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!"
You can't spell "Santa" without "Satan"... wait, what?
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.
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 judged 'naughty'.
See also The Krampus, a Trope based on a concept often confused with this one.
An extreme form of Paranoia Fuel. Named after the movie of the same name. Usually ends up fighting the real deal, Badass Santa!
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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.
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-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 one episode of Mazinger Z set during winter, Dr. Hell proved to be The Grinch when he unleashed a Humongous Mecha that resembled an evil Santa riding a jet-propelled sleigh, using a whip that fired missiles.
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 Jungle wa Itsumo Hare nochi 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.
Nicholas the Renegade (that is, Saint Nick) appears as an annual optional boss in Sword Art Online on the night of December 24th. He leaps down from his sleigh to challenge players on the ground.
In A Certain Magical Index, Fremea and her classmates argue over whether or not Santa is real. While looking through textbooks, they find a reference to a version of Santa who abducts children, scaring the daylights out of them. Later, Fremea becomes brave enough to declare that if this evil Santa ever shows up, she will protect them.
The first volume of Alan Moore's Top 10 features a "Santa" who turns out to be a delusional class two psychokinetic - kidnapped reindeer from the zoo and everything. He also makes it snow in a subtropical climate in October. That's how powerful "class two psychokinetic" is.
For one, they wind up stopping him by giving him a Santa cookie with explosives inside.
Merry Christmas to all... EXCEPT FOR THE AVENGERS, THE AVENGERS MUST DIE!!
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. Santa is also portrayed as a merciless taskmaster who has a monstrous gorilla named Kong as a pet. (The canon of this story is questionable and has never been fully addressed, seeing as Santa isn't depicted this way in DC Comic stories that happened before or since; Lobo has spoken about it, but he can be an Unreliable Narrator at times.)
In the Ultimate WarriorXmas 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?
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.
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.'
The Rhino once tried to go straight by taking a job as a department-store Santa, but one too many bratty kids sent him over the edge and he went on a rampage. It took the Grey Hulk and one crying little girl to stop him.
The Doctor Who Magazine comic strip "Imaginary Enemies" features the Krampus, who rather than the goblin-like monster of legend, takes the form of a Palette Swap of Santa (black beard, white suit, red trim - his true form more demonic, though). In the Whoniverse he's a member of the Trickster'sBrigade and exists in Santa's shadow.
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.
The One Piece fandub/parody series "Dub Piece" painted Wapol as this, and also feuding with his ex-wife (played by Dr. Kureha)
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.
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.
Christmas Evil features a sad-sack who, as a child, sees his father dressed as Santa getting busy with his mother. Fast forward 30 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 Goodnight, which has rare case of two killers dressed as Santa, the other one being a woman.
The 1972 Tales From The CryptAnthology 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. (Both were were inspired by a holiday-themed tale from the original comic, though the TV series episode sticks closer to the source.)
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 RareExports shorts. Just...watch 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.
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 Dutch movie Sint/Saint, 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!".
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.
In the most recent book, Cold Days, Harry actually meets a character that looms over him (Harry is canonically somewhere around 6'6", or 195 cm tall), wears Mail armor (of something other than iron), with black boots, a large scarlet overcoat lined with white fur, and carries a large broadsword. This character introduces himself as "Kringle." and when Harry makes a comment about the character joining the Erlking's Hunt, Kringle replies along the lines of "what mortals know me as is not what I always was. Everything changes with time."
Kringle is Santa. Kringle is also Odin.
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 SJ 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.
There was a short story where the protagonist, a reporter, discovers that the red-suited burglar responsible for the increase in burglaries every December is non other than Santa Claus. Unfortunately for him, he is not remotely prepared to deal with a supernatural being.
Live Action TV
In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Anya mentions in passing that Santa Claus does exist, he even comes down chimneys and is pulled by reindeer- 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 "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:
In an early episode, Al got into a fight with a department store Santa that worked in the mall; the guy then wouldn't let it go, and proceeded to turn every kid he spoke to against Al the next day, and then got a gang of other department store Santas to beat him up when he tried to leave work.
