As horror fans we all know there are a number of “Killer Santa” movies to watch every Christmas season. “Silent Night, Deadly Night” seems to be the go-to film, however I would like to point out there is another “Killer Santa” film from the 1980s that is quite memorable as well. That movie is “Christmas Evil,” a “Killer Santa” film that takes a more psychological character driven approach to the sub genre.
The movie is about a toy-maker who, after a traumatic incident as a child, is obsessed with Christmas and playing Santa Claus. Throughout the rest of his life he tries to make the Christmas spirit a reality. He becomes obsessed with the behavior of children and the quality of the toys he makes. When he is met with hypocrisy and cynicism, he snaps and believes he really is Santa. He brings toys to the good children but he has a special surprise is in store for the naughty parents.
If viewed as a slasher film “Christmas Evil” can be considered weak as Santa only kills just a few naughty parents. However the film truly excels as a psychological character study. It dives into the obsession of our main character and it wonderfully builds up to his eventual breaking point. You will be shocked at how obsessed this man is, especially when he is seen watching children through binoculars, writing down which ones are naughty and which ones are nice. Near the end it suddenly turns into a classic Universal style horror film with an angry mob holding pitchforks and torches (I shit you not) chasing down our crazed santa. The ending is beyond unexpected, all I will say regarding it is you will be screaming “what the fuck” when it happens.
Put away the tired old “Silent Night, Deadly Night” and watch what cult filmmaker John Waters describes as “the greatest Christmas movie ever made.”
-James J. Coker