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Only three more killing days till Christmas.

London, 1984. A man dressed as Santa follows his girl to a car for some private time. Unbeknownst to them, they are being watched by an unseen figure, who follows them to the car and stabs them both to death. Later, at one of the worst fancy dress parties in living memory, another Santa is killed when a masked man throws a spear through the back of his head. A third Santa is strangled, has his face chargrilled with his chestnuts and finally burns to death. Meanwhile, at New Scotland Yard, the police investigate a rash of Santa killings…

At his home, Inspector Harris, who is leading the case, receives a gift marked “Don’t Open Till Christmas”. Meanwhile, back at the Yard, Sgt Powell is called by a reporter, Giles, who suggests he may have some useful information. At a department store, Santa takes a comfort break and heads to the men’s room. However, our masked, Santa-hating friend is waiting for him and, with a straight razor, severs his old chap mid-flow, leaving him to bleed to death.

Kate, the daughter of the party Santa, and her boyfriend Cliff are earning a few coins busking when they are approached by Tosh Lines from The Bill pretending to be a) thin, b) young and c) a photographer friend of Cliff’s. Over a drink, Tosh persuades Cliff to bring Kate to his flat that evening for some, *ahem* ‘photographs’. Minutes after they arrive at the flat, Kate storms out in disgust at being shown a Santa suit. Cliff, however, decides that the topless model in the flat is a better bet than following his angry girlfriend and stays behind. He heads out into the street with the model, who is wearing nothing but boots, a thong and a Santa cloak, and gets locked out. Fleeing from the police in an attempt to avoid an indecent exposure charge, the model is confronted by the masked killer, who looks at her for a while but lets her go. Presumably dissatisfied by the girl, the masked man visits a peep show, where he stabs another Santa in the neck whilst watching one of the girls dance. Meanwhile, back at the Yard, Giles visits Sgt Powell and insinuates that Inspector Harris is the killer they’re looking for. Powell has Giles followed, and heads out himself to follow Harris.

Leaving a pub, a drunk Santa gets on his bike and is chased, firstly by a group of punks and subsequently by a dog, into the London Dungeon. Roaming through the displays, Santa is stalked and finally stabbed by Mr I-Don’t-Like-Christmas. Meanwhile, back at the Yard, Powell has sent decoy Santas out to try and catch the killer. There appear to be only two decoys sent, who may or may not be working in a circus on the side; either way, both are killed – one by a Rosa Klebb-style boot knife to the thigh followed by a spiked glove to the face, the other by having a bottle smashed over his head and the sharp end jammed in his eye.

Meanwhile, back at the Yard, the peep show girl (who appears to only have one shirt) is interviewed at no great length by Sgt Powell. Against police orders she returns to work, where the killer finds her, chases and captures her and chains her up in a basement. Next we visit a theatre, where another drunk Santa flees from the ubiquitous slasher. This entire scene is set against a backdrop of Caroline Munro, playing herself, performing her unreleased song Warrior of Love on the theatre stage. Sadly, Miss Monroe (by far the best thing about this movie) is interrupted by the body of Santa rising through the stage with a machete in his head. Later, Powell visits Kate, who insists that she’s checked the births and deaths records and Inspector Harris doesn’t exist. Sure that something’s not right, Kate visits Harris at his home. Presumably at this stage, she thinks Harris is the killer, making her visit to him particularly stupid, even for a slasher character. Harris doesn’t gut her, which is frankly a disappointment, but instead takes her to dinner. Afterwards, as her flat, Kate is visited by Giles, who turns out to not only be Harris’ brother, but also an escapee from an asylum. At this point, Kate receives the death the audience has been praying for from the first moment we saw her. Powell and a uniform turn up, and the sergeant chases Giles into “the old tyre depot”. Giles, however, realises he’s being followed, probably by using the gift of hearing given all the noise Powell makes, and sets a trap – connecting a battery to a car, he electrocutes his persuer and flees, returning to the basement. The peep show girl escapes and runs to the top floor of the building, where Giles attackes her with a chain. Grabbing the chain, she pulls Giles over the balcony and he falls some four or five floors, but when she goes downstairs to examine the body, for reasons best known to herself, Giles wakes up and grabs her.

Back at Harris’ house, the inspector dreams of his brother’s childhood – young Giles, on Christmas day, seeing his father dressed as Santa having it away with a young girl when his mother comes in. Lashing out, the father hits the mother around the face, causing her to fall down the stairs to her presumed death. Awaking from his dream, Harris realises it’s Christmas day (despite it being at least two days after, according to the day/night changes so far) and opens his gift, which is from his brother, to find a Santa musical box. However, in one final ‘twist’ (I use the word in it’s loosest possible connotation), the box is also a bomb, which explodes, wounding or possibly killing Harris.

Reading the above, you may find yourself somewhat confused. Indeed, re-reading it I’m somewhat confused myself, but let me clear up as best I can. Yes, the plot really is that jumbled; no, I haven’t left out key scenes which would have made sense of it. Yes, there really are that many establishing shots of the New Scotland Yard sign; no, there were no resolutions to Cliff, Giles, the peep show girl or Tosh Lines’ stories. Yes, I did spend one hour and twenty-two minutes of my life on this; no, I do not recommend you do the same.

Don’t Open Till Christmas stars Edmund Purdom, Alan Lake, Belinda Mayne, Gerry Sundquist, Mark Jones, Kelly Baker and Caroline Munro. It was written by Derek Ford and directed by Edmund Purdom, with additional scenes written and directed by Al McGoohan.
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