Horror Movie Review: Don’t Open Till Christmas (1984)


It’s no easy task to find a Christmas themed horror that can be held up against others in the genre proudly. It’s not a holiday suited for horror & only on occasion do we get a quality movie (Silent Night, Deadly Night & Black Christmas are two good examples).

Don’t Open till Christmas is not a quality movie.

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Set in London, Don’t Open till Christmas sees a killer offing people throughout the city with no clear reasoning. A fella having sex in a car is killed, another has a spear thrown through his face while another has his face burnt on a grill that is cooking chestnuts. The killings are random with the only link being that all three men were wearing Santa suits.

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Two police officers (Harris & Powell) working at Scotland Yard (this film loves showing off that famous Scotland Yard rotating sign) are tasked with finding the killer. However, Harris is hiding his own dark past…one that links him to the killer!

Don’t Open till Christmas is a difficult watch. It’s messy looking with horrible acting that borders on sleep-inducing at times. Its plot makes little sense & it’s big revelation at the end is incredibly unoriginal as we see that our killer witnessed his father cheating on his mother while dressed as Santa (isn’t it always the way?).

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His parents got into a fight & his mother was knocked down the stairs & died. See kids? It’s not movies that make killers but abusive fathers in Santa costumes!

One of the films biggest issues is that it makes its villain very obvious from the moment he first appears on screen. There is no shock value in his reveal & even less when it elaborates on his family. As villains go he is no worse or better than many others that have appeared in Christmas horror but he lacks the visual punch that Silent Night, Deadly Night or Christmas Evil’s villains had.

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The movie does have a slight tongue in cheek approach particularly when it comes to nudity. Almost all the female characters in this movie are here to show off their bodies but they do it in a way that makes the men seem somewhat pathetic (in particularly the Santa at the peep-show). While some end up as victims it is refreshing to see others fight back & one even manages to hold her own against the killer launching him over a balcony in hilarious fashion.

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The movie goes for up close POV shots of stabbings & other violent acts. While mainly to keep the killers identity hidden these do add a more realistic style to the murders. It’s not an overly gory movie but it does possess a certain edge that sticks in the memory.

While not the worst Christmas horror movie you’ll ever see it’s hardly worth bothering with. Unoriginal & very boring, it’s big reveals are wasted by the end.


Don't Open Till Christmas
  • 3/10
    The Final Score - 3/10
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