Well, Christmas is coming up, so there’s probably a good chance you’re going to be watching Lewis Jackson’s Christmas Evil soon, if you haven’t already. We had the opportunity to send some questions over to Brandon Maggart, the actor who made the film so memorable with his portrayal of a disturbed man who takes it upon himself to play the part of Santa, much to the chagrin of the townspeople.
Maggart’s a busy man. He didn’t answer all the questions we sent him, but he made up for that by answering others and providing us with some Christmas Evil memories that are included in his upcoming book.
Here’s the brief Q&A session:
iHorror: Do you have fond memories of working on Christmas Evil? What is the one thing you remember about working on it more than anything else?
Brandon Maggart: Fond memories? It was grueling work. Freezing. I hated the spirit gum to glue the beard to my face. The Jack Daniels on my limo ride home after work.
iH: Can you tell us a little about what you’re working on these days?
BM: Writing and painting. I have two books available on Amazon: A novel, My Father’s Mistress, and a novella: Dear Kate, Love, Henry. Behind These Eyes Such Sweet Madness Lies will be available next month. With : The Trunk in My Attic to be out before 2016.
iH: Would you return to the horror genre if the right project came along?
BM: No. I’m too busy writing.
He then includes this bit as further response to that question:
This aging actor of 80 years, whose sharp memory and physical capabilities have begun to diminish, creates a stage on which he lives, acts, writes, paints, and makes love. He manages this by using an ability (passed on, genetically) to be in more than one place and time at the same time. He ventures from his traveling chair by traveling without leaving. His traveling is done on the small attic stage beneath his brow and behind his eyes. Accuse him of self-mythologizing if you wish, but he creates his own work, holds soirees for his cast of fascinating and celebrated guests from times-past. And, he enjoys blissful intimacies with the beautiful and talented actress, Vivien Leigh. He explains this Utopian world by his ability to access his desired experiences through something akin to quantum entanglement; meaning a non-local connection.
An interesting interview to say the least.
As mentioned, we had some additional questions for Maggart. Luckily, the provided material from his book actually answers some of them. Here’s what he gave us from his forthcoming book Behind These Eyes Such Sweet Madness Lies:
“Before shooting began, Jackson sent me to a private screening of Fritz Lang’s film, M, starring Peter Lorre. The reason being that some humanity is within a man even though he has committed the vilest of crimes. When cornered by the enraged townspeople who are about to kill him, Peter Lorre’s character pleads his case: “You are capable of making the decision to kill me or not to kill me. When I kill, I cannot help myself:” Because pedophiles have no choice? But, in my case, Harry (Santa) was doing what he thought he was obligated to do. And, he couldn’t understand why the angry torch-bearing townspeople couldn’t see that he was doing what he was supposed to do… Reward the “good” and punish the “bad.” (Yes, I did fall on the slippery ice. Didn’t hurt)
There were scenes that I couldn’t relate to. “How do I do this?” The first time I approached Jackson about my problem, he gave me the perfect direction: “It’s abstract.” I was home-free after that. “I’m the paint in this picture.” Jackson is the painter.
My drinking wasn’t in full swing until I was into my late thirties. (I have been sober for over thirty-three years, now) At one point, I was playing the lead character in a film called, of all things: Christmas Evil. I never drank on the job, but after work on location, and on my fairly long limo drive back to my home on Riverside Drive, Jack Daniels was my steady companion. The film was written and directed by a very intelligent and dedicated young man named Lewis Jackson.
I took the job because I needed a job. I auditioned, and I won the role. That’s why I took the job. Many actors say they take jobs only after much scrutiny and debate. I happened to be watching the wonderful Maureen Stapleton being interviewed on an afternoon news show on the local NBC station in New York, when she was asked how she chose her roles. She thoughtfully considered the question and said, “First, I read it. If I don’t throw-up, I take the job.”
But, in this case, the role was a wonderful psychological study about how a young impressionable boy, who had been told that Santa Claus was “good,” comes to a tragic end. From the first scene, when the boy, thinking he hears Santa downstairs, finds a shocking scene taking place between his mother and Santa, we know that this will not end well. The boy rushes back upstairs to his room and in a fit of rage accidently cuts his hand. On a close-up, we see blood trickle across his hand. It is red. It is the red of rage. There is much red throughout the film.
(One of Fiona’s many wonderfully written lyrics very well describe her color red: (The Fiona being referred to is Fiona Apple, my daughter.)
“But he’s been pretty much yellow / And I’ve been kinda blue / But all I can see is Red, red, red, red, red now / What am I gonna do”)
Not being a “horror film,” commercially, the film was a failure, but it later surfaced and, according to some, has become an “official cult classic.” The film is shown during the Christmas season most every year at selected movie houses for the occult. Maybe Jackson didn’t come up with the film he had in mind, but, under the circumstances, he did a pretty damn good job. Lewis Jackson says, “It’s a film that will not die.”