aka You Better Watch Out (Original Title), Terror In Toyland
95 min., 1980
Written by Lewis Jackson
Directed by Lewis Jackson
My rating: ★★★★★
Ho Ho Holy Shit!
* * *
Originally titled You Better Watch Out, but better know as Christmas Evil, starts with poor little Harry catches Santa groping his mom on Christmas night, which causes him to break a snow globe and cut himself. Years later he now works at Jolly Dream Toys as a manager, even though he misses working on the toy line. Throughout the year he keeps track of some of the local kids and writes into two books, Naughty and Nice. He has taken on the role of Santa and really loves Christmas. As time goes on, he realizes that most people are just scum and that they don’t have any true Christmas spirit, they would rather get drunk and screw over kids to get money. So he decides to “play” Santa and teach everyone about being naughty and nice.
Santa as a killer has now become a very common thing, mainly thanks to Silent Night, Deadly Night, but You Better Watch Out (aka Christmas Evil) actually came out four years before. It really helped to start the change to the whole Christmas feeling, which started with Black Christmas in 1974. Now the question is, is Harry just a psycho who loves to kill and is using his childhood as an excuse, or was he just a traumatized kid to kills because he’s fucked up? He’s truly in love with everything Christmas and he only kills those who are scumbags, but is that acceptable?
Brandon Maggart is one of the best-unknown actors that I’ve ever seen. He takes the role of Harry and takes it down to the level of a normal human being. Making Harry an extremely believable character that you tend to root for, because he’s just trying to make a great Christmas. When he gets excited over the kids getting enjoyment from fact that Christmas is here, it was actually making me happy about Christmas being right around the corner. When he’s crazy happy about the fact that his fake beard is glued on so tight that it’s almost real, he really does look like a madman. Anger, fear, joy and confusion are all played on a very, very human level, which I just don’t see enough in movies.
Is this the best Christmas horror movie? I’d have to say that it’s the second or maybe the third, but if you have a chance this year, go, watch it and enjoy a great Christmas movie that may teach us all a little lesson about being naughty or nice.Have You Read...?