I don’t get the Christmas-themed TV episode. I never did. Steve McGarrett of Hawaii Five-O (again, I date myself, but this is what I watched), was a badass every week. Never cracked a smile - was tough on his colleagues, himself and especially the bad guys. But when mid-December rolled around, and I was ready to get nine days off from school, McGarrett soften up. Maybe crack a smile, pat Danno on the back or try one of Kam Fong as Chin Ho’s delicious Christmas cookies. Same would happen for Kojak, Baretta and other hard-boiled shows. And on the sitcoms, it was Christmas sweaters, egg nog around the Christmas tree; even Esmeralda would smile at Darren and Archie would give Meathead a hug.
Even as a young teenager, I saw through this bullshit. First of all, these shows were probably shot in mid-September. Secondly, no one is buying that all good things happen at Christmastime. Sadly, a lot of bad things happen around the holidays. It is a true and tragic fact. Look it up. So that’s why my theory, and I just came up with this theory as I was writing the previous sentence, is that Christmas-themed Horror movies work as well as they do, because Christmas has negative swirling all around it. Now, no one wants to mention that. We all want to chug egg nog from the carton when no one is looking and eat the googly-eyes off the Christmas cookies - we all do, don’t we? The point is, Christmas is stressful. From shopping, to family visits, to prepping the house for guests - we can’t wait for the grim calmness of January 3rd.
Christmas horror flicks, and many of them suck -let’s face it, but some are damned good - tap into that stress. When the bully (played by John Bishop - a friend) gets his head lopped off sliding down a hill in a stolen sled in Silent Night, Deadly Night 4, we nod in acknowledgement. Christmas is the time for giving, rejoicing, etc. But it’s also the time to gird the loins, brace for the onslaught, and survive the fallout. That kid that gets his head lopped off has avoided all of that. Well played, Santa. Well played. Merry Christmas Everyone!!! - Mark