The 25 Slays of Christmas – 5 – “Don’t Open Till’ Christmas (1984)”



Now here’s a film that makes a lot of the “typical” Christmas Horror lists (along with Christmas Evil, Black Christmas, Jack Frost, etc). Last year was the first time I’d seen it, but all I really remembered was that it was British, gory and flipped the “Killer Santa” gimmick by having their (creepily) masked killer only murder people dressed as Santa. Ideally he killed a few murderous Santas, but we can’t be sure of that.


As previously mentioned, this flick revolves around a masked killer who clearly hates Christmas and has taken to murdering anyone dressed as Santa Claus (except for a female stripper, but she didn’t have the beard, so maybe that’s a loophole). Scotland Yard is baffled and will stop at nothing to end this enormous pile of Santa corpses by any means necessary.


The cast is made up of unknowns, with the exception of Edmund Purdom (who only agreed to star in it if he could also direct) who played the killer in my recent October Horrorthon entry “Pieces” (SPOILER). It won’t surprise you to learn that this film was produced by the same people who brought us “Pieces”, so you can expect a similarly gory and sometimes confusing piece of cinema.


Now, I’m not going to lie to you. I started this one pretty late and fell asleep halfway through. Not because it sucked, but likely because I chose to watch the latest episode of “American Horror Story” first (featuring a Killer Santa !!) and didn’t get this rolling till’ about 11:30. Anyway, I knew I owed us both more than just phoning in this review, so I re-watched the last half yesterday to do it justice.


Prefacing this with the fact that this movie switched directors midway through and is kind of jumbled and confusing at times, I actually kind of dug it. It has a really high body count, lots of gore and an interesting and (for this kind of flick) unique storyline. There seemed to be at least 1 kill every 10 minutes which is a pretty solid ratio for a horror flick. I mean, nobody got stabbed with a candy cane, but a guy got his face burned up pretty bad so that’s something.


I have to respect the producers for knowing exactly what kind of movie they wanted to make and, despite it taking two years to complete, putting out a holiday gorefest that topped the better known “Silent Night, Deadly Night” (which had been released one month prior). Ironically, if the original director hadn’t left then this would have beaten SNDN to the screen, but both movies are different enough that they can co-exist. Now if only we can get a “Vs” movie and pit SNDN’s Santa against DOTC’s Santa Killer we’d REALLY be in business ! Still, until that happens I guess a double bill will have to do.



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