HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Dolce Vita, La
Pig
I Am Belmaya
Lodger, The
Show, The
Beta Test, The
Medium, The
John and the Hole
Survivalist, The
Ape Woman, The
Black Widow
Cop Secret
Dark Eyes of London, The
V/H/S/94
Fay Grim
Night of the Animated Dead
Freshman Year
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
Anne at 13,000 Ft.
Even Mice Belong in Heaven
Death Screams
Freakscene: The Story of Dinosaur Jr.
Demonia
East, The
Mandabi
Seance
Green Knight, The
Beasts of No Nation
One of Our Aircraft is Missing
Picture Stories
Another Round
Tape, The
Limbo
Supernova
Man Who Sold His Skin, The
Sweetheart
No Man of God
Gaia
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Scenes with Beans
   
 
Newest Articles
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
   
 
  You Better Watch Out Bad Santa
Year: 1980
Director: Lewis Jackson
Stars: Brandon Maggart, Jeffrey DeMunn, Dianne Hull, Andy Fenwick, Brian Neville, Joe Jamrog, Wally Moran, Gus Salud, Ellen McElduff, Brian Hartigan, Patricia Richardson, Peter Friedman, Mark Margolis, Raymond J. Barry, Bill Raymond, Rutanya Alda
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: When Harry Stadling (Brandon Maggart) was a boy, he stayed up to wait for Father Christmas with his brother, and was treated to the sight of the jolly fat man appearing down their chimney and leaving presents under the tree, only pausing to help himself to the food and drink that had been supplied. Harry was enchanted, but back up in his bedroom his brother scolded him and informed him that the man they had just seen had been their father dressed up. Not willing to accept this, the boy crept downstairs to be sure only to see Santa there caressing his mother in an intimate fashion...

Well, something like that can warp a young mind, but it's not the young Harry we're concerned with here as the grown up and now approaching middle age Harry is still obsessed with Christmas even though he has no children of his own to share it with. His brother Philip (Jeffrey DeMunn) is still about, and he has a family, but our anti-hero is left to somewhat disturbingly spy on the children in his neighbourhood like some creepy old Peeping Tom, only he has what he sees as more noble reasons for doing so. Yes, Harry is so obsessed with Santa that he actually wants to be Santa, and is keeping a book, checking it more than twice, of who has been naughty or nice.

So when he spies a little girl playing with her doll, that's fine, she's being nice - when he sees a little boy reading Penthouse, that's a different matter. Weirdly - and this is a strange film - the kids like Harry and when he finally gives into his preoccupations and dresses as Santa for Christmas Eve, it is they who wish to defend him against the adults who see him for the psycho he really is. Also known as Christmas Evil, You Better Watch Out is often regarded by cuiltists as the finest of the killer Santa movies, and there have been a surprising number for such a supposedly benevolent figure of folk legend, perhaps due to the worrying thought that arises after a while of having your home invaded by him.

Even if it's just for a few minutes every Yuletide. Our sad Santa works in a toy factory, and has somewhat impenetrable beliefs in the festive season which he regards as sacred, not in a Christian way but in his own personal Santa worshipping way. What he wants to do is distribute the toys his company makes for free to needy children, a laudable intention, but it's the manner in which he goes about it that the horror stems from, although for the most part you could be watching a quirky drama about a troubled eccentric. There are some good laughs, such as the police station lineup of Santas once Harry has been sussed, but for the most part director Lewis Jackson, whose only film at the helm this was, keeps it almost dour.

This in spite of the Harry character being fairly ridiculous as he goes loopy in pursuit of his dream. Unusually, the action is spread over both Christmas Eve and the following day, so there are two nights when Harry can venture out in his van (which he imagines to be pulled by reindeer, naturally) and alternately be nice to the children and murder those adults who he thinks are spoiling the celebrations. Although there are those who find much camp value in You Better Watch Out, and it does have a bad taste quality that is compelling, in truth Harry is something of a bore and hard to sympathise with, though the notion that the wholesome qualities of Christmas could twist fragile minds into outright insanity thanks to the drive to have fun being so overbearing is a strong one. In the end, Jackson is willing to indulge Harry for a final shot which will either have you grinning or wondering what the hell that was meant to be.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2988 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (1)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: