Bad Santa

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Rule #1: The poor child who is listed as "naughty" in Santa's Notebook shall die.

From his beard to his boots, he was covered with ammo,
Like a big fat drunk disgruntled Yuletide Rambo,
And he smiled as he said with a twinkle in his eye
"Merry Christmas to all - now you're all gonna die!"

—"The Night Santa Went Crazy," "Weird Al" Yankovic

You can't spell "Santa" without "Satan".

Sometimes, the Anthropomorphic Personification of a beloved holiday just can't take the stress anymore. This may simply lead to shameful behavior, or it might end in a full-blown violent rampage. Alternately, there may be an impostor bringing shame to the red suit. Or maybe an ordinary Mall Santa is just a Jerkass. Either way, we have a Bad Santa Claus on our hands.

Such a villain either despises the concept of Christmas altogether, or tries to pervert it. For children brought up with the 'commercialized' form of Christmas, Santa Claus can be seen as something of a symbol of divine judgment as well as a jolly child-friendly icon, making the Bad Santa almost like a combination between the Knight Templar and the Monster Clown. It isn't uncommon for the Bad Santa to herald his appearance with a twisted form of the 'naughty or nice' list - usually with severe penalties for whoever is on the 'naughty' list.

More mundane works might feature crooks in Santa costumes around Christmas as it isn't suspicious yet disguises their identity well.

An extreme form of Paranoia Fuel. Named after the movie of the same name. If this is the real deal, it's a case of Adaptational Villainy. If it isn't, it usually ends up fighting the real deal, Badass Santa!

Examples of Bad Santa include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Majokko Tsukune-chan, Santa is first bombed, then sniped by Devil Santa, who wants to deliver the presents himself. Santa is then reincarnated as Mecha Santa, who proceeds to battle Devil Santa.
  • In Hayate the Combat Butler, Hayate's work ethic is represented by an obnoxious, sarcastic Santa Claus.
    • Who is revealed to be Mikado (Nagi's Grandfather). He also wouldn't give Hayate any presents.
    • Santa Conan is also revealed to be a villain in one of the early chapters, as a parody gag, since Hayate and Detective Conan appear in the same publication.
  • Laura of Mnemosyne dresses up as Santa in one episode then proceeds to blow stuff up and shoot people after saying "Ho ho ho."
  • The "winter version" of the Shichinin Dougyou in Ga-Rei. They're a group of seven evil spirits...dressed like Santa Claus.
  • The horror manga Presents portrays Santa Claus as being able to see how the future will be affected by giving what a child most wants on Christmas. The scenarios we see all involve the children growing up to be criminals, horribly negligent gold-diggers, or (in one case) instigators for nuclear holocaust. Santa responds to these cases by gruesomely killing the then-totally innocent children with their own presents to prevent those futures from happening. Unlike some other examples here, this Santa is sometimes doubtful if he did the right thing. It does nothing to lessen the horror.
  • In The Big O there is an episode with a crazed man in a Santa suit that unleashes a giant, evil Christmas tree on the city.
  • In Haré+Guu Guu goes her way to portray Santa like this to the jungle kids who only remember bits of the Santa's mythos. Her portrayal includes Jason Voorhees-hockey mask and a coffin instead of a sleigh, among other things.
  • Dr. Hell becomes The Grinch in a Christmas-themed episode of Mazinger Z, unleashing the Robeast Satan Claus P10, who resembled an evil Santa riding a jet-propelled sleigh, using a whip that fired missiles.

Comic Books

  • The first volume of Alan Moore's Top Ten features a "Santa" who turns out to be a delusional class two psychokinetic - kidnapped reindeer from the zoo and everything.
  • A Christmas issue of The Avengers had a disturbed, possibly Mad Scientist with a childhood Christmas fixation attempting to create a robotic Santa Claus to make the myth into reality. But she used an Ultron robot as the basis, and as all Marvel Comics fans know, Ultron is one of those genocidal kill-all-humans robots. Hilarity Ensues.
    • For one, they wind up stopping him by giving him a Santa cookie with explosives inside.

Merry Christmas. Neural disruption for all.

