Label: Parachute Pictures
Dir: Dick Maas
Starring: Egbert Jan Weeber, Huub Stapel, Caro Lenssen
Its Christmas time and a city is left in shock by a swathe of brutal murders and mysterious disappearances. When eye-witnesses report sightings of Sint Nicolaas/Saint Nicholas (Huub Stapel) flying over rooftops it becomes apparent that this will be one Christmas never to forget…
Sint was a film that attracted a lot of interest before its release. How could it not? It is a movie that depicts good old Santa Claus as an evil ghost killing people in the Netherlands whenever a full moon is in place on December 5th (in the Netherlands this is traditionally when he would visit the country).
Not only this, but the poster of Sint caused controversy for showing the hideously burned Saint Nicholas (Stapel) riding a horse. People campaigned against the poster saying it would scare children and make them frightened of Christmas.
Maas met these people half way by darkening Stapel’s face yet this wasn’t enough and he was taken to court. The court ruled in his favour saying the image had been altered in a way that it was not possible for children to make out the disfigured face. All of this added to the hype behind Sint. It was awarded the TV Krant Filmposter Award for Best Cinema Poster of the Year 2010, showing that some people appreciated it.
The movie itself is Maas at his best: young buxom girls, gore and scares. One scene features a class of college teens giving each other Christmas presents and most of the gifts are dildos and other sex toys, much to the bemusement of the teacher. Caro Lenssen gladly takes her top off and jumps on to her boyfriend while visiting him in hospital. It is fitting that one character is channel surfing late at night and comes across an episode of Flodder: Maas’ TV spin off of his smutty comedy flick Flodder (1986). Another ‘Maas trademark’ is that the film features Huub Stapel as the nasty Santa. Stapel has starred in many other movies of Maas and always shines in any role he has.
In the Netherlands, and some nearby nations, the festive season is celebrated differently to many other countries. As well as the stated December 5th activities, Sint Nicolaas (sometimes Sinterklaas) comes on a white horse and has young boy like helpers known as ‘Black Peter. These are usually depicted as being naughty and non-white. There are many ‘Black Peters’ in Sint and they help him attack and kill hapless victims. This no doubt caused further uproar amongst the people who were against Sint.
The kill scenes are gory and realistic. One scene happens with a bunch of friends in a car driving at night. It is a fast and high-octane moment of Sint that will please any slasher fans watching. Maas knows what appeals to his audience in the sense of a slasher; the Dutch see a lot of ‘Western’ media due to many speaking English as a second language. It is this that makes the movie accessible to native English speakers. Sint feels like a ‘popcorn horror’ movie yet still has a distinct style due to the use of Dutch folklore. Towards the end there is a truly wince inducing kill that wouldn’t look out of place in a ‘torture porn’ film. Gore fans will not be let down.
Sint is much like previous Maas directed offering De Lift (1983) in that it seems a silly idea at first but is executed brilliantly and in turn eliminating all doubts. Evil Santa has been ‘done’ in the past in cinema yet Sint makes the concept seem original in places (the use of Black Peter over Elf’s) and exciting (Sint Nicholas speeding along roof tops on his horse as the police follow below).
Sint is a Christmas slasher that is fun and gory in all the right places. If you haven’t seen a Dick Maas film before then starting with this title wont disappoint.
Verdict 8 out of 10
COMING SOON: EXCLUSIVE UK HORROR SCENE INTERVIEW WITH DICK MAAS!