Christmas Evil title

AKA: "You Better Watch Out", "Terror in Toyland".

Tag line : You'd better take care...Santa is coming to town!

Chrismas EvilOne of the many horror films coming out in the wake of John Carpenters "Halloween" trying to cash in on the "holiday" theme was this Xmas horror film, which follows the descent into madness of a toy factory employee named Harry, whose mind was warped at a young age after seeing his mother doing much more than just ‘kissing’ Santa Claus!

Having grown up with an obsession of bringing back the true spirit of Christmas, he becomes obsessed with the quality of the toys his factory produces and spends most of his spare time dressing as Santa and spying on all the local children to see which ones are naughty and nice.

Not overly gory, most of the film concentrates on his obsessive behaviour, before we see him finally snapping and going ‘Santa’ on the locals. Some of the more amusing moments include Harry, in his Santa costume, breaking into the naughty kids houses and stealing their presents to give to the less fortunate, then getting stuck in a chimney where one such antic goes wrong.

There’s also a couple of interesting kill scenes, where he murders a group of snotty parishioners on the steps of their church using various Xmas toys, before going on to suffocate one of his co-workers by smothering him with his toy sack.

Not the best of the Christmas horrors, the main problem with this is that it spends far too long setting up its central premise and would have been much better if he’d snapped earlier in the film and spent more time murdering people.

There’s also the question of the ending which involves a vigilante mob chasing him round town with burning torches, in a scene that looked more suited to a Frankenstein film, not 1980s New York. Then there’s the final scene (which I won’t spoil for you), where he tries to escape in his van, which is just so bizarre it really makes you wonder just what the hell you’ve been watching for the previous 90mins.

Whilst this might not be the first Xmas horror film to come out, that honour of course going to the 1974 film "Black Christmas", this might not be in the same calibre as “Friday the 13th or “My Bloody Valentine”, but its worth a watch and makes a good companion piece with the other Xmas horrors of its ilk!

Overall marks : 4/10.

Terrifying Trivia.

  • Alternate tag lines "He'll sleigh you", "Better Watch Out... Better Not Cry... Or You May DIE".

  • The films budget was $750,000.

  • Brandon McTaggart, who plays Harry, is the father of US singer/songwriter Fiona Apple (wadda ya mean 'who'?).

  • Kathleen Turner auditioned for the role of Harry's sister-in-law Jackie, but was turned down.

  • The scene where Harry slips over whilst being chased by the mob at the end of the film was not staged, the actor actually slipped and the director decided to leave it in.

  • The film was originally released under the title "You Better Watch Out", but was changed to its current title by the distributors for a re-release, which it became more widely known as.

  • A scene showing Harry getting a promotion near the start was cut from the film as the actor was severely hung over and could be seen looking dizzy and nauseous during shooting. This has apparently been included as an extra on the US DVD by Synapse entertainment.

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