Notably different from the other festive horrors of the 80s, "Don't Open till Christmas" takes a new twist on the Xmas horror theme as, apart from being set in Britain, it has a killer that's preying on Santa’s, as opposed to the killer being a Santa himself.
Police are called in to investigate the killing of a wealthy businessman who was shot with a harpoon gun whilst dressed up as Santa during an Xmas party. They initially suspect the daughter's boyfriend, but it soon becomes apparent that the victim was just the latest in a long line to have fallen prey to a serial killer, who's been targeting people dressed up as jolly St Nick during the festive period..
As the film progresses, we are treated to more and more scenes of various Santa’s being slayed (sleighed?) in numerous gory ways, from simple stabbings, to being roasted on an open fire (I kid you not!) and even chased into "The London Dungeon" waxworks, where they're tormented and finally killed by one of the props on display. There's also a very bloody killing in a lavatory using a cutthroat razor, which I won't go into great detail about, but is bound to make every male viewer cringe.
Written and directed by Edward Purdom (a regular in 80s Eurohorror films), who also played the lead role of Inspector Harris, this very British movie was really more of a gory detective drama than a horror, but was still quite entertaining to watch, even if the plot does become somewhat disjointed half way through (probably due to Purdom quitting part-way through filming, resulting in numerous re-shoots as supporting cast members had to fill in for him).
Not the best of the Xmas horror films, but it’s certainly not the worst either. If you can get hold of an uncut version, it makes for better entertainment than watching the Queens Speech on Xmas day anyway. Look out for former Bond girl and B-movie actress Caroline Monroe who has a brief role as a singer.