I've been getting into the Christmas spirit a bit earlier this year than I usually do. Between you and me, I blame Rare Exports, which i've already watched not once but twice this month. Love. That. Movie.
Last night I continued the consumption of holiday horrors with my first of probably many viewings this season of Christmas Evil, one of my very favorite Christmas movies of all time (an opinion that John Waters echoes). While the movie is admittedly at times a bit slow and boring, I think it's an absolutely brilliant and under appreciated film, not so much a killer Santa slasher flick as it's billed but more a compelling portrait of a crazed man who truly thinks he is Santa Claus.
The wannabee Chris Kringle, Harry Stadling, had a bit of a traumatic experience with Santa as a child, wherein he learned that Santa wasn't real, and he has grown up to be a delusional whackjob who uses his homemade Santa costume as a superhero disguise of sorts (John Waters considers it drag), allowing him to transform from a picked on loser into everyone's favorite person in the world, Santa Claus. Even when he does begin hacking people up with an axe, Harry means well, as in his mind he's simply carrying out the orders of the naughty and nice books he keeps in his apartment, which he stalks all the little boys and girls in town in order to compile.
And therein lies the brilliance of the film; rather than simply being a killer Santa flick like the title suggests (and Christmas Evil is in fact the first feature film about a killer Santa), it's instead the descent into madness of a Santa suit clad crazy dude that in his own mind has nothing but good intentions. He just wants to be loved, he wants to teach the town's children to be nice rather than naughty and he wants to feel like his life has a purpose, much like he sees that his brother's has. Unfortunately, because his intentions are misunderstood, Harry is eventually driven mad and forced to become something he never intended on becoming; a monster.
Underneath it all it's a really beautiful film, which ends with Harry being chased down the road by torch wielding parents (Frankenstein, anyone?), ultimately getting behind the wheel of his van (in his mind it's his sleigh) and being forced off the road to a fiery demise (though he prefers to imagine that he and his "sleigh" soar off into the night sky). It's one of my favorite movie endings of all time, the absolute perfect endcap to what is a madly magical film.
Enjoy the epic final five minutes of Christmas Evil!
Anyyyyway, I really didn't intend on this post turning into an exclamation of my love for the film, but I just couldn't help it. What I did come here to post about are the many different home video artworks Christmas Evil has been given over the years, most times under that title though in one case under the alternate title of Terror In Toyland (director Lewis Jackson's original and preferred title is Better Watch Out, though it never saw release under that one). I've come across a whopping 18 different home video arts for the film, from various different companies on both VHS & DVD, which i've compiled for ya tonight.
So my fellow Christmas Evil fans, enjoy this pictorial look at all of the home video arts the holiday horror classic has been housed inside, all of which play up the killer Santa elements that the film is ultimately much more than. But hey, it's all about moneymaking eye catching covers when it comes to home video releases, and there's no denying that a killer Santa is quite appealing on the eyes!
VIDEO RONDO - VHS
VIDEO TREASURES - VHS
TROMA - VHS
GENESIS HOME VIDEO - VHS
SATURN PRODUCTIONS - VHS
ACADEMY ENTERTAINMENT - VHS
TROMA - DVD
TROMA - DVD
SYNERGY ENTERTAINMENT - DVD
ECHELON STUDIOS - DVD
DIGIVIEW ENTERTAINMENT - DVD
CHEEZY FLICKS - DVD
BRENTWOOD COMMUNICATIONS - DVD
KRB MUSIC - DVD
TGG DIRECT - DVD
EAST WEST DVD - DVD
SYNAPSE FILMS - DVD
SYNAPSE FILMS - DVD (ALTERNATE)
So, which is your favorite art? Leave a comment and let me know!