I've reviewed a lot of 'bad' horror movies here on X-E, but generally, I could find enough merit in the movies I've chosen to where I'd say it's worth it for you to check 'em out. The whole point in watching these cheese-fest 80s flicks is for a cheap laugh - you never watch them expecting to be scared or enthralled. It's just pure crappy entertainment. Sometimes though, these movies transcend into a pit of suck so deep and profound that even I can't recommend them. Such is the case with Bloody New Year, a 1987 cult 'scarefest' so absolutely terrible that I couldn't even begin to give you my feelings on it with the available words I know - I'd first have to invent new obscenities and then find a way to multiply their intensity tenfold before I could start.
An absolute mess of a motion picture, this is basically the story of a bunch of idiots who end up at a haunted hotel on an abandoned island. The basic story doesn't seem too hard to fuck up, but boy oh boy, did they ever go above and beyond the call of duty to find a way to. The effects, of course, are shitty beyond compare - but that's not my gripe. The acting is terrible, and the story rarely makes sense, but even those aspects aren't my main complaints. This thing just lumbers along with virtually no continuity seemingly forever, with the 'cool' scenes placed between twenty-five minute intervals of blank drivel. I can deal with shitty movies just fine, but boring movies really tick me off. Even if it's just for kicks, what's the point of making a movie where it's very clear neither the production staff nor the actors had any interest in it whatsoever? If the budget was a hundred grand, they should've just gathered everyone and gone on a ten-day cruise around the Caribbean or something. At least that'd provide some positive memories, and nobody would've had to feel guilty all these years for participating in a film that brings it's audience so close to the brink of suicide.
Our new buzzword term for the day is 'fucking stupid,' since it's the only statement I know that really gets across the feeling most of the action leaves you with.
Now, before I begin the review, I want to warn you - I've skipped only to the things worth mentioning, which was a task in itself. Don't get confused by what you construe as a cool picture or worthwhile scene. You never, never, never should view Bloody New Year. It's terrible beyond all human comprehension. If vicious aliens arrived from Pluto and started blasting the shit out of our planet, most would be upset, but I'd thank them for at least eradicating every last copy of this movie from our once-beautiful Earth. Oh yeah, by the way - this movie has virtually nothing to do with New Year's, an insightful omen to it's level of quality. Here's the review...
Things kick off at a carnival, where a lot of bad 80s horror movie often find themselves. Our group of characters are eclectic, and they may or may not have been friends before the carnival, but it's never adequately explored, and for that I'm thankful, since their conversations consist mostly of bad jokes and giggle noises. Our star group steals the carnival's master key, (the little made-up device that makes all the rides work) and get chased around by three hooligans who may or may not be carnival staff. Wow. It took all of three minutes for the movie to become too confusing to comprehend. I ended up watching the first ten minutes three times, and after failing to understand the plot, I called my girlfriend in the room and let her have a crack at it. Her response? 'You know, the Golden Girls are on.'
The scene drags on forever, with the three thugs chasing around our friends while no one else in the carnival notices any of them, and finally, after realizing that the mainland is far too small to escape these quick-witted fat morons, they decide that they've all gotta pile in a tiny boat and hurry out to sea. Yes, they all go into a shitty kayak to avoid confrontation with the carnies. All this really does is set up how they end up on Haunted Island, but really, couldn't they have come up with a better way? Why not just have them think the spooky hotel on the island was a neat vacation spot? I'll tell you why: this movie is fucking stupid.
The boat ride gives us a chance to figure out what the characters are all about, and thank God for that. If we didn't get this establishing scene, we wouldn't have known that all the guys were horny and all the girls were dumb bitches. See how hard they tried to avoid the cliches in the horror movies of their era? I'm surprised nobody's been felt up yet. Don't worry - it'll happen in just a few minutes. I can't remember a single one of these guys' names, and they don't even deserve made-up ones for the sake of easy reviewing.
After hitting a rock, the boat starts to sink, but fortunately, they're close enough to a mysterious island to just wade in. Of course, it begs the question as to just how many miles away this island is from the mainland. If nobody knows about it, surely it's gotta be pretty far. But they were only sailing for ten minutes, so it couldn't be much more than a mile. Then again, pointing out flaws like this is self-defeatist because they'll be far more important flaws to point out later. The 'Grand Island Hotel' is empty, but there's decorations for Christmas set up. Not old decorations, mind you, because one of the idiots mentions that they're 'still fresh.' I hate it when my tinsel spoils.
They decide to just stay there anyway, mostly because their boat is broken and they don't want to go all Lord of the Flies out on the coastline. A weird maid shows up and gives them dry clothes, and while they don't question why she's the only person on the entire island, it's later revealed that she's one of the ghastly ghouls. It couldn't have been more obvious to us, of course, but it must be the ghosts' lucky day: not only do they get new victims - they get incredibly stupid ones that'll fall right into every one of their traps.
