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Christmas Evil (1980)

'Christmas Evil' is a 1980s classic seasonal themed horror movie directed by Lewis Jackson and staring Brandon Maggart as Harry, a down on his luck factory worker who is traumatised by an abusive past and a varying degree of modern day occurrences that lead to his ultimate breakdown. Eventually donning the attire of jolly old St Nick to embark on a killing spree on a snowy Christmas Eve night.


One thing I always find vital to any holiday themes movie regardless of that being Christmas or not, is the overall tone and atmosphere that it provides. 'Christmas Evil' is very successful of that on so many fronts. Be that from the festive set dressing, selective colour lighting to eloquent seasonal score used throughout. There is also something so alluring about a New York City back drop when it comes to the festive period, and this movie implements that to perfection.


This movie itself plays with some interesting themes such as childhood trauma, depression and sexual deviance, all of which I was not expecting from a movie about a killer Santa. I was really surprised to see how much depth and story telling had gone into this production. And whist having a slasher element at its core, I found 'Christmas Evil' to separate itself from the heard of other seasonal horror movies due to the complexity of its central character and the level of empathy and over arcing development that it provides for the audience.


Actor Brandon Maggart who portrays the central character of Harry Stadling, gives an exceptional performance of a troubled man's slow decent into madness. His performance alone could have been the deciding factor as to how the overall tone of the movie was perceived. Had this role been portrayed in a more humorous way, the entire narrative of the movie could have been shifted into a much more standardised seasonal horror movie tone.


In all honesty, this movie had so much more depth to it than I initially expected from a 80s horror movie called 'Christmas Evil'. With an incredibly leading performance in Brandon Maggart and a story that keeps engagement from the start. The level of emotion and heart that it provided was something I was not prepared for, making my time spent with it all the more enjoyable. This is a movie that without question with be in my regular Christmas rotation and if its yet to be ticked off you watch list, it comes under strong recommendation from me.


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