Welcome back to Dyl’s Worst Christmas Ever! For those who haven’t been following along at home, I’m making my way through some of the worst Christmas movies ever made. Why? Because this Christmas is going to suck anyway. Might as well double down on it. So far, we’ve seen Santa Claus face off against Martians and the devil himself. But, in today’s movie, Santa faces off against a different, slightly more innocent threat. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s first set the table for Magic Christmas Tree.
It’s a very strange movie. It’s about a boy who finds a magic Christmas tree that’ll grant him wishes. And, of course, he learns a lesson along the way as some of his wishes backfire. But, it’s a hard one to break down what’s so bizarre without going plot point by plot point. So, let’s jump into it.
We start off where not a ton of Christmas movies do: Halloween. A group of kids, shot in black and white, are sitting around and talking about what their plans are for that evening. One of them suggests taking a look at the neighborhood haunted house. While exploring it, he’s the only one that is captured by the witch who lives there. She asks if he’d be willing to get her cat, aptly named Lucifer, out of her tree. He agrees, but falls out of the tree and hits his head. When he awakens, everything is suddenly in color, because, well, Wizard of Oz is really popular. They even try to do the “We’re not in Kansas anymore” even though he’s definitely in the same place he hit his head. Then, the witch decides to reward him for his efforts with a Christmas ring that’ll grant wishes. Unfortunately, it also has the most complex set of instructions to get those wishes I’ve ever heard. On Thanksgiving, he has to take the turkey wishbone, bury it, say some magic words, then a tree will appear. In front of the tree, he has to twist the ring around three times and say some words in Latin. Then, the tree will finally grant him his wish. That’s a lot of instructions! You might as well just throw my wishes away. I’m never going to remember all of that for the two months this process takes.
But, this boy does. And, boom, a magic tree appears in his front yard. What follows is so unimportant that, honestly, if I didn’t write about it, you wouldn’t be missing anything. However, it takes up like 15 minutes of this movie’s one hour runtime, so it’s a pretty hefty chunk. See, we kinda forget about the Christmas magic for a bit, as we watch the boy’s parents do daily household activities. His mom talks on the phone for a bit. We hear almost an entire conversation’s worth. And, his dad decides to mow the lawn. Cue insanity as he struggles with the mower. The gag really isn’t funny but whoever made this movie definitely thought it was, because it carries on for quite some time. It ends though when he runs face first into a brand new pine tree in his yard. Confused, he tries to chop it down, but it won’t budge. It’s like a freaking Looney Tunes segment. I could easily see Elmer Fudd in this role. Then, he gives up but not before tripping one last time because jokers gotta joke.
Then, finally, we have a magic Christmas Tree, which magically teleports into the house. Why it didn’t just appear there in the first place, I’ll never know. I guess because we would’ve missed the hilarious yard shenanigans then. But, that doesn’t matter now! The tree is here. It’s time to get to the wishes. In a weird move, the kid wishes for unlimited power as his first request. But only for an hour for some reason. It’s probably good for humanity that he did though. Because in that hour, he definitely creates some mayhem. First of all, it’s night time. But, the first thing he does is make the sun come up. What kind of ramifications would this have? Are we permanently a few hours behind or ahead now? What does that mean for our heavily scheduled lives? What about nature? What did it do to Earth’s rotation? None of this is answered of course, because we just skip right ahead to more nonsense. Because the boy just roams the streets creating chaos. He makes vehicles drive away without their owners, causes a couple to fight, and terrorizes both the police and the fire department. I think this is supposed to play out like some whimsy Mary Poppins-eque playtime, but it looks more like a scene from Carrie. Like, this is definitely a serial killer in training. It made me so uneasy.
It gets worse though. For his second wish, the boy wants Santa Claus all to himself for the evening, which just so happens to be Christmas Eve. So, the tree kidnaps Santa Claus. (Cue The Nightmare Before Christmas music for the third movie in a row.) And, you might assume that I’m over exaggerating when I say that. I’m not. Santa is clearly very uncomfortable with being there. He’s more or less pleading to be let go. But, he’s not allowed to move and the boy isn’t budging. It’s really terrifying. So, now we’ve got changing the world to your whim, terrorizing innocent civilians, interfering with law enforcement, and kidnapping. That’s quite the rap sheet this kid is accumulating. He’s definitely a supervillain.
In the climax of the movie, we see this kid walking in the wilderness with a gun. Who knows what he’s planning on doing with that? We’ve seen him make his way up to more and more extreme crimes. Is murder next? An assassination? Is Santa in danger? Luckily, we never find out. Because, out of nowhere, a giant appears. Or, at least, that’s what the boy calls him. He’s maybe six feet tall. But, for the context of this movie, he’s a giant! And he’s looking for an ungrateful child to enslave. Yes, he tries to kidnap our “hero” and use him as an actual slave. Luckily, the boy whines about it until he promises to fix the crimes he’s committed. So, the giant lets him go. But, the scene isn’t over. Because suddenly the giant breaks the fourth wall and starts talking to the audience. He threatens to kidnap them instead if they don’t behave! I haven’t been this creeped out by a fourth wall break since I watched Cats last year. What were they thinking? You know some little kid started crying when they saw that. Heck, I’m 28 and I was a little freaked out.
Anyway, the kid rushes home, where Santa and the tree are just kind of hanging out. Then, he starts crying and wishes that everything would go back to the way it was before he kidnapped Santa. But, let’s be real. He didn’t learn his lesson. He just doesn’t want to be a slave. Of course, the tree doesn’t care though. The wish is granted. And, in a twist that would be very surprising to anyone who hasn’t seen The Wizard of Oz (one of the most famous movies ever), the boy wakes up on the ground outside of the witch’s house. The world is back in black and white. He was dreaming the whole time. She gives him milk and cookies as a reward before he heads home. And, they all live happily ever after. Except the kid is probably still a homicidal maniac. The End.
So, yeah, this is a pretty dark tale. It’s a wonder it ever got made. And, according to Wikipedia, it used to be sold on a two pack VHS with 1959’s Santa Claus, which we covered in a previous write-up. So, that package must’ve just traumatized children to their core. But, of course, the plot isn’t the only bad thing about this movie. It’s also horribly made. A speaking character will often only be halfway in the frame. A song will be playing in the background, only to completely restart when a cut is made. There are random cuts in the middle of scenes, probably because they didn’t want to waste too much film after a mistake. And, the acting is some of the worst I’ve ever seen. The kid in particular is pretty dang awful. He’s yell acting the entire time. If Tommy Wiseau spoke better English, I would think this was him as a child. On a technical level, this is probably the worst movie I’ve seen so far.
So, how does it stack up otherwise? Is this a “so bad it’s good”? Can I put it on at my hipster Christmas party? I’d definitely say this one is in contention. Like I said, it’s definitely the worst made movie I’ve seen so far. The acting is quite cringy. And, the story is extremely weird. Plus, that scene where he breaks the fourth wall will probably be a highlight with the right crowd. Best of all though, it’s only an hour long. That’s almost the perfect length for enjoying something ironically. I think the VHS company knew what they were doing when they paired it with Santa Claus. They’d make a really good, festive, drunk, strange viewing pair. I’m definitely glad I made the investment. It’s a weird flick I’ll never forget. And, also, hopefully never watch again.