ONCE UPON A TIME AT CHRISTMAS (2017) Reviews and overview


‘This town is dying for Christmas’

Once Upon a Time at Christmas is a 2017 British horror feature film directed by Paul Tanter (Age of the Living Dead TV series; Shame the Devil) from a screenplay by Christopher Jolley (Virus of the Dead; Whispers). The movie stars Simon Phillips, Sayla de Goede and Jeff Ellenberger.


Santa and Mrs. Claus go on a killing spree in Woodbridge, New York State, twelve days prior to Christmas…

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“You’ll work out what’s happening about halfway through, after which it becomes increasingly unbelievable that the cops haven’t. But that level of unbelievability is part of the fun of a good slasher, along with some cheesy coincidences, and the script […] walks that fine line commendably.” British Horror Revival

“A thriller with an easy-to-solve mystery, the film deserves a lot of credit for mixing the right amount of camp and cringe to create something that may not be perfect but also isn’t trying to be. It’s unique enough to stand out, and would definitely make a great stocking stuffer for any B-movie enthusiast.” Wylie Writes

“It’s perfectly fine for a holiday horror film to be loaded with this much absurdity. Under different circumstances, I could even excuse some of the low-quality aesthetics. The problem is Once Upon a Time at Christmas picks an entirely wrong take on its concept, which makes for a movie that is regrettably more of a flop than it is frightfully fun.” Culture Crypt

“The straight-ahead narrative has enough twist to keep the audience mildly guessing. The toxic pair of killing Clauses like to play with their food as they corner then dispatch their victims. It’s a deliciously gory feature that I can recommend.” Flick Hunter

“Every splatter of gore and swing of the protagonist’s axe is more amusing than shocking, given that it has obviously been made inside a computer […] It’s considerably more Santa’s Slay than Black Christmas and has absolutely nothing to recommend it.” Flickering Myth

“While this may be a small budget film, director Paul Tanner excels at showing off his skills. Beautiful overhead shots, a clever POV and a pretty impressive tracking shot are sprinkled throughout this classic holiday slasher film. With plenty of blood, one-liners (some good, some bad) and a unique reasoning for the killer’s actions…” Haddonfield Horror

” …a very glossy and well-produced slasher film with some very bloody kills. However, I do think that the film is a bit mean-spirited at times and almost expects you to cheer for the despicable acts committed by the axe and crossbow sporting killer Santa duo. I also have to note that the dialogue of the film is sorely lacking at times…” Sean Kelly on Movies

“Aside from the painful obvious cartoon-like CG blood, most of the victims who are being murdered have this half smirk/smile as they die or as they’re dead. It takes away from the movie more than anything. The only good part from this is the boonies like Santa Claus. He at least acted well, but not Mrs. Claus, she was like a p*rn hybrid of Mrs. Claus and Suicide Squad’s Harley Quinn and not in a good way.” The Hallow

Main cast:

  • Simon Phillips as Santa Claus – Gehenna: Where Death Lives; Shame the DevilStrippers vs Werewolves; The Reverend; Idol of Evil
  • Sayla Vee de Goede as Mrs. Claus – Seiren (short)
  • Jeff Ellenberger as Sam Fullard
  • Barry Kennedy as Sheriff Mitchell
  • Brook Fletcher as Lucy
  • Susannah Mackay as Courtney
  • Devon Mary Doherty as Lisa
  • Laura Darby as Michelle
  • Laurel Brady as Jennifer
  • Christina Vernucci as Reporter
  • Blue Bigwood-Mallin as Joe

Filming locations:



Once Upon a Time at Christmas was released on DVD and VOD by Lions Gate Home Entertainment on December 12, 2017.