There have been many films which have put me on edge on my lifetime. Notable examples would be The Hunt, a brilliant film I will never watch again, Audition and specifically the tortoise sequence in Cannibal Holocaust. It's a surprise then that a relatively innocuous Christmas entry has left me feeling like I've instantly got high blood pressure: Brian Levant's infamous Jingle All The Way.
Hear me out.
I have a daughter who turns 3 three days after Christmas. The past couple of Christmas seasons have been stressful but that hasn't been down to present buying. When they're young kids are really easy to buy for at Christmas. Is it bright, can it teach them something and can they not choke on it? Tick all those boxes and you've got my cash. Jingle All The Way is a chilling vision of my future. It's a Capitalist Christmas Carol except with the Ghost Of Schwarzenegger Past telling Phil Hartman not to eat all his cookies.
You've obviously seen Jingle All The Way so I won't bore you with the plot but there's an insane kind of genius within the film where I get more and more tense on this occasion as Schwarazenegger is perpetually stopped from buying his son the Turbo Man toy. Every time the Austrian Oak trips over something, the foley sound makes it sound like a giant statesman like tree collapsing, the sequence involving him battling a bunch off dodgy Santas may take place in reality or it may be a fever dream after he's accused of being a paedophile in a "comedy" scene you'd never get these days.
His quest to try and make amends for being a shitty dad is also escalated by the sheer annoyance of Jake Lloyd playing his son, a child who only seems to warm to his dad when the promise of a toy is made. Other than that, Lloyd may as well call him a cunt and spit on him. I PRAY my daughter doesn't turn out like that little bastard does in this film. How is he satisfied in the end? His dad is the REAL Turbo Man, he doesn't need a toy, now he has a father who will bend to his every whim just to get a forced smile out of the future Hitler he sees before him.
This is a horror film, a chilling vision of where no one cares about you, where shop staff openly mock and where you run into the same policeman multiple times. You may call it Kafkaesque. I wouldn't but you could.
It's on Netflix in the UK now but if you're a parent to a young child, beware. You'll become like Sam Neil in the cinema In The Mouth Of Madness. No one wants that.