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