Christmas Evil aka You Better Watch Out (1980)

Posted: 31/12/2022 in Trash movies
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As we all may know Christmas is pretty stressful holiday for huge number of people. There are many traditions, like ripping a bottle of wine and arguing with your shitty cousin about inane things, hostility over the course of family dinner, followed by watching holiday themed horror movies while ignoring the rest of your family and so on. So this really sets you in the mood for a really depressingly wonderful Christmas Movie. If so then look no further than Christmas Evil.

This one’s pretty straightforward so I’ll get right to it. The year is 1947. It is Christmas eve. A kid named Harry is traumatized when he sees his mom and dad getting it on whilst his dad is in full Santa garb (Santa performing oral on Mommy). Really ruined it for him. Also it doesn’t help that his brother did not believe in Santa. So Harry runs away to the attic where he intentionally cuts himself on piece of broken snow globe. I guess this is intended to represent his rebelion towards Santa. Flash forward takes us to present day (aka 1980) and adult Harry (played by Brandon Maggart) is in some middle management role at a toy company that makes Christmas toys. He’s also obsessed with Santa. Like really obsessed. Like spies on the neighborhood children and keeps a Santa-esque book of who’s naughty and nice, crazy. He even sleeps in Santa pajamas. You can sort of see where this is going.

She has been very naughty

While Harry takes great pride in his workmanship, wanting to make toys that some girl or boy will love for years, he finds his co-workers to be lazy wage slaves who think he is a fool and a sucker for working so hard. When he is promoted off the assembly line to a desk job, he finds the management is more concerned about the bottom line than the quality of the toys. Thats when he snaps. Harry dons his Santa suit, paints his van to look more like slay and makes the rounds of the city, distributing toys to deserving people.

Ive never felt better!

As good people get presents so naughty people get punishment. And where can you find wrong doers on Christmas eve? In church, of course! So Harry dispense some justice with sharp toys and an axe! Next, he comes back to his company Christmas party dressed as a Santa where he dances and sings and has a time of his lifetime like he hasn’t had killed bunch of people 10 minutes ago. He distributes some presents and leaves the place. Of course, none of his coworkers recognized neither Harry nor the toys he had stolen from the very same factory.

Christmas is not over yet so Harry visits home of his greedy coworker Frank (played by Joe Jamrog). He couldn’t quite fit through the chimney so he had to resort to other of Santa’s many feats – lockpicking. He leaves presents for Frank’s children while Frank himself receives death from decorational star from Christmas tree, all next to sleeping wife who doesn’t suspect anything. The police, meanwhile, based on eyewitness accounts, are also making the rounds of the city arresting every Santa they find. Why not play safe?

Meanwhile, Harry’s brother Philip (played by Jeffrey DeMunn) suspects something is wrong since Harry has never ditched him for Christmas before. His doubts arouse even more after watching news regarding church massacre. Harry comes by Philip’s house later that evening and confronts him, blaming his brother for everything because Philip said he didn’t believe in Santa when he was 6. Things get out of control and Philip strangles Harry. Believing he killed his brother he drags his corpse and place it into the van. Harry wakes up, notably angry, and gives pedal to the metal. Just in that moment angry lynch mob shows up and, while avoiding them, Harry drives off the bridge. But that’s not all! Instead of falling to his death his van flies off towards the Moon while Christmas music is playing in background in one of the most confusing endings in cinema history.

Conclusion: While the movie is considered a slasher flick (which it is to an extent) I think that it is more appropriate to call it a psychological thriller as it is more focused on Harry going crazy and that is where we can see Brandon Maggart’s brilliant performance. Director Lewis Jackson has to thanks only him that the movie wasn’t pissed on the moment it premiered. I really don’t agree with John Waters on Christmas Evil being “The best Christmas Movie ever made” (we all know it is Die Hard). I mean, there are almost no dialogues, most of the movie we listen to Harry talking to himself and humming Christmas carol. The sound design is shitty, especially at the beginning of this film. As for the effects it looks and sounds horrible for most of the film’s runtime. Still, I recommend seeing this movie if you’ve exhausted your other holiday-themed options.

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Comments
  1. Great review! Haven’t seen this in years. It is a little cheap, but I appreciate the strangeness, especially the ending! Happy holidays.

    Like

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