After the first 35-minutes or so, Deadly Games: Dial Code Santa Claus is a fun little horror-thriller with some truly hilarious scenes that made me chuckle a few times and while it is ridiculous at times, however, I found it quite entertaining seeing a kid-turn-Rambo taking on a killer Santa Claus.
Deadly Games: Dial Code Santa Claus
(a.k.a. 3615 code Pere Noel a.k.a. Game Over)
Genre(s): Horror, Thriller
Vinegar Syndrome | NR – 91 min. – $49.98 | November 24, 2020
Date Published: 11/11/2020 | Author: The Movieman
The studio provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.
Note: The screen captures were taken from the Blu-ray disc and do not represent the 4K Ultra HD transfer.
THE MOVIE — 3½/5
Plot Synopsis: Young Thomas (ALAIN LALANNE) is obsessed with action movies and video games. So much so that, when his mother (BRIGITTE FOSSEY) is out, he delights in turning the sprawling mansion where he and his grandfather (LOUIS DUCREUX) live into a makeshift battleground; concocting and setting elaborate traps. Home alone, grandfather aside, on Christmas Eve, Thomas is soon faced with an unexpected – and very unwelcome – guest, a department store Santa Claus (PATRICK FLOERSHEIM) who is, in fact, a deranged escapee from a nearby asylum! Putting his skills into action, Thomas begins an all out assault against the murderous Saint Nick, rather than risking his Christmas turning into something closer to Halloween…
Quick Hit Review: The killer Santa Claus horror subgenre is underappreciated outside of a few circles and while I don’t have a wide experience with these films, I have seen a few over the years and with one exception, enjoyed them quite a bit for what they are (the exception is Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2, a fair portion is a recap of the first film).
The latest I’ve now seen is Deadly Games: Dial Code Santa Claus (a.k.a. Game Over a.k.a. 36.15 code Père Noël), a film out of France from 1989. Admittedly, I was a little concerned this would be a bit of a snooze-fest with the first 38-minutes being on the duller side but goes into first gear thereafter, with the killer Santa on the hunt in a large, very strange mansion with insanely large secret rooms. On the run is a nearly blind old man and a kid who dresses up like Rambo and eventually goes on the offensive.
This is a pretty fun, entertaining film. A cross between Silent Night, Deadly Night and Home Alone with a smidge of John Wick thrown in for good measure. I don’t think it’s fantastic or anything, but for those in the right mindset, would make for some great counterprogramming to the usual classics like It’s a Wonderful Life, Christmas Vacation or even the aforementioned Home Alone (though I will also be watching a few of those this season).
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4/5
|The initial release of this title came with a slip case. The retail one sold outside of Vinegar Syndrome is in a standard case but does come with a reversible sleeve. All bonus material is on the Blu-ray disc.
Only two interviews here, but both are pretty inciteful, I enjoyed Lalanne’s especially as I always have a fascination of what some talent who starred or at least appeared in some random film from the 70s or 80s that receives some wide release today. Manzor meanwhile provides his thoughts on the film and the origins in what was a surprisingly lengthy interview (in fact both were longer than I expected).
Simon Says Roll Sound (8:47) is an archival featurette with some behind-the-scenes footage and on-set interviews.
Still Gallery (18:13) with director commentary narrating each photo.
Storyboards and Scene Comparisons for three scenes.
Short Film (5:20) – “Synapse” directed by Manzor.
Music Video (2:54) – Bonnie Tyler, “Merry Christmas”
Also comes with a Pre-Trailer Model Shot (2:40); French, Italian and English Original Trailers and French Teaser Trailer & TV Spots.
4K VIDEO – 4¾/5, BD VIDEO – 4½/5
|Deadly Games comes to 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray through the boutique distribution company, Vinegar Syndrome and anyone who has received any of their titles, they generally output high quality transfers, and this one is no different. First, the 4K picture, which was restored from the original 35mm camera negative, looks fantastic with sharp and well defined detail; the film grain is still present and colors aided by the HDR, has a certain vibrancy even in the darker setting, such as killer Santa’s red suit or sprayed-on white hair. The included Blu-ray isn’t too bad either, I did notice a slight dip in the sharpness, however still looks extraordinary in its own right.|
AUDIO – 4/5
|Both discs come with your basic but still serviceable DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo track. There is a surprisingly amount of good range going on here, especially once the killer Santa starts hunting down boy Rambo with various noises coming out of the expansive mansion, with some moderate depth in other scenes, like a car crash or in a garden/maze, not to mention Bonnie Taylor’s pop-rock Christmas ballad. This is a well balanced lossless track that is impressive for an independent horror film like this.|
OVERALL – 3¾/5
After the first 35-minutes or so, Deadly Games: Dial Code Santa Claus is a fun little horror-thriller with some truly hilarious scenes that made me chuckle a few times and while it is ridiculous at times, in the good-bad sort of way however, I found it quite entertaining seeing a kid-turn-Rambo taking on a killer Santa Claus. In addition, the 4K/Blu-ray release from Vinegar Syndrome has brilliant transfers and a good selection of bonus material.
The screen captures came from the Blu-ray copy and are here to add visuals to the review and do not represent the 4K video.