December 3, 2013

Need Some Christmas Un-Cheer?- Christmas Evil (1980)
*Available now on Amazon Prime.

It's really hard to articulate our feelings about Christmas Evil (aka You Better Watch Out.) On one hand, it's a fun little throwback to early 80's Horror flicks, and it made us nostalgia. On the other, it was one of those movies that made us say "Why?"

It had its moments, but for the most part it was just kinda slow and odd. The fact that John Waters called this movie "the greatest Christmas movie ever made" should clue you in as to exactly how different this movie is.

That is to say, very.
When Harry was a little kid, he wandered downstairs on Christmas Eve, only to find Ole' Santy Claus rubbing his Mom's leg, and sniffing her crotchal region from a safe distance. That's really all that happened; some mild groping from a respectful distance.

Sniff. Sniff. "That's not gingerbread! HO, HO, HO!"
This obviously drove the kid insane on the spot, because he runs upstairs in a fit of panic, breaks his favorite snow globe, and decides to cut his hand with a shard of glass. Again, a very underwhelming reaction to a very underwhelming inciting incident. I mean, the kid basically saw nothing, which causes him to flip his lid, and all he does is give his hand a small cut with a shard of glass? Loser.

I'm pretty sure this is where they got the ending to St. Elsewhere from.
30 years (or so) later, Harry is is all grown up and working at the worst toy factory ever, called Jolly Dreams. Honestly, the assembly line spits out the lamest looking toys at such a slow rate, it's a wonder how the place has so many employees. Anywho, Harry is a weirdo and a loser, and his co-workers pick on him because, why not? That's alright though, because at home he's doing everything he can to become the next Santa Claus! That'll show those jerks!

Honestly, he thinks he going to become the real Santa, which is doubly crazy because Santa isn't real to begin with, so not only is he a 30-year-old that thinks that an imaginary guy actually exists, but that he's going to become him by sewing a costume and humming Christmas tunes... Yeah.

He spends his time spying on the neighborhood kids through binoculars, and keeps "Naughty & Nice" books in which he records their every action, good or bad... which is really, REALLY creepy and inappropriate if you ask me.

He should be listed in a book too. It's called the Sex Offender Registry.
So Harry eventually becomes convinced that he is now actually Santa Claus, and he begins stealing presents from some kids (I'm assuming the bad ones) and giving them to other kids (I'm assuming the good ones.) All of this is accomplished via multiple instances of Breaking and Entering, and maybe a few meddling parents get offed along the way, but hey, Father Christmas is on a mission!

Christmas Evil was fun enough for what it was. What exactly is it, you ask? Well, it's a Slasher flick with hints of black comedy, and it's also about a guy slowly losing his mind. At times, it really feels like a character study. It's also about the magic of Christmas, and a reminder for us all to be good, or else a guy who thinks that he's Santa will murder us.

The main Nutjob's interaction with the kids in the movie was fairly unsettling, and we fully expected him to start knocking off the bad ones, but he never did. Still, the way that he spied on them was creepy enough for us.
Santa? Will you kill my parents for Christmas? Because I really hate them.
This movie was a bit confused as to what it wanted to be. It wasn't a straight forward Slasher flick like you might expect, because most of the movie is made up of character building and drama. It also seemed as if it wanted to be a black comedy at times, but then it got far to creepy for us to be able to laugh at it.

Then again it was the early 80's and that kind of thing was par for the course in the "lesser valued" genres.

The ending... It's still got me saying "what in the actual fuck just happened?" It was seriously one of those types of endings that you expect to see in your typical 70's/80's Italian Horror flick; you know, the ones that come out of nowhere, and make absolutely no sense whatsoever? In fact, the ending here made so little sense, that it actually kinda does make sense. I think. I am honestly confused right now.

I don't even...
There's not a ton of violence to be had here, but we do get a nutcracker to the eye, some axe violence, and a not-harrowing-at-all hand cutting scene.

There are way more killer Santa Claus movies than we had previously realized. Also, any grown man who has a bunch of dolls in his house is a creepy freak.

If you like the nostalgic kitsch of early 80's Horror movies, then you may well love Christmas Evil. It's kinda slow, doesn't have a ton of blood and gore in it, and the ending is off-the-charts crazy, but hey, you might be off-the-charts crazy too.

Amazon Instant has it streaming for free right now, so give it a go if you need a dose of holiday Un-Cheer. Just don't expect too much.


Christmas Evil is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD.

A young and spry Jeffrey DeMunn (formerly of The Walking Dead) is in this. We truly hated Dale on that show, but Jeffrey DeMunn is nothing but aces in our book.

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