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That'll be an extra fiver.....
FlashCallahan2 November 2022
Warning: Spoilers
A murderer is running loose through the streets of London, hunting down men dressed as Santa and killing them all in different, and extremely violent, fashions.

Inspector Harris has decided to take on the unenviable task of tracking down the psychopath, but he's going to have his work cut out for him.

Only the suspicious reporter, Giles, seems to offer the Inspector any promising leads......

Well this film is an oddity to come from the UK. A slasher movie that would sit at home comfortably with the more iconic slasher films of the eighties. And what makes it work, is the dingy feel that the film has, and makes London look bedraggled and worn throughout. A long way away from films like The Long Good Friday.

It's cheaply made, funny for all the wrong reasons, and the payoff at the end is pretty hilarious.

But this film is stuck in 1984, but it looks like it was filmed in the late seventies.

Characters are your atypical fare from the golden age of sexism, and the killers motives are over the top, but sound.

If you are into Christmas based horror films, this a fun entry to the genre.

Everyone else will hate it though.....
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Could be woise...
ofumalow8 August 2010
The only movie directed by 1950s Hollywood costume hunk turned Euro-exploitation regular Edmund Purdom (at least partly--someone else is credited with directing "additional scenes," probably including the nudity inserts) is a typical 1980s slasher involving disco, sexually active youth, and crudely done gory deaths.

I saw it in a budget packet of "Drive-In Movie Classics" that clearly used a 3rd-generation VHS dupe--so I can't fairly judge the film's visual presentation, which seems professional enough. It's odd that at age 60 Purdom suddenly decided to try directing, let alone on such an obviously cheesy project.

This being a British film, the performances are competent despite the script's utterly shallow depths--no doubt everyone was conservatory-trained. At times the film feels jumpy, as if scenes (or just violent bits) were coarsely edited out. Even so, one murdered Santa is garroted, then thrust face-first onto a sausage grill. It's a Brit giallo that's not all bad, or as utterly formulaic as many slashers from the era, but it sure isn't inspired.
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Not a good movie.....But!
kamikaze-423 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
To say Don't Open Till Christmas is a classic is really stretching it. To say it is a bad film is unjust. The movie is much more entertaining than The Silent Night Deadly Night trilogy. Edmund Purdom stars as a police inspector on the lookout for a psycho who kills people who dress up as Santa. Seems when a young lad, the psycho saw his Daddy dressed as Santa doing the nasty with a party guest, and seeing Daddy accidentally killing Mommy when discovered. A few twists and turns, and not to mention a Godawful cameo of Caroline Munro performing a pop number and discovering a dead Santa makes this film one of a kind. I'm kind of curious why anybody with half a mind would dress up as Santa in public with all the murders occurring. Then again, if these victims didn't dress up as Santa, we wouldn't have a movie. To some, that might be a good thing. To me, this film is a suitable sleaze warm-up to my fave Xmas terror films, Night Train Murders, Silent Night, Bloody Night, Black Christmas and of course, Christmas Evil. To Hell with the Silent Night Deadly Night series.
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Another Christmas Holiday Slasher
matt-28214 August 2001
"Another Santa is slain," is the quote one person says early in this movie and that about sums it up for the outline. Set in London, England during the Christmas holiday season, someone killer is going around killing anyone dressed as Father Christmas, while two astonishingly stupid Scotland Yard detectives track him down and dither. Most of the abundant splatter is nothing new here as we see one Santa after another get either shot, stabbed, speared, burned, cleaverd, electriuted and even castrasted. Gore and splatter fans will not be disappointed. But here the victims are not the sympathetic bunch as every Santa victim is either a derelict, drunkard, drug user, or loser we most wish the killer would get. Edumond Purdom who directs and stars as the lead detective, Inspector Harris, who's in charge of investigating the murders, serves up some potential suspense and a fair amount of black humor, but the script plays it very straight.

As for the rest of the plot, although we know that Inspector Harris is not the killer, he appears to know a lot more of what's going on with the killings than the other characters, one of whom is a woman who wants the killer brought to justice since her own father was one of the many victims. The rest of the movie is not as amusing as it sounds, but one can't completely dismiss a horror film like this that piles up more victims than a room full of attorneys. Pop star Caroline Munro even makes a musical cameo appearance as herself during one of the stalking/killings which adds a fairly nice touch to such nonsense.

