Father Christmas, Kris Kringle, Ol’ Saint Nick — we have many names for the gift-giving spirit of Christmas, but what matters is, he’s always jolly and generous. But the version of Santa Claus we’ve been sold by Coca Cola and department stores is a far cry from the historical character. In folklore, Santa is a harsh, Odin-esque figure who represents Christmas’ icy side as much as its cozy one. Of course, leave it to pop culture to take all the fun out of him.
But not everyone’s content with this depiction of the jolly old elf. Several movies, comics, and TV shows have presented Santa as the authoritarian badass he is. So since we’re getting ready for the fat man’s arrival — and let’s be honest, most of us are on the naughty list — we decided to compile the most metal depictions of Santa out there.
Here are 10 Clauses who are going to stuff your stocking until you taste wrapping paper…
Grant Morrison’s Klaus
It’s unsurprising that when comic book writer Grant Morrison took on Santa Claus, he made the dude metal as fuck. Morrison’s take on Father Christmas shows him as a jacked old-world superhero, fighting demons and ice monsters across the ages. The comic explores different aspects of the character of the generations, so definitely do some due diligence in tracking down the proper order of the graphic novels.
Michael Dougherty’s Krampus
In folklore, Krampus is Santa’s demonic helper, riding alongside Santa and whipping children who were naughty instead of nice. But in his 2015 holiday classic, director Michael Dougherty (who already did Halloween right with his anthology film Trick ‘r Treat) paints Krampus as the other side of Santa’s coin, a demonic version of Saint Nick who brings only woe. A cool reimagining of a character who’s slowly becoming cliche.
Leave it to Psychostick to do something fun for Christmas. The Arizona comedy metallers decided to create a parody video in which Santa takes the role of Rob Zombie (or vice versa) and performs an X-mas-themed take on the shock rocker’s classic song “Dragula.” Definitely worth a chuckle, and will make you hope that this version of Santa comes slamming down your chimney.
Lobo’s yuletide bastich
DC Comics’ Lemmy-esque anti-hero Lobo isn’t just a biker bounty hunter – he’s also the guy who literally killed Santa Claus. But don’t let that make you think Santa went down without a fight. In the comic, Kris Kringle is a knife-wielding badass who draws blood as well as he orders his elf soldiers around. Of course, he also gets his head cut off, lending a pretty brutal edge to Christmas in the DC Universe.
American Dad’s megalomaniacal psychopath
When you tune into an American Dad Christmas special, one thing is guaranteed: bloody, violent action. That’s because Santa Claus in Seth MacFarlane’s political satire is a power-hungry nutcase, who sends armies of elves after his enemies and has actually staged all of Christmas to find an ancient power once harnessed by Gilgamesh. So, there you go: if you’re looking for Santa at his most hardcore, he’s choking out Roger the Alien.
Eric Powell’s The Saint
If you’ve never read it, Eric Powell’s The Goon is one of the most enjoyable comics of all time. And when it came time to do a Christmas story, Powell – who did a Goon crossover with Metalocalypse and drew covers for Slayer’s comic mini-series – went metal, making Santa a tough-ass slavedriver riding a giant reindeer. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Rare Exports’ monster Santa
In Finnish horror flick Rare Exports, a horde of naked, feral Santas are found wandering the frozen wasteland. But these are only servants to the real Santa Claus, a towering, demonic, child-eating monster frozen in a primordial block of ice. While the film is awesome, it’s the old-world art surrounding Santa that really makes you wonder if you want a Christmas tattoo.
Discworld’s Hogfather — and Santa Death
In Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books, there’s no Christmas — only Hogswatchnight on December 32nd, where the tusked Hogfather brings presents and grants wishes. But not only is Pratchett’s Santa a giant hog-man riding a hog-driven sleigh, he’s also eventually replaced by Death Himself. Not exactly someone you want to see creeping down your chimney.
Aqua Teen Hunger Force’s Great Red Ape
“THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO…” Of course that’s Santa on Adult Swim’s Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Of course he’s a red primordial ape who defecates on children’s toys. Of course Carl Brutananadilewski has to sexually pleasure him to save Christmas. Of course Danzig then buys his house. We’re not surprised by any of this. Just delighted.
Sleigher, the Metal Santa Claus: an actual comic book
As though hearing our Christmas wishes, one comic has actually made Santa a bonafide metalhead. Sleigher sees Santa as a leather-jacket-wearing headbanger, who fights pervert priests and dickhead clowns in the name of keeping Christmas metal. We’re not sure who’s been reading our dream journal, but from the bottoms of our hearts: thank you.
Words by Chris Krovatin