The Horror Honeys: 'Tis the Season to be Screaming!

'Tis the Season to be Screaming!

A Revenge Honey 12 Days of Dyslexic Santa Review

Caesar and Otto's Deadly Xmas (2012)

I honestly can't remember the last time I saw a movie that was obviously awful, and yet, I somehow managed to enjoy it in spite of itself. I've heard tell of some people having that reaction to Birdemic, but I was not one of them. I'd like to say that I enjoy the Godfather of shit movies, The Room, but I watch that more with a fascinated sense of wonder at Tommy Wiseau's epic balls than anything. However, Dave Campfield's Caesar and Otto's Deadly Xmas is officially a crap movie that I found both utterly hilarious and strangely endearing even though, and I can't stress this enough, it is crap.

The "Plot:" Half-brothers Caesar (writer/director Campfield) and Otto (hairy lump Paul Chomicki) take jobs as Santa and his elf for some sort of Christmas promotions company. In the interim, struggling actor Caesar uses his role as Santa (even though he's terrified of Santa due to his grandfather, played by Lloyd Kaufman, telling him Santa cuts off naughty boy's penises with a chainsaw) to make a holiday horror movie, while the promotions company's Santa-clothed janitor ganks a holiday party guest list from C & O and begins murdering everyone on the list and framing the brothers for the kills. The sentence was intentionally too long. There are also a handful of other subplots, but frankly, my fingers are already too tired to type them.

I'm sure Trader Joe's is thrilled at the product placement, guys.
Why This Movie is Crap: I highly doubt that the presence of Troma founder Lloyd Kaufman is a serendipitous bit of horror cameo casting. Caesar and Otto looks like a Troma film through and through. The editing is terrible, the camera work is a joke, the movie looks like it was filmed on a ViewFinder, and the sound is distractingly sketchy. If someone had told me this was a Troma movie, I would not have questioned them. The only thing setting it apart from Kaufman's legacy of tits and gore and poop jokes is that Caesar and Otto is actually smartly scripted. But more on that later.

Laughed WAY harder than was appropriate at this
guy trying to hitchhike.
Additionally, the acting in Caesar and Otto is atrocious. In the spirit of the holidays, I'm not going to call out any one actor here, except to say that across the board, wow. When it comes to the majority of the supporting players, I've seen better acting from David Caruso's sunglasses on CSI: Miami. The one exception here is Campfield, who somehow manages to make even the cheesiest lines sparkle with giddy glee. Dave Campfield is charming, and he absolutely sells Caesar and Otto through sheer willpower and balls-out enthusiasm.

Why I Liked This Movie Anyway: After all of this, I'm sure you find it hard to believe that I liked Caesar and Otto's Deadly Xmas. But I did, and it's almost exclusively thanks to Dave Campfield. Besides being the best actor in the film by a mile, his script is full of so much horror film meta humor that it becomes an absolute goldmine for cynical horror fans. When Caesar is filming his horror movie but unhappy with the look of a shot, his AD suggests switching to handheld camera, to which Caesar exclaims,

I guess Santa was going for the Hipster Douchebag Beard look this year.
"THAT'S, LIKE, NEVER DONE IN INDEPENDENT CINEMA! Handhold it! The shakier, the better! That will make it exciting!"

And when deciding on a location for his film, he states,

"A horror film set in the woods? So original, I make myself sick!"

Campfield knows what it's like to work in independent cinema, and that knowledge colors Caesar and Otto with a humor that makes even the worst scenes bearable. 

However, there are some great scenes as well: an armless man attempting to hitchhike, Linnea Quigley reenacting her famous death scene from Silent Night, Deadly Night, an almost unrecognizable Felissa Rose in a hilarious cameo, and a Dr. Phil clone named "Dr. Feel" counseling Joe Esteves and getting a little handsy. Campfield's humor and clever dialogue are what elevate Caesar and Otto above a Troma film, despite having similar production quality. 

In spite of Caesar and Otto's Deadly Xmas's flaws, of which there are many, it's still a strange little film worth seeing. It's definitely not the best holiday horror film out there, but as The 12 Days of Dyslexic Santa have taught us all, it is far from the worst.

Revenge Honey Rating: 3 Chainsaw-Wielding Santas out of 5
These men are CLEARLY brothers.  Clearly.