Without a doubt, my favorite Christmas film is Christmas Evil, Lewis Jackson’s brilliant slasher film about a man who was scarred as a child when he learned that Santa was dad and saw him getting it on with mom in ways never alluded to in “I Saw Mama Kissing Santa Claus.”
Lewis’ preferred title for the film is “You Better Watch Out.” But since Better Watch Out (2016), I just can’t use it because I just don’t like that film (even though I completely admit that it’s really well made).
Christmas Evil is based on old folklore about Santa Claus that sees him as a distinctly mixed-blessing. Yeah, he’s great to good little girls and boys. And there’s a wonderful scene in this film that features it. But if you are bad, get ready to wet your pants!
And more important: if you guilt Santa into working your shift so you can be with your wife and kids, and then you go out drinking with your friends, then you had better watch out! Santa’s going to give presents to your kids and then slit your throat with a Christmas tree star.
Buy the Blu-ray
Lewis Jackson hasn’t done much when it comes to feature films. I assume he’s spent the past many decades working in the trenches of industrial films. (And if you are reading this, Mr Jackson, please get in touch. I’d like to interview you for an article I’m writing about how filmmakers such as yourself manage to make their art and still make a living!) So you really out to send a buck his way by purchasing this film on disc. Then you can watch it the way it is meant to be seen every Christmas!
Video and Audio
Vinegar Syndrome released a fabulous Blu-ray/DVD combo. It’s a 4K print. It looks great! The film was shot and lit by veteran Ricardo Aronovich. It’s got far more nuance than one normally sees.
The audio is only provided in mono but it sounds good. Sadly, there are no subtitles.
There are three audio commentaries available. I’ve become increasingly critical of commentaries so forgive me for my negativity:
- Lewis Jackson: this commentary is fantastic. It’s everything that you would want. Jackson provides extensive information about the film including his intentions. You should check this out if you want to know more about the film.
- Lewis Jackson & Brandon Maggart: Maggart is fantastic as the lead in this film. But he doesn’t really understand the film and generally seems embarrassed by it. It appears to be from an earlier Troma release. I’d skip this one.
- Lewis Jackson & John Waters: There are moments of worth here, in particular Waters’ discussion of the fetish elements in the film. But I found the commentary annoying because I’ve seen this film a lot and I was shocked that for all Waters’ talk, he clearly had never watched the film closely.
- Trailer: This is enjoyable but it would be terrible for getting people to see the film.
- Lewis Jackson: 7-minute interview that doesn’t add anything to the commentary, but is nice to see what he looks like.
- Brandon Maggart: 7-minute interview of silliness worth checking out if you don’t listen to the commentary with him. He makes some good points, actually.
- Auditions: 26-minutes of auditions from Richard Bright, Carla Borelli, Larry Pine, JoBeth Williams, Brandon Maggart, Pat Hodges, Michael Beck, Lindsay Crouse, Jeffrey DeMunn, George Dzundza, David Rasche, and Ellen McElduff. This is worth the whole price!
- Deleted scenes: 7-minutes of excellent scenes. But they aren’t necessary. They make explicit what is clear in the film as released.
- Comment cards: 26 cards from people who screened the film. They show how worthless such things are. But they are funny!
- Storyboards: 4-minutes of storyboards and script. It’s interesting. My main takeaway from such things is always just that storyboard artists are really amazing.
Watch It Now
The main reason I run this site is that I admire artists who manage to finish works of art. So I hope that you will buy the Blu-ray/DVD combo. And after you’ve watched it a dozen times and thoroughly ingested it, I hope you will show it to your friends and family members.
But barring that, Archive.org has a really good print of it. So you absolutely have no reason not to watch it. It isn’t even a scary film. Everyone gets what they deserve, which is my favorite kind of horror film!
I’m sure that Lewis Jackson would really appreciate you buying his film. But he strikes me as the kind of guy who would be grateful if you just watched it. Because the truth is, not nearly enough people have.
This is my favorite Christmas film. I’ve watched it at least 30 times, usually not on Christmas. But Christmas does not go by without my watching it!
Merry Christmas, everyone!
Image from Blu-ray/DVD combo release via Amazon under Fair Use.