Post by stefancrosscoe on Mar 16, 2017 15:51:33 GMT
"But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight, "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night."
Ever since he was a little kid, Harry Stadling (Brandon Maggart) has had an unhealthy obsession towards Christmas and anything related to good ol' Santa Claus.
As a result, he has now taken up the role as official toymaker at a local factory, were Harry can make sure that there will be enough quality made presents to all the good children, and during the spare time, finding out who's been naughty or nice, by monitoring the kids in his neighborhood with a pair of binoculars.
But not everyone seems to share in on Harry's love and passion for the most festive season of the year, as he soon learns the shocking news that the kids at a children's hospital, might not be on Santa's route this year, thanks to some crooked politicians.
With his very own and updated Santa's slay, Harry takes on the big responsibility of being Father Christmas, while delivering gifts to those who have been nice, and punish the naughty ones!
Christmas Evil or You Better Watch Out (which I think is the actual original title) looked at first like a pretty darn entertaining christmas slasher.
On the VHS art work cover, I was "promised" that it would include a creepy looking Santa, along with a bloody huge kitchen knife, and a dead body lying on the floor.
Everything was set up for just another enjoyable b-movie slasher, and instead of having some Jason Vorhees copy as the killer, you had a lunatic dressed up as Santa Claus, slaughtering young virgins to pieces.
Well, or so it seemed.
Christmas Evil ended up being a very different movie experience than something like Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984).
And even though they both include some gory/bloody scenes, and a freaky/tragic past, Christmas Evil felt more like some low-budget, psychological drama/thriller, were one follow a man on the very edge of having a complete and nervous breakdown, added with some black comedy along the way.
So I was a bit disappointed at first, and it certainly did not help that the VHS (from Troma) was a real letdown, with terrible picture and sound.
Then years later on in 2006, Synapse Entertainment decided to hand out a remastred version of the film, with a superior picture and sound quality, along with some really neat bonus material.
And by this time, I felt ready to give it another go. Something I have never regretted, as it now probably stands as one of my all time favorite yuletide movies.
Brandon Maggart delivers one hell of a performance as the good hearted but unstable Harry Stadling, who thanks to a rather bad childhood memory involving Santa Claus, has led him into a rather lonely life as an adult.
Actually, Brandon really nailed the part from the very first moment he steps infront of the test scenes, as seen on the 2006 DVD version released by Synapse.
Jeffrey DeMunn (probably best know for being the prison warden in The Green Mile) plays the far more successful and normal familyman, who may not see eye to eye on everything going on in Harry's life, but he still loves and cares for his older brother.
I know this is not really a very scary film or a horror movie, but then again it would probably freak me out more than a little, if I had seen it as a kid.
Still, I think a lot of the bad promotion has done it wrong, as myself and several others have went in thinking it would be similar to Silent Night, Deadly Night, only to end up with something completely else.
But at the end of the day, I really do love this little low-budget gem, as it comes with a lot of heart along with a fine atmosphere, and having Brandon Maggart doing a really good job in this film, as he comes off as a very likeable guy, even though some of his actions are a bit over the edge.
I would love to see Christmas Evil replacing many of the usual, sugary filled holiday movies that are always the same, every year, with spoilt rotten kids craving for more and more, and "perfect" family's having a blast around the christmas three.
Sadly, for very many people, Christmas time really is not all that nice and joyful, in fact it can be a real nightmare.
Anyway, for a different kind of holiday movie, you might want to take up on John Waters advice and give this one a chance:
"But for Christmas movies, the best one ever —and I’m even on the box set about it— is Christmas Evil. It’s about the guy who is so obsessed with Santa Claus that he gets a job at a toy factory and spies on all the children to see if they are good or bad. And then he gets stuck in a chimney on Christmas Eve. It’s really good. It’s hard to beat Christmas Evil. I like evil Christmas movies. I’m not much for It’s a Wonderful Life because I already have a wonderful life and Christmas to me, well, I understand how brutal Christmas can be."