Directed by Lewis Jackson
Starring Andy Fenwick Brandon Maggart
Predating "Silent Night Deadly Night" by a good five years, this was the first full-length psycho Santa film, although the idea had already been done to much greater effect in the Amicus anthology horror classic "Tales From the Crypt." A young boy is traumatized when he says Santa having sex with his mother. Naturally, he doesn't realize Santa is just his Dad in a costume. The experience is so psychologically shattering, that the boy grows up to be a disturbed young man who sleeps in a Santa costume, is a manager in a toy factory where he takes his job way too seriously, and -- inevitably -- starts killing people while wearing the Kris Kringle costume.
"Christmas Evil" is way too talky and slow for most modern horror fans but it does stand out as one of the few holiday horror films that actually takes itself fairly seriously. "Silent Night Deadly Night" is much more entertaining simply because of its high sleaze appeal. But watching nutjob Maggart spying on local kids with binoculars (to see who's been naughty or nice) and totally losing it when he sees one child looking at a pic of a nude woman is pretty entertaining. He later loses it again when the same boy says all he wants for Christmas is a "lifetime subscription to Penthouse Magazine."
Originally released as "Trouble in Toyland," then on video in '85 (around the time that "Silent Night Deadly Night" was hitting theaters) as "Christmas Evil," this is Lewis Jackson's one and only movie. It's thoughtfully done and actually boasts some first-rate acting by all the players. More a psychological drama than anything else, the film certainly has its fan base, who compare it perhaps a little too generously to "Taxi Driver." Widely available as a cheap DVD.
-- Review by Lucius Gore
Posted by Dan on December 25, 2008Speaking of which, I checked out Christmas Evil the other night and I have to say I was disappointed by it. I thought there was a shortage on killing. At times I almost forgot I was watching a horror flick and felt like I was in a traditional holiday movie, especially with the children's hospital scene. I do agree, however, that the main character's insanity was portrayed very well.