I first discovered 1980's Christmas Evil (a.k.a. You Better Watch Out and Terror In Toyland) when I found it in one of those 10 packs of public domain horror movies that Brentwood/BCI Eclipse was putting out a few years ago. Based on the title I had assumed this to be a Christmas slasher flick along the lines of Silent Night, Deadly Night, but there's a bit more going on here. Try to imagine Taxi Driver as a Christmas movie and Travis Bickle as a man obsessed with the idea of making Santa Claus real. Christmas Evil isn't in the same class as Scorsese's flick, but both are stories about loners with dark obsessions, and Christmas Evil makes for some fun if seriously twisted holiday viewing.

Harry Stadling had his belief in St. Nick brought to a tragic end at a young age. To paraphrase the classic song, he saw mommy getting busy with Santa Claus (actually, it was his Dad in costume), and he hasn't been quite right since. Harry grows up to become a man with more issues than National Geographic, and he is driven by the idea of making Santa Claus real in his own way. He spies on the neighborhood children with binoculars, keeping track of which ones are naughty and which ones are nice, (the kid with the Deborah Harry issue of Penthouse is a particular troublemaker) and he works at the Jolly Dream toy factory. His recent promotion to management doesn't allow him to work on the assembly line, and he misses working directly with the toys. His relationships with his co-workers are strained because to them it's just a job and they don't take the business of toy making seriously.

categories Features, Cinematical