‘Christmas Evil’ (1980)

Christmas Evil (You Better Watch Out)

Christmas Evil (1980)

I have heard on more than one occasion that people who like David Lynch’s Wild at Heart are particularly fond of a scene where Laura Dern describes her demented cousin”s obsession with Christmas. If I could have one question with David Lynch, I would like to know if he had seen this movie. Christmas Evil is the It”s a Wonderful Life for horror fanatics and film buffs. Harry Stadling (Brandon Maggart) becomes obsessed with Christmas after seeing mommy and Santa Claus in the beginnings of having a “not-so-holy” night. Thirty-three years later, Stalding works in a toy factory and spends his spare time skulking around his neighborhood keeping up with who is naughty and who is nice. While the pace of the film can be a bit slow at times, the genius of the film comes into play with regards to how much time the movie spends with Harry without letting the audience in on what he is thinking. There is not so much open violence as there is a fear of not being able to follow his train of thought. The fun here is seeing his bizarre behavior and not knowing  at any given time what he is capable of. This movie relies heavily on Maggart’s acting and he delivers a slow burn that predates the influx of quiet man psycho killers made popular by Hannibal Lecter. If the story had gone into full slasher mode, it would not be nearly as scary. More than just a slasher film, Evil is an awesome portrayal of an already unstable man coming apart at the seams.