Wednesday, December 25, 2013

HOLIDAY HORRORS: Don't Open Till Christmas ... Oh Wait, That's Today!

It's Christmas morning and time for more Holiday Horrors from yours truly! While SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT gets most of the Christmasploitation attention it's time to turn our gaze to a somewhat underappreciated classick slice of holiday sinema from some familiar faces... thanks to Bruce Holecheck of CINEMA ARCANA for turning me on to this one...

After enduring a plethora of sinister Santas in my holiday horror research it was definitely time for a change of pace. And who better to deliver it than the Mighty Men of PIECES, namely star Edmund Purdom and sleaze producer extraordinaire Dick Randall?

Purdom – doing double duty here as both star and director – portrays effete but ineffective Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Harris (cut from similar cloth as Purdom's effete but homicidal Dean from PIECES). Seems that merry old England has been beset by a series of murders in which a vicious killer is assaulting those dressed in the trademark red robes of Saint Nick.

Nobody is safe from this horrific holiday killing spree as men and women, young and old find themselves on the receiving end of knives, machetes, spiked gloves and – wink, wink – an open fire filled with chestnuts as the murderer continually evades Harris and fellow inspector Powell (Mark Jones) while the tabloids fan the flames of a psychopath on the loose.

With a shortage of suspects, our suspicion begins to fall upon Inspector Harris (he was The Dean in PIECES after all!), especially as he begins to pay an inordinate amount of attention to Kate (Belinda Mayne) and her street musician boyfriend Cliff (Gerry Sundquist) after Kate's father – dressed as Santa for a party – gets a spear through the back of his head. (I can't shake the feeling that Kate and Cliff were characters from some discarded Naked Eyes video.)

Helping things along in the "hey, maybe Harris is the killer department" is Giles (Alan Lake), a newspaperman who suggests that there might be more to the good inspector than meets the eye, though one wonders if there might be more to Giles than meets the eye, too.

It's all a rather trashy affair, but what would one expect from a flick whose DVD case loudly and proudly proclaims its kinship with PIECES? There's many bared boobies, a porno shoot, Father Christmas getting his willie whacked off, dripping dead Santa eyeball, exploding gifts, bike stealing "punks", the London Dungeon and even the lovely Caroline Munro (as herself) belting out a tune.

DON'T OPEN TILL CHRISTMAS may not be in the same ballpark as either PIECES or SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT, but it's a nice and sleazy slice of Christmasploitation with the added bonus of mega-Purdom to pull you through any low points. You barely have to pay attention as the plot lurches from kill to kill and even when the whole thing ends you won't be able to shake the feeling that you've missed something.

The excellent DON'T OPEN TILL CHRISTMAS disc from Mondo Macabro also includes a vintage making of featurette with behind-the-scenes footage and is available from Amazon.

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