Riley Dandy and Sam Delich Were Freaked Out by the Robotic Santa Claus in Christmas Bloody Christmas

Jan 15, 2023

Better not pout—or cry for that matter—because the Robo Santa in writer-director Joe Begos’s Christmas Bloody Christmas—just doesn’t give a reindeer’s crap. Welcome to one of the trippiest, blood-soaked Christmas movies to hit the screen in years.

It’s Christmas Eve and spunky record store owner Tori Tooms (Riley Dandy in a powerhouse performance) is ready to party. A robotic toy store Santa Claus has something else in mind. The Claus ‘bot goes haywire and unleashes a rampant killing spree through Tori’s small town. And during a snowstorm to boot. And things were going so well with Robbie (Sam Delich), the cool hunk who was able to hold a conversation and his liquor. Bummer.
On that note, one of the best things about Christmas Bloody Christmas is, surprisingly for an ’80s throwback gory horror flick—its character development. The film’s first 30 minutes or so do a great job of making the audience care about Tori and Robbie. And then… well, Santa’s going to get a lump of coal in his stocking for what he’s about to do. Mix in some sex, metal, violence, and a last act that finds Tori screaming for dear life in a blood-splattered battle for survival, and this twisted Saint Nick tale is something you can’t quite take your eyes off.

Going For Blood

Christmas Bloody Christmas also stars Jonah Ray Rodrigues, Dora Madison, Jeremy Gardner, and Jeff Daniel Phillips. Abraham Benrubi (ER, Robot Chicken) takes on sick Santa duties, sharing screen time with an animatronic Claus that Begos crafted with his creative team. For Dandy, the film was a wildly fun opportunity to stretch her acting chops.

“When I read the script, I was like, ‘Obviously I’m going to audition for this because I’ve never read anything like this,’” she said. “I fell in love with the character of Tori straightaway. She’s such a badass chick and an inherent fighter. And the opportunity to work with a robot? I couldn’t pass it up.”

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A zoom call with director Joe Begos further encouraged her and when the two met for coffee, they hit it off, delving into where they could take the character of Tori, whose will is tested during the film’s third act.

“I’ve never done anything with this sort of action before, and I had the time of my life,” Dandy added. “I’ve never gotten to wield a shotgun or drive a police car down a mountain road or film with overhead sprinklers coming on and being soaked during a major fight scene. Joe Begos did an epic job of filming at night. And every night was different. It was either fighting a robot or doing stunts or like filming an explosion.”

RLJE Films

All’s fun in a bloody Saint Nick flick, but what tripped Dandy out was the creepy animatronic Santa Claus, which, becomes more beastly in appearance as the film goes on.

“It’s funny, he gets more and more [expletive] up as the movie goes along,” she said. “He just has flapping skin coming off. His jaw would be moving, and his ‘teeth’ really freaked me out. It was awful. But it really helped me to actually be terrified of it. Like, ‘Stop touching me. Leave me alone!’ I was always happy when we got to film with Ben, who plays a version of the robot early on.”

Working alongside Aussie actor Sam Delich also proved interesting, mainly because his character must bond with Dandy’s during the film. Dandy said the two hit it off immediately, noting: “When you spend two months with somebody, you obviously get quite close. Sam is Australian, and my fiancé is Australian. So, straight off the bat, I felt very comfortable with him. He’s like a brother to me now. I’m thankful that I was introduced to him during this film. We just had great chemistry.”

On Building a Wild Gore Fest

Shudder Films

For Delich, who plays Tori’s romantic interest in the film, working alongside Dandy was a treat. Overall, he said the film was a major thrill ride.

“What stood out to me with this was that the first half of the film, for the most part, is like a funny comedy or a buddy romance,” he said. “It’s really a slow build. And Riley and I were very lucky that we both got along so well. Instantaneously, it was fireworks, which was amazing.”

One interesting element of the film was that director Begos gave the actor opportunities to improv, letting him just naturally respond to many scenes.

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“We’d shoot the scripted part, and then I’d get a couple of times to do my version,” he said. “It was valuable being able to have that banter, throwing ideas out there and all.”

The most challenging aspects of the filming came during the final days of shooting. At that point, both Dandy and Delich’s characters have taken a beating. Delich noted that it was vital for the director to effectively capture that.

“For me, the end of the shoot was most difficult just to maintain, physically, but the wonderful crew kept us well-fed and well-hydrated. But that Robot Santa, you know, is this towering model, and it was absolutely terrifying. Joe does a great job with the sound of the robot. And when Ben, the actor, played him, the wonderful thing was that as serious Santa looked, Ben was one of the sweetest guys I’ve ever worked with.”

RLJE Films

Both Dandy and Delich admitted to being horror fans. Child’s Play was one of Dandy’s faves. She credits horror filmmakers of yore for crafting compelling tales that were also filled with plenty of gore.

“The one that really helped me with Tori actually was watching Alien,” she said. “Like, this badass chick handling some shit. Obviously, Terminator influenced me as well, and I used the character of Sarah Connor as inspiration for Tori. Like, no matter how scrappy you are, you’re trying to survive.”

With an onslaught of twisted holiday films on the seasonal docket this year, Dandy says audiences are looking for thrilling new twists to traditional tales. Bottom line: she credits Begos’s verve, and the action and suspense components of Christmas Bloody Christmas.

“I think people watching this, especially if you get the opportunity to watch it in theaters, it’s just full throttle—like and assault to all of your senses for 84 minutes,” she said. “Honestly, it’s a fun escape from everything. The first half of the movie is a hangout film, then you get roped into these characters, and it’s an epic grind with them. I think audiences will walk out realizing they had a fun time.”

Christmas Bloody Christmas hits theaters and streams on Shudder on December 9.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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