A later episode featured a bar full of drunk and grouchy department store Santas who hated their job, one of which was packing heat; after the bartended turned the radio to play Jingle Bells, he shot it. He almost did the same to a rather cheery guy dressed like an elf, but then the bartender threw the guy out. (And insulted him by calling him short, at which point the elf got angry and said that the next Santa to do that "would be "ho-ho-hoing in soprano"; unfortunately, he makes good that threat on Al Bundy who walks in an does it.)
Let's not forget the drunk Santa that fell out of a helicopter and landed in the Bundy's back yard.
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 Sayles 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 you are sleeping..."), orders naughty children shipped as slave workers to his toy factories in the Arctic where they are quietly 'disappeared', and has his former allies (such as Frosty the Snowman) arrested and executed without trial. He dresses all in red, he has a beard (like Fidel Castro and Che Guevara), he has no concept of money, he is not affiliated with any country, and he tries to take the religion out of Christmas. Hmmm...
The Avengers had a Christmas episode where Steed suffered from disturbing dreams featuring a creepy Father Christmas.
A sketch on Saturday Night Live featured John Goodman (who also voiced Robot Santa) as Santa Claus in the post-holiday season, depicted as a drunken jerk-ass. An earlier fake commercial had Santi-Wrap, protection against germs from the likes of John Belushi's homeless, alcoholic mall Santa.
Designing Women had a Christmas Episode in which Suzanne hires a mall Santa to sneak into Mary Jo's house at night so her son could "catch" Santa in the act. As was perhaps inevitable, he robs the place instead.
One episode of That '70s Show had Donna fall asleep while running a fundraiser. In her dream Santa appears and claims he has all the money she needs for the library she was raising funds for. After Donna mentions to Santa that some people don't believe in him, he becomes enraged and asks who these people are. Donna later wakes up screaming "No Santa, please don't kill them!"
Leverage, "The Ho Ho Ho Job": A group of criminals are hired as mall Santas as part of a plan to rob a bank.
In Round the Twist, one Santa (there are revealed to be a whole squadron of them) attacks a pillowbelly for being a fake Santa. She's an old woman. He's fairly cheerful and serious about his job, but something of a jerk.
The Tales from the CryptChristmas Episode (yes, there was one), "And All Through the House", featured an escaped mental patient/axe murderer, whose schtick was dressing as Santa Claus, menacing a woman who has just murdered her husband on Christmas Eve. Zig-zagged slightly in that he only kills the murderess woman and leaves her daughter alive.
In the Bones episode "The Santa in the Slush", a mall Santa was murdered, and the team investigated a group of Santas, one of whom turned out to be the killer. As he is being perp-walked away, the other Santas start singing a dour chorus of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town"
John Flansburgh's other band, Mono Puff, have a song called "Careless Santa" in which he's an incompetent bank robber.
The song "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" chronicles what was probably just a tragic accident... (In the cartoon adaptation, it was actually a Frame-Up.)
The Arrogant Worms, a Canadian comedy band, have subversive songs about the sucktacularity of the holiday season, including at least two about a Bad Santa: "Santa's Gonna Kick Your Ass" and "Santa Got Arrested."
Ray Stevens also has "Santa Claus is Watching You," which does indeed declare that "he's the secret head of the CIA!" and that he's got Rudolph "on a stakeout at your house!", among other things.
The Killers' Don't Shoot Me, Santa envisions St. Nick as a deranged serial killer, living in a trailer in the Mojave desert, who kidnaps and intends to murder singer Brandon Flowers.
Jonathan Coulton's "Chiron Beta Prime" describes the holiday season as celebrated on an asteroid prison colony run by merciless robots. It includes the lyric:
On every corner there's a giant metal Santa Claus
Who watches over us with glowing red eyes.
They carry weapons and they know if you've been bad or good.
Not everybody's good but everyone tries.
