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Violent Night's 13 Best Scenes Ranked By Brutality

The idea of Santa Claus beating up thugs on Christmas Eve sounds like it would only be fitting for a low-budget B-movie. However, with David Harbour leading the way as a rough and tough Kris Kringle and a production team featuring alumni from modern action flicks like "Nobody" and "Bullet Train," this wild and unexpected premise turns into a bloody and brilliant holiday treat. "Violent Night" is as entertaining as you'd expect from the pitch, following Harbour's disillusioned Santa in a fight for his life against a group of armed home invaders. 

The film brings a great mix of action and holiday fun that make it a truly one-of-a-kind Christmas movie. Even with all the gnarly kills and bloody battles throughout, there's a great wholesomeness as well, which largely comes from Santa's relationship with a young girl named Trudy (Leah Brady). But, let's face it: The most memorable moments in "Violent Night" come from the incredible action sequences filled with fun holiday flair and tons of blood. It's actually surprising how brutal "Violent Night" can be, and it certainly earns its R rating. With so many brutal moments to look back on in "Violent Night," let's roll through them and see which ones left the biggest, bloodiest impact. 

13. Santa the sledding champion

Shortly after saving Trudy's father Jason (Alex Hassell) from a horrifying execution, Santa sees main baddie Scrooge (John Leguizamo) and the rest of his crew trying to escape with the money on some snowmobiles. Santa springs into action immediately, grabbing what he can to craft a makeshift sled and racing after them. While this sledding sequence definitely isn't the most complex or bloody fight scene in the film, it remains memorable for some of the brutal moments of Santa using the environment to his advantage. 

Although he's on a small sleight at first, Santa shows some immense strength, knocking a gunman off his snowmobile and crashing them into a tree. A high-speed collision is always a brutal image that'll make any viewer wince in pain, and this scene gets a double dose of it when Santa is tricked to crash into a stump by Scrooge. As said before, this sequence isn't as gory or gruesome as others in the film, but Santa certainly looks like a world-class sled rider who's unafraid to give and take some brutal blows.

12. A surprise backstory

Santa is almost always depicted as a jolly and warm old man in other Christmas movies and specials. In "Violent Night," however, he's much more grisly and gruff, which is what makes his surprising backstory so fitting. After Trudy is told by her father that Santa doesn't exist, she quickly talks to the man himself through her walkie-talkie to confirm the truth. Santa obviously offers a reasonable explanation, but goes even further to explain who he was before he became Santa Claus.

Santa explains that he was once a Viking warrior who went by the name Nikamund the Red, and that he wielded a mighty war hammer. This helps explain why he's such a fearsome fighter. The flashbacks to Santa's Viking days show him to be absolutely brutal, and the big swings of his beloved hammer have jaw-dropping impact. It may just be a flashback, but seeing Santa in his vicious Viking glory is stunning, simply because of the sense of dominating power he evokes with his deathly stare. 

11. False hope

For most of "Violent Night," it seems like the Lightstone family is completely at the mercy of the armed thieves who've taken over their house. However, Lightstone family matriarch Gertrude (Beverly D'Angelo) mentions that a special "kill team" will come and rescue them at some point. About halfway through the night, the team arrives, and once obnoxious actor Morgan (Cam Gigandet) gets the opportunity to escape to them, he does. He comes across the small snow-camouflaged army that suddenly appears in front of the house and begs them to help him out. 

However, what Morgan doesn't know is that Gertrude's "kill team" is actually in cahoots with Scrooge. Without much hesitation, they gun Morgan down in a tragic moment of betrayal. Morgan isn't exactly the most likable character in the movie, as he helps Alva (Edi Patterson) suck up to Gertrude the whole night, even trying to make his Christmas present to her into a business opportunity for himself. However, this twist is still a brutal end for him. Watching Morgan get viciously gunned down just as he thinks he's being saved is surprisingly gutting. 

10. A bloody takeover

Christmas at the Lightstone house seems normal at first as everyone gathers around the Christmas tree with half-hearted holiday spirit. But then Scrooge and his crew kick off their holiday heist, and things go really bad really fast. When Scrooge first arrives on the scene, he tricks the outer security guard into being distracted, then whips out his gun and swiftly ends the guard's life with a vicious headshot. From there, he kicks off an invasion montage that sees his crew gearing up and mowing down the rest of the security in the house. The whole sequence is pretty horrifying. 

