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Don't Open 'til Christmas

UK 1984
produced by
Dick Randall, Stephen Minasian for Spectacular Films
directed by Edmund Purdom, Al McGoohan
starring Edmund Purdom, Alan Lake, Belinda Mayne, Mark Jones, Gerry Sundquist, Kelly Baker, Kevin Lloyd, Wendy Danvers, Pat Astley, Laurence Harrington, Ken Hallywell, Ray Marioni, Wilfred Corlett, Ricky Kennedy, Sid Wragg, Max Roman, George Pierce, Ashley Dransfield, Derek Ford, Adrian Black, John Aston, Maria Eldridge, Des Dolan, Derek Hunt, Paula Meadows, Caroline Munro
screenplay by Derek Ford, additional material by Al McGoohan, music by Des Dolan, special effects by Peter Litton

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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The days before Christmas: Someone is killing the Santa Claus's of London, and if you believe inspector Harris (Edmund Purdom), the killer is Cliff Boyd (Gerry Sundquist), basically because he was seen at two of the murders, the one of his rich fiancée Kate's (Belinda Mayne) father (Laurence Harrington), and the murder of a nude model (Pat Astley). Harris's actions however soon enough become more and more bizarre, and the weirder the man gets, the more Kate starts to distrust him, so much so that she takes investigations into her own hands - and finds out that Harris has a brother who was recently released from an insane asylum, a brother who has been classified mentally unstable ever since he has seen a man in a Santa Claus costume shag his mother as a child - and killed him with his knife he gor for Christmas. Eventually, Harris's brother turns out to be Giles (Alan Lake), an annoying journalist who has the ability to requently show up at the most inappropriate moments - but once Kate has found out as much, Giles shows up and slashes her throat. And for Christmas, he has sent his brother a letterbomb ...

Fan fave Caroline Munro can be seen performing a disco tune in a very tight outfit.


This film took two years, two directors and two screenwriters to finish - and it painfully shows. The whole build-up of Don't Open 'til Christmas is painfully uneven, which especially shows in the ending, when several narrative threads (including one about a stripper [Kelly Baker] held in the killer's torture chamber, which has next to nothing to do with the rest of the film) are tied up in a half-hearted way without giving the audience any kind of real satisfaction, and the solution of the whodunnit aspects of the story is as much as a disappointment as it lacks actual narrative coherence - and despite all this, it doesn't even come as much of a surprise, the culprit was just too suspicious from the beginning onwards.

That all said, one is of course not inclined to expect brilliance from a slasher movie from the mid-1980's, but this one hardly even delivers good entertainment.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD