Don’t Open Till Christmas (1984)

35mm film, colour
stereo, English

A British horror film directed by Edmund Purdom with additional scenes written and directed by Alan Birkinshaw using the pseudonym Al McGoohan.

Plot Summary

It's and someone is slaughtering their way through London's Santa Clauses in an outlandish and brutal manner. The are baffled as likely suspects are racked up and more Santas are murdered by a killer traumatised by seeing their father, dressed in Santa costumes, having extra-marital sex.


* = uncredited

Directed by: Edmund Purdom
Copyright by Spectacular International Films 1984
Dick Randall & Steve Minasian presents
Produced by: Dick Randall & Steve Minasian
Production Supervisor: Chris Courtney *
Written by: Derek Ford
Additional Scenes Written and Directed by: Al McGoohan [real name: Alan Birkinshaw]
Director of Photography: Alan Pudney
Stills Photography: John Fonseca
Editor: Ray Selfe
Music by: Des Dolan
Make-up by: Pino Ferranti
Special Effects by: Coast to Coast
Supervised by: Peter Litton
Locations: London, England, UK *
The Producers wish to thank: The London Dungeon; Scotland Yard; The Piccadilly Theatre; British Rail Traveller's Fare; Kensington Gore

Edmund Purdom (Inspector Harris)
Alan Lake (Giles)
Belinda Mayne (Kate)
Gerry Sundquist (Cliff Boyd)
Mark Jones (Detective Sergeant Powell)
Kelly Baker (“Experience” girl)
Caroline Munro (herself)
Kevin Lloyd (Gerry)
Wendy Danvers (housekeeper)
Nicholas Donnelly (Doctor Brindle)
Pat Astley (Sharon)
Lawrence Harrington (Kate's father)
Ken Halliwell (resturant commissionaire)
Ray Marioni (maitre d'hôtel)
Wilfred Corlett (“Experience” )
Ricky Kennedy (theatre Santa Claus)
Sid Wragg (dungeon Santa Claus)
Max Roman (store Santa Claus)
George Pierce (market Santa Claus)
Ashley Dransfield (drunken Santa Claus)
Derek Ford (circus Santa Claus)
Adrian Black (circus Santa Claus)
John Ashton (Santa Claus in car)
Maria Eldridge (girl in car)
Des Dolan (detective constable)
Derek Hunt (police constable)
Paula Meadows (dungeon secretary)
Dick Randall [party guest] *

Alternative Titles

Do Not Open Until Christmas – alternative spelling
Don't Open Till Christmas – alternative spelling
Fröhliche Weihnacht – West Germany
Nie otwieraj do bozego narodzenia – Poland
No abrir hasta Navidad – Spain
Non aprite prima di Natale! – Italy

Extracts included in
Don't Scream It's Only a Movie (1989)



Variety 19 December 1984 p.18
Don't Open Till Christmas is a poorly made horror picture about a nut killing various Father Christmases (the British version of Santa Claus). […] [P]ic serves as a tawdry star vehicle for vet British character actor Edmund Purdom, who also directed. Sad postscript here is that the maniacal killer is played by Alan Lake, who committed suicide several months ago, reportedly despondent following the death of his wife, Diana Dors. His sinister thesping in the final reels is the only thing that perks up this dull cheapie. […] Poorly scripted by British action and porno filmmaker Derek Ford, Don't is in slightly better taste than the recently notorious U.S. pic Silent Night, Deadly Night. Its chief offenses include portraying numerous London Father Christmases as drunks plus a scene of one of them getting emasculated while relieving himself in a public restroom. To helmer Purdom's credit, a genre switcheroo has the iterated bloodletting directed at men, with vulnerable women only in danger as witnesses to the psycho's crimes. – from a review by Lor



  • British Board of Film Classification – Monthly List of Videos September 1985 – note
  • L'Écran Fantastique no.50 (November 1984) p.71 – note
  • Flesh and Blood no.9 pp.50-51 – credits, review
  • Foreign Sales, Italian Movie Trade vol.10 no.2 (February 1984) pp.1, 9 (Italy) – note
  • Variety 19 December 1984 p.18 – credits, review (by Lor)


  • The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) pp.392-393
  • Caroline Munro, First Lady of Fantasy: A Complete Annotated Record of Film and Television Appearances by Robert Michael “Bobb” Cotter pp.122-124 – credits, synopsis, review
  • English Gothic: A Century of Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby p.272
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films IV by Donald C. Willis p.140
  • Horror Films of the 1980s by John Kenneth Muir pp.383-384 – credits, synopsis, review
  • The Mammoth Book of Slasher Movies: An A-Z Guide to Over Sixty Years of Blood and Guts by Peter Normanton pp.174-176