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Case Number 10521

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Santa Claws

Shock-O-Rama Cinema // 1996 // 80 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // December 22nd, 2006

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All Rise...

If Judge David Johnson hasn't told you the story about how he was stalked by a lunatic in a Santa Claus outfit, get him drunk first. It was a traumatic experience, but the alcohol should get him talking.

The Charge

His slay bells are ringing!

Opening Statement

B-movie mega-starlet Debbie Rochon stars in a breast-riddled horror movie just in time for the holidays!

Facts of the Case

Rochon is Raven Quinn, a famous scream queen in the middle of filming her latest nude-fest. Meanwhile, her personal life is a shambles as she contemplates divorcing her photographer husband. What's worse, unknown to her, she has a psychotic stalker. Wayne (Grant Cramer) is the next-door neighbor and is infatuated with his hot abutter. He's set up a shrine to Raven and regularly romances an inflatable likeness. His obsession will turn violent however, when he goes on a killing spree.

Armed with a garden implement and eventually, clad in a Santa costume painted back, Wayne systematically murders anyone he sees as a threat to Raven, be it competing scream queens or crew members.

And that's about it. Crazy guy, Debbie Rochon fretting and boatloads of pointless nudity; I give you…Santa Claws.

The Evidence

Campy and incoherent, Santa Claws exists solely to reveal as many nipples as it possibly can. Aside from Raven's mom, I think every female character takes her top off at one point in this movie. And it's a gratuitous as it gets, too. According to the story, these girls are filming a horror B-movie (going for that "film within a film" thing), but every "scene" we see involves the actresses dancing around in bikinis and eventually disrobing and dancing around some more. Actually, "writhing" is a more apt description.

Writhing, naked women—it is the only element of this affair that actually stands out and was of course purposeful to, my guess, compensate for the lack of plot, gore and anything else someone would look for in a horror movie.

Wayne, the killer, starts out promising. We see him in a flashback sequence as a young kid who walks in on his mom, boning a fat dude that he believes is Santa Claus or something and shoots the guy dead. But the whole "psycho Santa" angle is never taken advantage of until the very end of the film, and those sequences aren't terribly interesting. For most of the killings, Wayne runs around in sweat pants and a mask, stabbing people with one of those tiny hand rakes gardeners use to loosen up soil or whatever. What a lame weapon and a lame, bloodless series of deaths.

Hey, I know that Santa Claws is supposed to be schlocky and lighthearted, but it's obvious from the disc packaging that someone wants you to think you're getting a violent little slasher. That's not the case. Think of the film more as a low-budget case study in stalker's psychosis draped with incessant nudity (and the occasional death-by-garden-implement) and you shouldn't have your expectations crushed.

Lastly, props to Debbie Rochon who actually tries to do some real acting and for the most part gets away unscathed. Plus, she looks fantastic, greatly outpacing her also-nude also-ran costars in the looks department.

Shock-o-Rama put together a decent DVD package. The film looks its age, but the full frame, 2.0 stereo mix supplements the cheesy, zero-budget feel of the film anyway, the technical achievements (or lack or) is a wash. There are a few decent extras, highlighted by interviews with Rochon and Bill Hinzman, director of photography, with outtakes and trailers bringing up the rear.

Closing Statement

Santa Claws was obviously engineered as a mechanism to convey a multitude of breasts in as little time as possible and, as such, the horror elements take a backseat. Sort of fun in a cheesetastic kind of way.

The Verdict

For dressing up what essentially is a Cinemax skin flick as a horror movie, the studio is found guilty.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 75
Audio: 75
Extras: 80
Acting: 70
Story: 70
Judgment: 73

Perp Profile

Studio: Shock-O-Rama Cinema
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 80 Minutes
Release Year: 1996
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Erotic
• Horror

Distinguishing Marks

• Interview with Star Debbie Rochon
• Interview with Director of Photography Bill Hinzman
• Outtakes
• Trailers


• IMDb

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