Black Santa’s Revenge is a Blaxploitation-inspired short film that’s as much an action thriller as it is horror, but given the dearth of Christmas horror movies starring black actors (I’ll pause while you try to think of one), it’s close enough for me. Horror icon Ken Foree stars as the titular Santa, an unnamed middle-aged black guy who annually plays Santa at a local inner city community center. It’s tiring work, and he’s not exactly perfect at it (he falls asleep with a girl on his lap), but he’s earnest in his desire for every child to get a present, since he knows how hard it is for underprivileged kids who don’t get anything for Christmas.
His dedication is put to the test when a band of hoodlums knocks him out and robs the community center’s stash of donated toys. When the police prove unwilling to help, he takes matters into his own hands…which happen to be holding a shotgun. Interestingly, his choice of punishment for robbery is putting the perpetrators to death — but hey, I guess we all have our pet peeves.
Black Santa’s Revenge suffers from the shortcomings you’d expect from a 20-minute bare-bones production. The plot is basic and predictable, the effects are cheap and the execution is amateurish (one guy actually turns around to look where he’s falling after being shot), but it’s not without its charm. The acting, led by Foree, is actually pretty solid, and there’s something likable about its Blaxploitation approach. However, it probably would’ve been better served if it had gone more over the top and become more of a spoof, like the hilarious Black Dynamite. Thankfully, it does ratchet up the exploitation angle when it comes time to shoot the bad guys into bloody pulps, but otherwise, Black Santa’s Revenge is a bit too straightforward and safe — something you can’t do when you have to grab viewers’ attention within a limited time frame.
I can think of one recent Christmas horror with black characters, the Canadian movie A Christmas Horror Story. It’s one of those anthology horrors, but one of the stories is a changeling tale featuring a black family who are treated refreshingly sincerely. Check it out, it’s not brilliant but it’s not bad either.
Ah yes, you’re right. I do remember the segment featuring a black family with a disappearing son. Thanks for jogging my memory.