DVD Review: Don’t Open Till Christmas

Don’t Open Till Christmas is a yuletide slasher film set in London, England.  It’s about a knife wielding maniac who hunts down people dressed as Santa and kills them in gruesome ways.  One of the Santas is even a naked woman!  This should be a fun, entertaining film; and yet, it’s just so incredibly boring.



The film opens with a young woman putting Santa makeup on her drag-queen father.  The father is playing Santa at some kind of adult party hosted by the young woman’s boyfriend.  Upon entering the room, Santa is impaled through the back of the head by a spear.  Some of  the kills in this movie are mildly graphic but the effects aren’t good enough to give them any real impact.

The movie primarily follows some older cops at Scotland Yard as they languidly investigate the 15 or so dead Santas.  Really, nobody seems all that concerned.  You’d think, at the very least, the city’s Santas would take their costumes off before wandering down a dark alleyway alone.  Not that it would help, seeing as the killer has some unexplained ability to track down anyone in a Santa suit, no matter how out of the way they may be.

The cops initially think that the boyfriend did it, because the father was rich and the daughter was set to inherit everything.  But later in the film, we see the boyfriend playing a flute on the street while the daughter collects spare change in a hat.  What happened to her wealth?  Well, that’s just one of the things that doesn’t make much sense in this movie.  Don’t Open Till Christmas is hard to follow most of the time.  I’m not sure if it’s because the plot is illogical, or because it is so dull that my attention wavered.  Both are serious possibilities.

You never really get the sense during the movie that it’s actually Christmas.  Aside from some cheap Santa suits, and an occasional out-of-place decoration, it all looks like just another blustery autumn day in London.

Halfway through the movie we’re introduced to a stripper who sees a Santa killed outside her booth.  She’s a cute girl, though we never see her strip.  We do, however, see her wear the same t-shirt for days on end.  I mention her because the movie suddenly starts following her story, while letting the cops and the drag queen’s daughter just sit out the rest of the movie.  I guess the other actors got bored and couldn’t be bothered to finish.

Apparently, this film had three directors over its two years of filming, along with numerous script rewrites.  In the end, the resulting movie is just a mess. The concept is okay, but the execution is so unintelligible that the few elements that could have been entertaining are lost in a sea of disinterest.

My review is based on a bargain-basement DVD that I bought for a dollar a few years ago.  It looks terrible.   However, the film was just re-released by Mondo Macabro this month with a new anamorphic print and some extras, but a better looking version of a boring movie would be just as boring.