Christmas Evil (1983) NR CC

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(58) IMDb 5/10

Emotionally scarred as a boy when he learns that Santa Claus isn't real, a man grows up to become a toymaker and his life and home demonstrates an obsession with Christmas.

Starring:
Brandon Maggart, Jeffrey DeMunn
Runtime:
1 hour, 32 minutes

Christmas Evil (1983)

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 3, 2003
Format: DVD
Christmas Evil holds a unique spot in the genre of Christmas slasher films. While a few individuals are murdered, there so little blood that I would not classify this as a slasher film at all. This is more of a psychological treatment that transcends horror of a primal nature. In its own special twisted way, Christmas Evil is really sort of touching, and I would argue that it actually does possess a measure of real Christmas spirit. Harry isn't a bad guy; his heart is in the right place - it's just a few of his toys of death that end up in wrong places such as someone else's neck. As a young child, Harry sees disturbing evidence before his very eyes that Santa Claus is not real, and this experience scars him for life. He does not let the Christmas spirit die in him, however; the spirit actually grows to the point that, as a forty-something year old man, he tries to become Santa Claus and spread joy to good little children. He spies on the neighborhood kids, writing down notes in his books of naught boys and girls. As a newly-promoted manager at a toy factory, he is dismayed to see inferior-quality toys rolling off the assembly line, his co-workers speak badly of the holidays, and a new hotshot executive puts forth a promotional campaign to send toys to a children's hospital without knowing or caring if there will be enough for the kids. Eventually, poor Harry snaps, dons a Santa suit, and goes out to spread Christmas spirit all around. Of course, a few adults have been very bad in his eyes, and a few of them end up dead.
Brandon Maggart is really quite good in the role of Harry.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Charles Kangas on July 17, 2001
Format: DVD
Greetings from Tromaville!
Aside from being John Waters's favorite Christmas movie, this film is known as the best of the Holiday Horror genre. Originally titled "You better watch out.....", and also known as "Terror in Toyland", the film was re-released with the title "Christmas Evil" to cash in on the success of "Silent Night, Deadly Night".
But "Christmas Evil" is a much different film. Contrary to the cover art, "Christmas Evil" is a psychological horror film that digs deep into the mind of a person who loves Santa, and hates the greedy.
He always brings presents to the "nice", such as numerous toys for the children's hospital. What makes it a horror film is that he treats those who have been "Naughty" with death.
There are two things commonly misinterpreted about the film. First of all, it is not anti-Christmas. If anything, it's against the commercialization of Christmas.
Second, it's not completely a psychological horror film. It's mostly a dark-comedy in the vein of "Jack Frost" (not the conglomerate crappy Keaton one, but the horror/comedy distributed by A-Pix Entertainment.) that will leave you mesmorised.
It also contains running commontary with the director, and the star, Brandon Maggart, who is the father of pop princess Fiona Apple, as well as a special holiday introduction with Troma President Lloyd Kaufman.
In conclusion, see "Christmas Evil". It will do for Christmas what Charles Kaufman's "Mother's Day" did for Mother's Day
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Beaudin on November 22, 2001
Format: DVD
CHRISTMAS EVIL is one of those little classics that has gained a cult following and has managed to keep a low profile through the years. Sometimes confused with other movies like BLACK CHRISTMAS or SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT (and for the record all 3 movies are very different) CHRISTMAS EVIL is not so much a horror movie as it is a dark comedy about a man's journey into insanity. I don't want you to get the wrong impression since CHRSITMAS EVIL isn't a comedy, but it is light hearted in the way it shows and depicts the main character believing he is Santa Clause. Which brings us to the story. A man, who was traumatized as a boy by seeing his mother getting laid by old st. Nick, grows up into believing he is the real, better Santa Clause and can bring good to the world. Its almost hard to describe exactly what makes this movie so good or what makes this movie so scary. You really have to see it to believe it. It takes you on a journey into the mind of a mentally disturbed individual while showing us violence and comedy all in the happy holiday setting. And as for the ending which many people say is confusing.....it's not confusing if you think it over and have a little faith.
CHRISTMAS EVIL is a christmas classic indeed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael R Gates VINE VOICE on February 25, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Originally titled YOU BETTER WATCH OUT (and a.k.a. TERROR IN TOYLAND), 1980's CHRISTMAS EVIL amounts to little more than a crass attempt to hitch onto the holiday-horror gravy train initiated by John Carpenter's universally better HALLOWEEN in 1978. It's only notable for the fact that it was the first of the HALLOWEEN rip-offs to feature a Killer Kris Kringle (fortunately, it wasn't the last!).

Character actor Brandon Maggart--who, by the way, was a member of the original cast of TV's SESAME STREET and is the father of pop singer Fiona Apple--portrays Harry Stadling, a sexually repressed middle-manager at the Jolly Dream Toy Factory who is haunted by a childhood incident in which he saw Ol' Saint Nick joyfully boffing mommy amidst the presents under the tree on Christmas Eve. One nasty NoŽl, the blatant commercialistic attitudes exuded by his family and coworkers burns at his psyche until his subconscious finally boils over, and Harry then blithely dons the red and white and hunts down both the naughty and the nice to mete out their just deserts. To the innocents and the kiddies, he delivers dreamy delights; to the cruel and calloused, he doles out death!

Now, a story with a serial-killer Santa is a delightfully twisted concept that offers lots of opportunity for dark humor and satirical subtext. Alas, CHRISTMAS EVIL simply falls flat. The ineptly handled schizophrenic shifting between chills and chuckles makes for confusing viewing, leaving one tempted to conclude that the screenwriter is just as loony as Harry Standling himself. And to top it all off, the film's feel-good surprise-ending is glaringly out of sync with the overall tone of the rest of the film.

To be fair, it must be said that CHRISTMAS EVIL does contain a few items of merit.
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