The F*ckin Black Sheep: Christmas Evil (1980)

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

THE BLACK SHEEP is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATH. We’re hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Dig in!

Christmas Evil (1980)
Directed by Lewis Jackson

Well, it’s officially Christmas, so if you need a little escape from all that quality family time and the stress of ensuring that you purchased the proper amount of gifts for the proper dollar amount, give yourself the treat of something a little darker. Gather the kids, get a little drunk, and join the cult club that is Christmas Evil (aka You Better Watch Out).

I won't claim that Christmas Evil is some perfect forgotten masterpiece. It isn’t. But that’s not to say it’s not an enjoyable flick. It is (though I sure hope it looks better on DVD or Blu-Ray as I found it for free on You Tube via some horrific VHS dub). The film plays as one dark ass character study of a man who’s not all there and really, really can’t handle the holidays. We all know people who claim that they can’t, but our main character Harry (Brandon Maggart) really, really can’t. Like seriously. 

Now I’ve always dug movies that attempted a deep dive into the mindset of the killer. Not that the film wants to create sympathy, but at least give a bad guy some sort of proper (or understandable) motivation and explanation for what he does. Christmas Evil does that with poor Harry, who was having a good enough childhood until his older brother claimed he didn’t believe in Santa. That sucks. Even worse, when young Harry sneaks downstairs to catch a glimpse of the jolly fat man, he ends up seeing Santa sex up his momma (it was Harry’s dad dressed up). Pissed and confused, Harry runs back to his room, smashed a cute little snow globe, and then cuts himself.

Fast-forward thirty some years later and Harry isn’t exactly normal. Sure, the guy holds down a steady job at the local toy factory, but he’s a sensitive fellow. Eventually, the jerks at work break his spirit and he goes mental, surrounding himself in Christmas goods, painting his creeper van, and donning the outfit. He even takes to his roof to determine who’ll make his naughty and nice list. And that’s where the film gets interesting.

What I like about Harry is that he doesn’t fully understand or know he’s doing something evil. He has a motive for his actions (though obviously not justified to normal folk) and he must do good Santa's work. While other films (like last week’s Test of Time for Silent Night, Deadly Night) lose focus and lack purpose, Christmas Evil has plenty. This is a man who sees very specific naughty people. The gore here isn't as good as Silent Night, Deadly Night (there's really only a few graphic scenes), but at least it maintains its off-kilter tone. Dark, but slightly eschew.

My favorite moments come from the goofy and the suspenseful. Toward the end of the film, Harry wants to descend a chimney to kill someone. He tries, looks as effectively nervous and scared as anyone who was about to drop about thirty feet, only to find he can’t fit. He ends up barely able inch himself back up. It’s funny and real but it's more pathetic than anything. Then comes his stalking of a victim in his home. It’s a short and quiet scene, but it plays perfectly creepy as he grins at the kids before he lumbers through their house to slit their poor dad's throat. Oh, and then there's the ending, which I won't spoil but it's…bizarre to say the least. 



Source: Arrow in the Head

About the Author

474 Articles Published