Christmas Evil or You Better Watch Out (1980)

PLOT:

The movie kicks off with a scene straight out of the old Chistmas standard, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” only Santa isn’t kissing the lips on mommy’s face. Harry, then 8 years old, scopes an eyeful of this holiday debauchery and is understandably traumatized for life. Fast forward to the present and Harry is now a lonely middle-aged toy factory desk monkey, obsessed with Christmas (his tiny apartment is plastered with images of Santa and he even sleeps in Santa PJs) and disgusted with his coworkers’ apathetic and capitalistic attitude toward the holiday. Harry spends his spare time on the roof of his apartment building with binoculars, spying on the children of the neighborhood and jotting down notes about their behavior in large journals labeled “Naughty” and “Nice.” We’re treated to several scenes meant to clue us in on Harry’s poor mental health: first there’s the upsetting staff Christmas party at the office, then he smears his face and hands with mud and scares the crap out of one of the “Naughty” neighborhood kids, here he’s peering through a living room window at his brother and his brother’s wife having dirty couch sex, plagued with visions of his childhood trauma, and finally we find him rocking himself violently on his own couch, wildly humming Christmas songs as he crushes a doll with his bare hands.

The film is clearly building up to some kind of complete mental breakdown on Harry’s part, and it finally happens on, what else, Christmas Eve. Harry dons a full Santa costume and cruises the city in a big white molester-mobile of a van (the festive sleigh painted on it’s side does little to disguise the creepiness), handing out gifts to the good children and taking sloppy revenge on people who have offended his Christmas spirit. During the course of the night he is, among other things, pursued by a torch-weilding mob and strangled by his own brother. Things don’t appear to be going well for Harry, and it seems inevitable that he will be caught and punished for his crimes, but in the end something much more fantastic and unexpected happens…

SCORING:

  • Ambition – 8

Making a Killer Santa movie is a fantastic achievement. Regular, happy Christmas movies are old hat.

  • Presentability – 8

Any Christmas movie is easy to present theme-wise. Cookies and milk. Also booze. And presents!!!

  • Sex/Violence – 8

The very first scenes consists of Harry, the child, watching as Santa buries his face in mom’s crotch as she stands by the Christmas tree playing with the furry ball on his cap. The murder scenes, however, were a real hack job (no pun intended).

  • Performances – 9

The main guy is amazing.

  • Datability – 6

Some good 80s hair and glasses. One incredible moustache.

  • Script – 6

Mostly consists of the main character, Harry, humming christmas tunes and giggling crazily. The ending was spectacular and ridiculous, totally not what I was expecting, and any movie with a torch-carrying mob chase scene deserves some credit.

“If you’re bad boys and girls, your name goes on the list, and I’ll bring you….(long pause)….something horrible…..(another long pause followed by a burst of maniacal laughter)!!!”

  • Relevance – 6

I think the lesson here is for parents, and it’s one that I don’t think has been stressed enough: For the love of God don’t let your young kids see you getting jiggy with anybody, let alone Santa Claus, because they will inevitably turn into murdering lunatics.

  • Originality – 7

There are other scary Christmas movies out there, but not too many.

  • Production Design – 6

Nothing to write home about. The “gore” was laughably bad, and it was pretty funny when one of the characters went sprawling into what was supposed to be a “snow bank” but was clearly a pile of foam covered by a blanket that had fake snow dumped all over it.

TOTAL: 63

Changing a Baby’s Diaper, a baby who later goes on to become a successful dental hygienist which means you get a good discount on dental care for the rest of your life. Not as good as a millionaire baby, but better than a drug addict and/or murderin’ baby.

SOCIAL RELEVANCE SIDEBAR:

I think it’s time for a little Parent Talk….
It is extremely important to the healthy emotional and sexual development of your child to be cautious about the sexual stimuli he or she is exposed to at home. Too many psychologically unhealthy or unstable adults can trace their mental issues back to some traumatic sexual experience from childhood. When you have children, get rid of your triple X magazines and fetish tapes (you can always replace them later after the kids are grown), but keep one or two decent, inoffensive soft core videos. Most young children can handle, and, in fact, benefit from, the baring of breasts and butts and the hearty suggestion of sex in a movie. Keep in mind, however, that this is not true if said movies involve you and your spouse or lover. It is essential that you take precautions against being seen by your child in any kind of sexually compromised position or situation, as most young minds are easily and deeply disturbed by the sight of their parents engaged in anything more explicit than simple kissing. Lock your bedroom door, replace the box spring on your bed when it starts squeaking, tape over your homemade sex tapes and if you plan on letting Santa Claus munch your carpet right there in the living room, send your kid to a friend’s house for the night. Remember that your sexuality is horrifying and repulsive to your children, and being overexposed to it can poison your child’s future ability to enjoy sex, be successful and not murder people. The End.

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~ by mgjk on January 3, 2010.

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