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Every Christmas Movie Easter Egg & Reference In Violent Night

The holiday season is a perfect time to revisit beloved Christmas movie classics, many of which are referenced in the new home invasion action film, Violent Night. Directed by Tommy Wirkola (Dead Snow, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters), the plot of Violent Night involves a group of mercenaries invading the estate of a wealthy family during their annual holiday party on Christmas Eve to steal $300 million from a large safe. Although the property’s security team is no match for the professional criminals, they meet their match when Santa Claus (David Harbour) is stranded by his reindeer and forced to fight back against the intruders.


The brutal premise of Violent Night changes Santa’s origins and throws him into a storyline that’s a mix of Home Alone and Die Hard, but this is just the beginning of the holiday film connections in Wirkola’s violent R-rated action comedy. Along with Violent Night’s fitting casting decisions and direct mentions of popular Christmas movies in the dialogue, there are also plenty of other seasonal cinema references for the observant viewer to pick up on among the creatively bloody scenes of action carnage. Here’s every Christmas movie Easter egg and reference in Violent Night.

Related: David Harbour’s Christmas Movie Repeats A Stranger Things 3 Issue For S5

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Casting Connection

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Returning to holiday-themed films for the first time since National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is Beverly D’Angelo, who co-stars as family matriarch Gertrude Lightstone in Violent Night. D’Angelo played Ellen Griswold in three National Lampoon Vacation films, with the first set during Christmas as extended family visits the Griswolds for the holiday. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, the Christmas season is plagued by a series of mishaps, including the accidental electrocution of an extended family member’s cat after it chews on the Christmas tree lights. Violent Night also features death by electrocution after Santa stabs a bad guy in the eye with the star on top of the tree.

Die Hard References And Story Similarities

John McClane crawling in the vents in Die Hard

In Die Hard, thieves take over a Los Angeles skyscraper during a holiday party to steal bearer bonds from the building’s vault. This is similar to the holiday home invasion in Violent Night, even though there are debates about Die Hard being a Christmas movie. While Die Hard has NYPD Detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) thwarting these efforts after he is initially undetected by the invaders, Violent Night has Santa Claus step in to save the hostages from the criminal threat. Despite carefully planning every detail and accounting for every possible obstacle, the intruders in Violent Night are surprised by the presence of the real-life Kris Kringle.

While pulling presents from his magical sack for weapons, Santa finds a copy of Die Hard on Blu-ray, making references to the iconic action film set during the holiday season even more explicit. Just like in Die Hard, Santa also takes one of the walkie-talkies from a bad guy he has dispatched. Along with talking to head intruder Jimmy Martinez (John Leguizamo) the same way McClane taunted Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) in Die Hard, Santa also communicates with the youngest member of the Lightstone family, Trudy (Leah Brady). This is similar to the radio used to communicate with Sergeant Al Powell (Reginald VelJohnson) in Die Hard.

Die Hard 2 Betrayal And Icicle Death

Special Forces team in Die Hard 2

There are also connections to the first Die Hard sequel in Violent Night, including a gruesome death involving an icicle. In Die Hard 2, the shard of ice is used to stab a bad guy in the eye, while one of the intruders is impaled by an icicle after falling from a window in Violent Night. Also, in Die Hard 2, a twist reveals that the U.S. Special Forces team sent to stop the terrorists is working with them. In Violent Night, the Lightstone family is also betrayed by an extraction force team secretly in league with the invaders.

Related: There Are No Plans For A New Die Hard (And That’s Good)

Home Alone Booby Traps

Harry and Marv on the stairs suffering through the paint can trap in Home Alone (1990)

Violent Night directly references Home Alone, a family-friendly home invasion film recently watched by Trudy. Along with imitating the iconic scream by Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin), Trudy uses the film as inspiration when fighting back against the criminals trying to steal the Lightstone fortune. Although the impact of the booby traps set by Kevin in Home Alone is cartoonish, and the burglars can survive endless deadly blows, Violent Night recreates them with more realistically violent results. Trudy leaves nails protruding from steps, drops bowling balls on bad guys, and slows one intruder down with a pool of spilled glue and broken Christmas ornaments.

The Night the Reindeer Died from Scrooged

Scrooged is a modern comedic adaptation of A Christmas Carol in which the Scrooge character is self-serving television station president Frank Cross (Bill Murray). Cross has little Christmas spirit, and his cynical views are encapsulated by a holiday-themed action movie called The Night the Reindeer Died. In the film within the film, Santa is in danger when a group of assassins carries out a siege on his workshop. With the help of an arsenal of weapons and Lee Majors, Santa must fight back against the armed invaders. This parody of holiday fare in Scrooged shares many similarities with the action-filled retaliation carried out by Santa in Violent Night.

A Christmas Story Bully Names

Farkus in A Christmas Story Farkus

Holiday favorite A Christmas Story is about a series of events in the life of nine-year-old Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) leading up to Christmas. Along with dealing with a troublesome younger brother and strict father, Ralphie and his friends are tormented by two neighborhood bullies named Grover Dill and Scut Farkus throughout A Christmas Story. There is a subtle reference to this in Violent Night when the names Farkus and Dill are briefly seen on the side of a catering van. Given that many invaders enter the estate by posing as hired help, this Easter egg hints at upcoming events.

Bad Santa’s Drunken Claus

Farkus in A Christmas Story Farkus

At the beginning of Violent Night, Santa Claus is getting drunk at a bar with a man working as a mall Santa, who automatically assumes he has the same job. This immediately brings to mind Bad Santa, in which a criminal named Willie T. Soke (Billy Bob Thornton) works as a department store Santa so that he can rob shopping malls at night. Because of this, Soke doesn’t take the job seriously and spends most of his time in Bad Santa, being raunchy and heavily intoxicated. Despite being the real deal, the Santa in Violent Night drinks heavily, taking booze from the homes as he delivers the presents.

Related: David Harbour’s Santa Is Definitely On The Naughty List

Elf’s Christmas Spirit Miracle

Santa Claus in Elf

Santa’s sleigh can fly because of a powerful engine in Elf, which has become a necessity since a decreased number of people believing in him has resulted in a shortage of Christmas spirit. Only after a group of bystanders sings “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” in front of television news cameras enough Christmas spirit is raised to power the sleigh without an engine. At the end of Violent Night, Santa dies after being shot by a bad guy until each family member admits out loud that they believe in his existence. This belief is enough to bring Santa back to life.

Scrooge, Krampus, And Frosty As Criminal Code Names

Frosty walking with a group of children following him in Frosty the Snowman. 

The criminal characters in Violent Night each take holiday-themed code names, several of which are also references to Christmas movies. As the Christmas-hating leader of the criminals, Martinez goes by the codename Scrooge, referencing the main character in multiple film adaptations of A Christmas Carol. His lead henchman goes by the name Krampus (Brendan Fletcher), also the name of a 2015 Christmas horror comedy inspired by folklore. Another member of the team goes by Frosty (Can Aydin), a reference to the animated Christmas television special Frosty the Snowman. Despite many of them having disdain for Christmas, the villains of Violent Night take on names that celebrate the holiday.

Next: Violent Night Ending Explained (In Detail)

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