In a somewhat different example, Elf's Lament by the Barenaked Ladies is from the point of view of one of Santa's elves, who complains about terrible working conditions and ends up forming a union and drafting a labour agreement.
Cheech and Chong's Santa Claus and His Old Lady depicts Santa as a bit of a stoner.
Chong: Hey, just a minute, man. Now, how'd he do that, man?
Cheech: Oh, well, man, he took da freeway. How else, man?
Chong: No, man. No, man, how'd he do all that other stuff, man? Like, how'd he make himself small, man. And, how'd he, like, how'd he get the reindeer off the ground, man?
Cheech: Oh, well, man, he had some magic dust, man.
Chong: Some magic dust?
Cheech: Yeah, magic dust, y'know? He used ta give a little bit to da reindeer, a little bit to Santa Claus, a little bit more for Santa Claus, a little bit more...
Fishbone's "Slick Nick You Devil You" includes the lyrics "Painting a bad finger over the fireplace/Tattoos on his hands and knees/I never thought Santa Claus could be such a sleaze"
In mothy's extensive Evillious Chronicles series, the Big Bad goes by the code name 'Santa' at one point.
Some rather unsubtle critics (like CBS commentator Dave Ross) have actually viewed Santa as he was in the original "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" this way, pointing out that the other reindeer only stopped bullying Rudolph because "the boss liked him". (Maybe portraying the reindeer as Professional Butt Kissers in the process.
Mythology and Legend
Related to the Supernatural example in the Live Action Television section above: In some parts of Europe, Saint Nicholas, the prototype of Santa Claus, was said to be accompanied by a little demon or dark elf known by several names, among them Black Peter or the Krampus. While St. Nick doled out the goodies to the good little tykes, his sidekick either put sticks/rocks/coal in the stockings of the ones on the naughty list, or in some cases, spanked them with a broom.
In French-speaking regions, he is known as P? Fouettard (Father Whipper) and, as his name implies, gives whip lashes to the most unruly children. Sometimes he kidnaps the worst ones, who are never seen again (and implied to be taken straight to Hell or eaten).
One of the tales goes that the children kidnapped by the Black Peters were taken away to become the next generation of Black Peters.
Looking a little deeper, the "bad" kids are getting sticks and coal (and in some places, potatoes)? The "bad" kids are the poor kids. They're probably overjoyed to get all that fuel and food.
In Sweden Santa Claus predecessor Julbocken (christmas buck) a creature in fur and with a goat-bucks head that gave presents to nice kids and butted naughty once with its horns.
Related to the above version, in the Nordic countries there's a legend of the Knut Goat (with a variety of spellings and names) which precedes St. Nicholas and possibly even Christmas. He was represented by chosen people wearing a goat mask and a fur coat wrong way round, travelling from house to another after the midwinter festival, demanding remains of the feast foods as an offering, or risk bad luck the following year, and scare bad children with all sorts of dreadful punishments. As Santa Claus became introduced in the North, these two characters often intersected; a goat-headed scary Santa wasn't an uncommon sight, and later on Knut Goat was perceived more as his evil twin. The custom is struggling, but still not quite dead in some regions of Finland and Sweden.
In some countries Santa's only the good half of the equation; the bad half is Krampus, who comes on Christmas to kidnap and/or beat bad children.
In relation to the Swedish Santa traditions, in Sweden Santa Claus is refered to as Jultomten, litterary the Yule Tomte. A tomte (or a Nisse) is a Scandinavian spirit dating back to pre-christian times which was percived as the guardian spirit or personification of a farm, the word is derived from the word tomt which means real property. It was said to punish lazy farmers and people who where cruel to the farm animals and demanded sacrifices in forms of porrige. In Sweden, porrige is often put outside as a gift to the Yule Tomte. The tomte where known to inflict terrible vengence on those who offended him.
Offerings to the tomte was forbidden by the church due to it's pagan origin. That did not kill the legend.
