I've never really been much of a holiday horror theme fan per say. Sure, I had my go to being Gremlins which I'd be sure to watch at the very least, once a year but something was different for 2017. Not only had there been an abundance of Christmas themed horror films coming at us from every different angle, but classic film of the same vein started popping up as well having been either released in a new formats such as Blu Ray and 4K presentations or they would begin to make their way to a variety of streaming platforms the likes of Netflix, Hulu or one closer to the heart of the modern horror fan, Shudder.
Thankfully for the last mentioned service, Shudder and the encouragement of my good friend Alex, (whom you all likely know from the BTV podcast) I took in Christmas Evil for the first time in my life and simply put, I didn't regret the decision for a second.
The film is written and directed by Lewis Jackson and stars Brandon Maggart as Harry, Jeffrey DeMunn who you would likely know as Dale from the Walking Dead TV series playing the character of Philip and also starring Diane Hull and Andy Fenwick.
The film was released in November of 1980 and had a budget of $450,000.
Although the first twenty minutes, give or take, are a little slow on top of being a tad bit weird, the film comes together beautifully being able to explain to viewers why Harry is socially inept to an incredible level and how he plans and accomplishes a way to work through it.
Considering its status as a horror film, Christmas Evil is actually quite charming in some aspects. Harry is able to display kindness, sensitivity, caring and respect towards those he deems deserving of being placed in his “nice” book. He brings the children he meets good cheer, laughter and provides presents to the ones seemingly needing it most.
On the other hand, he can be cruel, aggressive, mean spirited and even murderous in some cases, as displayed on screen, to those who he believes deserves to be punished for their actions throughout the year and some for their actions towards him specifically during his time as Santa.
A large aspect of the film which I was truly able to appreciate was how it took its time to tell Harry's story, on those faithful nights providing viewers with his troubles driving through snow on a stormy night or how impractical and likely impossible entering a house from its chimney really is.
As a whole, the film is not by any means perfect. There are a few scenes in which you start questioning the likely hood of our taking place, such as a lynch mob, complete with torches in the middle of the city forming within seconds to hunt the crazed Santa character around town. But I will be honest, I still enjoyed watching that particular scene as it was reminiscent to the final scene from Phantom Of The Opera (1925).
After everything is said and done, I really enjoyed this film over all and would suggest any fan of the genre check this one out, especially since it's the perfect season for it.
8.5 out of 10.
CHECK OUT THE TRAILER FOR THIS MOVIE