Otto (Paul Chomicki) sleeps on the floor of half-brother Caesar's (David Campfield) apartment, blissfully unaware that it actually contains a spare bedroom.

They're both slobs of the highest order. But whereas Otto seems entirely without hope - he's too preoccupied on his obsession over a girl he met 15 years earlier - Caesar, the bossy one, at least has aspirations of making it as an actor. Too bad, then, that his agent Donna (Linnea Quigley) is so useless.

In fairness, she does call him while he's busy organising a pretty disastrous Thanksgiving dinner and offers him a job performing as Santa. This is quickly established as a problem for him though, illustrated via flashback as we observe his grandfather (Lloyd Kaufman) explaining that while Mr Claus gives presents to the good kids, he's prone to hacking the naughty kids' cocks off with a chain saw ...

However, during their awkward festive dinner, Otto learns the whereabouts of his unrequited love and Caesar agrees to assist him in tracking her down. Upon doing so, Otto is perturbed to find that his love interest Alison (Summer Ferguson) has been married several times and now has a couple of kids.

No matter. He's still besotted by her and resolves to impress her by getting in with her kids. How? Well, he notices that they like Santa - and so, enrols both he and Caesar at a travelling Santa endeavour known as Xmas Enterprises.

Both men have a motive to learn how to become Santa. But while they're busy focussing on that - and trying to persuade Xmas Enterprise's CEO Jerry (Ken MacFarlane) to make a Christmas-themed horror film that they can both star in - there is a real psycho Santa on the loose: Xmas Enterprise's janitor Demian (Deron Miller). He's got a violent grudge against Santas and is about to develop a problem with our two witless protagonists...

DEADLY XMAS is an 83-minute bombardment of quick-fire gags and outright silliness. While often gory, the grue is akin to that witnessed in the films of the Monty Python team. Elsewhere, there's very little in the way of profanity and no nudity. There is an old-school innocence to the comedy on offer that's oddly endearing.

Having said that, humour's a very personal thing and I can't say I found this particularly funny. I may have done if I was 12. It's just all a bit TOO silly (characters bemoaning that their assassin is really spoiling their day by chopping their limbs off; impromptu songs etc) and, without the excesses of a Troma production, seems curiously out of step with anything an exploitation audience would be looking for. And, let's face it, good comedy relies on performance and timing. That's hard to attain when your lead cast are as amateurish as these folks.

Although we do get a few more familiar faces along the way. Quigley looks rough here but is game, and gets a couple of good lines which allude to her prolific horror career. Brinke Stevens and Debbie Rochon are also featured, as is an uncredited Robert Z'Dar (MANIAC COP). In fact, his comments during the closing titles are possibly the best bit of the film...

Wild Eye/MVD Visual's region-free DVD presents DEADLY XMAS uncut in an attractive 16x9 transfer. Colours are strong, images are sharp but never overly so, blacks are solid. There's little to bicker over in this satisfying presentation.

Likewise, the English 2.0 audio track that's on offer is problem-free as far as I could discern.

The disc opens to an animated main menu page. There is no scene-selection menu.

Bonus features are plentiful.

They begin with no less than THREE audio commentary tracks for the main feature. The first is a solo venture from Campfield and is actually quite an interesting account of how things were achieved on a such a low budget.

The director returns on the second track, where he's joined for a much more jovial chat with several members of the cast (Chomicki, Miller etc). This has been recorded as well as the first track and gets muffled at times, but is generally a fair listen with more than its share of juvenile mirth.

Co-producer/co-writer Joe Randazzo heads the final ensemble chat track, proffering a wealth of even more information along with the requisite giggles.

A 6-minute Behind The Scenes featurette is brisk but filled with on-set footage that intersperses with soundbites from the likes of Quigley, marvelling over how quickly scenes were shot, FX were created etc.

5 minutes of extended and alternate scenes are fairly inconsequential but are included for completists.

"Piggyzilla" is a 79-second "short short" from Campfield that originally played on YouTube, in which a giant guinea pig terrorises a small town in black-and-white. It's too brief to be assessed at any serious level, but is good fun nevertheless. It even comes with its own 52-second Making Of...

"The Perfect Candidate" is a 14-minute short, again directed by Campfield, concerning people waiting to give blood and being auditioned for the task as if they were applying for an acting job. It's notable for containing another lively performance from Z'Dar.

Two audio commentary tracks are also available for "The Perfect Candidate" - one from Campfield, the other from its producers...

"Otto's First Job" is a pretty lame 2-minute sketch wherein Otto shames on his first shift as a security officer.

The eagle-eyed amongst you will also find a couple of Easter Eggs on the disc. One gives access to 55 seconds of bloopers. Then we get a rendition of "Jingle Bells" which has been rewritten as "Kill Them All". Another simply shows the fake DVD cover art to a film mentioned in passing in DEADLY XMAS: "A Xmas Carol"...

Finally, trailers are provided for the main feature along with THE DISCO EXORCIST, MOLD!, EXHUMED, CAESAR AND OTTO, CAESAR AND OTTO'S SUMMER CAMP MASSACRE and DROPPING EVIL.

DEADLY XMAS may not be the next great festive shocker, then. But the treatment it receives here from Wild Eye/MVD Visual is very good indeed.

By Stuart Willis

Released by Wild Eye Releasing
Region 1
Not Rated
Extras :
see main review