ICFH 2022 Advent Calendar- Day 6
Updated: Dec 7, 2022
ICFH 2022 Advent Calendar- Day 6
For me, I always love watching as many Christmas horror films I can lay my hands on in the month of December as possible. I mix it with more traditional seasonal fare, sure, but there's something about setting a horror flick during "the most wonderful season of all." Today you can put "Christmas Horror" in your browser and find dozens, no, hundreds of Christmas horror flicks streaming. It wasn't so easy back in the 80's. Back then we relied on cable and videocassettes.
Warning: Spoiler Alert! I am going to write openly about this flick and I am going to reveal spoilers. If you haven't seen it, or haven't seen it in a while and want to re-watch it, please do not read any further.
ICFH 2022 Advent Calendar December 6- Don't Open Till Christmas (1984)
Directed by Eric Purdom? I wonder if he is any relation to Edmund?
At a festive holiday soiree, costumed revelers dance drunkenly and spill drinks all over the place. (Watch for "Party Man" Dick Randall among them.) Kate (Belinda Mayne) helps her father get into his Santa suit for the party's Father Christmas finale.
When Santa takes the stage, someone in a shrunken head costume chucks a spear through Santa's mouth, from behind him, and nobody saw a thing.
So it begins, a Christmas slay-a-thon with a twist. Instead of a killer Santa Claus on the loose, we have a killer on the loose killing anyone dressed as Santa Claus.
Inspector Harris (Edmund Purdom) of New Scotland Yard is on the scene and takes an immediate liking to Kate. He suspects her boyfriend Cliff (Gerry Sundquist) of the murder but can't make it stick.
The whodunit structure is pretty much done in with the introduction of Giles (Alan Lake), a supposed newspaper reporter with "Smiling Eyes" who actually turns out to be Inspector Harris's psychotic brother, recently escaped from the asylum.
Filmed in 1982, re-shooting with director Alan Birkinshaw was required to finish it after original director, star Purdom, walked off the project and first replacement director Derek Ford was fired after a couple days. You would think that would make for a mess of a film, and it is, but somehow it is all pulled together by the explosive climax.
Splatter mayhem includes slashing, stabbing, cleaving, chestnut face BBQ, electrocution and one poor Santa loses his Frank 'n Beans in a public restroom.
Although both men and women are slaughtered, this is an atypical slasher since the main targets are mostly men. (One woman dressed in a Santa robe is spared, but not before she's petrified with gooseflesh from being exposed to the frigid cold.)
Also atypical for the genre, there is no final girl. (Hey, I already warned you about spoilers.) Maybe we can count a final boy, but for the most part no one is left alive by the film's ending.
Caroline Munro shows up to perform a rock song for no good reason and the budding romance between Inspector Harris and Kate is as uncomfortable as the budding romance between Joe Spinell and Caroline Munro in Maniac (1980).
I caught up with this one as a teenager, on VHS courtesy Vestron Video. Man, those were the days. Don't get me wrong, I love the new Blu-ray that was just released from Vinegar Syndrome, but thirty-five years ago, there was nothing like finding some cool little slasher flick on a label like Vestron, Media or Lightning and being totally blown away by it.
Eighteen killing days till Christmas. Beware of creepers with "Smiling Eyes!"