This article contains spoilers for "Violent Night."
Action fans and horror fans alike know the glory of the "final kill," the climactic carnage that sees the end of a film's villain in the most outrageous and gruesome way possible. Think Dennis Hopper's head coming off at the end of "Speed," Art Malik taking a missile ride in the finale of "True Lies," and of course the many deaths of Sirs Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees.
While making "Violent Night," in which Santa Claus (David Harbour) finds himself protecting a little girl and her family from a group of very Naughty mercenaries by any means necessary, director Tommy Wirkola knew that the movie needed to earn its action film bonafides by presenting a series of increasingly grisly and creative kills. This Santa is a no-holds-barred brawler, bringing the pain to the mercs in a way befitting his Viking warrior backstory.
Yet Wirkola zeroed in on one particular kill in the original script which was so badass, ridiculous and unique to the character of Santa that he knew it could provide the capper to his film. During my recent interview with Wirkola, he excitedly detailed how that climactic kill scene came about, as well as Harbour's fantastic contribution to it.
Laying A Finger Aside Of His Nose, Santa Takes Care Of The Final Merc Bro
In "Violent Night," part of Santa's character arc sees him reconciling his violent pre-St. Nick past with his jolly present. When the mercenaries led by "Mr. Scrooge" (John Leguizamo) first arrive at the Lightstone's mansion, Santa attempts to make a quick getaway, but finds that in his anxious haste he can't make the magic that allows him to transform into pixie dust and travel up a chimney work properly.
Fortunately, through forming a bond with little Trudy Lightstone (Leah Brady) and bringing swift justice to the rest of Scrooge's goons, Santa gets his mojo back. Thus, during his climactic duel with Scrooge within the ruins of an old cabin, Santa gets the better of his opponent, grabs him in a headlock and takes the helpless merc up an old chimney with him. Unlike Santa, Scrooge does not transform into pixie dust, leaving him a vivisected, broken, squished, bloody pulp.
'I Just Love How Happy Santa Is After'
The kill is so brutal and hilariously innovative that it instantly enters into the canon of the best final kills of all time. However, according to Wirkola, the moment was originally not intended for the end of the movie. When asked if the kill combined practical and visual effects, the director explained:
"Yeah there was [a combination]. Funnily, originally that kill was in the middle of the film. And when I read the script, I told the guys immediately, without spoiling anything, 'This should be more final-esque feel to it.' And yes, it's a combination of practical effects, which I love. But obviously, they're going up a chimney, so there was some CGI involved there as well. It's one of my favorite moments in the film as well. And I also just love how happy Santa is after, his jolly laughter after he's done something horrible and gruesome just tops it off for me. That was David just coming up with that on the day, his jolly 'ho, ho, ho.' […] I'm really proud of it."
The kill scene is not only a great climactic moment, but perfectly encapsulates the tonal approach of "Violent Night": a little gruesome, a little sweet, a little clever, and a lot of fun. Given how well it works, it raises the bar if (when??) a "Violent Night 2" ever happens. Then again, there is a lot that could still be done with a badass Santa. After all, he can't call it a "sleigh" for nothing.
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The post Violent Night Director Tommy Wirkola Breaks Down That Climactic Kill Scene [Exclusive] appeared first on /Film.