Pail Andolina from Wrestling with Film is jumping in to help out this month with some Christmas horror reviews. He’ll be sharing several over the next few weeks, so if you have the holidays and horror, good news!
It’s that time of year, the time for Christmas fear. I find the genre of holiday horror fascinating. It is a time usually associated with happiness and celebration but the genre likes to skew those things in favor of the gritty ugliness of the world. Nowhere is that more prevalent than in my viewing for the evening, Good Tidings.
Good Tidings is a film from the United Kingdom that would never fly in per-certification England. It’s ugly, it’s mean spirited, and although it centers around a homeless veteran with a heart of gold, in the world it portrays, no good deed seems to go unpunished. Whereas most good deeds are rewarded, our protagonist Sam’s deeds for the local homeless who have taken shelter in an old courthouse are met by hellish slayings by 3 deranged men in Santa costumes.
At the beginning of the film, a drunken Santa impersonator is killed by three masked men in hospital gowns who discover a small cache of Santa costumes in the boot of their victim’s car. We then meet Sam, our good natured veteran on the hunt for some food for his friends back at his shelter, on his route he is approached by another vagrant, John, who is hungry and begs to come with Sam. They arrive back at the building where he and his friends have taken up residence but the car full of demented Santa Claus have spotted them and chooses them as prey. Tying up the doors to the outside and rigging most exits with holiday-themed booby traps, the men go on the prowl to deck the halls with bowels of the lowly.
Although the movie is two years old I’d hate to go into more detail about the film as it’s something that really needs to be watched by anyone who enjoys horror. This movie feels like a movie that would be shown in seedy parts of the city or scratchy screens at the local drive in in the 70’s or 80’s.
The soundtrack is mesmerizing, it is full of old school synths, and grindhouse grooves. The soundtrack also seamlessly melds holiday tunes into far more sinister sounds. The antagonists are mostly mute throughout the film except for excited shrills, shrieks, maniacal laughter and guttural growls. A majority of the dialogue in the film is between the homeless occupying the courthouse and apart from the first half of the film, dialogue as a whole feels scarce.
The emotion in the film is largely conveyed through soundscapes and visuals. All in all Good Tidings was a very pleasant surprise for me and it’s a shame I’ve waited so long to finally give it a viewing. Among the many Santa killer fronted films this one rises to the top of them. I don’t hear or read much about it but it is deserving of repeated viewings and I do recommend it to everyone who likes their Christmas dripping with red and mean.
Good Tidings is available on Amazon Prime.