David Harbour’s Santa Claus Sees Red in Violent Night: "He Doesn’t Have the Spirit of Christmas"

With a premise so good it’s a wonder no one has tried it before, Violent Night takes place on Christmas Eve when high-end robbers led by John Leguizamo (as a character aptly named “Scrooge”) hijack a one-percenters’ Christmas party on an isolated estate. The festivities are overseen by a cagey matriarch (who not so coincidentally is played by Christmas Vacation’s Beverly D’Angelo). She proves a cool customer for Scrooge to crack.  But little could he anticipate that he’d soon have bigger problems when Santa comes to town and is delivering presents upstairs.

Says Harbour, “When you get together at Christmas, you just want to kill everyone in your family because it’s your family, and you love them, of course, but you also can’t stand them. So this movie gives you that fantasy where everything around you at Christmas can be used as a weapon.”

Indeed, there are deadly crushed ornaments, electrifying Christmas lights, and even a sequence that would do Kevin McCallister proud. For Harbour though, the holiday season has always presented a Final Destination-like collection of death traps. As the actor notes, “I’ve always looked at those stars on Christmas trees and thought they look pretty dangerous.” Thus his favorite kill in the movie which involves such a star going into a bad guy’s mouth and… you’ll see.

Harbour’s director, meanwhile, favors when Santa turns a childhood delicacy into a lethal weapon.

Says Wirkola, “I would go for the candy cane because it’s not sharp, but you have to make it sharp when you suck on it. Then it’s a decent stabbing weapon. I like that.”

Wirkola is, of course, no stranger to mixing cozy wintertime imagery with genre carnage. Prior to Violent Night, the Norwegian filmmaker made his bones directing the cult classic zombie horror comedy, Dead Snow and Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead. As he tells us now, there’s just something striking about the color of red on a soft blanket of white. However, Violent Night—which was brought to him by producers as a gonzo conceit dreamed up by Sonic the Hedgehog screenwriters Pat Casey and Josh Miller back in their high school days—is a different animal.

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