Contents: 14 killings; lots of messy looking corpses; a masked psycho; costumed victims; slight suspense; mediocre mystery; not bad as usual. With Pat Astley as the model who keeps removing her top.
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Terrible but I've seen worse. Far worse.
mwold14 December 2008
A terrible movie on many levels. The plot is absolutely ridiculous and outlandish. The acting mediocre at best. The premise involves people that dawn Santa costumes during the holidays being unceremoniously killed one by one. Therein lies the problem; lack of ceremony. A slasher movie without ceremony is like a romance film without a kiss. Santa after Santa is killed. However, we don't know who they are, we don't care, and suspense doesn't fit anywhere is this poorly constructed equation. The murders themselves are not doted on and lack any imagination whatsoever. Going back to the story line, logic is totally thrown out the window at every misstep. With an entire city under a terrifying siege, why on earth do people continuing to put on these ridiculous costumes, only to seemingly wander right into the hands of the killer? Had this been handled by a competent writer and director, not to mention the addition of a budget, any budget, there's actually potential to this very anemic holiday horror.
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psycho_15312 January 2000
This movie is pretty lame, but not unwatchable. The acting is cheesy and the killing scenes are ultra cheese, but I did like the killer, his face (mask) was cool and when he talked to the girl he chained up his voice was great. It was an interesting concept but the makers didn't maake it solid enougth, a lot of loose ends, and holes in the plot. The story is Somebody with very little Christmas spirit is killing anyone in a Santa suit one London holiday season, and Scotland Yard has to stop him before he makes his exploits an annual tradition. It's a very cheesy flick, special effects arn't great but a good watch if you like 80's slashers.
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'Tis the season #2 - 'Don't Open 'Til Christmas' (1984)
Shattered_Wake23 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The London streets are running red. . . with blood and velvet! A masked psychopath is roaming the city violently slaughtering every Santa-dressed person he can find. As the death toll rises, it's up to a Scotland Yard detective to solve the crimes and put a stop the murderous maniac.

Yikes. When I saw this referred to as 'sleasy, Z-grade slasher fare,' I was imagining something along the lines of Pieces in quality and enjoyment, as they're both brought by some of the same people. . . unfortunately, by quality, it was far, far below Pieces. Luckily, however, it was almost as fun and sleazy. While it is low quality, that fault can be forgiven a little bit due to the ridiculous production it went through (including at least three or four directors and multiple in-production rewrites). After two years of a disastrous filming, however, Don't Open 'Til Christmas was completed and released in all its nonsensical glory. As far as typical slasher stuff goes, it's all there: Good & violent deaths, sex, sleaze, blood (though horribly done), etc. It's a fine specimen in the art of trash film-making. Unfortunately, its entertainment value doesn't COMPLETELY make up for its horrible direction, brainless script, and awkward acting. Well, maybe it does. But, the faults still need to be addressed. The style obviously varies throughout the film since much of it was filmed by various directors at different times. The story, if there even is one beyond 'crazy man killing Santas,' tries for nothing new at all. The dialogue is horrible and unrealistic, made worse by a cast of seeming amateurs (though some veterans do shine a bit). In the end, however, it's not a film that needs to be or should be over-analyzed. It is what it is: A cheap, poorly made, sleazy B-slasher that was made simply to offend, shock, or titillate (depending on what kind of fan you are). If Pieces was up your alley and you're looking for some holiday cheer, give Don't Open 'Til Christmas a look. Just don't expect much and you'll do fine.

Obligatory Christmas-Horror Elements:

  • Subgenre: Slasher

  • Christmas Carols: There was a disappointing lack of Christmas music, surprisingly.

  • Snow: Christmas in London? Yeah, bit of snow.

  • Person in a Santa suit: If you're wearing one: RUN AWAY!

  • Violence/Gore: There are some brutal deaths including stabbings, boiling flesh, and one that will make the boys squirm. *shudder* There's plenty of blood & gore, but it's not done well at all.

  • Sex/Nudity: Dig British women? Well, this one's for you. Many a fair young lass bear it all here.

  • Scares/Suspense: Suspense? None. But, there were a couple good jump scares here and there. All typical stuff, though.

  • Mystery: Well, a mess of a script certainly can make for a great mystery. . . as it's really unclear what the hell is going on and for what reason most of the time.

  • - -

Final verdict: Averaging the entertainment with the low quality. . . 3.5/10. But, a high one.

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More seedy slasher fun from the folks who brought you Pieces!
hypostylin24 April 2008
Now this is what I'm talking about! I love an unabashedly terrible slasher film that revels in its own sleaziness and stupidity. From the crappy synth score to the iffy performances, I was eating Don't Open 'Til Christmas up by the shovelful. I'm not even going to begin explaining the plot -- why should the plot even matter when drunk shopping mall Santa Clauses are getting their faces burned off, eyes slashed out, and penises castrated (YES!) all around you?!

