2. Derelict Santa – Deadly Games (AKA 3615 Code Pere Noel)
Such are the similarities between this 1989 French film and the 1990 holiday classic Home Alone, that writer-director Rene Manzor threatened a law suit at one time.
There are some notable differences, however, mainly the inclusion of a mentally unstable Santa figure in Deadly Games. The villains in Home Alone are basically a couple of bungling burglars, but crazy Santa is much more sinister.
Young Thomas (endearingly played by Manzor’s son Alain Lalanne) is abnormally intelligent for his age, and enjoys action films and setting elaborate traps in his mansion. Luckily for him, his widowed mother is wealthy, which allows him to re-enact crazy scenarios from his favorite films.
This house is incredible, it features a secret passageway loaded with toys and set pieces, and a trap door. Sections of the mansion are much like a maze, and this feature will come in very handy later on when Thomas is leading his diabetic and nearly blind Grandfather to a safe hiding spot.
When a deranged man dressed as Santa invades his home, Thomas uses his knowledge of action films and his expertise with electronics to thwart the man. This is one bad Santa, he slaps a little girl who pronounces him to not be the real Santa, (spoiler alert) kills Thomas’s dog, and murders people.
Dressed in an old-fashioned Santa suit, hair and beard sprayed with fake snow to turn it white, and mostly silent, he is a frightening figure who Thomas somehow actually believes is truly Santa.
Patrick Floersheim plays “Pere Noel” to devious perfection, even while Thomas gives him a true run for his money.
Deadly Games can be seen on horror streaming service Shudder.