Don't Bother With ANY Other DVD Of This Excellent Movie
S. Nyland | Six Feet Of Earth & All That It Contains | 11/27/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There really is no reason to bother with ANY other DVD of Lewis Jackson's CHRISTMAS EVIL than Synapse's "Special Edition" pressing from 2006. This DVD actually shows his original assembly print titled YOU'D BETTER WATCH OUT, and not only is it the same film it's a brand new (well, 2006) restored widescreen print shown in the original 1:78:1 theatrical ratio which Jackson personally supervised. Then there are the bonus materials: Audio commentaries with Lewis Jackson and John Waters, the original storyboard designs for the sequences (this was a VERY well planned out film, right down to the shot compositions which must be seen in widescreen for the full effect) audition reels of the cast talents and some VERY interesting "deleted scenes" that were removed during the editing process ... One of which shows the extent to which Harry was really being screwed by his co-workers & boss, which finally pushes him over the brink. Interesting!
The bargain bin DVDs all show recycled fullscreen home video prints transferred from analog tapes made back in the 80s. They may have a bonus trailer but according to Mr. Jackson they are all bootlegs, and that includes the now discontinued DVD by Troma. They all do the film a dis-service, and even though they only cost a dollar or two should be avoided. Or rather if you've ended up with one and have found the movie intriguing, time for an upgrade! THIS is the DVD you want, the highest recommendation being that it's a movie you'll watch more than once. I watch it every year around the holidays, usually a couple of times. Fascinating movie and it deserves the best treatment possible. And while he has enthusiastically embraced the film its not a John Waters movie, its a Lewis Jackson movie. Quite a good one too."
This is what the holiday's are all about: Sid the Elf review
Sid the Elf | North Pole | 12/30/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This year when the holidays rolled around, we, Sid the Elf, tossed around the idea of reviewing a Christmas B. There was only one question: Which one of the many Christmas B horror flicks would we select? The obvious choice here is probably Silent Night, Deadly Night. But, Christmas Evil was too good to pass up when it was coupled with A Drifters Christmas in The Bizare Christmas Combo for less than 10 bucks. Going in, we had almost no expectations of this film. Were we disappointed, thrilled, confused, or wildly ammused? Yes, yes, yes, and absolutely.
The first event in this film is a positively creepy Jackie Gleason-esque sequence in which Harry (our main character) witnesses his mother being given the business by Santa Claus(Harry's dad in costume). This tramatauzing experiance gives us the premise for the movie. We flash-forward to 33 years later. Harry now has a crap job at the fledgling Jolly Dreams toy factory. He has decided to become something of a real-life Santa Claus, sleeping in a Santa suit and decorating his apartment with an obscene ammount of Christmas paraphernalia. As if this wasn't strange enough, Harry also spies on neighborhood kids and jots their names down in his "Good" and "Bad" kids books. One of the many many bright spots of the film happens here when Harry catches one of the kids thumbing through a Penthouse Fairytales From the Darkside-style. The following day, Harry calls his brother to cancel Christmas Eve dinner because he has "plans."
Aparently, Harry's plans were to steal toys from his company and bring them to a Children's Hospital. Then, he went to the house of the kid with the Penthouse and dropped off a bag of dirt as a Christmas present. Did this teach the kid a lesson? Probably not. If he wanted to deter the kid from porn he should have dipped into the real Santa's stash and given the kid any one of a number of disturbing selections. Obeese Grandmas with stretchmarks vol. 4 perhaps. Anyway, next Harry is heckled by some people outside of a local church so he offs them. He also gets into the house of a naughty co-worker who skipped out on work to get loaded and iced him. Sid wouldn't last a week working with Harry. After a bizare sequence, Harry ends up getting chased by an old-school mob. These guys had torches and everything, and they all looked like relatives of Mike Pipper but Harry manages to escape them and makes his way to his brother's house. Harry's brother now realizes that Harry is the Santa-clad killer, chokes him out and stuffs him in the front seat of Harry's van. Harry then comes to and clocks his brother and starts to drive away. During Harry's getaway, the mob catches up with him and forces his van off a bridge. But, harry goes into a delusional state at the exact moment his van is flying off the bridge. To him, the van turns into a van/Santa's sleigh and is heading for the sky eventhough it is actually still a van and plunging Harry to his death. If you don't think this whole section wasn't hilarious, well Sid doesn't know what to tell you.
