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Christmas Evil: When Santa Goes Slasher!
Matt - 11/02/00

Christmas and slasher films might not seem to be the perfect match, but its been pulled off a few times. Usually, the results are disastrous to the point where the movies achieve cult status solely based on how campy and horrible they are, and the one we're gonna review today is no exception. Unfortunately, the film isn't just bad or stupid, its also extremely boring. Not too many people out there have made it through the entire film, and that's not saying much, since I'd wager around five or six dozen people have actually sat down to watch this flick. A lot of you have heard of the Silent Night, Deadly Night series. This one actually predates all that, takes us back to 1980, and delivers one of the most god awful ideas for a plot ever put on film. I don't know how people can go wrong with the Santa Claus Goes Bad concept, it seems like such a sure-win bet. Who doesn't want to see Santa axe someone's head in? And while today's movie does deliver in that department, you're going to have to weed through some heavy bullshit to get to it. As a reward for anyone who managed to survive watching the movie in its entirety - the climactic ending is, beyond any shadow of a doubt, the most ridiculous, absurd thing you'll ever see. And what fabled story am I referring to?


I'm not exactly sure what to preface this review with. I've read a ton of reviews on this movie, and most sane, rational people all agree on it being horrible. A few bad apples argue that people like me are just to shallow to understand the underlying psychodrama in this film. Psychodrama? Its a film about a Santa Claus who kills people for no apparent reason. Oh wait, there is a reason, but that makes it all the more ridiculous. Here, let's show you why little Harry goes insane...

As a boy, he sees Santa Claus giving his mother oral sex. I admit it, I was pretty shocked to see this. And if I saw Santa going down on my mom, chances are good I'd be a little off for a few years, too. Problem is, what we're seeing here is a flashback to 1948. I can understand little Harry going berserk during those childhood years. Santa and sex never mixed. And to be honest, I always had pegged the guy as one of those missionary position, rollover and sleep type of man. I didn't know he'd go for foreplay, especially when he wasn't on the receiving end. And apparently, Harry feels the same way, because he goes insane. Now we flash forward to 1980...let's see how Harry's life was structurally altered by this harrowing experience.

Why, the guy loves Santa! We get a look at his apartment - completely decorated in Christmas crap, while Harry waltzes around in a Santa robe, going as far as having a little Santa-esque ritual during his morning shave. Give him credit - no recessive qualities with this guy, he faces his demons head on. This isn't like one of those former alcoholics who refuses to go to shopping malls because at one point in time someone may have been in there after drinking a cosmopolitan....Harry shows no fear in accepting, even loving Christmas. Even though its the beginning of November. Hmmmm...

Harry's favorite pastime is spying on the neighborhood kids, compiling notes on two books he's writing simultaneously: The Good Boys and Girls Book, and The Bad Boys and Girls Book. While its pretty disturbing to watch Harry drool over nice little girls who just smile and play with dolls, its even more disturbing to watch his face as he angrily jots down notes on which kids are reading Penthouse behind locked doors. Well, I don't see where this is you?

Even at work, its more Christmas mayhem. For those who aren't picking up the subtle plot devices of Harry dressing and acting like a neo-Santa, here's the deal: Harry loves Christmas, and hates anyone who'd seek to hurt its pristine image or ignore the messages its supposed to send. He works at a toy factory - his dream job where he can insure that only the best toys are made for all the good little children. His coworkers aren't there with such high virtues...they just wanna get paid. This invariably pisses Harry off, as foretold by the sleek camera trick of zooming in on his face for no shorter than 12 seconds while ominous gongs go off in the background. When you see a zoom-in, you know trouble's brewing. But we really know we're in for a rough time when they do an eerie close-up on a Santa Claus decoration...


Well, Harry's had enough. The world's full of vile, disgusting creatures who just have no fucking clue what Christmas is all about. And since Linus wasn't around, Harry knows that only he can teach the world a lesson. A LESSON THEY'LL NEVER FORGET, MIND YOU. So, he begins to implement the grand scheme. The hideously disjointed and confusing grand scheme, but the grand scheme nonetheless. He starts building the Santa outfit.

Sure, he looks more like Bea Arthur now, but look at the big picture: a crazy guy who's obsessed with Santa Claus and bad children becoming Santa Claus doesn't bode well for Harry's neighborhood. But don't panic just yet, this is just Harry's dress rehearsal. Its just too early to be prancing along dressed as Santa, even psychopaths realize this. So Harry puts the outfit away, and decides to pay one of the bad boys a visit.

Finally, things started to look like they were picking up. I know that actual killings aren't all that makes a horror movie good, but I couldn't help but get a little antsy. We were already like an hour in to the friggin' thing, and so far, nothing of interest. I was hoping this little visit would bring us our first slaying, but Harry had other things in mind. If you're not ready to kill just yet...what's the next best thing?

Mud face prints. Yes, mud face prints. Harry goes to the little bad boy's house, and the drama is so thick, you can cut it with the knife that doesn't seem to want to appear in this movie. But instead of a killing, we get this: Harry goes down on one knee, puts mud on his face, and presses it against the house. Why the fuck would he do that?! Through the course of the past six years or so, I've had the displeasure of devirginizing a few people to this film. I still can't figure out the significance of the mud face print scene - if any of you readers majored in psychology and wanna give it a stab, feel free to e-mail me. For all its ridiculousness, the scene does serve a purpose: it gives us the cameo appearance heard 'round the world!

Recognize her? She's in the movie for three seconds. She slaps her son and drags him into the car before Harry can grab him and molest the bad deeds right out of him. Know who that is? Its the fucking mother from Home Improvement! So that's what she was doing in the early 80s! Its Patricia Richardson! Man, she must've been really depressed at the start of the decade. A seconds-long appearance in arguably the worst motion picture of all time certainly doesn't make one believe that someday they'll be starring opposite a comedic genius like Richard Karn.

Unfortunately, we don't have time to lust over Patsy. Don't you know what day it is?

Christmas Eve. Its the day of reckoning for all those who oppose the mighty hand of justice laid down by Surrogate Santa. And speaking of Harry, today is his day to shine. Finally, a day where he can get away with wearing that suit out of the house.

Now this was just scary. Harry puts the beard on - excuse me...Harry glues the beard on, and for the next 40 seconds, all we see is the guy giggling into a direct orgasm looking at himself in the mirror. As far as my friends and I who've watched the movie are concerned, this is the movie's one true legendary moment. Mud scene? Cool. Pat? Nice. Eventual murders? Okay. But watching Harry giggle on for nearly a minute over the sheer joy of wearing a cotton beard...well, no matter what, you're going to have a reaction. It could be repulsion or love, anger or hate...doesn't really'll make you react. And for those of you who've forgotten why Harry's so fucking messed up, need I remind you?

Santa Claus gave his mother oral sex back in '48.

With that, its time for the movie's first killing. We sat through a full hour of torment to get here, so there better be a nice payoff. Maybe Santa could set one of the bad kids on fire, wrap him up in a box, put a big bow on it, and give it to another bad kid. Kill two bad kids with one stone. Maybe he could look slyly towards the camera and announce that the movie is ending abruptly, thus punishing any bad kids watching it. That'd be my ultimate number one choice. Unfortunately, neither is true, and the movie continues. And how!

A few hooligans start messing around with our anti-hero, one of the prime examples of what not to do in a horror movie. Now, you know someone's gonna die, and I know someone's gonna die...but I'm sure that, at some point, this movie was shown on television, and some poor soul sat down halfway through, not realizing the title or background of this hedonistic holiday tale of butchery. In the case of an audience who doesn't know what's coming, this next scene is absolutely fantastic.

Santa stabs one of the guys in the eye with the wooden soldier's staff!!! Yes! Harry might've been a pushover all his life...his co-workers think he's a joke, he's certainly not getting laid...even the neighborhood children ridicule him. But once he dons the red suit - don't fuck with him! Santa solidifies that very point by not only killing the guy shown above, but by taking out an axe and hacking two others. Mind you, there's about 400 witnesses to this event, and Harry takes off in a giant van with Santa regalia painted all over it. Somehow, the cops never seem to find him. Just another Christmas miracle!

Breaking away from murderous rampages, Santa Harry gets dragged into an old fashioned Christmas party, where he dances the night away instead of killing people. Again, I wish I was making this stuff up, but I'm not. The people who argue Christmas Evil as a psychodrama will probably say that this shows Harry's vulnerable, good-natured side...but I just can't seem to get it. What's so evil here? So far, its almost as if they made a film about a slightly wacky guy who really likes Christmas, decided that it would never do well in theatres, and added two or three horrible and quick murder scenes. Santa's not entirely cherubic though - he tells the kids at the party that if they're good, they'll be getting some kickass presents for this and every Christmas to come. But if they're bad? Then Santa will bring them 'something....horrible. Ho ho ho!' Okay then!

