It seems like something strange happens during the holiday season. Perhaps it’s the combination of eggnog, fruitcake, and the “Spirit of Christmas” that turns average people into consumers of cheesy books and movies with zero substance. To counter this alluring nonsense, I fill my December with Anti-Hallmark-Christmas-Horror. Instead of book covers featuring Golden Retrievers in Santa hats or sparkling toothy grins from a couple wearing matching plaid flannels — I opt for depictions of Krampus kidnapping children…
A serial killer on the loose…
An isolated cabin in the woods…
In my quest to search out yuletide tales of gore, I found The Christmas Spirits – A Tale of the White Street Society by Grady Hendrix on PseudoPod, narrated by Alasdair Stuart.
This episode is a goddamn delight.
According to Grady Hendrix, ‘the White Street Society are a band of 19th Century gentleman adventurers who investigate the supernatural, often with violence, sometimes with science.’
There are several adventures but The Christmas Spirits starts in New York with a man named William arriving at the home of Augustus Mortimer. The dialog between these two men is laugh-out-loud funny. Alasdair’s voice work for each character is spot-on. I love all the times he broke character laughing at the ridiculousness that he was reading. The dynamic between Augustus and William reminded me of Sherlock and Watson-Augustus is a ‘Scroogey’ scholar of Christmas who hates everything about the holiday, especially Santa Claus. He’s reactive, spontaneous, and rude. William is the rational, faithful counterpart, forever cleaning up after his friend’s messy tirades.
In true Grady Hendrix fashion, this story is meant to be satirical and over-the-top. I mean, one of the characters is named Ms. Von Hitler and she invites Augustus to the Orphanage for Forgettable Children to investigate the seasonal disappearance of the children. Augustus’ behavior toward Ms. Von Hitler and Germans in general, is cringe-worthy but hysterical.
Once they get to the orphanage, Hendrix turns up the volume on the satire even more. I’m sure sensitive listeners will find fault with all the hideously offensive behaviors Agustus Mortimer exhibits toward Germans and orphans but for me, I received it in the way it was intended-very tongue in cheek.
It’s my recommendation that if you enjoy Grady’s unique brand of horror with humor as well as holiday tales of Germanic folklore, there is nothing here to disappoint. A full hour of delicious entertainment and yuletide fun. I will make listening to this episode an annual tradition.
About the Authors
Sadie Hartmann is known as Mother Horror on social media. She writes horror fiction reviews and other content for Cemetery Dance and SCREAM Magazine as well as Goodreads, Amazon, Instagram and other social media platforms & publications.