We couldn't have been more pleased with this film. We spent a solid 30 minutes of the film debating who Harry looked like which is always entertaining. The rest of our viewing was split between eating, basking in the glorious B of this flick(making fun of how bad it was), and pointing out how this movie was a definite stoner flick. To the others that have seen this movie: Think about it. The part when Harry was on the street with the lights, all his delusions, and the quick camera cuts and extreme close-ups are all signs pointing in that direction. We also fell in love with this movie when we noticed that they used a white blanket in lieu of fake snow. You can't put a price on that kind of B. So if you're in the mood for a nice Christmas flick and don't feel like going the route of George Bailey or Jacob Marley, try out Harry Stadling, played by Fiona Apple's dad--seriously.
The perfect Christmas movie
M. Ryan Fairbanks | Cleveland, Ohio | 12/03/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Put simply, Christmas Evil is a horror b-movie done right. Personally, I'd have to say it's my favorite of the Christmas horror subgenre, and yes I even enjoy it more than the original Black Christmas.
Harry is a man who is obsessed with Christmas to say the least. He walks about the house in a Santa Clause suit,spends his days working in a toy factory, and even spies on neighborhood kids to document their behavior in his very own "naughty and nice" book. Harry is met with scorn and ridicule because of his Christmas fascination, and is often the butt of the jokes at work. This year, however, things are going to be different for Harry. He decides to put on the suit, hop in his van, and deliver the presents that people deserve according to the standards of his own idealistic world. Whether he's delivering nice kids presents, or gouging out the eyes of the naughty, you can bet that it's all entertaining.
Christmas Evil has it all. The brand of dark humor coupled with the creepy, sinister undertone makes for a very unique experience, and honestly the movie is more in the same vein as something like Maniac rather than a slasher. It has a feel so dark, and so gritty that it even manages to make Christmas creepy. The soundtrack of eerie noises and dreary ambience are another excellent touch that make Christmas Evil a holiday horror flick to remember.
I couldn't recommend Christmas Evil more, it's a perfect holiday movie for horror lovers.
Carl Manes | 03/09/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Harry Stradling has a problem. He was traumatized as a young child when he caught Santa Claus making cookies with mommy on Christmas Eve. Now, as an aged adult, he is completely obsessed with Christmas, working for a toy company where he tormented by his co-workers, living in an apartment that is decorated for Christmas year-round, all while watching the little girls and boys and taking notes on who has been naughty and nice. This is a special year, however; the year when Harry will take to the streets in his new Santa costume to spread his twisted Christmas cheer be handing out presents to the good boys and girls while punishing the naughty ones.
CHRISTMAS EVIL is a melodramatic character study that shares much more in common with Abel Ferrara's THE DRILLER KILLER than the holiday classic SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT. It is commonly mistaken for a Slasher film thanks to a misplaced marketing campaign, which often leads to disappointment with many genre fans. Brandon Maggart offers a sad and pitiful performance as the tortured and distraught Harry. He is frighteningly convincing in the role, selling his insanity through his manic behavior paired with a series of blank and lifeless expressions that reveal his distancing from reality. Maggart is easily the strongest element in the film, since the majority of Harry's character is revealed through his portrayal on screen, and not in the writing. There are several complex layers that director Lewis Jackson has accomplished through the film, playing with the concept of man versus myth, commenting on the commercialism of the holiday, and contrasting fantasy and reality. As the film progresses, the environments and score both become reflective of the darkening mental void that Harry is entering. By the end of the film, it is difficult to tell how much of the events on screen are still intact in reality, and how much of it is part of Harry's delusional fantasy. In truth, this is not a fun film, and it has not been tailored to the average gorehound that will be expecting buckets of blood and gore. Instead, it is a smartly crafted and well-played portrait of the darker side that the holiday can play on the psyche. If you can enter the film without the expectation of it being a Slasher film, I think there is a lot to like here.
I Like Horror Movies"