Christmas Evil review by The Grim Ringler

Do you remember being a kid and getting all excited as the holidays would gear up and begin to appear over he horizon, one by one, passing slowly until finally there came Christmas, the granddaddy of them all. The one that was like a month long holiday where the wait was almost unbearable. The only thing that made that time seem to pass more quickly were the movies that we’d wait every year to see – movies that reminded us of the joy and beauty of the season and how wonderfully jolly Santa was. Well, kids, this ain’t that movie. Not at all. But if you gather around Unky Grim, I’ll spin you a yarn sure to keep you up late into the night, watching to make sure Old Saint Nick doesn’t come down your chimney tonight.

Christmas Evil begins on Christmas Eve when two young boys and their mother watch as Santa Claus slides down the chimney and delivers their presents. Afterwards the boys are at odds as to what they saw, the younger insisting that it was their father they saw while the younger insists it was the real deal, old Saint Nick had come and they’d seen him. Angered, the older brother slips downstairs to find proof that Santa was really there but what he finds changes him forever. He sneaks down the stairs and spies Saint Nick caressing his mother’s stockinged leg as she coos at him, the scene overtly sexual but more about fetish than intercourse. The boy is appalled and runs up the stairs and to the attic where he sits, seemingly as aroused, as he is horrified. Confused by these feelings he takes a snowglobe and breaks it and with a piece of the shattered glass cuts himself deeply to cleanse himself of the thoughts. Flash ahead to the boy as a man, a man now obsessed with Santa and Christmas. He wear pajamas that look like the suit of Santa, his house is decorated with toys and Christmas paraphernalia, and every moment of his life is spent considering his favorite holiday. It is as if he has pledged his life to purifying the mixed and sensual images he saw as a child when his mother and father had been having a little of their own holiday cheer. In his heart though the man is harmless, his intentions only to make Christmas as special and magical as possible for the children he lives near. He has gone so far as to work at a toy factory as a supervisor, intent on making sure the kids get quality presents year in and year out. Every day before work the man goes out onto the roof of his apartment building to spy on the local children to see if they are being naughty or nice, writing his findings in great volumes he has set aside for such information. His heart of innocence though is also filled with the dark discovery that has haunted him since childhood, lying dormant in him all these years as the jolly man came forth. This darkness begins to spill out; bit-by-bit we see the bullying the man takes at his job from his underlings, we see the way the man’s brother emotionally abuses him, and how nothing will ever live up to this idea the man has in his head of what Christmas should be. When he sees that the company he works for has chosen to break their promise of providing things for a local orphanage the man has had enough and decides now is the time to punish those that have desecrated Christmas and to reward those who have been good boys and girls. So, in a homemade Santa outfit and a personalized van, the man breaks into his work to steal the toys there so he can deliver them himself to the children of the city. Things go wonderfully as the man lives his greatest dreams of truly being Saint Nick and slips into homes unawares all through the city. He also metes out punishment though as one child who has been particularly bad gets framed for some mischief around his mother’s home and ends up in hot water because of Santa’s vengeful pranks. Old Kringle seems to be the perfect incarnation of his hero as he moves onto the orphanage and delivers his gifts and it would seem that the darkness in him has been quelled and he has truly become the spirit of Christmas. This spell is broken though when he happens upon some people leaving a midnight Christmas mass and finds himself ridiculed by two men who seem to find him a joke. Enraged by their mocking the man takes out the years of pent up rage he has within him on them, slaughtering them on the steps of the church and escaping in a rush into the streets. He is now a hunted man, his wish to be the spirit of the season tainted, but now that its been released, the vengeful side of his nature shows its true face as he finds the house of a particularly nasty co-worker in order to punish him as well. And as the night pushes on, it is blood and terror that greet the city and not good cheer and joy as Santa, now pursued by a mob, must try to escape their fury now that his own has been quelled, escape and find peace for his inner turmoil.

As low budget and moderately cheesy as this film is at times, this is a very effective tall tale. More of a fairy tale than it might seem, this is truly the story of a man that wants to do good but isn’t allowed to and punishes those who stop him. And it’s shocking how much psychology is in the film as it shows a man haunted by an ideal he can never achieve, one that doesn’t exist, but one which he needs in order to survive. Well filmed and quite ably acted, this is a film that sets itself apart from the rest of the ‘holiday killer on the loose’ films because, in his heart, the lead character is not a killer, not at all, he is a man that believes in something so absolutely that he is willing to kill for it. A man twisted by his own desire to do good. The end of the film is rather ridiculous but, if you have bought into everything else, it fits, especially with the nature of the film as a fairy tale. And unlike something like Silent Night, Deadly Night, this is a film not meant to exploit the character of Santa in order to create a strange and horrifying contradiction, but as a way to look at the world this man lives in where absolute good and evil do exist and where people are either naughty or nice and must be dealt with accordingly.

The DVD, if you can believe it, is a special edition presented by Troma and has a few treats, including interviews with the star and director and an audio commentary. The film is washed out and is far from a pristine copy of the film, but it’s a decent presentation of a film that would otherwise be forgotten.

Not as scary as it is weird and disturbing, this is a very enjoyable, extremely odd, and utterly bizarre film, I hope you track down Christmas Evil and give it a chance, lest old Saint Nick find you naughty and decide to mete out some of his justice on you as well.


7 out of 10 Jackasses
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