Foreign horror movies make me stupid happy. There’s just something about them that I enjoy – maybe it’s the differences in culture that I dig – no clue. Point is, I love them. So several months ago when Rue Morgue magazine touted this Dutch film in a big feature – I knew it was something I just had to watch. Thankfully, IFC in Theaters on Demand obliged – they’re currently showing this fun fright until the end of November. If you’re any kind of horror fan you should just go right ahead now and check it out.
Why? Because it’s terrific that’s why, smartass! If you like goofy horror, gory horror, holiday horror, reverential horror, or poking fun at genre foibles and stereotypes – this film was kinda made for you.
Sint (aka “Saint” to the English-speaking world), tells an absolutely ridiculous alternative mythology about the beloved Sinterklass (Saint Nicholas). Yes, that mythical figure who would eventually morph into the Western hemisphere’s benevolent, gift-giver Santa Claus. Sint does not concern itself at all with the Americanized character, instead it gives an altogether different re-telling of the Sinterklaas myth. Very different – almost an amalgam of Saint Nicholas and Krampus. Here, he’s named Saint Niklas (Huub Stapel) and he’s a monster, a horse-riding, gang-leader who – along with his brightly-colored helpers (in their Moorish wear) – terrorize villages, demanding their money, wares, women, children, whatever. They’re like barbarians in Xena – riding from town to town, pillaging the lot of ’em. That is, until one small village becomes fed up with the shenanigans and they surprise attack Saint Nik’s pirate ship (!), burning alive everyone on-board under a full moon.
Fast-forward a few thousand years and the curse of Saint Niklas says that whenever a full moon falls on December 5th – Saint Nicholas’ Eve – that the monster and his cronies (now all burned to coal – the infamous “Black Petes”) will return and kill/torture all naughty children. Or people, animals, amoebas. Whatever! In modern day Amsterdam, nobody really gives a shit anymore. Full moons only happen on December 5th every 23 years or so. And no one really believes those crazy stories anyway, except for one nutter of a cop, whose family was massacred by the marauding maniacs 23 years ago. No one listens to him until it’s too late, and the latest gaggle of teens and kids get chopped to bits by the demonic Saint and his posse.
If it sounds ridiculous, that’s because it is, and Sint is all that much better because of it. It never takes itself seriously, yet it’s riddled with great action sequences, blood, guts, and mayhem. One of the best moments is an extended chase sequence in which the Amsterdam police chase Niklas and his horse who run across the rooftops of the ancient city. But there are plenty more, including some laugh-out-lout moments too good to give away here. There are also some terrific love-letters to be found for the horror enthusiast – such as a long scene following the girls after school that adoringly recalls the original Halloween. Sint is great, goofy stuff.
If you’re not a big fan of holiday-themed horror, then Sint probably isn’t for you. It’s also not at all a children’s flick – most younger kids would be far too frightened to see a disfigured Santa disemboweling people with this staff and older kids won’t get the in-jokes or the sexual references – lots & lots of dildos! The dude massacres orphans, for pity’s sake. Dick Maas‘s latest feature isn’t very frightening in fact, but it’s a sleigh-full of awesome fun that I hope you’ll check out.