There are all kinds of Christmas specials. Sappy ones. Earnest ones. Classic ones.
But I guarantee you'll never see one as creepy as Santa In Animal Land.
Let me back up. Years ago, my good friend Bill used to host a Christmas Film Festival every December...we'd get together and watch a few of the classic animated specials (The Grinch, A Charlie Brown Christmas), but the real fun was always in seeing what obscure nugget Bill had unearthed from the depths of history (or more specifically, from cheap VHS collections of public-domain Christmas cartoons). One memorable year, Bill presented 1948's Santa in Animal Land, which he described as a "Felliniesque nightmare of epic proportions disguised as a puppet show". The film was as bizarre and freakish as advertised, and became a staple of the yearly event.
In later years, I'd host my own version of the Film Festival...and Santa in Animal Land (now on cheap, public-domain DVD) was always a big part of it. So much so, in fact, that I created this illo of the awful, awful characters for the invitation to the 2001 edition.
I'm always a little worried that I'm overselling this thing when I tell people about how weird it is...but time after time, folks are genuinely, fabulously creeped out by it. And thanks to the magic of the internets I can share it with you now, thankfully without having to actually invite you jackals into my home. Enjoy?