Redbrick’s TV, Film, Gaming, and Music Editors come together for their top picks to watch and play this December
Films to Watch
Film Editor James Richards
Wake in Fright (1971)
‘Tis the season… for a freewheeling Ozploitation nightmare. Christmas has come to “The ‘Yabba” (an isolated Outback township) – and Gary Bond’s down-on-his-luck teacher has fallen in with the rowdy local larrikins: a bad bunch who ply him with booze and drag him to senseless kangaroo hunts. Stranded, penniless and egged on by balding bogan-in-chief Doc Tydon (Donald Pleasence), the hapless everyman succumbs to an increasingly vicious cycle of degradation, depravity and sun-drenched violence. Short of a fatal mauling by nine red-nosed reindeer, a trip to “The ‘Yabba” is the most unpleasant way you could spend this Christmas
Games to Play
Gaming Editor Louis Wright
Hitman: World of Assassination (2016/2018/2021)
IO Interactive’s Hitman: World of Assassination is a fantastic relaunch of the franchise. With each level acting as an open world with countless story options available, and even more ways of assassinating targets, the game encourages player freedom to a degree few others do.
But what draws one in to Hitman at this time of year in particular are the Christmas events available. Most pertinent is the ‘Holiday Hoarders’ mission which puts a Christmas themed skin on the game’s first level. Being set in a sprawling mansion, the most pertinent targets are clearly Harry and Marv from Home Alone (1990) in a strange crossover event. Having the stoic Agent 47 take the place of Kevin McAllister in the classic dynamic is bizarre but works strangely well and makes Hitman all the more replayable.
Dead Rising 4 (2016)
In many ways Dead Rising 4 is not a good game. The gameplay loop is flawed, writing is bad, and just fails to live up to the quality of its predecessors. But one area where it succeeds is it’s Christmas atmosphere.
From the design of Willamette Mall being filled with festive decor and ornaments that can be used to battle the hordes of zombies, to the menu screen’s music being a soothing mix of jazz renditions of Christmas classics, the game exudes an odd festive cheer. And this is what Dead Rising 4 is really memorable for. Compared to the first 3 games, it has its niche as a Christmas game, a genre that is woefully unexplored.
TV Shows to Watch
TV Editor Kylie Clarke
Married at First Sight UK
Married at First Sight UK is a dating show superfan, I have spent the last month or so enthralled by the newest season of Married at First Sight UK. As the name reveals, this show’s insane concept revolves around a group of strangers being matched together and meeting for the first time at the altar (although it takes some suspension of disbelief to buy into the validity of these marriages). As you may expect, this concept leads to a whole lot of drama, which I can’t help but love watching. This latest season in particular has offered a host of unique participants, shocking couple swaps and huge bust-ups. MAFS is not as completely immoral as it sounds, however. The show aims to help participants figure out what they want in a partner, navigate relationship issues and build their own self-esteem. Whether you like dating shows just for the drama (like myself) or you are genuinely interested in the psychology of dating, this show is an experiment which has a lot to offer.
TV Editor Tom Stone
Love Death + Robots
There isn’t anything that will get you in the spirit of holiday cheer quite like ‘All Through the House’ from the second volume of Love Death + Robots. Adapted from a short story written by Joachim Heijnderman, this episode centres on two children excitedly awaiting the arrival of Father Christmas and their presumably well-deserved presents. However, Saint Nick is not quite the anthropomorphic-magical-human being society has told us he is. In fact, his heritage may be better derived from the indescribable and ancient depths of the Cosmos detailed in the Necronomicon. So go forth and learn of the true Santa Claus to prepare for his inevitable coming. And why not also delve back into the anthology of excellent animated short stories of Love Death + Robots!
Albums to Play
Music Editor Isabelle Porter
London Symphony Orchestra (cond. André Previn) – Swan Lake
I always love classical music, but I especially love it as the holidays start approaching. This 1976 recording of Tchaikovsky’s ballet Swan Lake by the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by the famed André Previn, is particularly haunting. The emotion of the work is deeply felt, giving the familiar melodies an air of profundity. Previn’s skilled conducting allows the score to stand on its own, capturing as much of the heart of a ballet performance as one can without dancers. Although Swan Lake is certainly not the Tchaikovsky ballet associated with the holiday season, I find the sweeping and melancholic air of the work to be an apt soundtrack to the colder months.
Key Tracks: Op. 20, Act 1, No. 2, Valse in A-Flat Major & No. 9, Finale; Act 4, No. 29, Andante – Allegro agitato – Alla breve – Moderato e maestoso
Music Editor Devin Birse
ZeRecords – A Christmas Record
ZeRecords’ A Christmas Record is in my opinion the perfect Christmas record. Utilising the odd but legendary labels wide array of musicians, A Christmas Record is perfect for any point in the season. While often drawing on the labels signature ‘mutant disco’ sound the diversity on display is what makes this record astonishing. Whether it be genuine Christmas classics like Waitress’s ‘Christmas Wrapping’ or the super smooth pop of August Darnell’s ‘Christmas on Riverside Drive’ there’s plenty of easily enjoyable gems. But what makes this record shine brighter than any lights of stars upon the tree is the genuine oddity of some of its inclusions, like the free jazz nightmare ‘Christmas With Satan’ or the genuinely haunting ‘Hey Lord’. This is Christmas by way of New York 1981, and all the pleasure and horror that time entails.
Essential Tracks: ‘Christmas With Satan’, ‘Christmas Wrapping’, ‘Things Fall Apart’
Music Editor Hannah Gadd
Pale Waves- Who Am I?
Pale Waves’ second studio album Who Am I? is an essential listen as we approach winter, it’s grungey pop sound makes a great soundtrack to the darker, colder months. The record is bursting at the seams with emotion and anguish making it the band’s most deeply personal body of work. From the guitar-driven, pop-punk fueled ‘You Don’t Own Me’ to the heartbreaking piano ballad ‘Who Am I?’, the dynamic album has everything you need to get through the winter. Heather Baron-Gracie’s distinctive voice is flawless throughout and compliments the band’s sound perfectly. ‘Who Am I?’ sounds like the musical lovechild of Alanis Morissette and Avril Lavigne yet remains distinctly ‘Pale Waves’. The record is thoughtful and authentic and as the band finds comfort across eleven tracks, we as listeners can do the same.
Music Editor Oliver Scoggins
Everything Everything – Get To Heaven
Rarely will you find an album that contains lyrics such as ‘Just soft-boiled eggs in shirts and ties’, ‘shoot a starving porno for the yuppies in the circle’ and ‘his bow was anger / But his blade was this cursed time’ in an album that is so endlessly listenable. The warm, semi-futuristic indietronica that Jonathan Higgs and co. create here is infectious, gripping you by your throat and forcing you to hum along. Particular praise should be given to the production; it sounds modern and slick, without compromising the authenticity of the instrumentals. Songs like ‘To The Blade’ show the indie rock leaning side of the album, being groovy and driving forward, whereas songs such as ‘No Reptiles’ bring out the electronic aspects, with a particular emotional draw (despite the abstract, egg-related lyrics). Overall, Get To Heaven proves an underrated but extremely tight pop album, and one to check out if unfamiliar.
Key Tracks: ‘No Reptiles’, ‘Blast Doors’, ‘Fortune 500’
Enjoy this month’s Editor’s Picks? Check out these picks from October and November: