Better Watch Out

Posted in Audio by - October 12, 2018
Better Watch Out

Released October 2018
SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

Hoping to take Liv’s mind off of recent events, the Doctor takes his companions to Salzburg to experience a traditional European Christmas in ‘Better Watch Out’ by John Dorney. The Christmas spirit on display is not all goodwill and cheer, however, as the Krampus nears and brings with it a wave of despair.

Liv has no knowledge of Christmas or the Doctor’s many references given her upbringing on Kaldor, but she quickly gets into the spirit after initially seeming quite suspect about this supposedly magical time of the year amidst the holiday bustle and environment that the sound design so wonderfully captures. Framed as a dark fairy tale with Paul McGann providing evocative narration, ‘Better Watch Out’ sees the horror of the myth of the Krampus take to the streets of Salzburg alongside the people dressed as the hairy and horned being on Krampusnacht this the fifth of December. With the Doctor’s ominous description of the figure as the dark side of Christmas, the Krampus comes in the night to steal the naughty children away to Hell, prompting Liv to question just what the relationship between Santa and this creature is and just how the two confirm how to treat each child but in the process providing a remarkably dark and frightening backdrop as a zero tolerance policy comes into effect.

There are plenty of allusions to famous literary holiday classics peppered throughout, but the tone never becomes too saccharine or overindulgent as Christmas specials are more wont to do. Yet as fiction meets reality and imps precede the vaunted arrival of the Krampus itself, the horrors of humanity are likewise brought to the forefront and prove to be just as terrifying even if on a more intimate scale. To this effect, Jamie Newall gives Shafranek whom rumours suggest is exorbitantly raising his tenants’ rent to force them out onto the streets in order to sell his properties for tremendous profit the needed harshness and aloofness to resonate as an effective foil for the Doctor as he tries to appeal to a basic sense of morality and humanity. Armed here with only his sharp wit and a cunning mind, the Doctor is nonetheless the one with the longest list of dark acts to his name, and the range of emotion Paul McGann effectively explores as his more carefree and optimistic Doctor from before the Time War who so loves the Christmas atmosphere quickly becomes entwined in the bleaker depths of humanity and the forces taking action because of them is staggering.

‘Better Watch Out’ fluidly transitions from festive romp to frenzied horror in remarkably short order, the grisly image of what happens to those taking part in the celebrations at hand vividly highlighting the terror of this living nightmare. It’s almost unfathomable that the story of the Krampus has not featured in a Doctor Who story before, but the darker undertones implicit to this figure make for a natural fit for the franchise that Dorney maximises in this opening installment as events culminate with a bombastic entrance. Though these events will naturally be tied to the resolution of the following tale, the setup work in what upon first listen appears to be another tale unrelated to the looming Ravenous threat that has only been hinted at as of yet makes the most of strong performances and nods to holiday staples to provide a fitting October Christmas outing filled with cheer and terror alike.

This post was written by

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.