    • Then there was the time the Illuminati let Santa use the Infinity Gauntlet...
  • The classic Batman story "Wanted: Santa Claus -- dead or alive!" Though the Bad Santa of the story (a mall Santa who was supposed to rob the store) does a Heel Face Turn and Batman has to save him from the criminals he was working for.
  • In fact, Batman has fought crooks dressed as Santa several times.
  • Batman Black & White, "A Slaying Song Tonight": A hitman plans to get near his target by taking the place of a Mall Santa hired to put in an appearance for the target's daughter. Batman figures it out in the nick of time and stops the hitman just before he reaches the house—then puts the costume on and does the Santa appearance himself.
  • The Tick brought us Multiple Santa - an evil Santa impersonator who can clone himself, parodying the way children react to hearing news that Santa Claus is making personal appearances in many different places all at once throughout December.
    • It was made into a Christmas Episode of the cartoon show. His ability to clone himself comes from electricity, leading the Tick to believe he killed him when he first gains his power. Worse, he keeps believing he's the real Santa until the actual Santa Claus (complete with elves) shows up. This has the side effect of restoring Arthur's faith on Christmas. At the end, since the Tick can't bring himself to fight even a villain who resembles Santa, he shakes him, which causes all his copies to disappear. Giving the Santas noogies makes them disappear.
  • Lobo's Paramilitary Christmas Special featured Lobo being hired by the Easter Bunny to whack Santa Claus, and a Badass Santa getting into a machete fight with the alien bounty hunter.
  • In the Ultimate Warrior Xmas Special, it seems that Warrior dresses as "Warrior Santa" and starts delivering Destrucity to children as well as apparently raping the real Santa Claus.
    • Apparently, the intent was for it to be a Saving Christmas scenario where Warrior dresses up as Santa after he passes out drunk on Christmas Eve. The picture really looks like the aftermath of him raping Santa instead, though.
  • It's not so much Santa as his little helpers, but in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a Coca-Cola representative is torn to pieces for interrupting Santa while he's high on mushrooms sending his astral self across the world to spread good cheer.
  • The context is never made clear, but one issue of the Deadpool comic started with Deadpool hunting down and killing a machine gun-wielding Santa Claus.
  • The comic Fables features all the fairy-tales who are in exile on Earth. This includes Santa Claus. He gives poor amnesiac Flycatcher a gift - the restoration of his memories. Thus forcing Flycatcher to relive the horrific massacre of his entire family. Merry Christmas, eh?
  • In Houppeland by Didier Tronchet, a totalitarian government imposes a state of perpetual Christmas; any unwillingness to be happy and participate in gift-giving and merriment is severely punished.
  • Blade at one point had to fight a Santa possessed by a body-jumping demon. Thanks to his unusual heritage, he's immune to the possession, but ends up having to Shoot the Dog.
  • Spider-Man once had to intervene when a burglar disguised as Santa broke into the apartment of his neighbor Bambi. Spidey prevents him from shooting her, then loses the burglar after he gets stopped by a someone completely off page except for his very Santa-like boots. The next day. the burglar had confessed to the police and was also distributing handmade toys.
  • Daredevil: Born Again. Matt Murdock is stabbed by a thug dressed as Santa.
  • The Question once fought a drunken, insane department store Santa.
    • Comic writer Denny O'Neil seems to have some issues with Santa. (He's written several of these stories.)
  • The Hitman Christmas Special involves the titular Hitman hunting down a radioactive murderer in a Santa suit on Christmas eve in Gotham, all with surreal narration meant to resemble "Twas the Night Before Christmas."

Narrator: 'Word', said his homie; 'I've got my nine. Now let's go bust a cap in that nuclear swine.'

Santa: "Marry christmas everyone! Ho ho ho".

Fan Works

  • The A Certain Magical Index fic A Certain Crazy Christmas Special by Franchise has an insane magician who impersonates Santa and has powerful Christmas-related magic. He goes on a rampage through town, wrecks stuff, steals presents and other belongings, and kidnaps several of the show's pretty girls. Naturally, Touma and Accelerator rescue the girls and defeat him.