I'd never recommend this to anyone who isn't into true bottom-of-the-barrel stuff like myself, but sludge lovers will want their grimy stockings stuffed with this filthy British exploit. Let me put it this way: if you liked Pieces, you'll also dig this film (which kind of makes sense, since some of the people from Pieces worked on this). Sure, Don't Open 'Til Christmas lacks the acting chops of the Georges (that's Christopher and Lynda Day to you), but it's slightly more enjoyable in the sense that it isn't quite as misogynistic as Pieces (i.e., most of the victims in this one are male). Skeezemeister Edmund Purdom (I find him inexplicably unsettling in a creepy uncle sort of way), who was one of the headliners in Pieces, claims this gem as his one and only directing credit.
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Ho ho ho!
leonardfranks4 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
All right. So the plot's something like this. There's some guy who goes around in random masks and he kills a bunch of people who dress up as Santa Claus. Scotland Yard tries to find him, but they really suck. The daughter of one of the Santa's he kills tries to find him and succeeds, but her deductions don't make any sense. Then everybody dies except for the serial killer. Merry Christmas. I knew this wasn't going to be pretty when they misspelled the name of the film in the opening credits. It's almost entirely made up of scenes that are so short and so all over the place that you really can't make any connection with what's going on. The movie would be really predictable (there's a sinister innocuous secondary character, like in Scooby Doo), except that it's impossible to keep track of everything that's happening, as it's completely random. None of the characters are particularly likable, and the scenes really could be arranged in any order. Nonetheless, some of the Santa deaths were fun. The castration was impressive, as was the guy who apparently soaks himself in gasoline before coming to work every day. Amusing, in a sort of god-awful way.
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A distinctly British slasher
WirelessE18 August 2015
A very British entry into the 1980's slasher cannon. It feels as if the EastEnders writers thought that they'd give jumping on the slasher bandwagon a go, but lacking any real insight into the genre they get it a bit wrong at most turns!

Lacking the perkiness of most of its American cousins and the style of the Italian gialli, the film is nevertheless more aligned to the giallo in terms of structure and plot, police procedural action and a whodunit angle with numerous characters.

It gets pluses for the mask, a variety of amusing kills, the London Dungeon scene and the sheer curiosity factor given that UK slashers of this era are relatively rare. There is a bargain basement TV actors look and feel throughout, like a fairly straight BBC version of a slasher film. London looks suitably gross, seedy and grotty. A few off the wall moments keep it fairly enjoyable and worth a look for fans of sleazy, cult, obscure trash.
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Here comes Santa Claus. Here comes Santa Claus. Right down Slaughterhouse Lane.
mark.waltz11 March 2023
Warning: Spoilers
"Do you think we might have a psychopath on our hands?" So asks one of the investigators in this holiday slasher film that opens with a Santa Claus at a holiday party stabbed with a giant spear through the back of the head that comes right out of his mouth without a ho ho ho attached. A British entry in the '80s genre of gruesome horror thrillers, probably the nadir in the career of 1950's matinee Idol Edmund Purdom, best known for playing "The Egyptian", and one of the most promising MGM stars of their last golden decade. He's the head of the investigation of the slaughter of London Santa's, gruesome murders that just keeps getting more horrific, giving proof to the dumb detectives query that I quote above.

Cheap and vulgar without much point other than to exploit the holidays, this is best watched with a giant eye roll and a huge mug of spiked eggnog. The film's heroine, the daughter of the first victim, runs around in a Mrs. Claus red cape with barely anything on underneath, encountering the creepy looking killer who brings maniacally at her as he brandishes a Jack the Ripper type slicing tool. This isn't bad simply because it uses the most popular holiday of the year as an excuse for its bad taste killings, but because it features some of the stupidest dialogue I've ever heard in a truly bad movie. The acting is insipid (including Purdom's), and the use of some really bad background music just makes it all the more unwatchable. Definitely not something I want stuck in my stocking, unless it's a sock that is ready for a landfill far away from me.
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A great film for any time in the year
d2046417414 July 2007
One of my all time favourite movies. Purely for it's one of a kindness. There will never be another film made like this. Though i can understand that it's not to everyones taste, but most films aren't to my taste. This film is inept, badly acted, poorly directed and a bit of a mess, but for my personal tastes, these things all work in it's favour. The DVD is cut and doesn't include the Santa that gets shot in the head. The sequences have also been rearranged for the DVD release. There is also a making of documentary for this film ('The Making Of A Horror Movie') which is well worth seeking out and goes some way to explain the less than perfect end product. It is interesting to see the amount of time that was spent on the gory make up for this film. The effects, while only fleetingly shown in the film are actually very competent, especially considering the movies low budget. If you like inept, one of a kind movies check this out.
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Decent little sleazy mean spirited slasher.
b_kite1 January 2019
This UK Christmas slasher is primarily known for its production troubles as it took nearly two years to make featured multiple recasts, rewrites, and was helmed by three directors (possibly four) two of witch were uncredited. As it stands it's a decent little sleazy mean spirited flick that has some nice gory deaths. The ending which plays to the films title is also enjoyable.
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Slasher movie with no logic
jordondave-280854 December 2023
(1984) Don't Open Til Christmas HORROR

Directed and starring Edmund Purdom in a small role as he plays the inspector. It opens with a couple making out inside of a car, before they are then killed by someone who was triggered by the guy wearing a Santa clause suit. The next killing happens at a party and the father is killed while he was wearing a Santa Clause suit killed on front of the daughter is when two Scotland Yard is involved with Chief Inspector Ian Harris (Edmund Purdom) and Detective Sergeant Powell (Mark Jones) in charge of the killings.

The movie is kind of made on the whim without any logic other than to showcase various ways people can be killed as well as the nude scenes. No kind of entrapment that may have made sense or a warning to other civilians that a murder is on the loose.
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‘If I saw those eyes again I'd recognize him, if he were smiling'-Blackpool Pat Versus Crazy Alan in a second-hand Ford.
gavcrimson17 February 2002
Warning: Spoilers
SPOILERS Despite being shot in a decade when dodos and British horror films were becoming synonymous Don't Open Till Christmas must have initially seemed like an idea that couldn't fail. The late movie mogul Dick Randall was a character right out of Eskimo Nell. Chubby, with a thin Gilbert Roland moustache and of shortish stature he was the consummate low budget producer cum film broker. In the Eighties Randall owned a flat in the West End where he oversaw his production/distribution outlet Spectacular-Trading and also had dealings in the music biz. Don't Open Till Christmas seems to have been envisioned as a British version of Randall's chainsaw horror hit ‘Pieces'. Applying an ‘if it ain't broke don't fix it' logic Don't shares that films co-producer, its ultra-violent set pieces, and one of its stars in good old Edmund Purdom, but by all accounts the result was lucky to see the light of day. Brooding Purdom and bald former sex actor Mark Jones play baffled detectives on the trail of a psychopath (bad boy actor Alan Lake) who has made quite a habit of going round the West End bumping off anyone dressed as Santa Claus. The main plot evokes around a couple (Belinda Mayne and Gerry Sundquist) drawn into the yuletide slayings when a Santa-impersonating relative gets a spear through the head. Plot-diversions include a peep-show floosie witnessing a pervy client being butchered by Lake and later being the object of a kidnapping attempt and an anti-peep show rant. While Blackpool's own Pat Astley-plays topless model Sharon who also has an unpleasant encounter with the Santa-hating madman. None too pleased as to how she's dressed (as Santa) the masked man touches her up with a cut throat razor before disappearing into the night. ‘His eyes, they seem to smile' she tells the police who arrest her for indecent exposure anyway.

Don't Open till Christmas is an uneven patchwork of a film, although not without good reason. The production was a deeply troubled one that took nearly two years and three men behind the camera to make. Edmund Purdom quickly exited the directors chair, and replacement director Derek Ford (also the film's writer) didn't last long either. It was in fact editor Ray Selfe, who finished directing the film and had the unenviable task of making his efforts and the aborted work of his two predecessors resemble a movie. Despite the best attempts of one time sex cinema owner Selfe, the released version of Don't bears all the scars of a film re-shot, re-cut and reinvented numerous times. Many scenes and one seemingly crucial character (Dr Bridle played by Nicholas Donnelly) are eluded to but appear to have been lost to the cutting room floor. The narrative is severely mangled with various protagonists randomly popping in and out of the action. By the end most of the cast are either forgotten about or mean-spiritedly bumped off as this rag-bag tumbles towards an abrupt excuse for a finale.

Derek Ford was a dab hand at writing horror films (viz;1967's Corruption) but was principally known for directing sexploitation movies like The Wife Swappers(1969) and The Sexplorer(1975). Ford could never quite shake off the sex film director tag, on or off screen, so its no surprise that Don't Open Till Christmas retains the atmosphere of a Ford sex film, both in the seedy Piccadilly Circus area locations and the seaside postcard caricature characters like the ‘ducking and weaving' dirty photographer and the gormless glamour model. The casting of Mark Jones, Alan Lake and the always fun to watch Pat ‘Blackpool Patricia' Astley only adds to the blurring of British sex and horror film. ‘Additional scenes by Al McGoohan' seemly tagged on as an afterthought, amount to little more than a typical Dick Randall crash course in opportunistic filmmaking. Novelty value is provided by a scene set in the famed wax museum ‘The London Dungeon', while Dusty Bin era Caroline Munro appears as herself and sings a disco song (George Dugdale aka-‘Mr Munro' also worked on the film). Increasing the gore quota are ‘slasher-movie' sequences in which actors dressed as Santas suspenselessly meet their maker at the hands of Lake's psychopath. Faces instead of chestnuts are roasted on an open fire, machetes embedded in heads and brains blown out. Don't Open Till Christmas' vomitous highlight finds an obese Santa Claus relieving himself in a urinal only to be caught short when Lake creeps out of a toilet and castrates him. Such scenes caused the film multiple problems upon its British release in the closing months of 1985. After all the tail end of the ‘Video Nasty' furore was not perhaps the greatest of time to present the sight of Santa being castrated in a urinal as entertainment.

Hands on heart, Don't Open Till Christmas is unlikely to feature on anyone's list of favourite British horror films in the near future. The film aims to be as colourful a B-movie as anything else with Dick Randall's name on it does, but the overall feel is one of desperation, from the repetitious score to the tacky gore effects and the casting of neglected, forgotten or never made it actors. But despite (or perhaps because) of these reasons the film still intrigues in an end of the pier pantomime way simultaneously being sad, distinctly British and all very low end of the showbiz ladder. Derek Ford worked with Randall one more time on Attack of the Killer Computer(1990), a gore film with a mostly porno cast shot in Randall's West End flat- it was never released. Don't Open Till Christmas may not have been the end of Dick Randall's career, but it was the last interesting chapter in his story. The final Randall productions that saw release (Slaughter High(1986) and Living Doll(1989)) are well made yet utterly routine 80's horrors. But that these business as usual productions appear to have passed without the headaches of Don't Open Till Christmas is perhaps all Randall could have wished for.
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Silent night, boring night
BandSAboutMovies18 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
A guy in a Santa suit has sex with a woman in a filthy alley before they're both killed by a man in a grinning see-through mask. Another Santa ha shis head impaled by a spear while his daughter watches. And yet another has his face grilled while roasted chestnuts on an open fire.

Scotland Yard inspector Ian Harris (Edmund Purdom, who wrote and directed this film as well as appearing in 2019: After the Fall of New York and Pieces) and detective Powell are perplexed. Plus, Harris just got a gift that says "Don't Open Till Christmas." They question Kate, whose father was a killed Santa, and her boyfriend, Cliff.

The next day, Cliff tricks Kate into coming to a porn studio. She storms off and he takes photos of a model dressed as Santa. A pair of police officers spot them shooting nudes in public, so he runs and the killer finds her, but lets her go. Oh yeah - and there's a reporter named Giles digging around, too.

Things get worse. A strip club attending Santa gets knifed. The police think Cliff is the killer and the paper Giles says he works for has no idea who he is. And another Santa runs into the London Dungeon (yes, the place The Misfits sang about) and gets killed.

Even after undercover officers go after the Santa killer, they can't find him and are killed themselves. The killer has a stripper who was there on the night he killed the Santa in her club and says that she will be the supreme sacrifice to Christmas evil. And Caroline Munro (!) is on stage in a nightclub when a Santa is chased on stage and stabbed in the face with a machete. Another Santa is castrated soon after.

It turns out that inspector Harris has no birth certificate and has gone on leave, disappearing to a mental asylum where Kate follows.

It turns out that Giles is Harris' insane brother. Kate finds out first, bit she is strangled and stabbed while detective Powell listens. Then, Giles lures him to his doom, as he electrocutes him in a junkyard.

Sherry escapes and Giles chases after her. She knocks him over a railing and he has a flashback of when he went insane: he caught his father, dressed as Santa, having sex with another woman. When his mother found out, Santa shoved her over a railing. But it's too late for Sherry, as Giles has survived.

Finally, Harris wakes from a bad dream and unwraps his gift, complete with a card from his loving brother. It explodes, killing him and ending the film.

What I have just done is written about this film in a way that will probably make you want to watch it. It's a slasher that even references Halloween in its opening credits. But it's no Halloween.

According to, "this utter sleazefest of a film is quite a jumbled and confused mess, and for good reason. While production began in 1982, the film remained in Development Hell for two years, due to the title of director continually changing hands; first up was Edmund Purdom (who also portrayed Inspector Harris) who walked off the set, prompting at least three or four others to fill in for him, with one only holding Purdom's former position for a mere two days before being fired."

Whew. You got better things to do this Christmas. Trust me.
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Xmas Slasher movie? OK, but this one is really bad!
CaligulaAzrael22 December 2009
I don't know from what should I start, so maybe I'll give you a small description about what I saw. This film is like:... oh, someone killed Santa, oh, and another, oh, those few more, oh, there were tits, someone killed Santa?, he's chasing him, oh, he killed Santa - and so on, so on... So, as you see there is no suspense in this cheap, boring slasher movie. There's even no snow or any Christmas atmosphere, which we know from pictures like "Black Christmas" or "Silent Night, Deadly Night". There are few quite bloody murder scenes and that's all. Ah, I forgot to say that they are really funny (those scenes, I mean). Maybe those laughs will make some people watch this one, but I do not recommend.
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A seasonal stinker.
BA_Harrison4 February 2009
If seasonal slashers such as Black Christmas, Christmas Evil, and Silent Night Deadly Night are to be believed, Christmas isn't really the season for 'peace on Earth and good will to all men'—it's the time of year you're most likely to end up hacked into cubes by a maniac with an axe.

Usually, a cinematic Yuletide killer is fairly easy to spot (hint: he's the one in a scruffy, blood-soaked Santa suit, clutching an axe), but UK horror Don't Open 'Til Christmas bucks this trend: in this film, it's those that are dressed as good old St. Nick that wind up dead, victims of an escaped loony with an extreme hatred of jolly old men with big white beards!

A sleazy, low-budget slasher from exploitation producer Dick Randall and sexploitation scribe Derek Ford, 'Don't Open...' stars Edmund Purdom as a New Scotland Yard Inspector hunting for a serial killer who has left a trail of dead 'Santas' all over London (including a 'roast' Santa, 'shish-kebab' Santa, 'machete-in-the-face' Santa, and 'bloody-stump-where-his penis-used-to-be' Santa). Given its exploitation pedigree, this tawdry tale should be a terrific slice of thoroughly tasteless entertainment, but thanks to some of the worst acting, weak direction, and cheap gore effects in slasher movie history, the film only succeeds in being extremely tedious.

