13 Days of Christmas 8: Don’t Open Till Christmas

Posted: December 16, 2011 by Jenny Dreadful in Film, Reviews

On the Eighth Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me… Eight Santas Bleeding, Seven Cookies SnarkingSix Trees-a-Slaying… FIVE GARBAGE DAYS!… Four Naked ElvesThree Death CarsTwo Curling Duels and a Hell Goat in a Pear Tree

British actor Edmund Purdom (Pieces) directs and stars in this 1984 Christmas splatter classic. A remastered and uncut edition is now available from Mondo Macabro. Official summary:

A killer is loose in London and his sights are set on one target, Santa Claus, dozens of them. Jolly old Saint Nick is stabbed, beaten and electrocuted in department stores, at parties and even on crowded street corners. What sort of twisted mind is behind these barbarous acts of violence? Scotland Yard is on the trail, but every clue points in a different direction. As panic settles over the snow bound city, the body count mounts. Fourteen dead – and only three killing days left until Christmas

In Don’t Open Till Christmas, we have another sad case of mommy and daddy issues paired with childhood Christmas trauma; the perfect storm of holiday horror. If this goofy sub-genre is to be believed, these circumstances usually result in a murderous psycho dressed as Santa. (The Silent Night Deadly Night series, Christmas EvilTHIS TIME, the murderous psycho is targeting Santas! Ooh, a clever variation… Hold on. Best movie idea ever… Christmas PTSD: Santa Killers VS Killer Santas. Pure gold, right? Alright, moving on…

This festive bloodbath is textbook 80s slasher fare (boobs: check, cheesy score: check, creep with a mask: check), but the Santa body-count is impressive and the kills are colorful and fun. At least 14 sleazy incarnations of the jolly old elf stagger into frame in this flick and each is quickly dispatched in one grisly method or another. Father Christmas is speared, burnt, stabbed, electrocuted, etc… Why anyone, especially Scotland Yard, would allow people to walk the streets of London in Santa suits under these circumstances is beyond me, but what do I know? Unfortunately, the material between nasty serial murders and freak-outs isn’t terribly engaging. Fortunately, Santas die, like clockwork, every time the filler plot scenes start to get tedious.

Best of all; There’s a completely ridiculous, delightfully painful musical number in the last act. In addition to murder and intrigue, you get glitter and embarrassing ass wiggles. If Crowbait is allowed to post Garbage Day three times in the same article, then by god, I can torment you with Caroline Munro‘s “The Warrior of Love.” She’s coming to get you. (Tame gore and extreme 80s alert)

In summary, it’s not a particularly good film. It’s crudely pieced together from content shot by different directors for one thing. (Director and star Purdom quit. New directors and clumsy rewrites followed and the seams really show.) It doesn’t quite manage to stay engaging when the blood isn’t flowing either. Yet, anyone into holiday horror and silly slashers should check out this trashy British gem at least once.

Or Caroline Munro is coming to get you.

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