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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.


Lewis Jackson


Lewis Jackson





Cast overview, first billed only:
Brandon Maggart ... Harry Stadling
Jeffrey DeMunn ... Philip Stadling
Dianne Hull ... Jackie Stadling
Andy Fenwick ... Dennis Stadling
Brian Neville Brian Neville ... Marc Stadling
Joe Jamrog Joe Jamrog ... Frank Stoller
Wally Moran Wally Moran ... Philip Stadling Jr.
Gus Salud ... Harry Stadling Jr.
Ellen McElduff ... Harry's Mother
Brian Hartigan ... Harry's Father
Peter Neuman Peter Neuman ... Moss Garcia
Lance Holcomb ... Scotty Goodrich
Elizabeth Ridge Elizabeth Ridge ... Susie Lovett
Chris Browning Chris Browning ... Richie Sharp
Tyrone Holmes Tyrone Holmes ... Frankie


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


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


Horror | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The Philip Stadling's children are watching Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in March of the Wooden Soldiers (aka Babes in Toyland), the 1934 film from Hal Roach Studios. See more »


In a scene in Phil's house toward the end of the movie, Phil is seen to have large and conspicuous perspiration rings in his shirt. A moment later, during the same scene, the rings are no longer there. See more »


Harry "Santa": But now I want you to remember to stay good boys & girls. Respect your mothers & fathers and do what they tell you. Obey your teachers and learn a whooooole lot! Now *if you do this*, I'll make sure you get good presents from me eeeevery year. Ha ha ha... but if you're bad boys & girls, your name goes in the 'Bad Boys & Girls' book, and I'll bring you something... horrible.
See more »

Crazy Credits

While it is understandable that viewers might identify the rousing "Merry Christmas everybody!" at the end of the credits as the crew adding a personalized touch to the final moments of the film, it is in fact the greeting that ends the Jackson Trio's "Jingle Bell Hop" that is used during the end credits. See more »

Alternate Versions

A deleted scene toward the film's beginning showed Harry being promoted in his job. Brandon Maggart had a hangover from the day before while shooting the dancing scene, and can be seen becoming dizzy and nauseous at the end of the scene. See more »


The Christmas Song
Written by Mel Tormé and Robert Wells
Hummed by Brandon Maggart
See more »

User Reviews

Christmas Horror Flick Worth Checking Out
15 August 2020 | by ryan-10075See all my reviews

This is an entertaining Christmas horror movie that in the end is about much more than just old Saint Nick running around with an axe as the movie poster suggests. I saw this under the title CHRISTMAS EVIL and it starts in 1947 where a young boy Harry watches his mom get it on with Santa Claus. Thing is Santa was actually his dad, but poor little Harry didn't know any better. It messes him up pretty bad. We then jump ahead to 1980 and Harry (very well played by Brandon Maggart) has almost an extreme obsession with Christmas. He even has a list of who's been naughty and who's been nice. Quite interesting and very creepy as he watches the children and he appears at people's windows a few times in the film watching their lives.

Not the first to have a homicidal Santa, but was done four years before the more popular SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT. To me it is just as good as that movie, but they are quite different to the point where the killer in this film garners more sympathy.

So, if it's Christmas time and you are looking for a Christmas themed horror flick I would suggest giving this one a try. Also starring Jeffrey DeMunn as Harry's older brother Philip.

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Official Sites:






Release Date:

November 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Christmas Evil See more »


Box Office


$850,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (re-release)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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