  • Bad Santa stars Billy Bob Thornton as a child-hating Mall Santa who robs the stores afterwards. He gets better though. Somewhat.
  • Jacob's Ladder: A street Santa robs an injured Jacob Singer of his wallet. Jacob vows revenge.
  • In The Hebrew Hammer, Santa's evil son kills him and takes on his position in order to eliminate all other December holidays.
  • Parodied in Ernest Saves Christmas, where the candidate for the next Santa Claus is asked to take the lead role in a movie called Christmas Slay, which features a killer alien Santa. The film was effectively Defictionalized with Santa's Slay listed below.
  • Jack Skellington of The Nightmare Before Christmas, although he genuinely wants to bring happiness, makes for a frightening Santa-impersonator. Since he comes from Halloween Town, his notions of merriment and cheer tend to be a bit... nightmarish.
  • In the horror/comedy Santa's Slay, Bill Goldberg plays an evil Santa who is actually the spawn of Satan, and rides a sleigh driven by his one hell-deer. He's out for revenge on the protagonist's grandfather, who, in a stop-motion flashback inspired by Christmas specials like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, defeated him as an angel in a curling match and sentenced him to deliver presents on Christmas for 1000 years, leaving Santa to kill again in 2005.
  • Silent Night, Deadly Night and at least some of its sequels feature an Ax Crazy serial killer dressed as Santa Claus.
  • Trading Places has Winthorpe, at his wits' end due to being the victim of a cruel prank, show up as a drunken Santa with a gun.
  • The Santa Clause parodies this trope with a line from Scott Calvin regarding an advertising campaign with Santa in a life size "total tank" model.

Scott: Well, kids, I hope you've been good this year, because it looks like Santa just took out the Pearson Home. INCOMING!!!

  • The Santa Clause 2 features a Toy Santa designed to fill in for the real one while he goes off to find a Mrs. Claus. While Santa's absent, Toy Santa takes over the North Pole, turns it into a fascist state, locks up all the elves, and goes off to give everyone coal.
    • And in the third film of the series, Jack Frost manages to take over the role and enslave the elves.
  • And, lest we forget, there's the demented Santa Claus movie featured in the episode of "Mystery Science Theater 3000" which gave the Nightmare Fuel trope its name...
    • Even worse? It's obvious that this film's version of Santa wasn't intended to be bad.
  • Christmas Evil features a sad-sack who, as a child, sees his father dressed as Santa getting busy with his mother. Fast forward thirty years and he is a Christmas-obsessed toy store employee who loses it and ends up dressing as Santa to give presents to good boys and girls, and also to chop up his enemies with a hatchet.
  • A number of of slasher films, including a fairly early one titled To All a Good Night.
  • The 1972 Tales From The Crypt Anthology Film segment "And All Through the House" featured a killer dressed as Santa Claus. It was later remade as an episode of the tv-series.
  • Friday After Next when Craig and Day-Day are robbed by a man in a Santa Suit.
  • Nicholas Angel's recovering hand wound at the beginning of Hot Fuzz came at the hands of a maniac dressed as Father Christmas (and played by Peter Jackson).
  • French film The City of Lost Children begins with dozens of Santas invading a child's house while he's in bed. The kid goes from thrilled to confused to frightened as the Santas grow from one to two to many.
  • David Lynch's Wild at Heart briefly features Lula's Santa-obsessed cousin "Jingle" Dell (Christian Glover) who isn't so much Bad Santa as really, really creepy Santa.
  • Jingle All the Way featured a scene of a warehouse full of mall Santas and elves who turned out to be scamming imposters. Or, as Arnold put it, "sleazy con men in red suits."
  • The Rare Exports shorts. them. But not in the presence of children. There's also a full length film version revealing that the original Santa Claus is a giant horned monster frozen in a man made mountain.
  • A crazed mall Santa holds the employees of a suicide hotline hostage in the french movie Le Père Noël est une ordure aka Santa Claus is an asshole. And yes: it's a Christmas classic.
    • Remade (quite poorly) in the U.S. as Mixed Nuts.
  • Inverted in the horror film Don't Open Till Christmas. Instead of a killer Santa, it features a Santa killer.
  • In the Christmas classic, Miracle on 34th Street, the Santa for the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade is a drunk. Later, the real Santa smacks a department store psychologist with his cane for telling an impressionable young boy that he was mentally ill for wanting to do good on Christmas. This lands him in Bellevue, as part of the psychologist's petty attempt at revenge and leads to the court case at the end of the film.
    • The 1994 remake retained the "drunk" Santa who also got fired for mooning the audience and losing his pants on the job. The movie later showed a bar of drunk Santas off shift, and the original Kole's Santa took the place in the plot of the psychologist as an antagonist.
  • The Exploitation Film The Sinful Dwarf features a drug dealer who goes by the name Santa Claus. He uses a toy store as a front for his illegal operations.
  • The Dutch movie SINT, released in 2010, contains a bad version of Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas, on which Santa is based). When it's full moon on Pakjesavond (translated Presents Eve on 5 Decembre, the night when the kids get their presents), Sinterklaas comes. Not to deliver presents, but to kill you. (Apparently it's not Sinterklaas, but Saint Niklas, a zombie. But they look exactly the same, so it counts).
    • Commercial posters have caused controversy, as they seem to scare kids. The RCC (Reclame Code Comissie, a Dutch organisation that decides if commercials are allowed to be shown in public) has decided that the posters can stay were they are. But they are still creepy.
  • Kazuo Umezu's Horror Theater: Present is a live-action Asian take on this concept, being neatly summed up by one review as "Silent Night, Deadly Night... IN JAPAN!".


  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas: While not evil in the way of some of these examples, the Grinch started out as an ill-intentioned Santa-impersonator.
  • Definitely not evil, but Death in the Discworld book Hogfather makes a pretty creepy stand-in for that universe's Santa equivalent, who was already kind of creepy to begin with (he has tusks, his sleigh is pulled by fierce, gigantic wild boars, and he hands out blood-stained bones to bad kids).

Parent: You can't give her that! It's not safe!
Death: It's a sword. They're not meant to be safe.
Mall Owner: She's a child!
Death: It's educational.
Mall Owner: What if she cuts herself?
Death: That will be an important lesson.

  • The children's book Santa's Twin by Dean Koontz details the attempts of two girls to rescue Santa from his sadistic and mischievous twin brother Bob Claus and stop Bob's plot to ruin Christmas by handing out nasty presents. It was followed up by Robot Santa, which has Bob trying to make up for the trouble he caused last Christmas by building a robotic Santa Claus... who, unfortunately, quickly goes haywire.
  • While explaining the concept of summoning fairies and trapping them in magic circles in The Dresden Files novel Storm Front, Harry Dresden makes a throwaway remark about not being suicidal enough to try summoning and entrapping Santa Claus that way: "nobody has stones that big." Given some of the things that people have tried and/or succeeded in summoning and entrapping in magic circles, this says something about the kindly old elf. There's probably a third list just for being that naughty.
  • The books Father Christmas and Father Christmas Takes a Holiday by Raymond Briggs has a... well... disgruntled Santa who's understandably fed up with having to do so much work just to deliver presents. Catch Phrase: "Blooming Christmas!"
    • Later made into a TV animation with the voice of Mel Smith.
  • In Orson Scott Card's Enderverse novella War of Gifts, a fundamentalist preacher gives a sermon denouncing the commercialization of Christmas in which he declares that "SANTA is really SATAN!"
  • In F. Paul Wilson's Repairman Jack novel Legacies, Jack dresses up as Santa and beats up a thief that stole toys from a children's hospital. He then tied the thief to the front of the truck containing the toys, put antlers on him, and drove him through traffic. After the police found the abandoned truck in front of the hospital with the thief still tied to it, the only thing the thief could tell them was "Santa did it!"
  • The title character in Ogden Nash's poem "The Boy Who Laughed At Santa Claus" finds out what happens when Santa turns the tables and declares he doesn't believe in him.
  • Don't Put Mustard in the Custard, a book of children's poetry by Michael Rosen, includes the poem "Christmas Eve, Christmas Day":

I'm afraid of Father Christmas coming down the chimney
While I'm fast asleep, he might come and grab me!

  • Tom Holt's Grailblazers, features Klaus and Radulf, actually Odin and Sleipnir. Both have become extremely vengeful, having been cursed to spend eternity providing gifts nobody wants.
  • Charles Stross's Laundry short story "Overtime" turns Santa into an Eldritch Abomination, nicknamed by the snarky protagonist as "The Filler of Stockings, the Bringer of Gifts." The reason why a Cthuloid nasty is serving as Santa? The stars are starting to come right, which means people can reach out to the Great Old Ones by belief alone. And a billion children across the world will go to bed believing Santa will come down the chimney... and something else answers.
  • Satirist S. J. Perelman's "Waiting For Santy" depicts Claus as a hard-ass old company boss in the tradition of men like JP Morgan.
  • Not exactly bad, but in the Neil Gaiman (very) short story "Nicholas Was..." the titular character is an ancient man forced to perform his duties by strange dwarfish creatures from the Arctic who will never let him die.

