Christmas Evil (1980)

   

Written & Directed by: Lewis Jackson

Starring:

Brandon Maggart .... Harry Stadling
Jeffrey DeMunn .... Philip Stadling
Andy Fenwick .... Dennis Stadling
Dianne Hull .... Jackie Stadling
Brian Neville .... Marc Stadling
Joe Jamrog .... Frank Stoller


Release Dates: Theatrical: November, 1980

Rating:

 

A child named Harry Stadling (Gus Salud) is convinced that there is a Santa although his brother tells him there isn't.
This causes Harry to be obsessed about Santa and tries to prove him wrong.

Years later Harry (Brandon Maggart) is all grown up and is working at a toy factory but is still disturbed about what he saw as a child.

He decides to make his own Santa suit and spies on his local neighborhood going on a killing spree to decide who's naughty or nice.
The nice people get presents (Mostly the children) but the naughty one's are slaughtered.

 

A stupid but well done flick at the same time which reigned as a cult classic. There's an old fashioned beginning of this flick showing a Mother and little kids watching a Santa Claus (Which is their father) coming down the chimney and putting presents under the tree. Then fly's up to the chimney which shows magic on the film in which you wonder how he did that. But then the heartwarming moment is jeapardised when one of the kids named Harry spots his Dad as Santa getting sleazy with his wife and then breaking a glass dome and cutting himself with that. Watching this psych's you out wondering why he'd do this to himself.
Then present day Harry is working at his factory seeming obsessive about the toys being done right making it a mystery as to what he will do next along with spying on neighborhood kids with a telescope or spying on them sneaking in their window as well as having a book on bad kids. This seemed to work well with the twisted storyline wondering if he will kill these kids on Christmas Eve or not.
There's one of my favourite scene's with a little kid hearing something in the bushes and walks towards it with Harry scaring him bringing in some interesting humor to the story even if it's not too funny and incredibly cheesy too.
A work party occurs involving Harry with his co-workers in which this all looked cheesy and not entertaining at all but yet Harry acts aggressive to them bringing out some pointers making you wonder if he has deadly plans for them.
There's some heartwarming moments with Harry in the Santa suit delivering toys to a children's hospital but a security guard at first getting a little aggressive towards him asking why he's there almost making you wonder if he will snap and go berserk but then good things happen in which you do think to yourself while watching this that he's not a bad guy after all. The scene for all of this was well done.
Then afterwards there's a good twist as Harry goes to a cathedral and some sarcastic people seem to taunt him and there's great quick killings which looked intense while it starts to snow leaving the film a good dark and low budget touch to everything and showing Harry's demented side since in a slasher film it seemed necessary for this to be written in.
Then we even see Harry trespassing in a house with kids sleeping in their beds looking like a magical Christmas story feeling surrounding all that's happening here but then that changes later on when he goes to another home as this one was my favourite scene when he climbs up a roof and tries to go down a chimney or any way to get into a house to deliver presents as well as a deadly surprise to a family man named Dennis in which all of this had a perfect dark setting surrounding this. Harry also does something to suffocate Dennis sleeping in bed which seemed disturbing and suspenseful to watch along with wondering if his wife will wake up and see the terror.
Christmas morning happens and Dennis' bitter brother Philip isn't in the spirit at all showing some nice dysfunctional writing in this scene.
There's even a moment with Harry in the middle of a village and kids excited to see him thinking he's Santa as well as the parents losing their minds aware he's a killer as well as threatening him as this seemed depressing and distrubing to watch by doing this in front of their children since Harry is trying to be jolly this time. THere's good peer pressure here on different situations with the townspeople. To top it off they chase after him holding torches which seems like an old fashioned type of neighborhood attacking someone demented. It fits though. The ending involved Harry is incredibly strange though and don't want to give it away to those who haven't seen it. It looked kinda cool to watch.
Bottom line is this film I am convinced inspired the cult slasher flick Silent Night Deadly Night as that story is almost similar but of course it was done in better style.
It's silly but very dark and disturbing too. There's good wintery scenes with a nice dark horror feel to many of the scene's that were used in the flick when the killer is about to do someone in. There's also an interesting en ding to the plot which was very strange and you will see what I mean if you check this film out.

The acting is very dated and very average. Brandon Maggart (Harry Stadling) did a terrific job impersonating Santa however and really knows how to behave bitter, disturbed and instense at times. He certainly showed a perfect two faced attitude at first being generous to the good making out that he's eccentric but good hearted along with showing a perfect psychotic attitude to the bad one's when he goes in for the kill. He was quite energetic by doing alot of this showing some good versatile characteristics. Shows nice insane expressions when he thinks of the people wanting time off and he almost loses it while putting toys together in a factory while doing this. We spot a bitter coldness on him at a Christmas party towards some of his fellow actors as his fellow workers and they react well to his attitude. We spot a nice moment on him pointing his finger to some children at a party as he lectures the cast playing the children about what he would do if they were bad as his voice sounded almost cold which was still and well spoken. Does well going in for the kill showing a cold look on his face and has great wide eyed look when he puts his bag on someone's face.
Jeffrey DeMunn
(Philip Stadling) seems to really pull off his part as the younger brother who is closed minded about the Christmas spirit. He certainly came across believeable as someone who acts like a sourpuss as well as having a good grouchy behavior too. You can tell that he studied this role as someone who doesn't really believe in Christmas at all. He also had the right rough looks too to portray this character in which he looks unpleasant to be around. Shows a great stern attitude towards his fellow actor and trying to reason with him.
Dianne Hull
(Jackie Stadling) who played his wife seems to stands out well too for her looks in a horror film. She comes across well as someone who is a little more light hearted and sympathetic.
Joe Jamrog
(Dennis Stadling) seems to play off well as a sarcastic one who works at the toy factory. He shows off a witty attitude as well as someone who isn't too serious about stuff in which he brought his characteristics in well as someone who could be a victim for the killer. Yet he seems to have that nice guy appeal too. Plus had the nice masculine looks to him which also suited his role well too.

A man's eye is stabbed and then chopped with a small axe in the head.
A guys throat is cut open by an ornament.

The music is a little rusty with the synthesizer playing. Almost like a toned out composer trying to make the soundtrack sound similar to Phantasm but however, the music in some scenes like when the killer was climbing the roof sounded neat. There's some good echoey eerie piano playing as well as screeching sounds and low tones for the horrific moments used in the film.

Sally Noland: It couldn't of have just been a bullet-proof vest. I hit him in the head at least twice!
Frank McCrae: Look at the marks on your throat.
Sally Noland: I'm telling you, Frank. His hands were so big, and they felt like ice... even through his gloves. He wasn't breathing.
Frank McCrae: Hah... we won't put that in our report, huh?

Teresa Mallory(Holding a rifle towards Matt Cordell holding Jack Forrest in the air): Put him down Cordell!!!!