REVIEW: Christmas Evil (1980)

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring except Santa in his jack-off dungeon.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring except Santa in his jack-off dungeon.

Christmas Evil: B+

Christmas Evil has everything I look for in a good cult classic. It takes itself somewhat seriously, has abysmal acting from people trying as hard as they can to act, and has clichés before they were clichés. This was like a Taxi Driver Christmas Special. And before you get on your Silent Night, Deadly Night high horse, please note that Christmas Evil came out four years before SNDN…

Harry experiences some Christmas-related trauma as a young boy (he sees his father dressed as Santa, going down on his mom RIGHT NEXT TO THE CHRISTMAS TREE) and then grows up with a weird Christmas complex. He learns Santa isn’t a guy who comes down the chimney with a sack of toys, he’s a guy who smells like Pall Malls and does naughty things to your mom just 18 inches away from your stocking.

Harry grows up and gets a job at a toy factory and in his spare time, he spies on little girls and boys, keeping a genuinely creepy naughty/nice list. He also hums Christmas carols non-stop, builds his own custom dolls/action figures, and shuts out the outside world completely, effectively turning his home into his own demented South Pole.

The people at the toy factory start taking advantage of him even though it’s Christmas time. It’s very Dickensian. After an escalating series of minor abuses from coworkers and family members, Henry does the only thing that makes sense: He dresses like Santa and goes on a killing spree. “Naughty” people get attacked with a hatchet, “Nice” people get toys that Henry made after hours at the toy factory and in his South Pole jack-off dungeon.

There are some demented scenes of people getting slashed during midnight mass and another scene where Henry kills a guy in his bed on Christmas morning and then leaves behind toys for the guy’s kids. There are also some hilarious scenes of Harry hiding in bushes and driving around in a sex offender-y van, dressed like Santa, talking to himself.

At one point, some townsfolk form a mob, gather torches and weapons, and run around looking for Harry like some 18th century Carpathian villagers.

Henry is a likeable slasher who has a Travis Bicklian moral code he tries to stick to, but he is eventually undone by his own need to be a real-life Santa. I’ll leave it at that. This is a good slasher and I recommend you check it out.

REVIEW: Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 (1987)


Silent Night, Deadly Night 2: B-

This sequel picks up shortly after the conclusion of the first film and follows the homicidal misadventures of Billy’s younger, sweater-wearing brother, Ricky, who is also a traumatized lunatic because of a killer Santa murdering his family.

The guy who plays Ricky is somehow a worse actor than the guy who played Billy. His fucking facial expressions, intonation, and head movements surpass Shatner levels. Just this guy abysmally sucking at acting so bad for 90 minutes while keeping a straight face was enough to earn the movie a C. Look at the picture I posted up there. That’s him looking “edgy.”

Ricky is in a nuthouse at the beginning of the movie. It seems he has committed his own string of murders (“PUNISH!”). We get some flashbacks from SNDN1 in the form of original footage and refurbished scenes that include Ricky as a more active participant.

The flashbacks evolve into a frame story that show Ricky murdering some “naughty” people. This is B-movie slasher GOLD. Anyone who has seen the movie will tell you straight up that the “GARBAGE DAY” execution is a magical achievement in low-budget horror (please see the end of this post). He does all sorts of crazy stuff. He chokes a woman with a car antenna and jumper-cable electrocutes a guy. He also shoots lots of people, many of who don’t seem very naughty at all.

Ricky keeps killing and killing until the frame story ends. Then he breaks out of the insane asylum and keeps killing and killing some more. Remember the nun who used to beat Billy with a belt because he was a sinful little shit? Ricky finds her and gives her the ax.

Lots of goofy carnage and anti-acting. Funny music and an impressive body count. Worth your time.

REVIEW: Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)


Silent Night, Deadly Night: B

This movie has one of my favorite horror characters: Billy.

Poor Billy had a really shitty Christmas one year. First, grandpa is mean to him, promising that Santa is going to come punish him for being “naughty.” Then, next thing you know, a guy in a Santa outfit cuts Billy’s mommy’s throat right in front of poor Billy! As if the psychological threat of Santa always watching him and cataloging his naughty/nice behavior along with grandpa’s demented ramblings wasn’t enough, now Billy has to grow up with this twisted self-hate yule-tide complex because St. Nick butchered his parents.

Billy goes to a Catholic orphanage that totally fucking sucks. Why does it suck? First of all, it’s Catholic! You can imagine that the last thing Billy needs is more guilt but, sure enough, he is repeatedly reminded of what a bad little boy he is. Secondly, one of the nuns just happens to love torturing little boys. She tries to “help” Billy by subjecting him to Christmas-based psychological exercises. He has to sit on Santa’s lap, draw pictures of Christmas cheer, etc. When he invariably screws these things up (by punching Santa in the jaw, for instance), the nun thinks it best to whip Billy with a belt. Makes sense. Now he totally won’t grow up to be a psycho killer.

Billy spends his childhood being beaten by a nun and having nightmares about Santa. When  we see him all grown up, he is a prosperous stock clerk at a toy store (and the guy who plays him is a charmingly wretched actor. The robotic manner in which he delivers ALL of his lines makes the final act of the movie so fucking funny). Things are looking up for ol’ Billy! That is, until his boss makes him dress up as Santa and do the kids-on-lap thing. Not a great idea.

Billy does okay. He doesn’t hut anyone; he just promises little kids he will punish them. No big deal.

But then, Billy goes to a staff party after the store closes. Dressed as Santa. He sees his coworker, whom he has a crush on, making out with some other dude. Time for the movie to get awesome! Billy screams “PUNISH!” and attacks everyone with a huge fucking ax. He puts the big “PUNISH!” on everyone; they all die. If you don’t understand why he did that, I don’t know what to tell you.

Billy goes on a pretty righteous ax-murder spree dressed as Santa. So many “naughty” people to kill! Fantastic 80’s slasher carnage ensues at an impressive pace. I won’t tell you how it ends, but there is a GREAT setup for the sequel. You have to see it.