The Dutch newspaper comic Dirkjan features a series of World War I themed comics. The protagonists Dirkjan and Bert are flying in their plane when they suddenly encounter a red plane. They fear it is the Red Baron, but it appears to be Santa Claus in his sledge. Then Santa suddenly pulls out a minigun and downs their plane...
In addition to the "kindly old elf or CIA spook" line above, Calvin once wondered about an "evil Santa" who brings you dangerous and annoying toys if you're bad, and socks and underwear if you're good. Similarly, another time he had a dream that Santa had reversed his moralities and was bringing all the presents to naughty children.
Besides Huey Freeman's conspiracy theories relating Santa Clause to Satan and belief that modern Christmas is a disgrace, his brother has a feud going with Santa Claus and at one point receives a letter from threatening to shoot up their street during a flyby.
In one The Far Side cartoon, Santa is scolding the reindeer, saying, "I have one thing to say about all the complaints I've been hearing about lately: Venison!"
WWE RAW parodied this on the December 19 (taped December 9), 2005 "Holiday with the Troops" show, with a "Bad Santa" dressed in a desert-camo version of the traditional suit coming out and chewing out the troops, only to be confronted by a "Good Santa" wearing the regular red uniform. The two ended up having an impromptu No-Holds-Barred match, with Good Santa (Mick Foley) defeating Bad Santa (who turned out to be JBL, then a Smackdown!Superstar).
A Christmas campaign in a Radio Station from Costa Rica stars the Christmas Superheroes (representing Costarrican Christmas traditions) fighting to protect our Christmas from the evil Legion of the North, composed by the terrible Santa Claus, and his gang of Elves and Ninja Reindeers.
The sample campaign in Nobilis 2nd edition features Grommet Claus, the creation of the Power of Holidays in a duel with the Power of Strife in the PC's Chancel. His gifts for the good children are all "monkey's paw" type mixed blessings, and he feeds the naughty children to giant wasps.
"He wears a white-trimmed red, does Grommet Claus. A leather hood shields his face. One hand holds a wicked awl. The other holds the bag of toys slung over his back. He rids a sled drawn by twelve coal-black wasps. He knows the heart of every mortal. He can turn himself sideways to fit down the smallest chimney or through the smallest crack. The love of children sustains him — he cannot die while nearby children hold to Christmas in their hearts."
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.)
One of the bosses in the Carn EvilArcade Game is Krampus, a warped, horned, green-clad version of Santa, who attacks by clawing the player or pelting them with presents and flaming coal while taunting you with phrases such as "Have a nice lump a' coal!" and "I'll stuff your stocking!"
It's worth noting that Krampus exists in Alpine tradition as one of Santa's companions who punishes naughty children. Krampus was also mentioned in this Something Positive strip.
The Krampus also appears in The Venture Bros. episode "A Very Venture Christmas"— and ends up punishing Dr. Venture by dry-humping him, among other indignities.
The little-remembered videogame Daze Before Christmas, which featured Santa Claus rescuing toys and elves from an evil snowman. By drinking a cup of coffee, Santa would turn into his Superpowered Evil Side, Anti-Claus, who was a blue-suit wearing demonic, horned, devil Santa with super strength.
Santa Claus in the roguelike game Zangband is only one of many monsters trying to kill you in the game, though he drops better presents than most.
The first episode of Sam and Max: Season 2, "Ice Station Santa," has the Freelance Police trying to subdue a deranged Santa Claus.
But he was just possessed by a demon who was supposed to go to Satan, but was mixed in mail.
Even when not possessed by a demon, he's shown as being far from jolly.
Father Crimbo (the game's version of Santa Claus) of Kingdom of Loathing had a heart attack one year and was replaced by his no-good alcoholic brother. However, Crimbo 2007 had the Borg bringing Father Crimbo Back from the Dead; and getting assimilated by him in turn, becoming the Crimborg.
And in 2008, Uncle Crimbo accidentally unleashed a horde of mutant elves after an ill-advised attempt to use radioactive materials in toys. He was replaced with Don Pygoscelis, head of the (penguin) Mafia.
