Don’t Open Till Christmas (1984)

dont open till christmas poster 1984 movie
2.0 Overall Score
Story: 2/10
Acting: 4/10
Visuals: 4/10

Low-budget 1970s grindhouse feel

Bad story, bad cast, bad characters

Movie Info

Movie Name: Don’t Open Till Christmas

Studio:  Spectacular Trading International

Genre(s): Horror/B-Movie/Seasonal

Release Date(s):  December 19, 1984 (UK)/December 21, 1984 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

dont open till christmas santa claus killer

Someone doesn’t like Santa

The Christmas season is in full swing, but in London, someone is murdering Santas.  Inspector Ian Harris (Edmund Purdom) has been assigned the case and the public is scared.  The father of Kate Brioski (Belinda Mayne) is a victim, and Harris suspects Brioski’s boyfriend Cliff Boyd (Gerry Sundquist) who seems to be around all the murders.  The killer is getting bolder and the deaths are getting grizzlier…Christmas is getting closer and the killer shows no sign of stopping.

Directed by Edmund Purdom (who also starred in the film), Don’t Open Till Christmas is a horror slasher film.  The film faced multiple production issues during the filming and was poorly received by critics.

Don’t Open Till Christmas was part of a 50 movie pack I got years ago for cheap.  The Mill Creek Entertainment production had poor transfers and looked like it had been taped off the TV…which could actually help the film.  Despite coming out in the mid-’80s, Don’t Open Till Christmas looks more comfortable in 1974 instead of 1984.

dont open till christmas serial killer

Do you like my razor blade?

The plot to the movie is unnecessarily complicated.  It starts out with the “Christmas killings” already occurring, and it feels like the first half of the movie is missing.  The movie struggles to find a lead (is it the detective?  The jerky photographer?  His girlfriend?  The girl from the strip joint?), and it doesn’t have any likeable characters.  The movie then goes into a weird crazy brother storyline that feels like it should have been worked in better (or eliminated).

The movie’s cast is also poor.  Edmund Purdom comes off as kind of skeevy as the detective who is hitting on a murder victim’s daughter (in front of her boyfriend).  Gerry Sundquist as the boyfriend comes off as unsympathetic due to his treatment of his girlfriend…and the mystery killer is rather pointless and over-the-top.  Horror star Caroline Munro appears briefly as herself.

dont open till christmas dead santa claus

I think he might be dead

The film has been cleaned up for some releases but often is found in a poor-looking, grimly quality.  The non-clean Don’t Open Till Christmas at least gives the film a grindhouse feel that gives it some atmosphere…but it doesn’t make it good.  I will say the murder of the Santa at the urinal is pretty gross.

Don’t Open Till Christmas is a bad film.  There aren’t a ton of holiday horror movies (the list has been growing recently) so it is always good to see one.  The movie is fortunately short and that is about all it has going for it.  I could see a reworked version of the movie actually working so in the world of remakes and reboots, I could see someone giving us a better version of the same movie.  Until then Don’t Open Till Christmas…or don’t open at all.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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