Harry is a weird and mentally unstable factory worker who is obsessed with Christmas and Santa Claus. After being treated like garbage by his co-workers and pretty much everyone else around him for years he finally snaps and takes it upon himself to dress up like Santa and go on a killing spree, brutally murdering anyone he comes across that he deems as “naughty.” Lock your doors and windows tight, kids, because Santa Claus is coming to town…with a big knife.
love most holiday horror films, especially the ones that take place around Christmas. Every year during the holidays when normal people are watching films such as It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, or one of the ten million versions of A Christmas Carol my wife and I are snuggled together drinking hot chocolate by the Christmas tree and watching such holiday classics as Silent Night, Deadly Night and the original Black Christmas. I think that starting next year Christmas Evil will be another movie added to our list of holiday horror films that we watch every year as it is an awesome slasher flick that doesn’t fail to deliver.
I actually saw it back in the late nineties on VHS under the name of Terror in Toyland (one of the horrible alternate titles) and absolutely hated it. I thought that it was cheesy, there wasn’t enough blood and gore, and the ending was just beyond ridiculous. However, when I watched it again recently I actually thought that it was pretty damn good and I can’t believe that I didn’t like it the first time I saw it. I don’t know if I was just so put off by the goofy title the first time I saw it and as a result I expected it to suck, but my feelings about it the first time around were totally wrong and the movie is a lot better than most people give it credit for. As a matter of fact, when it comes to horror movies about someone in a Santa suit walking around killing people (and believe me there are more of them than you would probably think) Christmas Evil is right up there with Silent Night, Deadly Night as one of the best.
I think one of the main reasons that I really like the movie is because of the character of Harry (played to perfection by Brandon Maggart). He is just a socially awkward guy who you can’t help but feel sorry for because of the fact that he is so pitiful. He is constantly being made fun of or taken advantage of by others, and as such I found myself rooting for him when he finally goes nuts and starts killing people. He really isn’t a bad person so to speak as he actually rewards some people for their good behavior once he is out walking around dressed like Santa, he is just a misunderstood fellow with mental problems and an unhealthy obsession with Christmas and Santa Claus (brought about by an experience he had when he was a child) to the point that he actually starts to believe that he really is Old Saint Nick. He is really dedicated to the role too, as he works at a toy factory (that makes sh*tty, cheap toys that break five minutes after most kids get them) and actually keeps tabs on the naughty and nice children in the neighborhood in a journal he keeps. He may be a little weird and out there, but you have to admit that Harry is dedicated if nothing else.
There isn’t a ton of blood and guts in the film, and while this bothered me the first time I watched it I really didn’t mind it so much when I watched it again recently. We just get some light stabbings (one which involves someone being stabbed in the eye with an unusual object in a pretty cool scene) but to be honest I was so into the story and watching Harry descend into total and complete madness that I really didn’t notice the lack of gore (which is odd for me as I love my blood and gore). 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 than it is on showing him brutally slaughter one person after the other over and over again with a huge knife or a chainsaw.
I really like Christmas Evil, and while some may say that it is just another run of the mill slasher flick about a killer Santa Claus I have to disagree as I think that there is a little more going on here than that. Some people won’t like it and some people will absolutely hate the ending (which I will admit is more than just a little silly) but I for one really dig it and to be honest something about it really puts me in the mood for Christmas (yes, I have issues). Check it out sometime soon and don’t be surprised if it doesn’t become one of the movies you traditionally watch each year around the holiday season.
Christmas Evil (1980)