5.1/10
2,877
86 user 170 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.

Director:

Writer:

Reviews

Watch Now

With Prime Video

WATCH NOW
ON DISC
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

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
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 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
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
    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
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
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
Jack Frost (Video 1997)
Comedy | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

A serial killer dies, comes back as a snowman, and wreacks havoc.

Director: Michael Cooney
Stars: Scott MacDonald, Christopher Allport, Stephen Mendel
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 | 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
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.5/10 X  

A masked killer begins murdering students on the school track team after a track runner dies upon completion of a 30 second 200-meter race.

Director: Herb Freed
Stars: Christopher George, Patch Mackenzie, E. Danny Murphy
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A disturbed young man who was burned as a child by his sadistic mother stalks women with a flamethrower.

Director: Joseph Ellison
Stars: Dan Grimaldi, Charles Bonet, Bill Ricci
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Lewis Jackson
Stars: Michael Baxter, Les Crook, Lewis Jackson
Edit

Cast

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.
Gus Salud ...
Ellen McElduff ...
Harry's Mother
Brian Hartigan ...
Harry's Father
Peter Neuman ...
Moss Garcia
Lance Holcomb ...
Scotty Goodrich
Elizabeth Ridge ...
Susie Lovett
Chris Browning ...
Richie Sharp
...
Frankie
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

You'd better take care...Santa is coming to town! See more »

Genres:

Horror | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

November 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Christmas Evil  »

Box Office

Budget:

$750,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (re-release)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Writer/director Lewis Jackson spent ten years collecting all the yuletide props seen in Harry's house. Moreover, it took Jackson ten years to get this movie made. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[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 »


Soundtracks

The Christmas Song
(uncredited)
Hummed by Brandon Maggart
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
I'm with John Waters on this one: this movie is great.
11 December 2011 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

This cult favourite seasonal picture is writer / director Lewis Jackson's interesting, offbeat take on the holidays, focusing on a pathetic figure named Harry Stadling (Brandon Maggart), whose mind has been warped ever since seeing something as a child that he ought not to have seen. He's grown up with an obsession with Christmas; the decorations at his place have a Christmas theme, for one thing. He's dismayed at the attitudes displayed by co-workers at his place of employment, a toy factory, and goes so far as to catalogue the naughty or nice activities of children in his neighbourhood. When he learns that his company plans on donating toys to a local hospital, but expects all employees to make any financial donations, that's when he truly becomes determined to spread his own brand of Christmas cheer.

Now, this is not really for hardcore horror fans. True enough that Harry does end up murdering a few people, but this is not about racking up the body count. This is ultimately about one man's mental and emotional deterioration, and nowadays some folk might even insist on giving it the common "psychological thriller" label. Jackson takes aim at the crass commercialization of the holiday, a common theme in Christmas fare, and comes up with some very striking images, notably the police line up of Santas, and the homage to the Fritz Lang classic "M" with angry torch bearing citizens hellbent on getting their hands on Harry.

Talented star Maggart came in cold for his audition and delivered the exact performance seen in the movie; it's truly something to see. Fellow character veteran Jeffrey DeMunn ('The Walking Dead', "The Green Mile", etc.) is also effective as Phil, the younger brother frustrated over having to look out for Harry for many years rather than being able to look up to him. The cast and crew is filled with a number of people who did very well for themselves afterwards; the actors include future 'Home Improvement' wife & mom Patricia Richardson, as well as Peter Friedman, Mark Margolis, Raymond J. Barry, Robert Lesser, Bill Raymond, and Rutanya Alda; the crew includes "presenter" and producer Edward R. Pressman, cinematographer Affonso Beato (who would shoot "The Big Easy"), and the late editor Sally Menke, who cut all of Tarantino's directorial efforts. Fun sequences feature Harry partying hearty with some strangers at a Christmas party and delivering toys to the children at a hospital. Seeing Harry spy on the kids, however, does create a fairly creepy vibe, no matter how good his intentions are.

One thing is for certain, and it's that this amusing low budget flick is fairly memorable, right down to its ending.

Seven out of 10.


12 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
This movie is unbearable to watch hhh_thegame100
Is this film better than 'Silent Night, Deadly Night'? blackchristmasfan74
Why do people feel like they have to defend movies like this? sean-mcclain-dc-sw
Genuine Artistry XDevonousX
they got something wrong... westing000
Who is the performer of Santa Claus is Coming to Town on the soundtrack? Carlo Houtkamp
Discuss Christmas Evil (1980) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?