Weeklies

Movie: "You Better Watch Out (aka: Christmas Evil)"
Year: 1980
Rated: R
Genre: Horror
Directed by: Lewis Jackson
Writing credits: Lewis Jackson

Reviewer: -RoG-
Posted: 12/15/2008

Plot: A lonely man decides to play Santa and use his list of who's been naughty or nice to determine whether people deserve to live or die.

Review: Here's a Christmas horror movie about Harry Stadling, a sad little man who basically believes himself to be the second coming of Santa. He actually keeps a "naughty or nice" list of all the children in the neighborhood and doesn't mind scaring the crap out of one particularly bad kid who enjoys reading Penthouse magazine. Trust me when I say you haven't lived until you've seen Harry smear mud all over his face and make an imprint of it on the side of the little kid's house. Oh, I know that doesn't make any sense to you now, but once you watch the movie... you'll see why it's sooooo much better than him just killing off the kid instead. If you're wondering why Harry is such a disturbed individual, it's because he saw Santa playing tongue-twister with his mom's crotch when he was a kid. Yeah, that'll screw just about anybody up. I'm not sure how that ties in with making facial mud marks on the side of somebody's house, but madness is something that we humans may never fully understand.

Anywho, Harry also works at a toy factory and isn't particularly happy with the cheap parts they're using to make the toys. Amusingly enough, one of the deleted scenes from the film shows Harry arguing with his boss about how the toys should be made of lead instead of cheap plastic. Oh Harry, if only you knew just how dangerous your lead toys were, you'd put yourself on the naughty list for ever suggesting such a thing.

Harry becomes less and less in touch with reality as the story progresses and eventually loses it completely once he gets the bright idea to glue a Santa beard onto his face. When he's unable to remove said beard, he's convinced that he is indeed Santa Claus after all - which is evidenced by the drawn-out sequence in which he laughs and giggles like a complete nutjob. So what's the next step? Why, you paint a sleigh onto the side of your creepy van, so you can drive around town and bring presents to all the good little children. A van with a sleigh painted on the side of it is just as good as Santa's magical sleigh, right? Brilliant!

Of course, this being a horror movie, he does decide to kill some of the naughty adults in town. Unfortunately, this is more of a psychological horror movie rather than the slasher you'd expect it to be, so the deaths are few and far in between. There's a pretty decent eye-stabbing scene, but other than that, you're not gonna find a lot o' special effects gore here. If you're looking for hilarious deaths, I suggest sticking with the 80s holiday horror classic, Silent Night, Deadly Night or the more recent Jack Frost. If you'd rather see a movie where the guy is battling his own yuletide psychosis, then this is most certainly your movie. Watching him develop his Santa voice until he builds up the confidence to belt out a holly jolly "Merrrrrry Christmas!" is just as much of a treat as witnessing his ridiculously long failed struggle to make it down a chimney.

A fun little trivia fact for fans of this movie - Brandon Maggart who plays the lead role of Harry Stadling is Fiona Apple's father. Hmmm, you know, I seem to recall some of Fiona's lyrics going something along the lines of "I've been a bad, bad girl..." Uh oh Fiona! I hope daddy Santa didn't hear that. I'd hate to see what he'd do to you for being on his naughty list.

It's definitely worth checking out the DVD for some of the amusing aforementioned scenes in the movie, just don't expect a wildly entertaining bloodbath like you'd find in some other Christmas holiday horror flicks. While it's not my favorite Christmas horror movie, it does have its merits and definitely sets itself apart from the rest of the pack with a ton o' character development. I'd venture to guess this movie would have done better when it was released if it wasn't promoted as a slasher flick.

I should also mention that, in addition to the deleted scenes, the DVD includes some old audition tape footage which features David "Sledge Hammer" Rasche trying out for the lead role, so that right there is a big selling point at the very least. Well, that and the ending of the movie.

The ending has got to be one of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen and it's easily my favorite thing about Christmas Evil. Have no doubt, my friends... you will most certainly laugh your ass off at it, but I'm not gonna spoil it. Just watch the movie and see for yourself.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeHalf
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

the axe and the smasher
Dec 15th, 2008, 03:01 PM
I just watched this last week on In Demand. Holy crap, this was the most amazing movie I've seen in a long time!

Your forgot to mention another bit of hollywood in the movie. The mother of the kid who likes Penthouse is the mom from Home Improvement. Wow, from Christmas Evil to working with Tim Allen.

Now that's a career.
Fucking Finland
Dec 15th, 2008, 04:56 PM
I think I saw this flick in the Dvd discount bin last saturday
Member
Dec 15th, 2008, 07:27 PM
So RoG, can we expect you to review Silent Night,Deadly Night 2 this year?
pickled
Dec 15th, 2008, 11:32 PM
This seems like something I should check out.
Member
Dec 16th, 2008, 01:46 PM
Awesome film. If I had a cable network, this would get the 24 hour Christmas marathon. Go get the DVD already!
Last of the Time Lords
Dec 16th, 2008, 02:01 PM
The ending (I won't spoil it either) is truly bizarre. But it doesn't quite happen the way most people think. If you listen to it carefully you realize that what we see on screen is in Harry's mind, and what actually happened is different.
Turrican't. :(
Dec 18th, 2008, 04:08 PM
"A fun little trivia fact for fans of this movie"

How the fuck can one have fun with a sentence? Even knowing now that the father of a talentless pop-tart once played the clichéd role of Psycho Santa, I'm not jumping around the room, giddy with glee about how the sentence was so fun to read. I'm not saying shit like "LEARNING IS FUN!" I'm not scrolling back up to read the sentence over and over again.

So if your idea of a swingin' Saturday night is to regale people with what the fathers of divas did to raise said divas, then I am NEVER coming over to any of your parties. Yeah I know, I wouldn't invite me either. Real fun is just sooo three years ago. ¬_¬
Pickled Patriarch
Dec 18th, 2008, 04:39 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drunken_Lemur408 View Post
So RoG, can we expect you to review Silent Night,Deadly Night 2 this year?
Haha probably not. It's 90% flashbacks to the first movie anyway. I do have another Christmas feature I'll be reviewing though as soon as I get over this damned head cold.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitsunexus View Post
"A fun little trivia fact for fans of this movie"

How the fuck can one have fun with a sentence? Even knowing now that the father of a talentless pop-tart once played the clichéd role of Psycho Santa, I'm not jumping around the room, giddy with glee about how the sentence was so fun to read. I'm not saying shit like "LEARNING IS FUN!" I'm not scrolling back up to read the sentence over and over again.
Kitsunexus rages against the machine once again and then scuttles off to Hot Topic to show the world a thing or two.
Riot Control
Dec 19th, 2008, 11:57 AM
That's the way I'd like to believe Santa bursts into every home: With and axe on hand, ready yo chop a naughty kid's head off.
Fuzzball
Dec 22nd, 2008, 07:39 PM
Quote:
Kitsunexus rages against the machine once again and then scuttles off to Hot Topic to show the world a thing or two.
heh heh good one. what an arse