The first real 'ghost' sighting happens in one of the hotel bedrooms - a chick sees a mysterious figure in the mirror, but when she turns around, it's gone. Then she looks back, and the ghost is still in the mirror. She turns around, and it's gone again! Then, she looks in the mirror again, and it's back! She turns around, and nothing's there! And she does this fifteen more times! I love Bloody New Year!
You know, if that was me, and I saw a ghost in a mirror - on an abandoned island, no less - I think it'd seriously scare the shit out of me, to the point where I'd be swimming to another continent. Preferably Australia, cause I like kangaroos. But this chick, who will be afraid of footprints in the sand later in the movie, doesn't seem too affected. In fact, she completely forgets that she even saw a ghost in mere moments, opting instead to level out the movie's quota of makeout scenes...
See? It's indicative of one of the movie's biggest problems - even after people start getting killed by demons, nobody seems to realize that they're in any kind of trouble. It's like they're pretending this is one of those great Murder Mystery Weekend Getaway packages, and they've gotta find out who did the 'crime.' By the way, the chick above is the only one in the flick even remotely close to 'attractive,' the others looking more like hyenas who gained the power of speech through a top-secret lab project.
Next up, the haunted vacuum cleaner. Even as a vacuum starts chasing them around the hotel, the characters just laugh it off and attribute it to the acid they took, which was a necessarily evil to get through their scripted lines without self-doubt. The worst thing is that all of these events are presented in a way that's meant to be scary, as if we're gonna howl in fright at the sight of a vacuum cleaner cleaning a hallway without a housewife attached to it. Ditto for the electronic Santa Claus doll, which goes off sporadically. Yeah, it's *real* creepy. Actually it's crappy, but at least that's phonetically close to creepy.
The hotel's movie room starts playing a film out of nowhere, so everyone decides to just watch it first and ask questions later. Why spoil a movie with stupid questions like: 'hey, there's no one here, how's that thing on?!' These guys must be serious film buffs. And that's their downfall, because an Arab guy jumps off the projector screen and scratches one of the characters to death. No, he just kinda scratches his cheek now that I think about it - but it must've been one serious scratch, since it killed him immediately. The other characters stand around watching the Arab ghost attack with total indifference, opting instead to just look in the action's general direction while looking bored. That seems to happen a lot in Bloody New Year.
At least there's a plus side. This guy who died was by far the most annoying character in the movie, so at least he's out of the way now. And I've gotta admit, it's pretty creative to have an Arab ghost jump out of a slideshow screen to kill someone. Stupid, but creative.
The characters respond to this tragedy by going on a walk, acting like this was some chance accident and not the eventualities of intentionally staying inside an obviously haunted house. Then, they solidify their position as morons by splitting up, with some of them running alone into the forest, while others opt to check out some other parts of the hotel as of yet unchartered. What in the Hell is wrong with these people? If ghosts are popping out of movies and killing your friends, it's usually not a good time to start playing Watson. Nobody's even mentioned that they should try getting off the island, and because it's pretty damn obvious, I'm gonna go ahead and spoil it for you now: nobody survives in Bloody New Year. They all fall prey to demon attacks. And they deserve it.
Elsewhere, one of the girls gets attacked by a net. A haunted net. This flick really brings a new definition to 'shoestring budget' - you'd probably spend more on a new pair of shoelaces than they did putting this shit on film. Didn't anyone bring up the fact that nets aren't scary in a production meeting? Christ...
Director Joe: Well, Eddie finally got the screenplay together. I'm not too sure about this 'net' sequence...do you guys think nets are scary?
Producer Mike: AHHHH! That's even more frightening than the vacuum cleaner.
Producer Bob: Joe, nets are definitely scary. I say we run with it.
Producer Mike: Maybe Fangoria will give us a write-up - 'The Nefarious Net Scene'?
Director Joe: Okay, cool. We can't really afford a net though - do you think anyone will notice if we just tangle a few strings together instead?
Producer Bob: They'll be way too moist with terror to notice.
Producer Mike: Heh, and they thought Freddy was scary?! Wait till they get a load of this.
Speaking of all things scary, two of the idiots, alone in the forest, are surprised to find that the bushes are rustling and there's ominous laughter following them. They seem to use the same laugh track found on The Brady Bunch to illustrate this, so the end results of course are anything but frightful. How do you get around a scene requiring ghosts when you can't afford to cast anyone else? Make them invisible! So, we get a ten-minute long scene where laughter chases our friends through the woods, with the whole thing made even worse because it's matched with background music that sounds like the theme from Dr. Mario. By this point in the movie, I had resorted to pricking myself with syringes to stay awake. My only regret is that the syringes weren't filled with cyanide, in which case I'd have died before having the chance to want to die by sitting through the rest of this.
