Christmas Evil (aka You Better Watch Out) (1980) Review

christmas-evilChristmas Evil (aka You Better Watch Out) 1980

Dir. Lewis Jackson – 95 minutes

I saw this for the first time yesterday thanks to my good friends at Grimmfest (Manchester UK horror film festival and monthly screenings – get them checked out). It was the first of a double bill with VHS (my next review).

I really had very little knowledge on this film, I do remember I think John Waters mentioning it as his favourite Christmas film. And with this praise then I hoped for a nice but nasty yuletide treat.

The film starts with two young brothers and their mum crouching quietly on the stairs watching Santa come down the chimney and drop off the presents. He stops for a small treat they left him , then with a nod and a wink he disappears back up the chimney – job done.

The boys retreat off to bed , but the elder Harry comes back down the stairs to find his mum being seduced by a fully clothed Santa , in what is a classic scene. Upset and confused Harry goes to the attic and smashes a snow globe which he cuts himself on.

Now 30 years on we find Harry (Brandon Maggart) living alone in his flat that is almost like a grotto , he is surrounded by various Xmas paraphernalia and even sleeps in Christmas pajamas and night hat.

Harry works at a toy factory and also spies on the local children and keeps a naughty and nice book with all their names in.

So from now what I was expecting was a typical slasher film but instead what we get is a mans decent into madness brought on by Christmas , which is fascinating and upsetting whilst at the same time riddled with humour and in parts real Christmas cheer.

Harry’s younger brother Philip (Jeffrey DeMunn – most recently in The Walking Dead) has the perfect family , two children and a loving wife . And he looks out for his slightly odd older Brother , he also has him around every Christmas , but this Christmas something is wrong and Harry won’t be over for the festivities.

christmasevil-1This is an intelligent quirky little film that really everyone should watch at least once especially over the holidays. It really is quite unsettling to watch Harry’s obsessions with Christmas spill over into real life with disastrous results.

After looking , it seems this film was released as a slasher , all the pics including the video covers were just a Santa with a big knife etc. But this is much much more than your standard slasher , a proper treat. And what made my viewing experience much more pleasurable was watching it on a big screen with other people in a great setting (The Dancehouse – Manchester) – so thanks again Grimmfest for putting this on.

On a last note without giving anything away the ending is fantastic.

I am with John Waters on this one , a real Christmas classic.

Not naughty but a very nice 7/10

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About Andy Deen

A horror fan for as far back as I can remember . The first things that scared me were Doctor Who and the BBC ghost stories . As an early teen the video revolution came along and with it the Video Nasty campaign , and through all that I immersed myself in all things nasty. I love Slashers, Haunted House Stories and Devil Worshipping/Panic Films . I watch too much horror , listen to loud Heavy Metal and enjoy the odd tattoo \m/\m/

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