You Better Watch Out Film Details
Overview: A toy factory worker, mentally scarred as a child upon learning Santa Claus is not real, suffers a nervous breakdown after being belittled at work, and embarks on a Yuletide killing spree.
Tagline: Better Watch Out… Better Not Cry… Or You May DIE!
Review: Christmas Evil is no feat of film making. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone convince me of that. That being said there are some things about this film that make it stand out from other slashers that came after or even before it. It has a distinctive Psycho vibe to it and it is clear that the director actually cared about this film and was trying to make a good solid horror flick. I didn’t find it nearly as campy as other B-horror 80’s flicks I have seen and the performance by our lead actor is downright disturbing. Certainly it borders on being comedic in some sort of twisted way but so much of the style, scenes, sound effects and acting is just too weird and creepy to be funny. I absolutely understand why this has become a cult classic in certain circles because as far as I know and can tell this was really the first movie to turn everything sacred about Christmas into a terrifying idea. Yes, Black Christmas was set at Christmas time but our killer is literally obsessed with Christmas, children, Santa and having his dreams shattered as a child. I’m not a film expert and I rarely notice things like camera angles or specifics in cinematography and yet I couldn’t help but notice some of the smart and equally creepy shots in this movie. Perhaps in the most disturbing concept Sesame Street 70’s alumni Brandon Maggart who has also had a lucrative Television career is fascinating in this movie as the completely deranged killer. I know many of you that hate B-movies will scoff and wonder if I’m crazy but Maggart is excellent in this. He displays his very best Norman Bates given the very shallow character development he gets. His mental breakdown and obsessions drives this movie and honestly his performance is far better than a movie like this deserves. I anxiously awaited his snap when he would finally lose it and he is actually a very good actor who makes such a ridiculous film concept seem viable. Its almost a one man show for him because every other person in the movie are small supporting roles so the main focus is squarely on him and it actually probably makes the film that much better. How incredible he is from the time he puts on the suit for the first time through delivering the gifts to the hospital (just a jaw droppingly disturbing scene) to his murderous spree. Not the kills are where the film really starts to get campy because they are ridiculous and poorly shot with dollar store special effects. But thanks to (once again) the music and the camera angles…it is just disturbing. Jeffrey DeMunn (a recognizable character actor) plays Harry’s brother and does a solid job. Same with Dianne Hull as his sister in law. They don’t get a ton of screen time and they are there strictly to show how far Harry falls from humanity. I have honestly never seen a horror film like this. I mean, it didn’t just freak me out but it legitimately got under my skin. It just felt wrong…the killer is completely sadistic and his descent is terrifying to watch. As a horror fan I would never add this to my collection because I simply don’t think I could watch it a second time and yet I have to give it kudos for style and just the sick dark nature of it. Writer and director Lewis Jackson has virtually no other credits to his name and I’m actually surprised because I keep emphasizing there is some talent here. The problem with the movie is the story is incredibly weak. I mean, it would have made a great difference to have something other than Harry spotting his Dad dressed as Santa and fooling around with his mother to leave a disturbing impression on him. If some aspects of another B-Horror Christmas classic Silent Night, Deadly Night mixed with this they would have had a real terrifying movie on their hands. I have to call it like I see it and this is brilliantly crafted in so many ways. It drags and dawdles a lot but its like a horrifying car wreck that you can’t look away from. His Santa suit is so well done and every time you see a child on the screen you feel sick to your stomach because this guy is truly so messed up. Watch this but with caution because it is something really sick. Only horror fans looking for something outside of the box should watch this one. The last half hour of the film turns into a bizarre homage to Frankenstein and just about nearly de-vilifies our killer and makes him an anti-hero. But I would argue with anyone who says this belongs in a “campy horror” film section. It is a bizarre and twisted film that needs to be seen to be believed. 7/10
Country: United States
Duration: 100 min
Genre: Horror, Thriller
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