Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Evil (1980)

Christmas Evil 

Written & Directed by Lewis Jackson

Harry...Brandon Maggart

As a child, Harry witnessed something that changed his life forever.  Forget Jimmy Boyd, that bastard had it all wrong.  Poor Harry saw mommy doing a lot more than just kissing Santa Claus.

Apparantly that fucked him up real nice, because fast forward to the present day and Harry is a full-grown man obsessed with Christmas.  Not only does he work at a toy factory, sleep in Christmas pajamas (presumably year round), and watch the Thanksgiving parade religiously just to catch that first, breathless glimpse of good ol' St. Nick, but he also seems to think that it is his solemn duty to keep the spirit of Christmas alive.


This year, he tumbles over the edge of eccentricity and into full-blown madness.  Crafting a Santa Suit all his own, Harry strikes out against those in he deems to be on the naughty list, leaving a mess of bloody toys and dead bodies in his wake.

Granted, turning a sadist in a Santa suit into a slasher had been done before (most notably by Tales from the Crypt in 1972, and later its television offspring in 1989), but it must gain points for pre-dating the better-known Silent Night, Deadly Night.  What's on display here, which is genuinely rare for a slasher flick, is that it doubles as a somewhat subtle exploration of a disturbed mind.  I mean, Harry's not truly evil, and the filmmakers are determined to let us know that.  He just loves the season so much, and he's so...less-than-sane that he doesn't know what else to do anymore.  He's a sick man, who just so happens to off people every now and then by stabbing them in the eye with a toy soldier.


It should be noted that there are times where this film is creepy in a completely different, and probably unintended, level.  Witness Harry watching unknowing children through his binoculars, muttering things to himself about how beautiful they are and calling them his "little darlings".  He's about one bad-touch away from being a guest-star on Criminal Minds.

Admittedly, if we're supposed to believe that there isn't more to Harry's psychological break than what is shown onscreen, the whole thing comes off as ridiculous.  A perfectly healthy child raised by a perfectly normal mother turns into a lunatic just because...

 [CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE]

...she made the naughty list?
...she got her stocking stuffed?
...Santa decked her halls?
...Santa ate her milk and cookies?
...Santa made her sugar plums dance?
...she jingled Santa's bells?
...something was stirring, and it wasn't a mouse?
...she met Santa's little helper?
...Santa slid down her chimney?
...she sucked on a candy cane?
...she tossed around his snow balls?
...she was dreaming of a milky white Christmas?
 
Stockings weren't the ONLY things hung by the chimney...
 Despite its occasional lapses in logic, and the inherrent cheesiness found within, I still have a special place for this film in the cockles of my heart.  My wife can sit down to watch Miracle on 34th Street all she wants.  I'll be in the other room, celebrating the holiday my way.

And, just for the record, I walked in on my aunt being tag-teamed by the Easter Bunny and a leprechaun when I was eight.  And I never killed anybody.

ALSO KNOWN AS: You Better Watch Out

1980
Rated R
100 Minutes
Color
English
United States

"You want it all.  But you're no longer a child."
--J/Metro 

3 comments:

  1. !! "milky white Christmas"?? ewwwww

    Gotta love Harry, tho.

    Merry Xmas, good buddy.

    ReplyDelete
  2. And a very merry XXXmas to you to, Sir J!

    Ewwwww indeed.
    --J/Metro

    ReplyDelete
  3. The ending made me cry. It is just soo... sooo... sooo.. Amazing.

    ReplyDelete

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