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One Magic (Effed Up) Christmas

By Sarah Larson | Comment Diversions | December 24, 2009 |

By Sarah Larson | Comment Diversions | December 24, 2009 |

Do any of you lot remember a movie called One Magic Christmas? I was talking to Lainey about this earlier. I loved that movie as a child, but it turns out that it’s super creepy from an adult perspective. It was made in 1985 and it’s really fucked up and is basically all about teaching children the best strategies to get kidnapped, probably molested, and then killed. Mary Steenburgen plays a poor lady with two kids and a husband who’s been unemployed for six months. Somehow they’re still living in the company house, because the 1980s were a real period of corporate generosity, you know. It’s what that decade’s most famous for, right? Riiiiight. Things get slightly more realistic when we find out the family will be evicted on January 1st. Despite the impending homelessness of his children, Unemployed Dad is in no hurry to get a job, and instead tinkers in the basement fixing bikes while Mary Steenburgen works as a cashier at a grocery store, somehow managing to support a family of four on what was probably, what, like $3.25 an hour or some shit? Riiiiight.

Girl Kid, whose name is Abbie and I’m guessing is about six years old, writes a letter to Santa and then wanders off into the night, alone, to mail it. WHAT THE FUCK, MOVIE? Way to go, teaching little girls to wander off alone in the dark in the middle of goddamn winter. So when she’s mailing the letter, Girl Kid meets an old man in an overcoat and immediately becomes BFF with him when it turns out that he’s totally insane and thinks he’s an angel and says that he knows Santa Claus. WHAT THE FUCK, MOVIE? Then Girl Kid almost gets hit by a car. She can’t die yet though, because we have SO MUCH MORE FUCKERY to get through.

The next day, Mary Steenburgen and her family visit some old dude (their grandfather, or maybe the angel of death) and he gives a book to Boy Kid (whose name doesn’t matter, because his part could just as easily have been played by a dog) and a snow globe to Girl Kid. That night, Overcoat Man sneaks into Girl Kid’s room (WHAT THE FUCK, MOVIE??) and she doesn’t scream her head off or anything. She just has an intimate chat with him. He breaks her snow globe on purpose, but then fixes it and tells her that he can’t fix her broken mother. NICE. Then we cut to Mary Steenburgen and Unemployed Dad fighting about money, because she wants him to get a goddamn job and he wants to spend their savings opening a bike shop. There is no mention of where the holy hell he thinks they’re all gonna live during his brilliant bike scheme. Maybe he has a tent in the basement with all the bikes.

Then it’s Christmas Eve and Mary Steenburgen is on her way to work and stops at a gas station, where some depressed dude is trying to hawk trinkets to support his kid, because I guess nobody in this town has the sense to just get a normal job already. But Mary Steenburgen doesn’t buy anything from Depressed Dude because she’s supposed to be the Ebenezer Scrooge in this story and she can’t give a shit about Tiny Tim until later, so she heads off to work. Meanwhile, Unemployed Dad takes the kids to the bank to get money to buy Christmas presents, but he doesn’t bring them inside; he leaves two defenseless small children outside in the car, in the winter, alone. WHAT THE FUCK, MOVIE? But then Girl Kid sees the grocery store where her mum works and she gets out of the car and wanders over there, alone. OH MY GOD, SERIOUSLY MOVIE, WHAT THE FUCK? Girl Kid tells Mary Steenburgen that Unemployed Dad is gonna be spending some money, and I guess Mary Steenburgen is part leprechaun because oh man, is she ever pissed that somebody be stealin’ her gold and she marches right off to give Unemployed Dad the what-for. Her boss sees her leaving, though, and sacks her. On Christmas Eve. In front of her kid. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

So Mary Steenburgen, who is now Unemployed Mum, stashes Girl Kid in the car with Boy Kid (who has been outside, quite literally chilling this entire time) and Mary Steenburgen leaves them both there, outside in the cold, alone. Again. HOLY SHIT, MOVIE, WHAT THE FUCK? When Mary Steenburgen gets inside the bank, the Depressed Dude who was hawking crap at the gas station is robbing the joint, and he shoots and kills Unemployed Dad. HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Depressed Robber Dude then runs out and steals Mary Steenburgen’s car. The one with the defenseless small children inside of it. The police try to stop him, but he drives off a bridge and they all die. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
Mary Steenburgen goes home and cries, but then grandpa (who, as it turns out, is not actually the angel of death) shows up and tells Mary Steenburgen that the police found the two kids standing on the side of the road. The police think Depressed Robber Dude dumped them there (probably after he was done molesting them). So the kids come home and Mary Steenburgen is all, “Welcome back, brats. Your dad died today. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!” Later that night, Girl Kid runs off alone into the night again (WHAT THE FUCK, MOVIE?) and bumps into Overcoat Man, who’s all “Hey little girl, I know Santa. Run away with me and I’ll take you to him”, AND SHE DOES. She happily goes off with the creepy, overcoat-wearing man. JESUS JUMPROPING CHRIST, MOVIE, WHAT THE FUCKETY-FUCK???

Then this little gem of a movie teaches children that it is SO AWESOME to run away with strange old men in overcoats. How awesome, you ask? So awesome that they will get to meet Santa and tour his workshop, and then their dead father will come back to life and their crabby-ass mother will stop being such a bitch all the time. Hey kids, run off with the nearest stranger today! Because the best way to be filled with the Christmas spirit is to end up like Adam Walsh. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

So what’s the most fucked up holiday movie you remember? Did any of them scar you for life, or maybe turn out to be creepy as hell when you saw them again as an adult? What about non-holiday-related movies and television shows? Let’s leave books out of it for now, because ranting about how V.C. Andrews probably screwed up your tenderly developing ideas of healthy relationships is a catharsis for another day. For now, just tell me all about how you can’t believe your parents kept letting you watch “Little House on the Prairie” after the episode with the mime that raped Sylvia, or maybe wax poetic on the torture you’ve got planned for when you get your hands on the twisted jackhole who decided to turn Watership Down into a goddamn cartoon and market it to preschoolers.

Sarah Larson lives in Minnesota, where she is usually up to no good. She only updates her blog when bullied into it, but you can read the archive here if you’re bored enough.

Pajiba Love 12/24/09 | The Nightmare After Christmas

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.