Original Source: The Vault of Horror
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
This was one of the first episodes of Tales From The Crypt that I remember seeing as a child. This episode is very popular among fans of the show and it’s one of the few episodes that stands out in people’s memories, mainly because the premise is excellent, but it’s the twist at the end that is oh so sweet. This story was also featured in the original Tales From The Crypt film from 1972, with Joan Collins as the woman. Larry Drake, of Dr. Giggles fame, makes his first of two appearances on Tales From The Crypt as the killer Santa.
It’s the night of Christmas Eve and a woman has just impaled her husband with a fire poker. She commits this ghastly deed so she can get his inheritance money and run off into the sunset with her lover. She’s in a tough spot because she has her daughter upstairs asleep, waiting for Santa to come and drop off presents, so she has to ditch the corpse quick.
To dispose of her husband’s body she decides to drag him outside, during a massive snowstorm, and throw the lifeless body down the well that’s in their backyard. While she’s outside struggling with the dead body, she misses the local news report on the radio saying that a man dressed up in a Santa suit has escaped from the nearby mental hospital and is close to her area.
Santa attacks her with an ax, but the woman fights back and knocks him out cold with the same poker she used to kill her husband. She runs back in the house to call the police and they tell her to arm herself with any weapon she has in the house. She realizes that her husband has a gun in the closet, so she runs into the tiny closet to get it. Unfortunately, she locks herself in the closet.
Santa wakes up and grabs a ladder and tries to get into the house by climbing up to the second floor, where the woman’s daughter’s room is. The woman sees this transpire from the window at the top of the closet and is trying her hardest to get out of the closet to go save her daughter. She’s trying to kick the door down, but to no avail. She runs into it with all her might, and slowly the locked door begins to open.
The daughter wakes up from the noise and opens the window to see Santa trying to climb up the side of the house. The little girl actually thinks that this is the real Santa Claus coming up to see her, so she extends her hand out the window to try to let him in.
Downstairs, the lady finally bursts out of the locked closet and runs upstairs to see if her daughter is ok. The window is wide open, blowing in cold air and snow, but her daughter is not in the room. The woman hears her daughter yell out “Mommy” from downstairs. She runs downstairs to see her daughter holding the hand of Santa, saying “I told you he’d come, Mommy.” The woman is paralyzed on the stairs screaming “NO,NO,NO,NO!!!!!!!” in horror as Santa approaches her with his ax. Santa asks her “naughty, or nice?” before he kills her.
This episode was already shot once in Amicus’ Tales from the Crypt from 1972 with Joan Collins playing the role as mother. With all due respect to that classic film, this is a much better interpretation of the classic EC Comics tale that it comes from. The killer Santa is a lot more menacing and visually speaking, blows the 1972 version out of the water. The cast is effective, even Marshall Bell, who has 1-2 minutes of screen time, really hams it up as the abusive husband. This episode has enough jump scares and twists to keep you entertained for the entire run time. This is a great episode and it will forever go down as one of, if not the most recognizable episode in the history of the series.