The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at] I'd love to check out what you got. And check out my book, Chad in Accounting, over on Amazon.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Santa's Summer House (2012)

Last December I had our friend Mitch from the Video Vacuum on the pod to discuss this movie. It was a curiosity on a lot of levels, as it has some big DTV action names in it with Daniels, Rothrock, Bernhardt, and Kathy Long, plus it was directed by schlock auteur David DeCoteau. I figured now, in July, I could post it as a "Christmas in July" kind of theme. In addition to us, Mitch also reviewed this for his site, so you can go there to get more of his thoughts. Now, without any further ado. 

Santa's Summer House is about some people hoping to go to a resort, but whose van gets lost and they find themselves at a mansion. While the driver looks to see if he can get them back on track, the nice couple who own the mansion allow the people to stay there. You've probably already guessed that this mansion is the big man's summer house, and these people are here for a reason: they have shit they need to work out, and the big man and his wife want to help make that happen. But before they do, we're treated to some croquet. A lot of croquet...


This is exactly what you'd think it is: David DeCoteau throwing something together in a week or so, all in the same location, with a group of stars who probably had a week between projects that could be tossed in. The problem is, as a Christmas movie, it doesn't have the schlock fun that a Lifetime thriller DeCoteau's been doing lately would've had. One of the toughest moments was the extended croquet scene that Mitch compared to "rock climbing" and "sandstorm" from MSTK, and it definitely had that element of Deep Hurting. In the pod episode, Mitch and I discussed what we thought this movie could have been. Give us people at a Christmas resort, and somehow there's a hostage situation, and our action heroes need to take them down. Of course, that costs money, and this film was made on the cheap. Ultimately what this is, is a novelty for DTV action fans, and as a completist like me who feels like he has to see them all, I had to do it. If you don't have that desire to see all of Rothrock or Daniels's films, you may want to skip this one.

We'll start with Gary Daniels, as this is his 52nd film on the site. He almost plays the same busy businessman that he played in DeCoteau's The Wrong Child. Again, at least that one had the Lifetime fun thriller element that this one lacked. It feels like we've lost him a bit since he had his 50th movie on here, and I don't know that reviewing this makes up for that, even if he's getting his 52nd tag. It's a reminder that we need to get to more of Daniels's action stuff on the site, especially since I have a bunch in the can that just needs to get reviewed. 


The film's other Hall of Famer, Cynthia Rothrock, also hasn't been getting a lot of run on here lately either, which needs to be rectified. She's now at 37 films on the site, and closing in on joining that 40 Club. Unlike Daniels though, we don't currently have any Rothrock in the can that we need to review. I'm probably going to need to dig into her Hong Kong stuff, and see how much of it is on YouTube, if we're going to keep her posts going, as we've done almost all of her US DTV stuff--there's also more like this, like A Doggone Hollywood where she plays "Mom in Car." It's going to test my completist sensibilities for sure. 

Let's have a hearty warm welcome back to the great Daniel Bernhardt, who we haven't seen here in almost 10 years! I have to say, out of everyone in the film, he was playing the jerk character who becomes less jerky later, but to me he seemed like the one I'd most like to go on vacation with. Imagine walking around a resort with him in open polos and linen pants. Let's load up on the best of everything and have our run of the place. And I think a European resort would be even better, with a guy whose Swiss, I wouldn't feel as much like an Ugly American. Total European bros just kickin' it.


The superhero movie has become really popular recently, but when you think about it, Santa maybe has the strongest set of powers. He's pretty much omnipotent, at least by this film's standards. He was able to make a fog that redirected the resort van in the direction of his mansion, but also could magically make all of these people book a stay at a local resort. He also has the ability to be omnipresent, as that's the only way to explain how he can put presents in so many houses in one night, even accounting for different time zones. How would you beat Santa then if he became evil? He's like Thanos with all the Infinity Stones. I feel like that kind of power could rip the fabric of time and space. How do you stop someone who could be anywhere at any time? 

And with that, it's time to wrap this up. As of this writing, this is only available to rent on Prime for $.99, which in my mind is still too much, unless you're an extreme completist. If you want to hear more about our discussion, you can check out the podcast episode on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify. Thanks again for coming on Mitch, it was a great time!

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1 comment:

  1. This is so surreal I can't believe it actually exists.