It’s almost Christmas time. Excited aren’t you? I know I am! I love Christmas. So much going on, people being nice to each other, awesome holiday specials playing all the time, and Christmas songs playing on the radio. Oh and one more thing! Christmas themed horror! Now, sure there are a lot of classics I could pick from the wild world of horror to review. There’s a whole slew of Christmas themed horror. SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT, BLACK CHRISTMAS, SANTA WITH MUSCLES…
What? SANTA WITH MUSCLES doesn’t count as horror? Oh come on, Phil! You’ve never suffered through watching Terry Bollea act it seems…
See? Told ya! If this image doesn’t frighten you, then you’re already dead.
Anyway, back to the topic of discussion. I have selected a very underrated and often forgotten film. A film that beat SNDN to the punch with the appearance of a Killer-Santa(although the Amicus TALES FROM THE CRYPT beat this movie to the punch by almost 10 years, but that’s another entry.). A movie that didn’t have a lot of huge stars (though it does star a young Jeffrey DeMunn of THE WALKING DEAD) or even a big fancy kills. Nope it’s so simplistic in it’s nature, yet so effective. So, without further adieu…I give you…CHRISTMAS EVIL…
From 1980, a low budget slasher(known in some markets as YOU BETTER WATCH OUT or even TERROR IN TOYLAND, making it a yuletide member of the Horror Movie Relocation Program) made it’s big debut to…well…barely anyone. In fact, the movie pretty much came and went before it had a chance to really make an impact on fans of the slasher genre. And while, not a superb example of early 80s slashers, it was a perfect example of a good idea gone wrong. Now, a murderous Santa Claus can be a disturbing sight indeed, but the back story to why the main character is dressing up as Santa and killing people is a little bit more odd and disturbing… Follow me here for a few moments.
Christmas Eve, 1947 is where our story begins. Two brothers and their mother decide to await on “Santa”(because what kid didn’t want to catch good ol’ St. Nick in the act?) to come down the chimney and deliver the goods. Well, they got it! And as the kids are giggling and enjoying the tomfoolery, “Santa”, who is now discovered by the children and their mom, give his audience a big old salute. The kids, now satisfied with their discovery of Santa, head to bed.
The mom on the other hand…well, she gets to unwrap her Christmas present early…
Normally, I choose to keep my entries rather clean and family friendly. But this part of the movie isn’t very family friendly…
So, little Harry, rebelling at his cynical younger brother who dares to tell Harry “Santa” was really their father, runs back downstairs only to find “Santa” giving mommy…uh…well, the pic is below…
So. yeah. You’d be pretty creeped out too if you saw this image in your house, right? Mommy wasn’t exactly kissing Santa Claus, was she?
Anyway, Harry runs upstairs and cuts his hand with a shard from a broken snowglobe. We’re starting off the movie pretty well, don’tcha think? Naughty time between mom and Santa, little kids cutting themselves. It’s hard to believe this movie failed.
So, we catch up to modern day (1980) and Harry is all grown up. He’s working in a crappy toy factory with employees who just don’t care about their job or quality. Harry, a big Christmas enthusiast, protests that children like crappy toys like wooden horses and stuff like that. But, they don’t care to hear his verbal shenanigans and shrugged them off as BS.
On the way home, Harry interacts with children from the neighborhood. This is another important aspect of the movie. Harry often spies on the neighborhood children from his apartment and often keeping their names in his “Bad Boys and Girls Book”. If you think it’s borderline perversion, you’d be right. At one point, it’s revealed that Harry has a framed photo of “Susie” a young girl in the neighborhood. Yeah. For real. Not his daughter, niece, just a little girl living in the neighborhood. Moving on…
So, while this weirdness is going on, Harry calls his baby bro Phillip to inform him that he will not be coming over for a delicious Thanksgiving dinner. Instead, he decides to sit back with a big bowl of cereal, watch the Thanksgiving parade and anticipate Santa’s arrival.
Now, for some reason, Harry is obsessed with becoming the next Santa Claus. He lives in the suit, sleeps in the suit, his ugly apartment is peppered with ugly decorations. He even attatches a beard and starts laughing maniacally. No, really! See?
Ok, so now we have Phillip being a creepy old man, obsessing with Santa, borderline pedophilia and canceling Thanksgiving to eat crappy cereal while watching a crappy parade. All because he saw Santa getting some nookie. Sounds right…right?
I’ve written the word “crappy” more times in this review than any other thing in my life. Awesome.
By now, it’s already a given that Harry has the social skills of a mushroom. In fact, he goes to a local bar to find his co-workers talking smack about him behind his back and finds out that they don’t like them. How does he spend his Christmas Eve after hearing this? Stealing toys from the factory and donating them to a local hospital, putting himself in the good graces of the hospital staff.
We then find Harry running around town and a few people outside a church service egging him on. After the provocation gets too much to handle, he outright murders the three taunting church go-ers. So, then the word gets out by Christmas morning that Harry is the crazy mo-fo running around murdering people. Finally the town forms a mob and tries to chase him out with flaming torches and pitchforks.
Phillip is getting the sense that his brother is the killer Santa, and tries to get a hold of him. And he does. By choking him out. Then, loads him into Harry’s van(on which Harry painted a giant sled on the side). Harry comes to, pops Phillip in the mouth and then drives off a bridge, escaping the mob. As he flies off, the van unexplainably flies towards the moon. Wow.
That’s the movie and as much as I make it out to see a big mess, it is. But it’s anything but boring. It IS watchable and enjoyable. In fact, it’s so enjoyable, John Waters claimed it on the commentary for the movie to be the “Greatest Christmas movie ever made”…and if King Trash said it, it’s fact.
You can find the movie on an out of print DVD, put out by a few companies, including our good friends at Troma. It’s worth the price and is a fun watch, because of its absurdity and simplistic nature.
As I close this review, I wish you all a very healthy, happy and a very Merry Christmas!!! One that doesn’t involve watching Santa get some leg from your mom!
-Chadworth E. Young