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Christmas Evil [Original Director's Cut] [DVD] [1980]

Release Date:11/14/2006
Synapse has rescued another twisted gem from video oblivion with this handsome edition of Christmas Evil. The video transfer improves upon the past Troma edition with an impressive anamorphic widescreen transfer taken from the vault elements: both detail and color levels are rich, really bringing out the film's carefully crafted "yuletide" look in style. It's also worth noting that this is a director's cut version that reinstates a few extra dramatic scenes into the running time. The audio portion of the disc retains the original mono soundtrack, which sounds good and has been mastered well. There's also a plethora of extras. First up is a pair of commentary tracks, a solo track by writer/director Lewis Jackson and another that pairs Jackson with fellow director and fan John Waters. The solo track is a serious one devoted mainly to behind-the-scenes stories and the genesis of the film while the track with Waters is more lighthearted, with Waters pulling some additional amusing stories from Jackson about the events surrounding the film's making and how it was distributed. Each track has some gaps and there's a certain amount of informational overlap between the two but each track is a worthwhile listen for fans. There's also nearly a half hour's worth of audition videos for the film, with an impressive group of actors like JoBeth Williams and Michael Beck. Elsewhere, the viewer is treated to a few deleted scenes, some storyboard samples and, best of all, a pretty hilarious selection of viewer comment cards from a test screening. All in all, this is an enjoyable and informative package that does Christmas Evil justice, making it a worthwhile holiday pick for the cult movie fan.
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    Ratings & Reviews

    Overall Customer Rating:
    80% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (4 out of 5)

    Special Features

    • New, widescreen (1.78:1) transfer from original vault materials
    • Audio commentary from director Lewis Jackson
    • Bonus audio commentary by director Lewis Jackson and director John Waters!
    • Original never-before-seen director's cut
    • Original storyboard sequences, comment cards and rare audition tapes!


    Christmas Evil
    He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake, and it's best not to get on his bad side in this quirky thriller that's gained a loyal cult following. Harry Straddling (Brandon Maggart) was traumatized as a child, when late at night on Christmas Eve, he walked into the family living room and saw his father, dressed as Santa Claus, having sex with his mother. Now grown to adulthood, Harry is malignly obsessed with the holiday season, particularly the myths of Santa Claus; he works for a toy company, he sleeps in a Santa suit, his apartment is stuffed with Christmas memorabilia, and he spies on the neighborhood children, keeping track of who has been good and bad. Harry's insistence that the toy company maintain high manufacturing standards does little to endear him to his co-workers, and his brother Phillip (Jeffrey DeMunn) thinks Harry has started to go off the deep end. One day, Harry snaps, and after dressing up as Santa, he steals a truckload of toys and delivers them to a mental hospital as presents for the young patients -- all well and good. But when Harry is then confronted by a group of people who don't believe he's Father Christmas, Harry reacts with violence, setting off a murder spree. Terror in Toyland (which was first released as You Better Watch Out and is now available on video as Christmas Evil) also features Patricia Richardson, who makes her film debut in a small role more than a decade before she gained fame on the TV series Home Improvement. Danny Federici of Bruce Springsteen's E-Street Band also has a cameo, as an accordion player at a community center dance. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

    Cast & Crew

    • Brandon Maggart
      Brandon Maggart - Harry Stadling
    • Image coming soon
      Diane Hull - Jackie Stadling
    • Image coming soon
      Scott McKay - Fletcher
    • Image coming soon
      Joe Jamrog - Frank Stoller
    • Peter Friedman
      Peter Friedman - Grosch

    Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.