Holiday Horrors: Bloody New Year (1987)
New Year’s Eve is one of those holidays that doesn’t get a lot of love from the horror genre. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I can only think of two full-length horror movies that use this holiday as either a back drop or as the theme of the film. One is 1980‘s NEW YEAR’S EVIL and the other is 1987’s BLOODY NEW YEAR. Today we’re gonna focus on the later film. Every thing from the DVD cover to the title make this one seem as though we’re gonna getting a good old 1980’s-style slasher flick. Nope, wrong. Very wrong. When I first realized this wasn’t gonna be a slasher flick I was praising the filmmakers for trying something different. When it was all over and done I was cursing those bastards and wishing there was a hockey mask or a knife-glove in this film!!
The film begins by following around six English “teens”. Yeah right. The only way these actors are teens is if their ages were 25-teen. As the opening credits roll we’re privy to listening to some really crispy song. Based on the opening song I thought the film was gonna be a teen sex romp. Our old teens are spending the day at the beach and enjoying the rides on the pier; think ‘Coney Island’ with bad teeth (okay there; I got my requisite English-bad-teeth joke out of my system). Spud (Colin Heywood), Rick (Mark Powley), and Tom (Julian Ronnie) are minding their own business when they see a couple of ruffians harassing an American girl. We know they’re ruffians because they’re wearing leather jackets and have slicked back hair. Okay; so they’re ruffians from the 1950’s!! But our clean cut ‘teens’ are wearing pastel colors, high-collared Izod shirts and Member’s Only jackets (maybe they weren’t really Izod shirts and Member’s Only jackets, but you all know the look I’m talking about). Well the three swoop in to save the American girl, Janet (Nikki Brooks), and draw the wrath of the hooligans. Before you can say, “Did you floss today” (okay; that was my last one), Lenny and Squiggy are chasing the preppy douchetards around the carnival rides. I swear we were seconds away from The Benny Hill Show music busting out when the guys grab their girlfriends Carol (Catherine Roman) and Lesley (Suzy Aitchison) and jump into a boat (!?!!) and hit the ocean to escape. Do you see where this is going?
The boat hits some rocks and sinks, forcing the group to a nearby island. There’s of course a nice hotel on the island … the same hotel we saw in the pre-credit sequence. Here we witnessed the hotel in celebration, ushering in the new year (1959). It was horrible; people were dancing and singing and drinking and making out and … wait; that’s not that bad. But now it’s 1987, in the middle of the summer and the hotel is still set up for a New Year’s Eve celebration. At first the group seems to be followed around by some creepy guy but this is soon dropped. But before you can say, “This isn’t FAWLTY TOWERS,” you realize this is gonna be a ghost story. Kind of. At first the ghosts are helpful, giving them towels and lighting fires, but soon they become a little aggressive and start attacking our post-teen preppies. The ghosts are able to inhabit inanimate things and use them to attack their hotel guests. Yeah, I know. In one particularly harrowing moment, the gang is attacked by a vacuum cleaner!! Oh the horro- … wait; what?
The entire bulk of the second, third, and fourth acts is about the ghost inhabiting shit and attacking. And yes; it got really old really fast. The gang wasn’t the best group of actors I’ve seen and they all did really stupid things to make their situation worse. The plot lumbers along until we get an explanation of what the hell is going on. Do ya wanna know? Really? Well I wanna tell ya because there’s no way in hell you should waste your time on this flick. So here it goes: [SPOILER AHEAD ... REALLY STUPID SPOILER AHEAD] It turns out that it’s not really ghosts attacking them at all. The entire island is actually caught up in some ridiculous kind of time warp caused by some vague experiment dealing with time gone terribly wrong. Now the people who were on the island celebrating New Year’s Eve back in 1959 are stuck on the island forever; never aging, never dying. The exact time-experiment is never explained; how this botched experiment relates to what is happening on the island is never explained; and why I was still watching this wet fart of a movie was never explained. Fuck me.
The only thing fun here is the fact that BLOODY NEW YEAR is like totally an 80’s flick. Its like a little time capsule and we’re getting to see how people acted, dressed, and talked back in the 80’s. The overall film also has that “80’s feel” to it. If you’ve seen a lot of 1980’s horror films, you know what I’m talking about. There’s an intangible, unexplainable feel that 1980’s horror films have, and BLOODY NEW YEAR is totally soaking in it!!
But overall I can’t recommend this film. It’s pacing is completely off, it’s bloodless, and it has a really stupid explanation that explains nothing. Worse of all, the connection with New Year’s Eve is tenuous at best. I wanted to see a horror film based around New Year’s Eve. But the people in the hotel could’ve been celebrating Martin Luther King Day and nothing else in the script would’ve had to have been changed. This one is more fun to hate than to watch. Skip it. But then again, it does explain more than the LOST finale!!
Director: Norman J. Warren
Plot: 1.5 out of 5 stars
Gore: 0 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer