The Curator of Schlock #401 by Jeff Shuster

Christmas Evil

Do you want to feel more depressed during the holidays?

The Revenging Manta, the ninja vigilante of downtown Orlando, and I drove to his secret hideout. And his secret hideout was in the sewer. This is not the first place I would pick for a secret hideout with the rats and the feces floating about down there, but he insisted that it was something special. He handed me a flashlight and down the manhole I went. — To be continued.

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Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas from your humble curator. This week’s movie is 1980’s Christmas Evil from director Lewis Jackson.


This movie also went under the title of Terror in Toyland and You Better Watch Out. Christmas Evil got caught up in the Video Nasty hysteria plaguing Great Britain in the 1980s. Now you can treat yourself to this yuletide horror for free on Tubi. Times change.

Our movie begins with a young boy named Harry having witnessed Santa Claus making sexual advances on his mother. He smashes a snow globe and slits his palm.

Fast forward thirty or so years and Harry (Brandon Maggart) is now a grown man who recently got an upper management position at a toy factory. Harry’s a schlub. The toys that the factory produces are cheap plastic crap. Everyone stands before an assembly line attaching riders to bikes, rifles to toy soldiers, etc. Harry was happier making toys on the floor than sitting in his fancy office.

Harry lives like a neighborhood spy, keeping tabs on all of the neighborhood children, seeing who’s naughty or nice. One boy takes out the trash on a regular basis so his name goes on the nice list. Another boy is obsessed with dirty magazines so he ends up on the naughty list. Harry doesn’t get along with his younger brother who thinks he’s a weirdo. We in the audience also think he’s a weirdo. After becoming mesmerized by Santa Claus at the Thanksgiving Day Parade, Harry becomes obsessed with becoming Santa Claus.

On Christmas Eve, Harry superglues a white beard to his face and dons a fur-lined red Santa suit. He drives around town in a white van with Santa’s reindeer painted on the side. He delivers presents to his brother Frank’s house and drops some more gifts off at a children’s hospital. And then he waits outside a church, waiting for the Midnight Mass to let out. A rich jerk saunters over to him. The rich jerk makes fun of Harry and his van so Harry gouges his eye out with the bayonet of a toy soldier and then proceeds to hatchet the rest of them with an axe. Then Harry speeds away in his van before the crowd of churchgoers can properly react.

It would seem that director John Waters does a commentary on the DVD as he’s a huge fan. He considers it the greatest Christmas movie ever made. I found the film depressing. What’s most depressing is how chintzy Christmas feels in this movie. It’s all cheap toys, tacky decorations, fake beards, and no Christmas cheer. No wonder Harry has a psychotic break.

People can be awful around the holidays.

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Photo by Leslie Salas.

Jeff Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131episode 284episode 441episode 442episode 443, episode 444episode 450, episode 477episode 491episode 492, episode 493episode 495episode 496episode 545episode 546episode 547episode 548, and episode 549) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.