Don Pygoscelis was eventually beaten in 2009, replaced by the seemingly-reformed Crimbomination... then in 2010, the Crimbomination became a Corrupt Corporate Executive who turned Crimbo Town into the headquarters of a soulless corporation, CRIMBCO.
There's a chain of missions in Bully: Scholarship Edition where the main character must help a drunken, down-on-his-luck Santa run the good one out of town and get revenge on the kids who tease him.
The fangame Ragnarok Battle Offline has a stage where you're helping a good Santa, who later reveals himself as one Bad Santa then sends his pet reindeer to fight you (actually the stage boss Stormy Knight) and when you beat it, he storms off uttering "Fuck you!" many times.
In one of the levels of Hitman: Blood Money, you get the opportunity to be a Bad Santa yourself, by dressing up as him in a Christmas party to carry out your latest hits.
Crude Buster featured a creepy Kringle who would shout "Psycho Santa! Ho ho ho!" as he attacked the steroid-popping heroes.
In Gex: Deep Cover Gecko, one of the goals of the Xmas-themed mission is to defeat an evil Santa by hitting back the presents he's throwing at Gex.
In the Data East shooter Boogie Wings one of the bosses is a giant robotic Santa who turns evil and is called "Satan Claus."
There's a Japanese mod for Doom which, after 20-something maps filled with enemies from every 2.5D shooter in existence, suddenly jumps to the frozen north, puts on some Christmas music, and pits you against a rocket-launching Santa.
One level in Little Red Riding Hood's Zombie BBQ is Santa's toy factory. At the end you fight the man himself, turned into a zombie, riding a flying mechanical sleigh and shooting presents.
Killing Floor had the Christmas event which had several Bad Santas. The bloats and the patriarch were both re-skinned into evil santas trying to kill your group. There was also the heroic "Baddest Santa Ever" unlockable player skin.
Team Fortress 2supplementary material features Old Nick, the "Santa" analogue of Australian Christmas. He is an ancient Humanoid Abomination who kidnaps children from across the world, brings them back to his workshop in the South Pole, and forces them to make gifts year-round, which they then give to him. In the comic "A Smissmas Story", the Spy gets a little boy to stab him to death with an icicle.
Interestingly enough, "Auld Nick" is used in Scots as another name for The Devil. Which may be coincidental, but would certainly explain a lot.
Bun-bun, the psychopathic Killer Rabbit of Sluggy Freelance, has a long-running feud with Santa and tries to kill him every year. though this is just Bun-bun being evil/himself and not apparently Santa's fault, it eventually drives the fat man far around the bend, leading to black ops elves, a killer cyborg Easter Bunny, and an extraterrestrial exile during which Santa contracts The Virus. As a result, Santa eventually turns into a monster based on alien DNA and intends to start an invasion of Earth but never quite manages that because he's too busy making toys. After some more time, Bun-bun's involvement with the holidays culminates with his fighting to become the Anthropomorphic Personification of all the holidays, in the end facing off with a giant Alien Santa. Bun-bun wins, becoming the official Santa, and prepares to use his new powers to take over the world.
"Well-a-ho-ho-freakin-ho. Are we in for a year of great Holiday fun or what?"
Futurama gave us an iconic example where Santa Claus is a recurring homicidal robot villain with nigh-unachievable standards for "nice". For example, mafia thugs beating up a shopkeeper for protection money? That's naughty. But a shopkeeper refusing to pay mobsters protection money? Equally naughty. Scruffy the Janitor apparently gets on the "naughty" list simply by picking his nose.
Santa: Your mistletoe is no match for my TOW-Missile!
Epitomized in the song at the end of that episode:
Amy: He knows when you are sleeping, Farnsworth: He knows when you're on the can, Leela: He'll hunt you down and blow you up, from here to Pakistan! Hermes: You better not breathe, you better not move Bender: You're better off dead, I'm telling you dude Fry: Santa Claus is gunning you down!
