DON'T OPEN TILL CHRISTMAS (1984)
Region Code: Region-FREE
Duration: 86 Minutes
Video: 16:9 Widescreen (1.66:1)
Video: 16:9 Widescreen (1.66:1)
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0
Director: Edmund Purdom
Cast: Edmund Purdon, Alan Lake, Belinda Mayne, Gerry Sundquist, Kelly Baker, Caroline Munro
Don't Open Till Christmas (1984) is a sleazy Santa-slasher with just enough of a threadbare plot to string along a series of grisly murders and nude scenes, and that's just fine by me honestly. This London-set slasher features a masked killer on a spree slashing anyone dressed-up as Santa leading to a fun array of deaths as various St. Nick are pistol-shot in the mouth, burned, razor-slashed, eye-traumatized, wiener-mutilated, speared through the skull, strangulated and machete whacked to death - the kills are pretty fantastic and varied with some fun set pieces including a sleazy strip joint, the London Dungeon, a carnival and even the infamous urinal slashing, and a strange musical cameo from scream queen Caroline Munro (Slaughter High).
While the deaths are gruesome fun what constitutes the story line is pretty silly even for an 80's slasher. Scotland Yard, Chief Inspector Ian Harris (Edmund Purdom, Pieces) and Detective Sergeant Powell (Mark Jones) are called in to sleuth the gristly murder spree. They interview the daughter of the victim speared through the head at a holiday party, Kate (Belinda Mayne, Alien 2 on Earth) and her jerky boyfriend Cliff (Gerry Sundquist) who were present during the crime. Cliff is an insensitive type and when he's present at the murder of yet another victim (a porn model) he's the prime suspect but let me just say you will never have any doubt who the culprit is, the red-herrings here are a complete failure. It's a nice conceit, instead of a Santa-suited slasher on a murder spree we have a grinning masked killer murdering Santas, it's a nice twist on the surface, but the script just doesn't go anywhere with it.
On the plus-side you can just shut off your brain on this one and enjoy it for the scuzzy Santa-slasher that it is, which is plenty entertaining even if not a very good movie, in fact it's pretty terrible! As awful as it might be this is mandatory viewing at my house during the Christmas season right after Black Christmas (1974) and Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984).
DVD: Mondo Macabro have revived this Santa-slasher from the dingy grey market releases that were apparently sourced from crusty VHS sources with a brand new anamorphic widescreen (1.66:1) transfer and it's quite an improvement if not exactly a stunner. Colors are pretty decent but the darker scenes suffer somewhat but overall this is a significant upgrade over previous versions. Audio is handled by pretty standard Dolby Digital mono track that's well balanced and free of distortion.
They've done a great job with the special features including a massive 52 minute documentary about the making-of the film featuring producer extraordinaire Dick Randell with loads of behind-the-scenes footage, it's pretty fantastic. There's also an 33 minute featurette on the life and career of Dick Randell spotlighting his many films and colorful producing style, quite a character! Extras are finished-up with production notes, trailers a collection of Mondo Macabro trailers which are always a blast.
- Brand New Anamorphic Transfer (1.66:1)
- 52 Minute Making Of
- Documentary About Producer Dick Randall (32:40)
- Extensive Production Notes
- Mondo Macabro Previews
Verdict: A trashy slice of 80's schlock cinema, if you can imagine Pieces (1982) as a Santa-slasher and that seems like a fun time this is definitely a film for you, Mondo Macabro DVD presentation is very nice and the extras are great, a high recommend for pretty shit film that I find immensely entertaining. 3 Outta 5