Christmas Evil (1980) (Blu-ray/DVD Review)
Directed By: Lewis Jackson
Starring: Brandon Maggart, Dianne Hull, Jeffrey DeMunne
Rated: UR/Region A,B/1:78/1080p/Number of Discs 2
Where to get it: Vinegar Syndrome
When he was a boy, Harry idolized Santa Claus but one Christmas Eve, he witnessed something horrifying that forever shattered his innocent understanding of Santa. Now an adult, Harry wants to embody the pure Santa Claus that he grew up loving. He works at a toy factory and keeps records of who’s been naughty and nice, but the spirit of Christmas isn’t what it used to be and he can’t take it. So, garbed in his red suit, Harry decides that the only thing he can do is to become Santa himself and make all of the naughty townspeople pay…in blood! Vinegar Syndrome is proud to present Lewis Jackson’s cult favorite, Christmas Evil, newly restored in 4k and on Blu-ray for the first time!
Man, I’m going to be honest with you. I’m just not a Christmas Evil fan. I saw the film originally on the VHS looking Troma release, then I saw it again on the very nice Synapse Special Edition release, and now here I’ve visited it once again with the fine folks at Vinegar Syndrome releasing it with a 4K transfer. I will say this much, I love the look of this Blu-ray and if you have seen this film and already love it you will more than love this. It looks spectacular with great detail and the colors aren’t bad either. The special features are also really cool with three commentaries. Now as for the film, the more you know the better. It isn’t a straight forward slasher. If anything else it is a low rent Taxi Driver. There is really only one gore scene that stands out and otherwise it is slow-moving filled with more character study than anything else. I can appreciate that part of it, but I wish things were a lot quicker moving than they turn out to be. Still, the film does manage to outlast its expiration date and the number of releases it has gotten proves that. It does also pack a cool Santa police line-up scene that most everyone has seen even if they haven’t seen the film.
Brandon Maggart’s performance as Harry is the bread and butter to this film. No matter if you find the movie as a whole to your liking or not, you will be able to pick up on just how great the man was in his role. I especially like the interaction between his character and his brother in the movie, because we know why Harry is so messed up and he doesn’t. The movie has a lot of ups and down, in my opinion more highs than lows, but the ending is something that will leave you scratching your head regardless. I may not love this film, but I think it has somehow remained a Christmas tradition with me just based on when I seem to acquire the different releases by luck (bad luck?) or coincidence. I’m more of a Silent Night, Deadly Night guy, but even I will say that if you see this film and own a Blu-ray player that this release from Vinegar Syndrome is the best way to go. However, I will admit that I like the old Synapse DVD cover better, but that is neither here nor there.
– New 4K Restoration From 35mm Elements
– Three Commentary Track Options With Director Lewis Jackson, Actor Brandon Maggart And Filmmaker John Waters
– Archival Video Interviews With Jackson & Maggart
– Deleted Scenes
– Actor Screen Tests
– Storyboards Gallery
– Vintage Test Screening Comment Cards
– Original Theatrical Trailer
Quality of Transfer: 90%