Meanwhile, the police finally realize that there is a Santa Claus guy running around killing people. Unfortunately, its Christmas. Its total Santa season, the guys are everywhere you look. I guess this explains how Harry is able to run around virtually unnoticed.

A Santa lineup at the police station provides poor results. All these Santas have white fur trim - Harry's suit has grey. Harry, you're your own worst enemy. If only you had used white, the color of snow...the COLOR OF CHRISTMAS...then you'd be safe. But noooo. No patience. You just grabbed the first piece of dark grey cloth available, and look what's happened! They're on to you Harry. They're on to you.

Meanwhile, the second picture shows how the kids are unwilling to believe there's a Santa murderer out there - even defying their own parents in a vain attempt to get on the good list by siding with Santa. Harry shows his appreciation for the children's good faith by kicking the shit out of their father. Unfortunately for Harry, he's starting to realize that even if he tries to put an inconspicuous look on his face, he's still glued to a Santa suit. (must be incredibly tough glue) Harry knows he's only got so much time left before all those Jewish police come and shoot him. Desperate, he seeks help from his younger brother.

The brother offers up some sound, sage advice: take off the suit. That's step one. We can work out all the particulars later...but take off the fucking bloodstained suit. Harry disagrees. He's hopeless. His brother didn't see what he saw, how would he understand? How could his brother understand? He didn't see....this:

See? His brother never understood, and he's not going to start now. So Harry takes his Santa Claus sleighvan and hits the road. The cops never catch him, and Harry never dies. Essentially, this is the end of the film....almost. See, Harry doesn't just 'hit the road', so to speak. Sure, he drives away. But I think the term 'takes off' would be a little more appropriate. With that, I shamefully present to you the worst ending ever:


Yep, Harry's driving along, and out of nowhere, his van starts flying through the air, a la Santa. AND THIS IS HOW THE MOVIE ENDS. Pretty cool, huh? Watching this movie was one of the most depressing experiences of my life, ranking #7 right after finding out that Madonna wouldn't let Playmates market The Blank for the Dick Tracy action figure line. I'm devastated, and the Christmas spirit's been sucked right out of me. Luckily, there's some other X-Mas Horror flicks available to help instill a sense of wonder about the holiday. If you don't have the stomach of pure iron to last through Christmas Evil, here's a few others to check out.

Jack Frost (1997) - Playfully bad as opposed to blatantly bad, a story about a killer snowman who melts, reforms, and kills again. Adding to the intense drama is the snowman's shockingly high aptitude for witty jokes. Its pretty cool to watch since it stays true to the campy aspects of old school slasher ridicule, but with late 90s effects that make it all the more charming to watch. Amazingly enough, a year later Michael Keaton would star in a movie of the same name with generally the same plot, only Keaton didn't kill anyone. At least not in the literal sense, that movie was pretty god awful too.

Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984) - A movie that tied Rocky in the amount of sequels spawned, this one is absolutely famous in the cult circuit. Its bad, but its bad on a level completely different from Christmas Evil. Christmas Evil made a slight attempt to make sense. Silent Night did absolutely nothing of the kind. A boy who watches his parents get killed by a guy in a Santa suit grows up to be a muscleman just ready to snap. Once his boss tells him to wear a Santa suit, lots of people die and a shitload of fake blood is spilled everywhere.

Ain't nothing like the holiday spirit.

- Matt


PS - only a few days left to get in your submissions about the best X-Mas gift you've ever received. The best of the bunch will be featured on the site next week, and the ultimate premiere winner will receive a majestic, plastic Boo Berry bank. E-mail 'em directly to me - entries should at least be a few paragraphs long. If you're too lazy to write, you can buy me gifts instead. But if you'd like to see yourself in non-print, send in your memories!

Christmas Evil was bad, but these may be worse: Cool As Ice, Johnny Sokko, and The Real World Vacation Video. Enjoy Hell.

Hmmm...wait a sec. I just realized something. I've been a little too harsh on Christmas Evil. They managed to squeeze around two hours of torment out of what I could easily sum up by two shots:

Unfortunately, those pictures sum up the entire movie. If I could make my car fly, we'd have a remake on our hands. - Matt