Christmas 2013: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Evil (1980)!

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Now before all three of you get too excited, listen: No, I have absolutely no intention of writing up Holiday Horror flicks all throughout this month the way I do each October. At least I don’t think that’s gonna happen. But who knows? Until we find out, consider this write-up a one-off because to be totally honest, scary Christmas movies are a subgenre I’m really not all that familiar with and haven’t been compelled by in the past. Not to sound like a prude, but the idea of introducing slashers or monsters into the season has always felt a bit tacky to me. I guess I like my Christmas time like I like my women: Cheerful, generous and three weeks out of the month. But screw it. I’m giving this mixture a shot tonight with Christmas Evil. A movie that I’ve never seen before but have heard plenty of positive things about.

Let’s get those fingers crossed!

Christmas Evil is all about Harry Stadling, a guy who as a young boy went downstairs to sneak a peak at Santa and instead happened to catch Dad banging Mom in the living room while wearing a full on Santa suit.

Only poor Harry had no idea this was his pops and clearly traumatized, runs back upstairs to bed and knocks over a snow globe, cutting his hand in the process. The movie then jumps forward about 30 years and Harry is beyond obsessed with Christmas:

Working at a toy factory. Wandering around the house in his own Santa suit violently humming Christmas carols. Even spying on the neighborhood kids with binoculars to see who’s being “good” and “bad.” I’m not gonna lie, I kinda like this dude.

Long story short and without giving too much away, Harry kinda loses it and starts to believe that he is actually the real Santa Claus; even going so far as to convert his creepy basement into a “toy factory” where he carves his own wooden figures. He also starts stealing toys from his job and loading them up in his sleigh van, preparing for the big night. Not only does Harry plan on treating a children’s hospital and all the well behaved kids in town with gifts but administering his own brand of punishment against anyone that gets in the way.

God bless him. To be honest, this movie made me feel a bit impotent as far as how seriously I (thought I) take this holiday.

And I really liked it! Oddly enough, Christmas Evil has a great sense of humor and for such a low budget is visually pretty well crafted. There’s just the right amount of menace to keep you waiting for things to fly off the rails in the best possible way and that final shot is too goddamned clever for its own good. I guess I’m actually recommending this thing. Is it really time to look into more Christmas horror?

Is it!?.

Ray Gabriel

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