'Don't Open...' never really finds its feet, faltering during the opening scene, in which a couple canoodling in the back seat of a car are unconvincingly stabbed (with a retractable knife presumably purchased from the local joke shop). The film then stumbles chaotically from one dreadful moment to another, subjecting viewers to lots of unconvincing gore FX, a pointless tour of a wax museum, an even more pointless cameo from beautiful British scream queen Caroline Munro, and some hilariously bad dialogue ("they'll think we're a couple of gays"; "it'll make your nip-nips stick out"), until an unintentionally funny 'explosive' finale ends the film rather abruptly.

On a positive note, there is some welcome gratuitous nudity from softcore star Pat Astley and a surprisingly repugnant scene where the killer torments an abducted peep-show stripper, but it just isn't enough to prevent this from being a dud.
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Creative deaths in a sleazy British slasher
Leofwine_draca29 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This cruel film has pretty much everything you could want from a cheesy slasher flick: ample gobs of gratuitous Kensington Gore, plenty of gratuitous nudity, and some poor acting to round it all off. This British variant on a well-worn theme goes for the all-out sleaze aspect of the genre, focusing entirely on some grimy, bloody and explicit death scenes and mixing them in with peep shows and seedy, lecherous drunkards. Taking in the darker, grimier side of London, the actual setting is very good for a horror film, and setting some stalking scenes in dungeons and weird exhibitions works successfully; these scenes actually turn out to be quite frightening.

The particularly vicious edge to the killings in this film elevates it to a higher horror status than the other contemporary American offerings. Knives are shoved through heads, people are garroted, strangled, stabbed in the stomach, and in the film's piece de resistance, a gentleman relieving himself in the toilets has his member hacked off by a straight razor! Another gruesome highlight has a kindly old Santa roasting chestnuts over a grill, only to have his face shoved into the flames and scorched before being set alight! The acting here is below average: only a couple of the cast members convince in their roles, and everybody else is just wooden. Edmund Purdom and Mark Jones are quite good as Inspector Harris and Sergeant Powell respectively, and the killer's bug-eyed insanity fits the role nicely. But the female cast members seem only to have been picked for their glamour, take for example Caroline Munro who pops up to perform a musical interlude in one dire moment.

Thankfully, while we're mired in the poor editing and exceedingly slow police investigation, you can be sure that another brutal murder will soon pop up. This film has a very high body count, with just about everybody being bumped off by the time the credits roll. The eventual confrontation with the unmasked killer is rushed, too, unfortunately, and marred by an unconvincing is-he-dead final shock which appears to have been tacked on. Being a mid '80s film, you can expect some lousy fashions and hairdos, with the men looking like women and the women all having huge blonde hair. An embarrassing disco scene pops up and the killer lurks around in a "shrunken head" costume - it's pretty funny. Another scene guaranteed to evoke a few chuckles occurs when a drunken Santa is attacked by a gang of punks who then proceed to nick his bike! A cold detachment hangs over the film, meaning that we never really care what happens to any of the characters. The deaths impress only due to their creativity, and as we never get to know any of the victims, there's no emotional involvement, and therefore, no real scares. Still, the extreme gore is there, along with the extremely sleazy atmosphere to appeal to most genre fans. Worth a look, if this is your sort of thing. Oh, and one final thing: check out the 'surprise' ending, as it's a real gobsmacker!
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Don't open at all
Chase_Witherspoon28 March 2012
Gory, inane slasher flick has a murderous psychopath stalking Santa Claus' in London, as baffled detectives (Purdom & Jones) struggle to find leads let alone a suspect. Daughter of a Santa costume wearer (Mayne) who was speared at a Christmas party does her own investigative work, but it's her boyfriend (Sundquist) who's the prime suspect.

Joining the wasted talents of Purdom, Mayne (Ferdy's daughter) and Alan Lake (Mr Diana Dors), are familiar faces Mark Jones, Kevin Lloyd (pre- Tosh in the long-running police soap "The Bill") and the frequently topless Pat Astley, in something of a self parody. If you thought that sultry Caroline Munro would be reason enough to tune in, you'd be mistaken; she plays herself in a three-minute music video that serves as the background to one of the ghastly murders, apparently promoting her fledgling singing career. Once noted Shakespearean actor Purdom turns up hot on the heels of "Pieces" for another slasher companion, this time he's also behind the camera, although he was replaced and the film's original ending re-shot (you'll see the narrative and personnel change noticeably after Purdom and Mayne dine at the restaurant). Consequently, the double-headed climax looks disconnected.

