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Don't Open Till Christmas (1984)

Country of Origin: UK
Year of Production: 1984
Running Times: 86 mins
Format: colour     35mm
Ratio:
Sound: stereo

CREDITS

PRODUCTION
Production Company: Spectacular Trading International
Producers: Dick Randall, Steve Minasian

SCRIPT
Script: Derek Ford
Additional Scenes Script: Al McGoohan (real name: Alan Birkinshaw)

DIRECTION
Director: Edmund Purdom
Additional Scenes Director: Al McGoohan (real name: Alan Birkinshaw)

PHOTOGRAPHY
Director of Photography: Alan Pudney
Stills: John Fonseca

EDITING AND POST PRODUCTION
Editor: Ray Selfe

MUSIC
Music: Des Dolan

MAKE UP AND COSTUMES
Make Up: Pino Ferranti

SPECIAL EFFECTS
Special Effects: Coast To Coast
Special Effects Supervisor: Peter Litton

LOCATIONS
Locations: London, England, UK

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The Producers wish to thank: The London Dungeon; Scotland Yard; The Piccadilly Theatre; British Rail Traveller's Fare; Kensington Gore

CAST
Edmund Purdom (Inspector Harris)
Alan Lake (Giles)
Belinda Mayne (Kate)
Mark Jones (Detective Sergeant Powell)
Gerry Sundquist (Cliff Boyd)
Kelly Baker (Experience girl)
Kevin Lloyd (Gerry)
Wendy Danvers (housekeeper)
Nicholas Donnelly (Doctor Bridle)
Pat Astley (Sharon)
Laurence Harrington (Kate's father)
Ken Halliwell (restaurant commissionare)
Ray Marioni (maitre d'hotel)
Wilfred Corlett (Experience Santa Claus)
Ricky Kennedy (theatre Santa Claus)
Sid Wragg (dungeon Santa Claus)
Max Roman (store Santa Claus)
George Pierce (market Santa Claus)
Ashley Dransfield (drunken Santa Claus)
Derek Ford, Adrian Black (circus Santas)
John Aston (Santa Claus in car)
Maria Eldridge (girl in car)
Des Dolan (Detective Constable)
Derek Hunt (Police Constable)
Paula Meadows (dungeon secretary)
Caroline Munro (herself)
Dick Randall (party guest (uncredited))

SUMMARY

It's Christmas and someone is slaughtering their way through London's Santa Clauses in an outlandish and brutal manner. The police are baffled as likely suspects are racked up and more Santas are murdered by a killer traumatised by seeing their father, dressed in Santa costumes, having extra-marital sex.

CAPSULE REVIEW

Taking its cues from the American slasher series Silent Night, Deadly Night (numbering five instalments from 1984 to 1992), Don't Open Till Christmas is an atypical British slasher which credited director, actor Edmund Purdom nowadays disowns - it seems that Alan Birkinshaw, using the pseudonym Al McGoohan, was responsible for completing the film. Whoever is ultimately to blame, Don't Open Till Christmas is a terrible film, directed with a marked lack of wit or style and acted with all the panache of a particularly poor amateur dramatics presentation. Ford's script is so perfunctory that Purdom and Birkinshaw are forced to pad the proceedings with endless travelogue footage of London and is so mechanical that it simply lumbers from one set piece to the next with no attempt being made to actually tell a story. Things happen, people die and Purdom stands around looking embarrassed. Awful.

AVAILABILITY

UK
Video Distributor: Vestron Video; First Independent Video (VA14372)
DVD Distributor: Film 2000 (FMDV1093) - see DVD review here

USA
Theatrical Distributor: 21st Century Film Corporation
Video Distributor: Vestron Video

CENSORSHIP HISTORY

Australia
Rating: R

Norway
Rating: 18

UK
Rating: 18 (originally cut by 2 mins 13 sec; re-released in 2003 with cut footage restored)

USA
Rating: R

West Germany
Rating: banned

TIMELINE

1984
December

Day Unknown: USA – theatrical release
19: UK – theatrical release

1985
November
5: UK - rated 18 by the BBFC (with 2 mins 13 sec of cuts)

1992
June
17: UK - video release (First Independent Video (VA14372))

2003
December
1: UK - DVD release (Film 2000 (FMDV1093))
2: UK - rated 18 by the BBFC (with no cuts)

POSTER TAGS

...t'was the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring... they were all dead!

ALTERNATIVE TITLES

Do Not Open Until Christmas - alternative spelling
Don't Open Till Christmas - alternative spelling
Fröhliche Weihnacht - West German title
Nie otwieraj do bozego narodzenia – Polish title
No abrir hasta Navidad - Spanish title
Non aprite prima di Natale! - Italian title

LINKS

FOOTAGE INCLUDED IN
Don't Scream It's Only a Movie (1989)

REFERENCES

MAGAZINES

Flesh and Blood no.9 pp.50-51 (UK)
credits, review

OTHER SOURCES

screen
credits

KEYWORDS

castration, christmas, detectives, father christmas, holiday horrors, mental illness, police, santa claus, serial killers

 


Last Updated: 1 January, 2009

 


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