Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Evil (1980)

Christmas Evil (1980)
Englewood and Montclair, New Jersey

Not only is Lewis Jackson's Christmas Evil (a.k.a. You Better Watch Out) one of my favorite Christmas-themed horror movies of all time, it's also one of my favorite movies of all time.

Santa-obsessed toy factory employee Harry Stradling (Brandon Maggart) keeps a list of who's been naughty and nice in his neighborhood, while struggling with the pressures of working for a company that, in his eyes, makes sub-standard toys. He finally snaps, donning a Santa suit and doling out old-fashioned holiday justice by passing out stolen toys to needy children and brutally murdering anyone who's wronged him.

Watch for "Walking Dead" star Jeffrey DeMunn as Harry's brother, "Home Improvement" star Patricia Richardson in a small role, and appearances by character actors Peter Friedman, Mark Margolis, and Raymond Barry, and E-Street band member Danny Federici. Maggart was a regular on the first season of "Sesame Street," and is also Fiona Apple's father.

The film was produced by former stockbroker Burt Kleiner and Pete Kameron, who had managed The Who and the founded of L.A. Weekly. Another producer, Ed Pressman, is the son of Pressman Toy Co. owner Jack Pressman (Pressman's factory appears in the film).

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