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The Curator of Schlock #402 by Jeff Shuster

Don’t Open Till [sic] Christmas

Don’t Open Until Christmas

There I was, wading through crapwaters of the Orlando sewer system.  The sewer water went up to my knees and then to my waist and then to my chest. I was on my way to the secret hideout of the Revenging Manta, the famous ninja vigilante. He led the way, waves of rancid water crashing against him as he made great strides toward our destination. Eventually, we came to a ladder that went straight up to a manhole. 

“You first,” he said. — To be continued.

_______

This week’s movie is 1984’s Don’t Open Till Christmas from director Edmund Perdum. This entry in a long line of Christmas slasher movies has a twist: the victims are your run-of-the-mill department store Santas. Yeah, it would seem that some creeper has a vendetta against jolly St. Nick. Who wants to murder Kris Kringle? Honestly, all the guy does is give you free presents once a year and you don’t have to declare them come tax season. I guess the director was going for something different this time around, trading horny teenagers for middle-aged, sad-sack Santas.

The movie begins with a guy dressed as Santa getting hot and heavy with his girlfriend in the backseat of his car. Then, naturally, we get the point of view of a heavy-breather stalker. The guy and his girlfriend get stabbed to death by the killer. We’re then treated to a nasty credit sequence with a distorted take on Jingle Bells playing in the background as we watch a wax Santa Claus melt into goo. Was there an audience for this sort of thing? Were people fed up with Christmas back in 1984?

Our next scene takes place at a costume party where a Santa Claus is about to perform some gags for an adult audience. Unfortunately, he gets speared through the head by one of the guests dressed up like a shrunken head. His daughter, Kate Brisk (Belinda Mayne), cradles her dad’s body while her boyfriend, Cliff (Gerry Sundquist), goes after the killer only to find an abandoned costume. It’s up to the New Scotland Yard to solve the case.

What happened to the old Scotland Yard?

Naturally, this new Scotland Yard is just as baffled by these Christmas slayings as the old Scotland Yard would be. A Chief Inspector Harris (Edmund Purdom) is on the case. A couple of police officers go undercover as Santas at a local carnival in an effort to lure the killer out of hiding. It works a little too well as the killer emerges to slaughter them both. Too bad.

One of the sadder killings in this movie is when a sweet, middle-aged man visits a peep show booth. He’s shy and awkward and doesn’t know how to talk to the girl. He lives at home with his mother and a mall Santa job was the best he could do. And then he gets slayed by the Santa serial killer right in front of the stripper. Question: why murder a guy right in front of a witness and then leave the scene? You know she’s going straight to the cops.

What else? The glamorous Caroline Munro (of Starcrash fame) stars as herself in this movie and even sings. Makes me wonder if she had a music career and made top of the pops. You can catch Don’t Open Till Christmas streaming for free on Tubi.

Maybe don’t pay money for this one.

Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeff Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131episode 284episode 441episode 442episode 443, episode 444episode 450, episode 477episode 491episode 492, episode 493episode 495episode 496episode 545episode 546episode 547episode 548, and episode 549) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.