The Moon is a Dead World sent out mystery movies to a few of us lucky Christmas creepies out there, and I was lucky enough to draw a movie that I had been wanting to watch this Christmas season, but couldn’t find in my “Hoarder style” stacking job of a DVD collection. This is a movie that is truly in the Christmas Horror spirit. Even the fact that I ended up with Christmas Evil aka You Better Watch Out is a Christmas miracle. I want to thank The Moonis a Dead World in advance for the exquisite cocoa, marshmallows and chocolates as well as the festive baggie and packaging. Watching this movie the other evening with some cider in hand, some chocolate in my gullet and the kids fast asleep was an early Christmas gift I will not soon forget. What’s better… the whole thing is about Jersey, and it shows! (Note: Doc Terror hails from Northwest New Jersey).
This isn’t going to be a formal review because I write too goddamn many of those these days. I’m sure you’re bored of them.
Harry Stadling (Brandon Maggert) is obsessed with Christmas! In fact he wants to “be” the authentic Santa Claus, with a real suit, sleigh and reindeer. Ever since he learned the “truth” about Santa, he’s tried to make Christmas a reality. Growing up a toy maker, Harry is met with naysayers and critics who mock him for his yuletide beliefs… but he wants people to get the presents they deserve, even if that means giving the gift of murder!
While Christmas Evil predates Silent Night Deadly Night by about four years, the parallels between it and several of the installments in the SNDN series are pretty telling. One might call Christmas Evil influential, opening up the genre to some very clever killer santa kills even if they follow formula slasher ideals. It seems that if you cross imagery of Santa Claus with sexuality or murder, somehow, little kids get fucked up in their brain holes and suddenly want to murder all the naughties rather than fuck all the hotties. Personally if I a hot mommy with a garter belt poking out as my Santa tried to put presents under her “tree”, I’d be more inclined, in the truest Oedipal way, to want to stick my pecker in a gift wrapped box or better yet…a stocking (aka Christmas jerk sock). Well… maybe it’d be better if I caught someone else’s mother for to suggest anything else about my own dear mama might put you on the goddamn naughty list and get you piece o’ coal straight up your ass (you’d have a diamond sooner than you’d think).
What’s more is that Silent Night Deadly Night 3 was subtitled Better Watch Out!!! (and if you’re as confused as I am with the damn slush fest of a movie, you’ll include the “You” in front of it). That doesn’t mean that these two movies are comparable in storyline, quality or even in watchability. SNDN3 is atrocious. Christmas Evil is damn good, slow moving fun with a surprise ending that I’m not spoiling for all the good girls and boys, but my advice to you would be to keep believing in Santa Claus. If you always try to be on the “Nice” list then you can’t get killed by psychological damaged kids with firm belief systems drunk on the magic of Christmas. Also note that this one goes under the name Terror in Toyland. That’s just ridiculous and wholly inappropriate. It was be a much better subtitle for Silent Night Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker.
Do I think Silent Night Deadly Night writers and directors are watching Christmas Evil trying to steal ideas? No, but it’s interesting to see from which traditions, phrases and images that we pull our most scary and controversial scenes and naming conventions. Hell, the Silent Night, Deadly Night naming convention is closer to Silent Night Evil Night (aka Black Christmas) or Silent Night Bloody Night aka Night of the Dark Full Moon.
The best reason for the modern day viewer to watch Christmas Evil (other than a desire to see sexy suggestive scenes with juxtaposing fat man in red suit imagery) is the acting styling of Jeffrey DeMunn… you remember him right? The last time you saw him a walker was opening up his stomach like it was a present on Christmas morning (hint: he was dale). In the first year that DeMunn started making movies he showed up in this gem. He’s not the killer Santa, but he goes a little crazy. He’s come along way, and I can assure you that you’ll find his performance more comedic than heart wrenching.
Make sure to watch for the beautiful painted van completed with Sleigh image on the side as ridden by our homicidal St. Nick, giving gifts, thieving, killing and spreading general merriment. It’s the kind of creepy that kidnappers would only dream of if they were less focused on using candy as bait for kids and more interested in getting children in bulk to follow their van like rats behind a pied piper. Hey look kids… there’s Santa in that unmarked van giving out presents… that’d get ‘em moving.
Disclaimer: Do not try to go down an actual chimney. That’s fucking ridiculous. Christmas Evil demonstrates this to well time comedic effect. Also, angry mobs with knives usually won’t allow you to escape to your secret conversion van of North Polean joy. You usually get cut or die or go to jail. They’ll hang you by your beard or let your innards run red down your white fur lined jacket.
You can pick up Christmas Evil on the Synapse Films release put out a few years ago HERE. It’s a movie that I like to think of as the Christmas version of the classic splatter film, Pieces at least in overall movie feel and storytelling though the ladies don’t seem to let their “Christmas cheer” seem to hang out nearly as much and the gore is lite.
Make sure to go enjoy The Moon is a Dead World.
-Doc Terror Claus