In The Simpsons episode "Homer's Phobia", John has a "creepy-cool robot Santa" (as Bart describes it) from Japan, that he later uses to scare off the reindeer beating up Homer. John says that he figured "reindeer would naturally be afraid of their cruel master, Santa Claus. I mean, wouldn't you be?"
Subverted by League of Super Evil with Kinder Kreep, the gift giver of an Anti-Christmas for villains, Chaos-mas, where you receive gifts for being naughty.
She does it because it's the only way she can get a couple of days off. Santa spends all his time checking his list, while she spends 364 days doing all the other work.
In this animated sketch on MADtv parodying Cops and the Rankin-Bass Christmas specials, Santa Claus is revealed to be drug dealer using his toys to smuggle cocaine into Cuba and ends up beaten and put in the backseat of a police car. His rant to the cops:
"You BASTARDS! You rat bast—oooh! You're not getting anything in your stocking! I know you! I know where you live! I will take you out! And I don't mean on a date, you [*bleep*][*bleep*]! You bastards! Lemme outta here! Gemme outta here! Call my elf!"
Robot Chicken, meanwhile, had "A Very Dangerous Dragon Ball Z Christmas," where Goku and Gohan fight a Mrs. Claus who turns into a hideous giant tentacle monster a la Tetsuo from Akira.
There was also Composite Santa Claus, who's one-half Santa Claus and one-half Frosty the Snowman. When questioned as to CSC's powers, Goku replies, "I don't know, but he freaks me right the f** k out."
Santa's Drug Operation doesn't feature a bad Santa, because the starting point is Santa being murdered... but he was apparently bad before that (being a neglectful husband, running a drug peddling operation, using lawnmowers to punish disloyal employees...).
The title character of Invader Zim ends up turning Santa into a hideous mutant cyborg in "The Most Horrible X-Mas Ever."
"Bow down, bow down before the power of Santa or be crushed, be crushed byyyyyyyyyy his jolly boots of doom!"
Chuckie: He sees you when you're sleeping. He knows when you're awake...
While the real Santa is portrayed as the traditional, jolly version, the episode actually features two Bad Santas. First, Angelica has a nightmare in which a faceless Santa with a booming, sinister voice tauntingly gifts her with coal—and then buries her with it. Later in the episode, Drew hires a Santa impersonator who is revealed to be a lazy schlub, canceling his appearance at the last minute (claiming he has car trouble) so he can stay home and eat junk food in front of the TV.
The Santa in The Powerpuff Girls Christmas special is bad not in the sense that he's evil or mean, but in the sense that he's a total moron, just like everyone else. He actually believed Princess was the only nice kid in the world after she changed the naughty and nice lists, but then, the Princess just HAD to push Santa to his limits of tolerance, insulting and demeaning him after the girls tried to prove Santa what Princess did, to make Santa decide he doesn't need a list of naughty and nice, and then proceeded to put her into the Permanent Naughty plaque, so Santa can remember she's naughty. Naturally Santa rectifies this mistake, with some help of the PPG, of course.
In the Rocky and Bullwinkle "New North Pole" arc, Boris Badenov tried weighing down the North Pole with extra ice, in order to tip the world over to turn a tropical island he had taken over into the New North Pole. He then planned to use his new power-base to replace Santa Claus, so he could drop down people's chimneys on Christmas Eve and clean out their homes.
¡Mucha Lucha! - In "A Mucha Mucha Christmas," Santa Claus's evil brother, Rudo Claus, and his team of chubacabras try to take over Christmas by giving only those who have been bad gifts.
When Flapjack finds out that a mysterious figure leaves combs in a small bowl near the port every time its filled with candy during the night, he dreams of a Santa Claus-like figure whose helpers distribute combs across the world. His dream becomes a nightmare when comb-Santa tells Flapjack he needs the comb he gave him to get the bugs out of his hair in a deep, hellish voice, revealing numerous insects crawling on Flapjack's head. Flapjack vainly tries to comb out the bugs in his hair while comb-santa laughs maniacally with visible sharpened teeth. This shocks Flapjack out of his nightmare.
