Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation


Every once in a while a sequel turns out as good as, or almost as goods as, the original. I’d say that in this case, the original is better, but only by a little. The character of Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) is a bit more manic and his mean streak comes out a little more … and of course invariably gets him into trouble. Randy Quaid is the ultimate hillbilly moron, his every belch and twitch calculated to drive you insane.

In the first movie a dog got dragged to his death. In this one, a cat is fried when he chews through an electrical wire. Trivia from the IMDb: The idiot stupid execs wanted to cut that scene, afraid of offending cat lovers. The director stuck to his guns, and in the first test screening the audience rated that scene as the funniest in the movie. I don’t know if I’d go that far, there are so many hilarious scenes (I think I favor the one where Clark, intent on racing with a couple of rednecks in a pickup truck, finds himself driving along under a log truck.)

The ongoing joke concerns the Griswold’s yuppie neighbors (Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Nicholas Guest), whose lives are almost destroyed by things like a giant icicle sliding out of Clark’s rain gutters and demolishing their hugely expensive Bang & Olufsen stereo system … and of course they can’t figure out what happened, since the icicle has melted.

One more bit of trivia: This was the last film of Mae Questel (who plays the delightfully senile Aunt Bethany), who got her start doing the voices of Betty Boop and Olive Oyl!