Shoptober: Pre-order These Christmas Horror Blu-ray Titles
As I always say, it's never too early to revel in what the Christmas horror genre has to offer, but as we edge ever closer to the onset of the Yuletide season, it's time to put some of that hard-earned pocket change toward two absolutely must-have Blu-ray discs being offered by Vinegar Syndrome this month.
First up is Deathcember (2019) a darkly diverse Christmas horror anthology film that incorporates the Advent calendar into its storytelling framework. Billed as the first cinematic Advent calendar, Deathcember features 24 macabre tales dealing with the holiday season from directors around the world. I was lucky enough to discover Deathcember while it was still in pre-production, and having covered the film for Rue Morgue magazine (issue #191) and even attended the film's North American premiere at the Anomaly Film Fest in November 2019, it's no secret I'm a huge fan of this film and what the film's masterminds (Dominic Saxl, Ivo Scheloske, and Frank Vogt) were able to conceive. The segments are wildy creative ("They Once Had Horses") and often pitch black in tone ("Crappy Christmas," "Family Matters"), but there's defintely something from everyone in this wide-ranging and diverse compilation, including a memorable Hannukah-themed horror short ("Before Sundown") and a silent-era style creature feature ("The Hunchback of Burg Hayn").
Deathcember's 2-disc (Region A) Blu-ray release comes in a gorgeous special limited edition embossed and spot gloss slipcover (designed by Chris Barnes) and is loaded with extra bonus materials, including scores of interviews with many of the film's 24 directors and:
The Making of Deathcember (23 min)
Deathcember Outtakes (7 min)
Grimmfest Q&A with producers and several directors (53 min)
Scoring Deathcember: The Budapest Scoring Orchestra recording the title theme (5 min)
"Ring My Bell" segment from the Deathcember festival cut
This Blu-ray set is limited to 2,000 and is already selling fast (1,380 left as this writing) and will be shipping around 25 October. You can pre-order here directly from Vinegar Syndrome!
The second release to celebrate is the Don't Open Till Christmas (1984), a downright raunchy euro-sleaze fest directed by British actor Edmund Purdom and produced by the duo behind the horror cult classic Pieces (1982). The plot is a rather grimy whodunnit featuring a masked killer stalking and murdering mall Santas around London in various grotesque fashions and includes a cameo appearence by buxom British bombshell Caroline Munro. This special limited edition embossed and spot gloss slipcover (designed by Robert Sammelin) will be limited to 5,000 units and will only be sold at VinegarSyndrome.com. This is surely a disc you won't want to miss and marks the first time it's receiving a loving treatment on Blu-ray besides the awfully suspect bare-bones release from a Spainish bootlegger a few years back.
By contrast to the Spanish bootleg, this version is scanned and restored in 2K from its 35mm internegative and is absolutely stuffed with new bonus features, including the long-forgotten rough cut. There's also a coterie of intriguing new featurettes, including:
"Don't Direct Till Christmas" (20 min) - a brand new interview with additional scenes director/writer Alan Birkinshaw
"Slashing Miss Munro" (34 min) - a brand new interview with actress Caroline Munro
"Purdom Babylonia" (16 min) - a brand new interview with Lilan Purdom, daughter of director Edmund Purdom
"Birkinshaw Uncut" (56 min) - a career-spanning archival interview with Alan Birkinshaw
"The Making of a Horror Film" (52 min) - an archival making-of documentary featuring contemporary cast/crew interviews and behind-the-scenes footage
"A Dangerous Place for Santa" - a brand new featurette revisiting the original shooting locations of Don't Open Till Christmas
Brand new commentary track with film historian/author Amanda Reyes and special features producer Ewan Cant
Pre-order directly from Vinegar Syndrome here and be sure to read all about the making of both films in my book A Scary Little Christmas, including an insightful interview with Dominic Saxl, one of the producers and directors of Deathcember.