December 20, 2011

Eyes on Christmas: Christmas Evil

Following the family friendly mediocrity of Santa Claus: The Movie, I felt the need to get back a little bit of my holiday cynicism back. How better to cure a pleasant mood during he holiday than with a little something called Christmas Evil? Well, there probably are better ways, but this one is not a bad route to take. Unlike Thanksgiving, Christmas has a whole host of horror movies centered around it, some good and some really, really bad. This one, originally called You Better Watch Out, is not that bad.

It is actually a little funny, when the disk arrived from Netflix I read the synopsis and thought to myself that it sounded awfully familiar to something else I had seen recently. The plot reads a lot like Silent Night, Deadly Night. Of course, plot synopsis aside, the wo movies take decidedly different approaches to the concept. Christmas Evil is easily the more serious of the two, but I think I prefer my Christmas night to be silent and deadly more than just evil, but that is for another day. Today we are all about the Evil.

As the story opens we see a couple of kids excitedly waiting for Santa to arrive. They watch on from the stairs and them he is there, down the chimney, complete with his bag of presents. Santa spies them on the stairs and turns and smiles to them and back up the chimney he goes. As the boys go up to bed, one tells the other it was just their dad in a costume. This upsets the younger one, Harry. They lay in the dark but a noise downstairs draws one of time out. What he sees will forever warp his mind.

The sight in the glow of the Christmas tree brings new meaning to "I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus." Seeing Santa and mommy in that light changes Christmas forever for Harry. The time jumps ahead to present day 1980 and Harry works for a toy company. He frets over toy quality and in his spare time he spies on the neighbors kids, keeping a list of who's been naughty or nice.

While Harry may be a little bit off, he does not seem particularly evil. Still, he believes in the spirit of Christmas and wants nothing more than for everyone to live up to the ideal. Well, he is pushed over the edge by the adults teaching their kids to always be good but never doing it themselves. So, after donning the red and white suit, Harry heads out to hand out toys and punish the others. A few murders and a Christmas party crashing later, Harry is on the run from a Frankenstein-style mob, complete with torches.

He heads off to his brother's house in his van painted like Santa's sleigh. His brother is none too happy that he is there and wants nothing to do with his explanation of what is going on. This leads into a bizarre ending that does not make sense and will leave you scratching your head.

I dug Christmas Evil. It is not quite what I expected it to be, but it was a different take on the psycho Santa tale.


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