Written by: Michael Den Boer on December 25th, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: UK, 1984
Director: Edmund Purdom
Writers: Derek Ford, Al McGoohan
Cast:Edmund Purdom, Alan Lake, Belinda Mayne, Mark Jones, Gerry Sundquist, Kelly Baker, Kevin Lloyd, Wendy Danvers, Caroline Munro
DVD released:December 6th, 2011
Approximate running time: 86 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Mondo Macabro
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.99
Synopsis: A psychopath with an axe to grind with Santa Claus, goes on a killing spree and targets anyone that looks like St. Nick.
Don’t Open Till Christmas was produced by exploitation film maverick Dick Randall, who diverse filmography includes films like The French Sex Murders, For Y’ur Height Only, The Clones of Bruce Lee and Pieces.
Reportedly this film was a troubled production from the get go, with its original director Edmund Purdom (Lucifera: Demonlover, Pieces) quitting before the film was completed. He also happened to be this film’s marquee name. He was then replaced by Derek Ford (Eros Perversion), who wrote the screenplay for Don’t Open Till Christmas. After a just a few days, Derek Ford would also bow out this film production. The film would finally be completed by Ray Selfe and the script would see a major rewrite that included a brand new ending.
Don’t Open Till Christmas’s plot fairly routine, there is not much more going on then victims being stalked and murdered by a killer. Also the killer’s motivation for who lives and who dies in not always consistent. It should be noted that the film does establish that the main motive for the psychopaths killing spree has something to do with a incident involving Santa Claus from the killers’ childhood. And just like countless other Slasher films, there are numerous red herrings thrown into the mix, in hopes of disguising, who the killer is? Unfortunately, the majority of this film’s attempts at misdirection are not that convincing.
Though the film’s narrative leaves a lot to be desired, its kill scenes are all well executed and at times very stylish. Some of the standout moments in this film include the opening murder sequence, in which a couple in the throes of love making are killed trying to escape their car. And a scene in which one of the Santa Clauses tires to find sanctuary in a wax museum. This scene is also easily the most sadistic moment in the film.
It should not come as surprise the performance in this film are rather bland. At least the film tries to cover some of the short comings up by making sure by incorporating plenty of T & A from its female cast members. The cast features several recognizable faces that Cult movies fans are sure to recognize like, Belinda Mayne (Alien 2: on Earth) in the role of this film’s leading lady and Caroline Munro (Star Crash, Maniac), who appears as herself in the film.
Ultimately Don’t Open Till Christmas is yet another mediocre entry in a long line of yuletide themed Horror, with some of the more notable of these type of films being Black Christmas and Christmas Evil.
Mondo Macabro presents Don’t Open Till Christmas in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film original 1.66:1 aspect ratio. This is another strong transfer from Mondo Macabro, that boasts nicely saturated colors, details look crisp and there are no problems with compression.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital stereo mix in English. Background noise is minimal, dialog comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced.
Extras for this release include cast & crew profiles, a text essay about the film, a ‘Making of’ featurette (52 minutes 2 seconds – 4:3 full frame) and a second featurette titled ‘The Wild, Wild World of Dick Randall’ (32 minutes 41 seconds – anamorphic widescreen). Though the bulk of the ‘Making of’ featurette is made up of onset footage, this is still a very worthwhile look into the ‘Making of’ this production. While the stronger of these two featurette’s is the well rounded retrospective about Dick Randall’s career as a producer. This is an informative look into the films he made, that also has many great stories about him, a few of which are not cinema related. Rounding out the extras is the Mondo Macabro preview trailer which includes clips from titles they have currently released or about to release. Overall Don’t Open Till Christmas gets a solid release from Mondo Macabro.