Don't Open Till Christmas (1984)

December 21, 2011 - 4:55pm | FrighT MasteR
  Tags: 80's, 80's Slashers, Alan Lake, Belinda Mayne, christmas, Don't Open Till Christmas, Edmund Purdom, Gerry Sundquist, Kevin Lloyd, killer santa, Mark Jones, Pat Astley, slasher flick, slasher movie, slashers

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Edmund Purdom
Edmund Purdom, Alan Lake, Belinda Mayne, Mark Jones, Gerry Sundquist, Kevin Lloyd, Pat Astley

This little holiday slasher slipped by me over the years, and I'm not really surprised since it's not a particularly good movie. Sadly, it's not about the jolly fatman killing people off, but rather about someone going around London murdering men dressed as Santa. I guess that wouldn't be a bad idea had the directing, editing, oh and acting, wasn't so bad. Star Edmund Purdom did most of the directing for the film before he apparently "walked off," leaving certain scenes and much of the climax unfinished. It would explain why some of the movie seemed rather inconsistent.

As I said above, the story revolves around a couple inspectors on the case of someone killing a series of men dressed in Santa suits around the holiday season. That's basically the whole movie right there, the rest of the film is filled with long drawn-out pointless scenes of the masked killer stalking and slicing up people. Some of these scenes last entirely too long, like for instance when he's chasing down a drunken Santa, who makes his way into some sort of scary museum for 5-minutes, and the whole time you're thinking 'just kill him already!'

There's a sub-plot that points the finger at the boyfriend of one of the victim's daughter, but obviously anyone with half a brain could tell that the dude wasn't the killer. In fact, once a particular character made his presence known on screen I pretty much knew immediately that he had to be the killer. The guy is straight-up weird and his scenes didn't really seem to offer anything useful other than to just be there and pester the leads. Then again a lot of the script was nothing but killing and idiot inspectors pretending to know what they're doing.

The film’s biggest fault (aside from the script) is the horrible editing. A lot of the scenes are just poorly chopped and placed together that it’s almost laughable. I loved how towards the end the girl (whom the killer had captive) is released from her restraints and manages to knock the killer over the head and runs to a locked door, and as the killer gets back up, she asks him for the key! What was she expecting him to do, just hand it over so she can go and alert the police? “Here you go miss, sorry about keeping you locked up in this tiny room for days and the threatening to-kill-you-thing, no hard feelings, kay?” And the climax? Hilarious!

On the plus side there's a decent body count and a majority of the victims die a variety of ways, but due to the film's budget the effects aren't all that great to look at, so their deaths aren't anything special to begin with. The flick received some edits when it was released in the UK, but luckily landed in the US uncut. If it wasn't for some of the bloody deaths I'd say the movie would have been a total waste of time, but the fact still remains -- I've still seen a lot worse than this.

A bad movie, but not an entire waste of time. It's predictable, cliché, poorly scripted, and horribly-edited, but at least it offered a decent amount of blood and a variety of deaths. As far as holiday slashers go, you can do a lot better. Not recommended.

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FrighT MasteR's picture
FrighT MasteR is an avid horror fan / monster hunter extraordinaire, who created and has been running UHM since its inception, way back in 1999.




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