While most students at a finishing school for girls go home for the Christmas break, a few remain in order to party with some boys. But before long a masked murderer puts on a Santa suit and starts stalking and killing them.
In the film's prologue, things go wrong at a party two years earlier, and a laughable mannequin - oops, I mean female student - plops to her death from the balcony. Could this have anything to do with the present day killings? Keep reading to find out. And be warned - there are some easy-to-work-out spoilers ahead.
This is a very typical early 80s slasher film. The 20-something-year-old "teens" are incredibly annoying and the performances are generally quite poor, with lots of overacting. The women find it hard to keep their tops on, and it gets confusing trying to keep up with who's sleeping with who, as they switch around so much. Oh, and there's a creepy man called Ralph who seems to pop up in unexpected places, warning them they're all in danger. (Yes I thought that sounded familiar, too)
After the first murder victim is discovered, a police inspector arrives with a vaudeville style checked jacket and questionable acting skills. He tries to reassure the kids, while inappropriately touching the 'virgin' girl's face for a long time. He assigns two rubbish policemen to watch the place, one of which promptly starts inappropriately stroking the 'virgin' girl's hand. (What is it with her and creepy men?) Meanwhile the smart-arse teens make unbelievably stupid comments like "I think we're all getting worked up over nothing!" and "You're not buying this crap are you?" - presumably not understanding the concept of a recently found murder victim on the property, missing friends, and a killer still on the loose.
The killings and horror effects are not too bad - when you can actually see them. The film is so badly lit, that in some scenes you literally can't see what's going on. It also uses one of my pet hate filming techniques - night scenes that are clearly shot on a bright sunny day and darkened artificially, to look like - well, they look like they've been shot on a bright sunny day and darkened artificially. Which instantly takes me out of the film. The directing is plodding at times, and I found myself looking at the clock quite often. The killer's Santa outfit was probably an original idea at the time, but although there are murders early on, the costume doesn't appear properly until the last half hour of the film.
The big surprise reveal at the end of the movie is almost identical to the one in - let's just say a much more famous slasher movie of the same date, which also contains a prophet of doom called Ralph, and the line, "They're dead! They're all dead!" However there is a second twist which might make you say "Oh" in mild surprise.
Despite following all the classic slasher rules of the period, and some reasonably good killing effects, I might have enjoyed the film more if it had a better pace and was better lit. I could have forgiven the acting and annoying characters then. This is something to watch for slasher movie completists really, otherwise there's nothing new or even memorable here. 2/5