18. Don't Open 'Till Christmas

It's your Horror Review Advent Calendar.
25 Christmas themed movies.
Ho, ho, ho.

Director: Edmund Purdom (1984)
Starring: Edmund Purdom, Alan Lake, Belinda Mayne
Find it: IMDB, Amazon

It's Christmas in London, and a psychopath is on the loose, offing anyone he sees dressed as Santa. Inspector Harris (Purdom) and reporter Giles (Lake) team up to take down the Santa assassin in a plot that's reminiscent of the recent Blitzexcept with Santa instead of coppers. The mysterious murderer goes about garrotting and spearing Santas like there's no tomorrow. Well, after Christmas, his gimmick is a bit redundant, so time is short. His actions seem extreme, but let's be fair to our killer; dressing as Santa is usually the modus operandi of a bell-end.

Aside from the terrible attempt at police procedural, the story is little more than a thinly veiled excuse to have  a lot of people murdered whilst dressed as Father Christmas. The British setting is a novelty, but otherwise it's just another urban slasher movie ala Maniac Cop and the occasional Giallo. The mystery elements are tedious, the red herrings predictable. And in a city populated by people too stupid to, y'know, not dress as Santa when there's a Santa-hating murderer on the loose, the killer has plenty of victims to choose from.

The script is atrocious, even by 80s' slasher standards. People say things like "he was the victim of another Santa murder" and ask "are you any nearer to solving these Santa Claus crimes?" with a straight face. "What possible reason could I have for killing Santas?" asks a suspect. "My father's just been murdered. I can't concentrate," says one poor girl. Indeed not, and especially with that horrible music going on in the background. The acting is just as bad, either stilted or a bad Roger Moore impression. 

If I opened a parcel to find she'd given me a copy of Don't Open 'Till Christmas, I would punch my Grandma square in the fucking face. You should definitely open before Christmas - someone might have given you a copy of this movie, after all. I hope they kept the receipt.

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