4.5/10
1,442
41 user 88 critic

Don't Open Till Christmas (1984)

Somebody with very little Christmas spirit is killing anyone in a Santa suit one London holiday season, and Scotland Yard has to stop him before he makes his exploits an annual tradition.

Director:

Edmund Purdom

Writers:

Alan Birkinshaw (additional scenes written by) (as Al McGoohan), Derek Ford
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Edmund Purdom ... Inspector Ian Harris
Alan Lake Alan Lake ... Giles Harrison
Belinda Mayne Belinda Mayne ... Kate Briosky
Mark Jones Mark Jones ... Detective Sergeant Powell
Gerry Sundquist ... Cliff Boyd
Kelly Baker ... 'Experience' Girl
Kevin Lloyd Kevin Lloyd ... Gerry
Wendy Danvers Wendy Danvers ... Housekeeper
Nicholas Donnelly Nicholas Donnelly ... Doctor Bridle (scenes deleted)
Pat Astley ... Sharon
Laurence Harrington Laurence Harrington ... Kate's Father (as Lawrence Harrington)
Ken Halliwell Ken Halliwell ... Restaurant Commissionaire
Ray Marioni Ray Marioni ... Maitre d'hotel
Wilfred Corlett Wilfred Corlett ... 'Experience' Santa Claus
Ricky Kennedy Ricky Kennedy ... Theatre Santa Claus
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Storyline

A murderer is running loose through the streets of London, hunting down men dressed as Santa and killing them all in different, and extremely violent, fashions. Inspector Harris has decided to take on the unenviable task of tracking down the psychopath, but he's going to have his work cut out for him. Only the suspicious reporter, Giles, seems to offer the Inspector any promising leads. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <rocher@fiberbit.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The TERROR is WAITING... See more »

Genres:

Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 December 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fröhliche Weihnacht See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Pat Astley's last film. See more »

Goofs

After one of the doomed Santa Claus' stumbles upon the employee's nude and bloodied cadaver, the camera's silhouette can be seen on him. See more »

Alternate Versions

Don't Open Till Christmas was shot in 1983 but released in 1985; in the meantime additional gory murders credited to the pseudonymous 'Al McGoohan' (probably Derek Ford or Alan Birkinshaw) were shot. When it surfaced on British video 2 minutes 13 seconds was cut from the film by the censors mostly from the 'new' murders. The cut material that can be found in the dutch video release consists of:
  • the killer running a cut throat razor over Pat Astley's naked body twice to establish she is a girl;
  • the peep show santa being stabbed, spitting blood and shots of blood splashing on the peep show girl's window;
  • in the London dungeon scene a doomed Santa originally came across a blood splattered body (possibly a mannequin). His subsequent death by stabbing has been reduced as well;
  • the undercover cop Santa's death is now totally incoherent: in the full version the killer (who has a spike in his shoe) kicks him in the groin, punches him in the face with a spiked glove then punches his throat with the glove. A second Santa (played by screenwriter Derek Ford) comes to his aid and loses an eyeball in the process. All that remains of this sequence in the British version is a shot of the spiked shoe and brief shots of the first punch and the cop Santa on the floor
  • due to an editing fault, in the UK video shots of a dead body on a trapdoor are missing replaced by a brief moment from the next scene;
  • the infamous scene where Santa is castrated in a public toilet is missing several shots of blood spurting in the urinal;
  • the scene where the killer kidnaps the peep show girl (Kelly Baker) is missing shots of her being tied up with chains
  • Belinda Mayne's character being stabbed twice has been deleted
See more »

Connections

Featured in Don't Scream: It's Only a Movie! (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm the Warrior of Love
(uncredited)
Sung by Caroline Munro
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Another Christmas Holiday Slasher
14 August 2001 | by matt-282See all my reviews

"Another Santa is slain," is the quote one person says early in this movie and that about sums it up for the outline. Set in London, England during the Christmas holiday season, someone killer is going around killing anyone dressed as Father Christmas, while two astonishingly stupid Scotland Yard detectives track him down and dither. Most of the abundant splatter is nothing new here as we see one Santa after another get either shot, stabbed, speared, burned, cleaverd, electriuted and even castrasted. Gore and splatter fans will not be disappointed. But here the victims are not the sympathetic bunch as every Santa victim is either a derelict, drunkard, drug user, or loser we most wish the killer would get. Edumond Purdom who directs and stars as the lead detective, Inspector Harris, who's in charge of investigating the murders, serves up some potential suspense and a fair amount of black humor, but the script plays it very straight.

As for the rest of the plot, although we know that Inspector Harris is not the killer, he appears to know a lot more of what's going on with the killings than the other characters, one of whom is a woman who wants the killer brought to justice since her own father was one of the many victims. The rest of the movie is not as amusing as it sounds, but one can't completely dismiss a horror film like this that piles up more victims than a room full of attorneys. Pop star Caroline Munro even makes a musical cameo appearance as herself during one of the stalking/killings which adds a fairly nice touch to such nonsense.

Contents: 14 killings; lots of messy looking corpses; a masked psycho; costumed victims; slight suspense; mediocre mystery; not bad as usual. With Pat Astley as the model who keeps removing her top.


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