So I'm a little late with my Christmas movie entry here, and everyone knows that there are a ripe dozen or so Christmas horror movies to choose from, if that's your jam. I was going to review, and still plan on reviewing Elves from 1989, as I think that's a far less known, and far more random a choice for a Christmas horror movie review. Heck, I was even tempted to try and squeeze in New Years Evil in time for today, to throw that up on the site as well, but that is probably not going to happen. What can I say, I was stereotypically busy during the past 10 or so days, and constantly with people. People that, be it a blessing or a curse, don't want to see holiday themed horror films.
Black Christmas was a precursor to the entire slasher genre, the first real holiday themed horror movie, and the obvious influence behind this film. It was remade in 2006, has a legacy, but more importantly for my purposes it spawned multiple awful rip-offs that started popping up around 1980. Why we don't have holiday horror movies now, is anyone's guess. Sure, every once in a while they come around, but I'm looking at like 6 in the span of 4 years in the 80's. That musta been a great time to be alive.
Don't Open till Christmas isn't the typical type of Christmas horror movie, instead of putting it's killer in a Santa costume, it makes the killer someone who kills people in Santa costumes. It's a world of difference, dammit. But seriously, the killer is hunting down Santa's and virtually anyone that's wearing red and white. This being a movie, basically everyone is celebrating Christmas by wearing red and white and wearing Santa costumes, and thus potential victims are on every street-corner. I live in a fairly big city, and let me tell you I saw maybe one person a day (or less) who was all dressed up for holidays. Granted, this isn't 1984, and I'm not exactly a holiday person myself, but I'm just saying that in movies, it's always like EVERYONE celebrates big, dresses up, etc.
This movie is British, and filmed in England. I mention that because I was just going to start this the paragraph with "Scotland Yard" and you'd be left drawing conclusions. Scotland Yard is hot on the trail of the killer (well no, they're not, but they are trying to find the killer). The Santa killer kills a guy at a peep show place, and so now one of the girls is a witness to the murder. Which brings us to the other reason this movie was made: a whole bunch of topless girls.
Let's just wrap things up early here. The movie, for all the killing and all the topless girls, still isn't very good. It feels like it's done very dryly, every performance is toned down and lifeless, and the atmosphere feels the same. Most of the film we're just waiting for something cool to happen, and then when a kill happens or someone is topless, we just sit there thinking "is that what I was waiting for?" Maybe it's the pacing, or maybe it's just the general inescapable feel of the movie. Sure, cool stuff does happen. But it somehow just didn't work for me. I'll give it 3 stars though still, because the ingredients are there, and as a holiday horror movie it has a place.