“Christmas Evil”: John Waters tells us about an evil Santa pushed to the limits of Clausmania

By on December 24, 2016

“Santa has always been the ultimate movie star,” writes John Waters in his essay “Why I Love Christmas,” first published in National Lampoon in December 1985, and later collected in Crackpot: The Obsessions of John Waters, 1988.

“Forget White Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life and all the other hackneyed trash,” Waters tells us. “Go for the classics: Silent Night, Bloody Night, Black Christmas or the best seasonal film of all time, Christmas Evil (“He’ll sleigh you”).


John Waters:

“This true cinematic masterpiece only played theatrically for a few seconds, but it’s now available on videocassette and no holiday family get-together is complete without it. It’s about a man completely consumed by Christmas. His neurosis first rears its ugly head as he applies shaving cream to his face, looks in the mirror, hallucinates a white beard and begins to imagine that he is Santa Claus.

He gets a job in a toy factory, starts snooping and spying on the neighborhood children and then rushes home to feverishly make notes in his big red book: ‘Jimmy was a good boy today,’ or ‘Peggy was a bad little girl.’ He starts cross-dressing as Claus and lurks around people’s roots ready to take the plunge.

Finally, he actually gets stick in a nearby chimney and awakens the family in his struggle. Mom and Dad go insane when they find a fat lunatic in their fireplace, but the kids are wild with glee. Santa has no choice but to kill these Scrooge-like parents with the razor-sharp star decorating the top of their tree. As he flees a neighborhood lynch mob, the children come to his rescue and defy their distraught parents by forming a human ring of protection around him.

Finally, pushed to the limits of Clausmania, he leaps into his van/sleigh and it takes off flying over the moon as he psychotically and happily shrieks, ‘On Dancer! On Prancer! On Donner and Vixen!’ I wish I had kids. I’d make them watch it every year and if they didn’t like it, they’d be punished.”


There’s a Youtube clip of Waters reading “Why I Love Christmas,” on the December 22, 2003 episode of NPR’s “Day to Day” program, right here.


About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.
  • Marqearl

    Yes, of course,