The acting is variable, and the dialogue absurd, while the explanation for the killer's motivations (told in flashback) is laughable; the only redeemable feature is the film's tasteless and macabre sense of cruelty to the poor old, often sozzled Santas, slain in about a dozen different ways: digging implement gouges out the eyeball of one, another is speared through the mouth, gunshot to head, machete across face, hot plate face melt and the crowd favourite, the castrator. Apart from that novelty, the rest is a load of reindeer droppings.
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Sleazy Christmas.
HumanoidOfFlesh16 December 2011
The story of "Don't Open Till Christmas" is easy to follow:an unknown maniac is killing Santa Clauses around London in the variety of nasty ways.The film was produced by the producers of "Pieces" and "Slaughter High",so I wanted to check it out for so long."Don't Open Till Christmas" is not as crazy and gory as "Pieces",but it certainly delivers plenty of gore and a bit of nudity.There is even infamous castration of Santa Claus in the toilet.The acting is sub-par and the atmosphere of suspense is almost non-existent.So if you are a fan of killer Santa themed slasher movies or slasher genre in general be sure to check out Mondo Macabro's DVD's of "Don't Open Till Christmas".7 killings out of 10.I pretty much enjoyed singing cameo of horror queen Caroline Munro.
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Standard holiday slasher, made-in-Britain
gridoon1 January 2007
"Don't Open Till Christmas" is definitely not among the worst films of its type, but that's not a big enough accomplishment to be proud of. The premise could be described as a reverse version of "Silent Night, Deadly Night", and it has an unmistakable element of idiocy in it (why don't people stop dressing up as Santa Clauses for a while? Shouldn't the police issue a warning or even an order?) Although the film is set and shot in London, there is little of the city's flavor in the cheap production. Like most slasher films, it is basically a drearily monotonous series of graphic killings. Fans of the genre may see this as a good thing, except that even the killings themselves are mostly unimaginative (the very last one is probably the best). It also tries to add a bit of mystery to the mix, but gives us no real clues. (*1/2)
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Enjoyably clunky and mean-spirited seasonal slasher trash
Woodyanders22 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
A vicious psycho brutally bumps off various unlucky guys dressed up as Santa Claus around Christmastime. It's up to the dour Inspector Ian Harris (a very sour and indifferent Edmund Purdom, who also fumbled the direction) to catch the maniac. While this movie totally fails to provide any true chills or tension, it certainly succeeds in delivering a steady succession of grisly and ghastly murder set pieces that are randomly injected throughout the narrative with an appealingly appalling lack of finesse and cohesion: one poor tubby dude gets castrated while using a public lavatory, another has a spear shot into the back of his head, a third's face is fried on a grill, and so on. Moreover, Purdom does manage to effectively create and sustain a thoroughly nasty and seedy tone, there's a hefty corpse tally of 14, the foul script blithely breaks the usual established slice'n'dice rules (for example, the final girl is a cheery harlot instead of the customary virginal innocent), and the St. Nick victims are mostly despicable jerks (one Kris Kringle is offed while visiting a sex shop on his lunch break!). The cast do their best with the tawdry material: Alan Lake as creepy low-rent tabloid newspaper reporter Giles, the fetching Belinda Mayne as the distraught Kate Briosky, Gerry Sundquist as Kate's insensitive boyfriend Cliff Boyd, Kelly Baker as bubbly peepshow booth worker Sherry Graham, and Mark Jones as Harris' partner Sergeant Powell. Caroline Munro makes a cameo appearance as herself singing a cruddy disco song in a nightclub. As a tasty added plus, buxom blonde Pat Astley bares her fine shapely body several times as brash nude model Sharon. Alan Pudney's cinematography makes neat occasional use of a prowling hand-held camera. Des Dolan's quivery synthesizer score does the generic ooga-booga hum'n'shiver trick. Worth a watch for fans of sleazy holiday horror fare.
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Don't Open Till Christmas (1984)
jonahstewartvaughan17 December 2023
Warning: Spoilers

#3/4: Don't Open Till Christmas (1984)

(7/10): Another Christmas Slasher but this one feels much more like Christmas, on drugs.

Don't Open Till Christmas takes place right around the holidays with many people dressed as Santa for parties and just general mall Santas but someone is going around killing everyone dressed as Santa.

Whether it be a full Santa suit or just red and white garb he takes just takes his straight razor to them.

The police are on an investigation to track him down but he manages to remain elusive, can they find him and stop the killings in time?

This Slasher has a bit of a high pedigree as it was made by the same people behind the grindhouse classic, Pieces however it seems like it is more confused about what it wants to be.

It carries elements of giallo with its police investigation but it's misdirection makes it feel very sleazy and sometimes strange.

The Killer has a nice plastic see through yet distorted mask and pretty much only uses a straight razor which is pretty minuscule in size and less intimidating than other slasher weapons of choice.

The acting is not the greatest but it adds to the messy appeal of the film, although it was probably not what they were aiming for.

It's got the nice gory kills like a castration in the urinal and an axe to Santas head that raises up onto a stage during a song performance by Caroline Munro.

It's got a somewhat drunken feel that makes you feel slightly under the influence just by watching.