Within mere minutes, Scrooge's crew takes down Gertrude's security in bloody fashion, sparing no one and showing no mercy. Although each kill is pretty quick, it all happens so fast and with so little remorse that it's hard not to feel shocked while witnessing the brutality of Scrooge's crew. The whole montage instantly establishes that the villains are no joke and completely snuffs out any wholesome holiday vibes lingering in the house. 

9. It cracks more than nuts

Although Scrooge and his crew basically act as babysitters of the Lightstones for most of "Violent Night," there are a couple of moments where they act a little more brutal towards them. After learning that there's a rouge Santa on the loose killing his men, Scrooge puts pressure on Gertrude to tell him what she knows by torturing Jason. While he could just threaten to shoot or stab Jason, Scrooge decides to use a classic Christmas novelty, the nutcracker, to cause some serious pain. 

In an excruciating scene, Scrooge and his crew stick Jason's finger into the nutcracker's mouth and twist, breaking his finger so badly that you can hear the disgusting crunch of his bones. With the act bringing only blood and no answers, Scrooge is ready to take things a step further with an even bigger nutcracker aimed at a more sensitive part of Jason's body. Thankfully, Trudy interrupts him before anything too gnarly happens by claiming that Santa will stop the bad guys. Still, Jason's finger being cracked might be the most brutal punishment dished out by Scrooge in the film, and that horrifying sound certainly leaves a scar.  

8. Some real family bonding

Of all of Scrooge's gun-toting lackeys, Krampus (Brendan Fletcher) is undoubtedly the vilest. He gets way too excited at the idea of killing people — even children — and easily disgusts with his grotesque smile. That's what makes his death so satisfying, as it comes at the hands of some unexpected family bonding. After getting an order to kill the Lightstone family, Krampus appears delighted to riddle them with bullets and make off with their money. Things initially look pretty grim. 

However, Krampus overplays his hand. He ends up becoming so distracted by his Christmas wish almost coming true that Alva is able to dump her drink into the fireplace and cause him to fall to the ground. With them now having the high ground, Alva, her son Bert (Alexander Elliot), and Trudy's mom Linda (Alexis Louder) use the opportunity and grab fire pokers and beat Krampus to death. It's a hilariously brutal moment of vengeance since they hold nothing back, and it ends with a brutal stab that puts Krampus down for good. It might not be the most peaceful activity to do on Christmas, but at least the Lightstones got some bonding done during the holidays. 

7. An explosive lump of coal

Just after going on a tear through some of the "kill team" that tries to ambush him in the shed, Santa finds that there's still one soldier who he just can't let get away. After knocking him down a snowy hill, he engages the straggler in combat and comes out the victor. However, Santa makes the bold choice to end things with some flair and goes for an explosive finisher that even he can't look away from. 

Santa decides to stuff some coal down the soldier's clothes, but instead of it being coal, it's a live grenade. After shoving it down, he quickly tries to escape but can't resist making a fourth-wall break to tell the audience that he wants to watch. It's a moment that cements Santa as a real action hero and shows that he likes to do things with style, regardless of how brutal they might be. Santa might have flashier kills in other parts of "Violent Night," but this fatal stocking stuffer certainly makes you want to stay off his naughty list. 

6. The swing of Santa's hammer

After Trudy and Santa reunite in the attic, things finally seem to be looking up. However, there's still one big elephant in the room, as Scrooge's trusted henchman Candy Cane (Mitra Suri) is still alive and crawling around. She's definitely in no fighting condition since she's had to deal with Trudy's "Home Alone" traps, and since Santa just threw her across the room, but Father Christmas doesn't even give her the chance to regain her strength. 

In order to prevent Trudy from witnessing the carnage he's about to unleash with his hammer, Santa tells her to sing Jingle Bells and cover her ears, which she does. Then, without hesitation, he walks over to Candy Cane, says a brief line scolding her for attempting to kill a child, and puts an end to her reign of terror for good. The film doesn't fully show Candy Cane's heading getting crushed or anything like that, but the tone of the entire moment positions Santa as a grim reaper. With a swing of his war hammer, he makes Candy Cane's death immensely brutal and swift. 

5. Santa draws first blood

When Santa first notices that the Lightstone house is under attack, he tries to hide behind their Christmas tree in the hopes that the intruders just won't see him in the room. However, the first soldier who walks in instantly spots him, and after hitting Santa one too many times in the face, he realizes that he's about to get more than he bargained for. Santa's first fight in "Violent Night" is a real doozy, with plenty of hard-hitting blows that showcase the film's great action. As it happens, this is also the moment that ends up getting Santa stranded.