King of the Hill - Bill dresses up like Santa and turns his yard into an open-to-the-public North Pole play land. At Christmastime it's sweet and endearing; by mid-February it's pretty damn creepy.
Bill Plympton did a short called Santa: The Fascist Years. Exactly what is sounds like, complete with Santa making deals with Hitler.
The Tick animated series had a Christmas episode in which the Tick and Arthur first tangle with a bank robber disguised as Santa (which he got by mugging a street Santa), and accidentally knock him into a neon sigh in the process — but instead of killing him, the electricity CLONES him. The real Santa shows up to help the Tick stop the clones from reaching the local hydroelectric plant, where they can get enough juice to make unlimited clones and take over the world. The episode contains one glorious pun, when the Tick sees the growing mass of Santa clones and exclaims, "It's a Yule TIDE!"
In an episode of Family Guy ("Road to the North Pole"), there are two. A mall Santa who gives Stewie the brush-off when he finally gets to the front of the line because his shift is over, and the real Santa (who he goes to kill), who is worn out by the overload of Christmas commercialization and wants to be put out of his misery.
When Stewie first learns of Santa, he has a nightmare of him catching lasers à la Darth Vader, after which Stewie is lobotomized and put to work in Santa's workshop.
Seth MacFarlane must love this trope. A Christmas Episode of American Dad! has the Smiths accidentally kill Santa, only for him to be resurrected by his elves to carry out a Roaring Rampage of Revenge on the family. Stan and the family hole up with a Mountain Man and slaughter wave after wave of elf assassins. Santa returns to the North Pole, vowing to finish the job next year. When he next appears Santa reveals that he's got stock in the toy companies, and gives toys to all children because it will make him rich. He kills the Krampus because punishing children instead of rewarding them for bad behavior cuts in on his business. He doesn't care if children are naughty or nice, as long as he gets paid.
However, in the next live action movie of FOP, Santa apparently has put Timmy on the naughty list for being too generous with people through his fairies, thus giving Santa nothing to do. Maybe not a bad Santa, per se, but a Broken Aesop Santa possibly.
On Christmas 2008, there was Bruce Jeffrey Pardo, who came to a house dressed as Santa to shoot people down before setting it on fire with a homemade flamethrower hidden in a present and committing suicide.
And now there's his successor, Aziz Yazdanpanah, who shot several of his relatives to death as they were opening presents under the tree, then killed himself.
He sees you when you're sleeping/ He knows when you're awake/ He knows if you've been bad or good... Think about it. Fred Rogers used to say he would like to remove that song from the Christmas playlist because the idea that Santa spies on you is an invasion of privacy which scares the heck out of little kids.
Father Christmas can be a pretty scary figure in some places in Europe. Traditionally, he appears at Christmas Eve parties and tells bitsy kids he can see their souls. He has actual naughty and nice lists (actually provided by the mothers) and reads these off in front of everybody. So a stranger is telling the whole world things you didn't think anybody knew. Often the kids end up so scared they can't participate in the rest of the ceremony. This is supposed to be a cute, funny event.
In Germany and other areas in Central/Eastern Europe, Saint Nicholas would often show up alongside a creature called Krampus, who is described as a devilish creature who would visit particularity naughty children and takes them away in a sack back to his lair.
This general depiction of Santa is the basis of David Sedaris's story "Six to Eight Black Men," about the Dutch version (who is accompanied by a number of "friends" in blackface, hence the title). He was surprised to learn from a Dutch friend that Santa, at least traditionally, would beat naughty children and/or take them away in sacks. Some of these traits did also make it into the American version of Santa, although they're mostly Forgotten Tropes now; some older books like Little House on the Prairie mention the threat of finding a switch in your stocking instead of presents.
A Mall Santa in Lake Forest Park, WA, ironically named Ronald McDonald, was convicted of child rape in 1997; his crimes went back nearly 26 years.
On Christmas Eve, 2013, four men dressed as Santa Claus conducted an armed robbery of a jewelry shop in a mall in Tirana.