Greetings, and welcome back to Horror Business, the holliest, jolliest, and most horrifyingly unfunny podcast out there. We have one awesome episode in store for you guys. On this episode we’re discussing two films involving the horror that is Christmastime: 1980’s Christmas Evil and 2017’s Better Watch Out.
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We begin by talking about what horror related things we had done lately. Liam discusses revisiting some Asian horror films (2LDK & Suicide Club) and why he was not a fan of them upon their initial release due to the glut of Asian horror films in the U.S. at the time. Justin then discusses watching The Lure which Liam also watched. Justin discusses seeing The Shape Of Water and how it impacted him, as well as watching the film Sam Was Here, which is currently available to stream on Shudder. Liam briefly talks about seeing Creep 2, and Justin talks about seeing Mayhem and A Ghost Story. Liam briefly touches upon seeing Personal Shopper.
Up first is 1980’s Christmas Evil. Justin opens up the discussion with the apparently heretical to Liam opinion that this film is better than Black Christmas. Liam then admits he went into this episode prepared to yell at Justin for not liking it. We then talk about how despite the punny title, the film is not a slasher unlike most Christmas themed horror films. We give a summation of the film, discussing some of the underlying themes of the film (class warfare, socialism, the lingering effects of childhood trauma, the secrets of the family).
We talk about the strange culture surrounding the perception of Santa Claus in America, in that Santa is perceived as benevolent despite doing things that, if anyone else did, would be considered creepy and weird and criminal.
The theme of injustice in the world and how the film deals with it is examined, as is the ‘80s theme of greed and excess.
The theme of the movie being driven by class concerns and justice as opposed to the typical ‘80s slasher film being somewhat puritanical and overly movie is talked about at length.
Liam proposes that the films central argument is that Santa Claus, as a phenomenon, is more befitting for the lower class. Liam also talks about the theological implications of the film i.e. the rich only attending church on Christmas out of a sense of duty as opposed to actually wanting to better the world.
Next is 2017’s Better Watch Out. We open up by giving a brief summation of the film and noting that the film does not rely upon Christmas for it’s plot; it could literally take place at any point in the year. The plot twist of the movie is discussed and some of the themes are examined, namely toxic masculinity and male privilege.
There is a somewhat spirited debate on actor Levi Miller’s performance as the antagonist; Justin is not a fan while Liam is.
Liam argues that Miller’s character is less a pretend badass and more a “Richard Spencer” style jerkoff, someone who is ‘self important and smart’, while Justin argues that Miller’s performances fails to elicit any real sense of menace or villainy and is instead flat and unmoving. Liam argues that all of Miller’s pretense is simply an exercise in power in that he was planning to kill everyone else the whole time no matter what happened.
Justin talks about despite his misgivings on Miller’s performance he found the ending extremely satisfying. Justin also discusses what he perceived as a clash of two different portrayals of Miller’s character; he is either a petulant child throwing a fit at things not working out for him or he is a calm and collected sociopath in control at all times and things only go the way he wants them to go. Liam argues otherwise, and we yell at each other for a bit. The performances of the other actors are briefly touched upon.
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