91 user 177 critic

Christmas Evil (1980)

You Better Watch Out (original title)
A toy factory worker, mentally scarred as a child upon learning Santa Claus is not real, suffers a nervous breakdown after being belittled at work, and embarks on a Yuletide killing spree.




Watch Now

With Prime Video

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

A group of teenagers at a party find themselves being stalked by a maniacal killer in a Santa Claus costume.

Director: David Hess
Stars: Jennifer Runyon, Forrest Swanson, Linda Gentile
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

After his parents are murdered, a tormented teenager goes on a murderous rampage dressed as Santa, due to his stay at an orphanage where he was abused by the Mother Superior.

Director: Charles E. Sellier Jr.
Stars: Lilyan Chauvin, Gilmer McCormick, Toni Nero
Jack Frost (Video 1997)
Comedy | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

After an accident that left murderer Jack Frost dead in genetic material the vengeful killer returns as a murderous snowman to exact his revenge on the man who sent him to be executed

Director: Michael Cooney
Stars: Scott MacDonald, Christopher Allport, Stephen Mendel
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4/10 X  

Somebody with very little Christmas spirit is killing anyone in a Santa suit one London holiday season, and Scotland Yard has to stop him before he makes his exploits an annual tradition.

Director: Edmund Purdom
Stars: Edmund Purdom, Alan Lake, Belinda Mayne
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

A man inherits a mansion, which once was a mental home. He visits the place and begins to investigate some crimes that happened in old times, scaring the people living in the region.

Director: Theodore Gershuny
Stars: Patrick O'Neal, James Patterson, Mary Woronov
Santa's Slay (2005)
Comedy | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Santa Claus is actually a demon who lost a bet with an Angel, so he becomes the giver of toys and happiness. But when the bet is off, he returns to his evil ways.

Director: David Steiman
Stars: Bill Goldberg, Douglas Smith, Emilie de Ravin
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

During their Christmas break, a group of sorority girls are stalked by a stranger.

Director: Bob Clark
Stars: Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.5/10 X  

The now-adult Ricky talks to a psychiatrist about how he became a murderer after his brother, Billy, died, which leads back to Mother Superior.

Director: Lee Harry
Stars: Eric Freeman, James Newman, Elizabeth Kaitan
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

During a New Year's Eve celebration, a Los Angeles disc jockey receives a phone call saying that when New Year's strikes in each time zone, someone will be murdered - and she will be the last one.

Director: Emmett Alston
Stars: Roz Kelly, Kip Niven, Chris Wallace
Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.3/10 X  

An elderly toy maker and his son make killer toys designed to kill their customers, children.

Director: Martin Kitrosser
Stars: William Thorne, Jane Higginson, Van Quattro
Silent Night I (2012)
Comedy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

The police force of a remote Midwestern town search for a killer Santa Claus who is picking off citizens on Christmas Eve.

Director: Steven C. Miller
Stars: Malcolm McDowell, Jaime King, Donal Logue
Blood Rage (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

As kids, Todd is institutionalized for a murder whilst his twin goes free. 10 years later, on Thanksgiving, Todd escapes and a killing spree begins in his neighborhood.

Director: John Grissmer
Stars: Louise Lasser, Mark Soper, Julie Gordon


Cast overview, first billed only:
Philip Stadling
Jackie Stadling
Andy Fenwick ...
Dennis Stadling
Brian Neville ...
Marc Stadling
Joe Jamrog ...
Frank Stoller
Wally Moran ...
Philip Stadling Jr.
Ellen McElduff ...
Harry's Mother
Harry's Father
Peter Neuman ...
Moss Garcia
Scotty Goodrich
Elizabeth Ridge ...
Susie Lovett
Chris Browning ...
Richie Sharp
Tyrone Holmes ...


Widely recognized as the best of the Christmas horror efforts, Christmas Evil is the story of a boy who loves Christmas. He is scarred as a boy when he learns that Santa is not real. Throughout the rest of his life, the toy-maker 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, the resulting snap causes him to go on a yuletide killing spree to complete this dark comedic horror. Written by Jason Duvall <jasduv@edge.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Better Watch Out... Better Not Cry... Or You May DIE! See more »


Horror | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

November 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Christmas Evil  »

Box Office


$750,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (re-release)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Storyboards were done for every shot in this film. See more »


When Harry's brother falls down the hill, it's obviously a fake sheet of snow as it all lifts off the ground. See more »


[last line after Harry gets away from the vigilante mob]
Harry "Santa": But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight, "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night."
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the end credits, the filmmakers are heard yelling "Merry Christmas". See more »


Referenced in Christmas Cruelty! (2013) See more »


Angels We Have Heard on High
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Santa Clause meets Norman Bates
4 January 2009 | by (brooklyn NY) – See all my reviews

(Some Spoilers) Off the wall slasher film involving this not so stable toy factory manager who got the shock of his life when, as a little boy, her saw Santa and his mom getting off on Christmas Eve. The fact that Santa was young Harry Stadling's father didn't seem to be noticed by Harry who became obsessed with Ol' Saint Nicholas his entire life. Going on a one man crusade Harry was intent to prove the existence of Santa if it was the last thing that he did. Harry went so far as living a secret life as the man in the red and white suit using his disguise as Santa as his personal and secret identity.

Harry keeping tabs on all the kids in his neighborhood, by spying on them, had a list of who was naughty and who was nice among them and as Christmas approached he was to make sure that they all got, good or bad, everything that they so rightfully deserved. It was really the adults who didn't believe in Santa and the giving spirit of the Chistmas holidays that Harry really had it in for. And it was them who in the end had to pay, in Harry's mind, for their unforgivable sins! It was when Harry flipped out, on Christmas Eve, that he turned the joy of Christmas into a night of horrors.

Touched by the horrible conditions at the local Willowy Springs-a take of on the notorious Willowbrook state school in Staten Island NY- State Hospital Harry tried to get his fellow workers at the Jolly Dream Toy Factory to chip in and give the unwanted and discarded, by their families, kids there some toys for Christmas. It's When he was laughed at and made to feel like a fool,in his wanting to give away loads of toys for free, by his bosses at the factory that something snapped in Harry's head having him go ballistic! Besides Harry taking all the toys, from the factory, to give away as Christmas presents to the children in the city he also plans to give his Scrooge-like bosses a Christmas that they'll never forget!

Harry's rampage in the movie was motivated by those who looked at Christmas, and Santa, as nothing but a money making, not giving, time of the year. Even though he didn't like kids who didn't listen to their parents and elders and looked at dirty pictures, like Penthouse Centerfolds, Harry felt that they can be made to see he evil in their ways and be straightened in time. It was the adults who made a mockery of Christmas, and Santa Clause, that Harry really had it in for in that they should know better but don't. which in Harry's mind was unforgivable and needed to be, by him, taken care of with the utmost urgency!

Hard to take serious slasher/horror movie in that the villain, Harry Stadling, was so lovable that even when he did in his victims you just couldn't dislike him. Harry was so believable as the lovable Santa Clause that even the children of the people that he murdered looked up to him, with Harry giving them expensive presents, as if he were the real McCoy, Santa, himself!

During the entire film Harry was always on the outs with his younger brother Philip who, since they were little boys, never believed in Santa and let Harry know it in no uncertain terms. It took a while but in the end even Philip became a believer. Not that Harry proved to Philip that the legendary Santa does in fact exists but, in the final moments of the movie, that Santa is actually his own brother, Harry Stadling, in the flesh!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: