You Better Watch Out

Day nine of Christmas horror movies and I realized that I still have about six or seven films I want to watch. So, even though the rotund man is nearly here I will probably continue with the holiday horror until I exhaust my collection. Maybe when I am done I will compile a list of the best and rank them for fun.

You Better Watch Out (aka Christmas Evil) is not a bloody or as violent as other films within the killer Santa sub-genre. But that is because this film is not a typical holiday slasher. It’s a psychological drama in which a man’s descent into madness is the primary focus.

That man is Harry Stadling, an unassuming man if there ever was one. The thing about Harry is he takes Christmas serious – deadly serious. As a young man he witnessed his Mom and Mr. Claus involved in some serious groping and this is somehow responsible for him turning into a weirdo. Harry even goes so far to keep Naughty and Nice books for the local boys and girls. Note: Negative body hygiene will get you on his Naughty list. ?Basically, don’t make fun of Santa and / or Christmas around Harry. He might lose his sh*t.

Of course, that is exactly what happens. Several events push Harry to the brink, culminating on Christmas Eve – the time when Harry dresses up as Santa to deliver presents. Some of those presents happen to be death, some toys. So be good, for goodness sake.

As Harry’s delusion gains momentum so does his belief that he really IS Santa. He qualifies as a killer that audiences will feel sorry for. So, even when he is dishing out punishment it is still heart-breaking. And as opposed to other films in the genre the filmmakers go out of the way to also show the good side of Harry. He is very giving – even donating a ton of toys to a local kid’s hospital and hand-delivering gifts to several other youngsters. Some may find these scenes tedious, especially those looking for a blood bath. The kills are pretty weak, minus the guy who catches a toy soldier in the eye and the couple that meets the business end of an axe. But, once again, this isn’t that kind of film.

The performance of Brandon Maggart as Harry is what makes this film work. Come for the killer Santa, stay for the heart-breaking story of a man who loses his battle with mental illness resulting in a Yuletide killing spree and (Spoiler) and some magical van action.

Rating: 7/10

Snore Factor: ZZZ (Little sleepy early on)

IMDB 1980


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