DONíT OPEN TILL CHRISTMAS
British-made silliness with
a somewhat novel twist on the
Yuletide slasher formula: this time around itís
not a mad Santa Claus on a killing spree but guys dressed as Santa who bear the
brunt of the abuse. That doesnít make it any good, though!
DONíT OPEN TILL CHRISTMAS (1984) was the only directorial effort of the
prolific English born, Rome based actor Edmund Purdom, who appeared in
anti-classics like PIECES,
NIGHTMARE CITY and AFTER THE FALL OF NEW YORK, and played the lead
role in the present film.
It was co-produced by the veteran exploiter Dick
Randall, whose other credits include MONDO INFERNO, THE WILD, WILD WORLD OF
JAYNE MANSFIELD, DR. FRANKENSTEINíS CASTLE OF FREAKS and SLAUGHTER HIGH. DONíT
OPEN TILL CHRISTMAS was very much in keeping with Randalís other films--in other
words, it sucks plain and simple.
At Christmastime in London, a drunk dressed like Santa Claus is
canoodling with a whore in a car--both are brutally killed by a man in clear
featureless mask. Several more guys outfitted as Santa Claus are dispatched in
various brutal ways by the masked killer, leading Scotland Yard investigators to
conclude that a Santa-hating serial killer is on the loose!
One Santa stumbles into the killerís gaudy underground layer and is gored
for his troubles. Another Santa is offed onstage at a concert, under the
clueless eyes of a popular singer. Still another Santa has his dick severed as
he takes a piss!
Finally the killer, an ugly-looking man, is unmasked when he kidnaps a
young woman on Christmas Eve. He explains to her why he is how he is: as a
child he walked in on his mom banging a dude dressed like Santa Claus, and so
grew up hating Santa and everything he stood for.
As a mystery this film is leaden and uninvolving. As a slasher movie it
works only because it has a much-higher-than-average body count (with a killing
every 5 or so minutes), and then only barely.
But the whole thing has a cheap, slapdash air. Itís evident from the start
that director Edmund Purdom wasnít too into his job (unsurprisingly, this was
the only film he ever directed). He canít ever seem to work up much energy or
enthusiasm in the proceedings, and the actors perform accordingly.
One thing I will say for this film: itís far less misogynistic than most
eighties slashers, with the brunt of the abuse born by men. Of course Purdom is
still careful to include much gratuitous T&A, proving that in exploitation
cinema feminism only goes so far.
DONíT OPEN TILL CHRISTMAS
Spectacular (Yeah, right!) International Films
Director: Edmund Purdom
Producers: Dick Randall, Steve Minasian
Screenplay: Derek Ford
Cinematography: Alan Pudney
Editing: Ray Selfe
Cast: Edmund Purdom, Caroline Munro, Belinda Mayne, Gerry Sundquist, Mark Jones,
Kevin Lloyd, Robin Parkinson, Alan Lake, Kelly Baker, Wendy Danvers, Pat Astley,