You Better Watch Out (1980) WORK
Now on first glance, Christmas Evil appears to have quite a bit in common with the better known Silent Night, Deadly Night, which was actually released your years later, so any similarities fall on the creators of Silent Night, Deadly Night. And while both films feature the same basic plot outline of a man that had a traumatic experience with Santa Claus as a child goes on a killing spree dressed as Santa Claus, that is really where the similarities end, for while Silent Night, Deadly Night, is a ultra-sleazy bit of Slasher trash, Christmas Evil is a well-made and intelligent film that works well as both a character study and a commentary on the place of Christmas in modern America, ultimately having more in common with Frankenstein than Friday the 13th.
You Better Watch Out (1980)
Christmas morning, Phil begins to suspect something is seriously wrong with his brother and argues with his wife Jackie. Their children are preoccupied with watching a television program and do not seem to mind playing with their damaged and subpar toys.
The carnage quotient is low, but that's okay: from the outset, it's leaning toward character study rather than traditional slasher fare, more Schrader than schlock. Brandon Maggart's sensitive, implosive performance is fascinating, holding everything together when the director is unable to. Lewis Jackson's filmmaking is largely flat and low-energy, and he makes the fatal mistake of rarely going in for closeups once Maggart's face is obscured by his costume. The eyes are the window to the soul, but you have to be able to see them! All that said, yes, the finale absolutely destroys, and it made me wish the rest of it was better, weirder, or both.<