Much like Santa Claus, it’s been a whole year since I last saw Lewis Jackson.
However, considering the cause of the filmmaker’s notoriety, that we would be reunited at the holidays is fitting.
To the cult film community at large, Jackson is most well-known as the writer and director of Christmas Evil (aka You Better Watch Out), a prototypical holiday horror film with a turbulent history that laid the foundation for a whole subgenre of killer Kris Kringles.
Long heralded by John Waters as the “greatest Christmas movie ever made,” Jackson’s film has travelled a long, strange journey from its initial release. Disavowed by the studio that produced it, and long held captive by bootleggers, the movie seemed destined for filmic obscurity. However, thanks to Waters’ constant championing and a small, but fervent fan base, the movie was resurrected and rediscovered by horror audiences the world over. Now, Christmas Evil is widely accepted by fans of fright as one of the single best and most important holiday horror films ever committed to celluloid.
For all of the film’s trials and triumphs, Lewis Jackson has lived through each bump in the road. Although the filmmaker admits the journey has been a bittersweet one, he also displays a twinkle of pride for how far his film has come.