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GOOD TIDINGS (2016)
aka BLOOD TIDINGS
Directed by Stuart W. Bedford
Written by Stuart W. Bedford, Giovanni Gentile, Stu Jopia
Starring Colin Murtagh, Jonny Hirst, Garry McMahon, Claire Crossland, Alan Mulhall, Alexander Mounsey, Emma Hind, Steve Sears, Andrew Oyeneyin, Marcella Hazell, Julia Walsh, Neil Gallagher, & Giovanni Gentile, Liam W. Ashcroft, Stu Jopia as the three Santas!
Find out more about this film here, @GoodTidingsWeBring, and on Facebook here
What’s worse than a killer Santa Claus stalking you on Christmas Eve?
Three killer Santas on Christmas Eve! And that’s what GOOD TIDINGS has in store for you in this killer Santa extravaganza!
GOOD TIDINGS begins with news of an escape at a mental hospital and a Santa Claus being murdered by three guys in masks wearing hospital gowns. Opening Santa’s trunk, the trio (dubbed Moe, Larry, and Curly in the credits) find two more Santa costumes. Muttering nothing more than sadistic laughs (one wheezy, one dopey, and one silent), the masked Santas happen upon two homeless men squatting at an abandoned courthouse. With a bag full of food collected from shelters and garbage bins, those gathered in the makeshift home plan a feast, but the trio of Santas plan on having a massacre.
GOOD TIDINGS wastes no time before getting to the stuff we watch these films for. The bodies start to fall immediately and the horror never really lets up until the very end in this Santas vs. hobos shocker. There’s quite a bit of gore and quite a bit more suspenseful scenes as slo mo and the tight quarters mix well in making the carnage intriguing and unsettling. Even though the pace keeps a good clip all of the way through, director/writer Stuart W. Bedford and his co-writers Giovanni Gentile & Stu Jopia full in the spaces with some really great scenes where the Santas take their time playing with their kill before they do it or scenes of close calls where the Santas almost find the people hiding in the maze of adjoining offices and closets. There’s also a fun subplot filled with heart as one of the organizers for the homeless community is suffering from PTSD, yet trying to maintain a relationship with another homeless woman. The choice to have these sympathetic characters as the victims here is a nice move as the homeless are rarely given faces and stories in any kind of genre. Sure many of them are sliced through like cattle, but the human element is theirs as well and it’s a decent one.
The gore in GOOD TIDINGS is effective as well. One Santa kills up close and personal with a sharpened candy cane, while the other two swing away with bats and machetes, making each instantly distinguishable despite wearing the same costume. The black holes for eyes in the masks and plastic faces make for a terrifying sight—making these Santas scarier than your usual guy in a beard and hat. The look of these killers, their number, and their brutal rampage is something unique and powerful, despite the fact that we’ve all seen killer Santas do their thing before.
One issue I had with GOOD TIDINGS is that much of the film is way too well lit and while there is tight quarters and a maze like quality to the hallways, I would have liked some harsher lighting and more plays with the darkness in order to amp up the already hectic mood. I wouldn’t go so far as to request that the trio of Claus cut the lights, but the well lit scenes lack a bit of something in the terror department at times. One thing I found exceptional was the music, which plays around using minor notes and clangs and bangs warping classic Christmas songs as if it were being played by a zombie orchestra. The music takes the carnage to a new and more demented level when paired with the massacre. GOOD TIDINGS might be about ten minutes too long for its own good as well, but all in all, it’s a film that distinguishes itself from most killer Santa films in simple, yet effective ways.
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