much guarantee she’ll tell you that this scene is scarier than all the Saw movies combined.

Walt Disney Studios“I warned you two about covering your North Pole.”

It turns out that Mrs. Claus’ parents don’t know about the whole Santa business. They think she’s married to a normal dude who’s just super into Kenny Rogers or something. So they have to lie and pretend they live in Canada with a little help from Santa’s pal the Sandman (played by Worf), who magically roofies them.

Walt Disney Studios

Walt Disney Studios“Hey, are there any side effects to that stuff?”

Right when you think we couldn’t be further away from celebrating the birth of Christ, this movie also throws time travel into the mix. Yeah, why the hell not? Who gives a shit? Instead of a message about generosity or some crap, the rest of the movie is essentially Back To The Future Part 2, with the evil Jack Frost travelling back to the events of the first movie and becoming Santa instead of Scott.

Walt Disney StudiosMoments before he accidentally crashes his sleigh into a pile of manure.

Then we get a “Bad 1985″-like timeline in which Tim Allen is still an executive, his son is a piece of shit, and his ex-wife’s second marriage has somehow fallen apart because he’s not Santa. Really, how tenuous was her marriage that her ex-husband’s job ruined their whole relationship? And she works in (gasp) customer service now. Also Biff- sorry, Jack Frost, has turned the North Pole into a casino- sorry, resort.

Walt Disney StudiosWith gambling.

Santa forces Frost back in time again, then fixes the timeline by using the magic of … wrestling a guy to the ground and pinning him there.

Walt Disney Studios“How about some visions of sugar plums punched in your head!”

Then he … you know what, we’re done here. I can’t talk about these movies anymore. This is over. *Slurps eggnog.* Merry Christmas, everybody. Remember to put out your milk and cookies and bear traps if you want to claim Santa’s powers for yourself.

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter, or check out the podcast Rewatchability.

Become one with Tim Allen and get your own Santa Suit.

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For more, check out 5 Christmas Movies You Never Realized Had Insane Messages and 30 Unseen Dark Sides of Famous Christmas Movies.

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