Live-Action TV

  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Anya mentions in passing that Santa Claus does exist - but that he's really a demon that disembowels children.
  • The Doctor Who Christmas specials "The Christmas Invasion" and "The Runaway Bride" featured killer robot Santas.
  • The final episode of Woops! featured a Santa who caused the deaths of Mrs. Claus and the elves when he locked them out of his bomb shelter.
  • In the Monk episode "Mr. Monk and the Man Who Shot Santa", Monk shoots a man dressed as Santa Claus—he claims self-defense, but he becomes a public pariah. As it turns out, the man in the Santa suit was acting as a diversion for a diamond heist. At the end of the episode, Monk refers to him several times as a "bad Santa."
  • For a good portion of the 2007 Supernatural Christmas story "A Very Supernatural Christmas," the brothers consider the possibility that the Monster of the Week is an "anti-Claus," although it later turns out to be something else. When they realize they may have made a mistake, they call a more experienced hunter for advice:

Dean: What'd Bobby say?
Sam: Well, first off, he said we're idiots.

  • Gaoranger had an episode with a Christmas Org. The footage somehow didn't make it to the corresponding series of Power Rangers Wild Force.
  • Another X-mas themed monster appeared briefly in Power Rangers Dino Thunder called Rude Elf, a reindeer/mulberry mutant dressed like Santa Claus (the Rangers all were having Phlebotinum-induced nightmares, and Conner had Christmas shopping on his mind).
  • Sisters had the kids interested in the Santacide movies, about people being killed by Santa.
  • A sketch on Alexei Sayle's Stuff parodying historical documentaries such as The World At War has Santa as brutal Stalinist dictator, who has a network of spies and informants betraying their comrades to him ("He knows when
  • The Santa-themed Serial Killer in the Tales from the Crypt episode, "And All Through the House", although in this case, whether he is truly the greater evil here is debatable, as his intended victim is a Black Widow who has just murdered her husband (after putting her daughter to bed no less) and prefers to take her chances with the killer rather than call the police and risk them discovering her crime.


  • Bob Rivers' "Santa Claus is Foolin' Around", a parody of "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" in which a jealous husband accuses Santa of a string of extramarital affairs with the local wives.

Newspaper Comics

  • Discussed in one Peanuts strip, where Linus questions how Santa can fund himself; Lucy warns him not to dwell on it too much, claiming that "if the truth were brought out, you'd find that he's being financed by some big eastern chain!" Charlie Brown, however, assures him the next day that such rumors come out every year and insists Santa is clean.
    • This joke was later recycled for A Charlie Brown Christmas; given the general theme about Christmas becoming commercialized, Lucy's assumption here may be justified.

Tabletop Games

  • Santa Claws in the Yu-Gi-Oh! Card Game. Though he has a fiendish appearance, he has the LIGHT attribute. Note the Scores of this monster, 1,200 ATK and 2,500 DEF. A reference to December 25th, the date of Christmas.

Video Games

  • In one bonus mission from Hitman. Agent 47 has to dress as Santa to get close to a mark. Even worse, he gets the Santa suit by mugging the real Santa. Yeah, he uses that method a lot to get a disguise, but still...
  • Sumo Santa from Clay Fighter is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • In Bully, there's Rudy, a drunk, slovenly bum dressed like Santa who somehow fools Jimmy into beating up the real one.
  • Saint's Row 4 has Clawz, an evil doppelganger of Santa and a villain in a DLC.

Western Animation

  • Robot Santa from Futurama. He had originally been programmed to act like the regular Santa, to keep a Naughty and Nice List, and give gifts to the latter. However, his standards were accidentally set way too high, and he became a murderous Knight Templar who emerged on X-Mas to hunt down those on his Naughty List (which was now almost everyone) with a small arsenal of munitions.
  • The Late Show presents, "The Indict-Mare Before Christmas", where Donald Trump tries to usurp Santa. watch it here.

Real Life

You'd better watch out...