It's weird direction and striking poster art gained it a following from frequent rentals back at the Video Store, and, while I don't recommend it to everyone, if anything here sounds your style, check it out.
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DON'T OPEN TILL Christmas {Re-Edited Version} (Edmund Purdom and, uncredited, Derek Ford, Ray Selfe and Alan Birkinshaw, 1984) *1/2
Bunuel197626 December 2011
Following on from the previous decade's BLACK Christmas (1974; easily the best of the bunch), SILENT NIGHT, BLOODY NIGHT (1973) and Christmas EVIL (1980), the Eighties also saw a proliferation of Yuletide horrors like GREMLINS (1984; a Yuletide perennial during my childhood days) and the SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT franchise; this troubled production was the British contribution to that cycle. The three uncredited directors, collectively dubbed "Al McGoohan", included screenwriter Derek Ford (whose most notable work was done in the 1960s for director Robert Hartford-Davis), editor Ray Selfe and director Alan Birkinshaw (of the reportedly just-as-abysmal KILLER'S MOON {1978} fame)!

Rather than the expected 'murderer dressed in a Santa costume', here we have the annihilation of the persons dressing up as Father Christmas – a modus operandi that is, needless to say, triggered by a childhood trauma (involving a man in a Santa outfit who is obviously not his father shagging Mommy). Given the dearth of admirable qualities on display here (it is considered the cinematic equivalent of a Christmas turkey dinner!), there remains little for me but to describe the copious murders: from the very first sequence, we have a Santa done in through the window of his car where he is smooching his girlfriend: she, too, foolishly but predictably rushes out of the car to her death; a reluctant Santa Claus is impaled through the mouth with a spear during a Christmas party by the murderer wearing a gruesome mask...but, apart from a weak scream, none of the witnesses make any kind of reaction – not even his daughter nearby!; a street-side Santa is strangled, has his face pushed against a stove and subsequently set alight!; in the re-edited version I watched, the fifth murder – where a Santa has his brains blown away with a gun, has been removed and replaced by the later tenth(!) one of a Santa castrated with a razor in a urinal!; another Saint Nick (a lonely, middle-aged soul) unwisely takes a break from his Christmas duties to go check out a peep-show and gets his in the neck to the horror of the teasing tit-flasher in the booth (when the murderer returns to kill her, she subsequently runs out into an incongruously deserted London street!); another is stabbed in the gut via a knife-wielding shoe!; a Santa – who has taken shelter in the London Dungeon (which I visited on my first trip to the British capital in 1999) – gets it in the neck too; another receives a machete to the face and turns up on-stage during a musical performance; the heroine is strangled but subsequently found all bloodied(!?); an investigating police officer is electrocuted; the killer's mother dies in a fall in a flashback sequence; the villain himself is thrown off the stairs at the top floor of the stripper's flat…who predictably comes back to life when she goes to check up on him!; finally, the Police Inspector on the case (though his lack of productivity eventually gets him taken off it) dies in a slow-motion bomb blast, which effectively concludes the film, when committing the titular act (why he never doubted the contents of the package is anybody's guess)!

While the killer is seen having no qualms about stabbing a couple of females, he is clearly taken aback when a would-be Santa victim turns out to be a nude model to whom the hero had taken his bereaved girlfriend to uplift her spirits by taking part in a saucy shoot (WTF?!). The daughter of the second murdered Santa and her callous boyfriend subsequently become the relative protagonists of the piece; however, during the latter stages, it is the stripper who takes centre stage (especially since the nominal heroine is herself bumped off) – she is eventually kidnapped by the killer who intends offing her on Christmas Day (earlier, she had told the cops she might be able to recognize the murderer if he smiled at her!?). It is idiotic to have people keep turning up everywhere in Santa outfits when they are likely to be targeted by the murderer for it – neither do the local authorities issue any order to refrain from doing so for safety's sake; in any case, the Police put Santa decoys in an effort to apprehend the killer but they only end up among his death-list, one of them messily losing an eye to him!

For no very good reason (except that her husband was behind this production), Caroline Munro appears as herself to warble a tacky song. Persistent journalist Alan Lake turns out to be the killer and Purdom's insane brother (the heroine comes to know of his monthly visits to the ostensibly committed sibling but she is not given the opportunity to do anything about it), taking care to implant the seeds of suspicion into the mind of the latter's direct subordinate (though he misconstrues the situation by thinking Purdom himself is the guilty party); tragically, the actor committed suicide before the film's release as a result of the death of his wife, iconic British star Diana Dors earlier in the year!

The film (which, apparently, was not even officially released, going straight-to-video instead!) has been recently released as a SE to little fanfare on R1 DVD by esteemed cult label Mondo Macabro. For the record, it shares its producer with that of the equally execrable PIECES (1982), also featuring Purdom; the latter, then, appeared in the following horror-related films throughout his European wanderings: THE NIGHT THEY KILLED RASPUTIN (1961), Sergio Corbucci's THE MAN WHO LAUGHS (1966), Pupi Avati's THOMAS AND THE BEWITCHED (1970), THE FIFTH CORD (1971), LUCIFERA: DEMONLOVER (1972), Riccardo Freda's TRAGIC CEREMONY (1972), FRANKENSTEIN'S CASTLE OF FREAKS (1974), THE NIGHT CHILD (1975), Joe D'Amato's ABSURD (1981), the aforementioned PIECES and FRACCHIA CONTRO Dracula (1985; as the Count!).
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