Don't Open till Christmas title

Tag line : Twas the night before the Christmas and all through the House, not a creature was stirring.... They were all dead!

Don't Open till ChristmasNotably different from the other festive horrors of the 80s, "Don't Open till Christmas"  takes a new twist on the Xmas horror theme as, apart from being set in Britain, it has a killer that's preying on Santa’s, as opposed to the killer being a Santa himself.

Police are called in to investigate the killing of a wealthy businessman who was shot with a harpoon gun whilst dressed up as Santa during an Xmas party. They initially suspect the daughter's boyfriend, but it soon becomes apparent that the victim was just the latest in a long line to have fallen prey to a serial killer, who's been targeting people dressed up as jolly St Nick during the festive period..

As the film progresses, we are treated to more and more scenes of various Santa’s being slayed (sleighed?) in numerous gory ways, from simple stabbings, to being roasted on an open fire (I kid you not!) and even chased into "The London Dungeon" waxworks, where they're tormented and finally killed by one of the props on display. There's also a very bloody killing in a lavatory using a cutthroat razor, which I won't go into great detail about, but is bound to make every male viewer cringe.

Written and directed by Edward Purdom (a regular in 80s Eurohorror films), who also played the lead role of Inspector Harris, this very British movie was really more of a gory detective drama than a horror, but was still quite entertaining to watch, even if the plot does become somewhat disjointed half way through (probably due to Purdom quitting part-way through filming, resulting in numerous re-shoots as supporting cast members had to fill in for him).

Not the best of the Xmas horror films, but it’s certainly not the worst either. If you can get hold of an uncut version, it makes for better entertainment than watching the Queens Speech on Xmas day anyway. Look out for former Bond girl and B-movie actress Caroline Monroe who has a brief role as a singer.

Overall marks : 5/10.

Terrifying Trivia.

  • The film suffered numerous production difficulties, which resulted in it being shelved, rewritten and partially re-shot prior to its eventual release. Edward Purdom, who also played Inspector Harris, quit towards the end of production, so writer Derek Ford was then asked to take over, but he got fired after only 2 days shooting. Another writer, Al McGoohan, was brought in to re-work the script to fit around the departure of Purdom's character and Ray Selfe was hired to finish directing the picture, though Selfe only received a credit as the films editor.

  • Producer Steve Minasian was one of the original financial backers and subsequent rights holder of the original Friday the 13th, before he eventually sold the rights off to Paramount in the late 80s.

  • Kevin Lloyd, who plays Gerry the photographer, went on to play DCI Tosh Lines in the UK cop show "The Bill" during the 1990s.

  • Following re-writes, virtually every killing was either re-shot or had extra footage added to make the film more graphic, including the ending and the scenes set in the London Dungeon.

  • Nicholas Donnely (who fans of "Grange Hill" will remember as Mr Mackenzie during the 90s) had a role as Dr Brindle, however this scene was cut out, though his character is still mentioned in the script.

  • British born Edward Purdom was a regular in Italian horror films during the 80s, his credits include the monster hunting priest in "Absurd" (AKA "Anthropophagus 2"), the president in "2019 - After the fall of New York" as well as playing The Dean in the Spanish production "Pieces".

  • Most of the extra gory scenes filmed during the re-shoots were cut back out again by the BBFC for its original UK release.

  • Belinda Mayne, who plays the female lead Kate, also appeared in "Alien Terror (AKA "Alien : Sulla Terror").

  • The film was passed uncut for a UK DVD release in 2003, however this version missed out the scene showing a Santa getting shot and replaced it with the lavatory killing scene, which originally took place later on in the film. There is a US release which is reportedly uncut.

Extra Info.

Cast & Crew.



Video Clips.
MP4 format.

Theatrical trailer (7.20MB).

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