After some stray bullets fire at the roof, Santa's only means of escape — the flying reindeer who guide his sleigh — fly away in fear, leaving him to fight for his survival. But he's quite the formidable warrior, so he's able to hold his own, even performing a wild finishing move to kill the guard. It's actually a pretty lucky moment for Santa since both he and the guard end up falling out a window, with only the guard being impaled by a giant icicle sticking out of the ground. It's a very memorable and bloody first kill that shows the film's R rating well and acts as a brutal appetizer for what's to come. 

4. A killer tree topper

Santa's second big encounter with an enemy in "Violent Night" is just as exciting as the first, and it features an even more brutal ending. Upon confronting a new guard in the basement, Santa appears a bit more adept and creative with his fighting and even pulls out some fun tricks. His sack — normally used for gifts — actually ends up being pretty handy in this fight when Santa digs in it to find a useable weapon, only to come across tons of wrapped video games. The sack also helps protect him when the guard tries to stab him. However, these sack antics aren't enough to put the foe down, and Santa ends up in a brutal beatdown. 

Santa gets put through the wringer in this fight, getting thrown across the pool table and suffering a serious slashing wound. Ultimately, though, he comes out the victor after he stabs the guard with a Christmas tree star through the eye. Things don't stop there, however, as Santa plugs the star in to deliver some fatal volts to the guard's head, which eventually lights on fire. It's an absolutely brutal death that's so shocking in the moment you can't help but let your jaw drop, and it shows that Santa's going to do whatever it takes to take Scrooge and his crew down. 

3. Trudy's homage to Home Alone

When we're first introduced to Trudy in "Violent Night," she talks about watching "Home Alone" for the first time and finding it incredibly hilarious, especially the iconic traps. So when she's stuck in the attic later in the film, it's no surprise that she tells Santa she's going to channel her inner Kevin McCallister and craft some brutal traps of her own. However, unlike the traps in "Home Alone," Trudy's traps actually cause violent death, namely for Scrooge's lackey Gingerbread (André Eriksen). 

The faulty ladder step trap onto the nail is absolutely vicious, and the bowling balls Trudy sets up eventually cause Gingerbread to stab himself in the head, which is just darkly hilarious. It all feels perfectly inspired by "Home Alone," but the harder impact of it all leads to a brutal kill. Plus, Candy Cane is forced to deal with some of her own gnarly traps. It seems that having some movie knowledge and inspiration can come in handy for brutal self-defense. 

2. Taking down Scrooge

Scrooge is a vicious antagonist for Santa to face in "Violent Night." He wants to walk away with the money, but he also wants to kill Santa and put an end to the holiday he hates so much. Their final fight is nothing short of epic as they face off in a cabin in the woods with a single chimney. At this point, Santa is pretty beaten up and nearly on the verge of death, and it almost seems like Scrooge is going to defeat him. However, Santa has one more trick up his sleeve — or rather, his nose. 

With his old nose tap trick that turns him into magic dust and sends him up the nearest chimney, Santa pulls out the ultimate trump card on Scrooge. He waits for the perfect moment, taps his nose, and sends both himself and Scrooge up the chimney together. However, unlike Santa, Scrooge doesn't turn into magic dust, and he's crushed going up the chimney. By the time he comes out, he's a limbless pile of guts and gore. It's a shockingly grotesque and brutal death that's totally unexpected, but it makes for a spectacularly bloody kill for "Violent Night" to end on

1. Santa goes into rage mode

Just when it seems like Santa is about to meet a horrifying end at the hands of the traitorous "kill team," he finds some unexpected inspiration. Not only does Trudy give Santa some encouragement by reminding him what he's fighting for, but the sight of a sledgehammer puts Santa's favorite weapon right in his hands. With this newfound strength, Santa goes into full-blown rage mode and slaughters the group of soldiers in brutal fashion. 

With every swing of his hammer, Santa shows no mercy, absolutely crushing his attackers and sending them flying across the room. Two guards meet their end by being pulled through a mulcher, which causes blood to spray everywhere. Another foe suffers a devastating decapitation. Santa goes on a full tear through these trained soldiers, causing limbs to fly everywhere and entire walls to be coated in blood. It's easily the most memorable scene in "Violent Night" and firmly shows how brutal Santa can be with a hammer in his hands.