The laugh-chase-scene manages to get worse, as the kids stand in horror while hundreds of footprints materialize in the sand. This goes on for roughly three hours. But, you know... it's 'fucking stupid' and all that. They manage to top this by having one of the girls attacked by an indoor blizzard, getting covered by what's supposed to be snow, but looks more like globs of cake icing. The chick doesn't attempt to just leave the room, because that's far too easy and logical. Instead, she throws herself into the walls and furniture until materializing outside and wondering if she just dreamt the whole thing. They use that trick a lot, too. One thing worse than shitty scenes are shitty scenes that might not have even really happened. And the only thing worse than those scenes are 'ghouls' who are just regular people with silver nail polish painted on their face. Speaking of which, take a look at this:
One of the carnival guys comes all the way to the island to retrieve the master key, which presents so many problems, I'm not really sure where to begin. Firstly, how'd he know they went to this particular island, when he doesn't even know they're offshore? Second, would they really sail out of retrieve a master key when by all accounts they should have more than one device that makes their rides work? Thirdly, I really didn't want to have to see this fat oak again, but there he is and here we are. He goes after one of the chicks, who immediately turns into a demon - the demon picks him up and throws him through the wall to the rocks below, but not before the 'wall' is revealed to be a few pieces of cardboard with loose-leaf paper stapled on to it as wallpaper. Terrific.
Plus, take a look at that makeup job. Max Factor eat your heart out. They keep reusing this same demon throughout the rest of the movie, mostly because they already drained the three dollar budget on the electricity bills that possessed vacuum ran up. In any event, the demon rarely makes an effort to 'catch' her victims, instead relying on standing around till they do something stupid like try to hug her or steal gum out of her pocket instead. You'd be surprised how often the remaining characters find a reason to walk directly into the ghosts' open arms. Not that I'm complaining - the sooner they're all dead, the sooner Bloody New Year is just a bad memory.
The fools make the cardinal error of splitting up - some of them try to go find the carnival goons' boat, while two of them remain in the haunted hotel to seek refuge. Well, that's pretty fucking stupid. I mean, are they just overlooking the fact that outside if infinitely more safe, (haunted footprints are less threatening than real ghouls) or are they just that afraid of the depleted ozone layer ruining their complexion? Whatever the case, the guy who stays at the house doesn't take long to turn into one of the demons, an ongoing theme that totally rips off The Evil Dead, and the girl who's there with him shrieks and screams for so long that you're going to really wonder if you've died and are rotting in Hell. I can't imagine Hell being much worse than sitting through Bloody New Year - at the very, very least, it's gotta be equal to the third or fourth layer. The sixth and seventh layers of Hell are kept clean for deceased evildoers to watch Diane-episodes of Cheers for all of eternity.
Ah well, time for some Amazing Scene Alerts - even a shitfest like this will strike oil if it goes to the well often enough...
A ghost/demon/whatever sneaks up on one of the two chicks left, so one of the two guys left smacks him across the head, I think with a golf club, causing his head to explode with more intensity than most nuclear bombs. I'm not sure I quite understand these ghosts. How do these people keep killing things that are already dead? And if they are indeed killing them - why do they keep appearing again in the very next scene? Complicating matters is how some of the ghosts look human and are mainly harmless, while others look like something straight out of Thriller and try to eat people. Are there two separate ghost camps on this island with different sets of ethics, or were they just not trying? I think the next scene gives us our answer.
Next up, the Elevator Scene. Now, in reading reviews of this movie around the net, a lot of people have mentioned this as a 'cool' scene. I've gotten in the habit of checking around for other reviews of the movies I take a look at because I'm curious to see if there's any plot point I missed, or if others share my gripes and praises. In the case of Bloody New Year, I couldn't disagree with the reviews more. Some rational and sane people label this as the pile of bat vomit it is, but others seem to think it's a 'smart' horror movie with interesting twists and neat special effects. My only conclusion after reading those reviews is that baby ducks have learned how to use the internet.
I checked out a few of these reviews before I even watched the movie - I needed to know what I was getting into. So, I was looking forward to this elevator scene, because some have said that it's real creepy and fantastic. Instead, all I see is a girl getting vaguely touched by hands that protrude through plastic wrap, an effect so shitty and obvious that we can see the real hands behind the fluid elevator 'wall.' Eventually, she's swallowed up entirely, leaving her boyfriend a soppy mess who pounds on the wall, shouting 'no no no!' with a level of acting believability seen in most hemorrhoid commercials. I didn't think I'd find an old cult flick that'd make me rethink my policy of just renting movies based on video box art alone, but here it is. I guess I can only blame myself. This is what I get for basing the rental off the cool party skull on the box instead of listening to that little voice inside me that knew the movie would suck beyond belief. It's the same voice that made me turn down offers to see Waterworld.
At this point, there's only two characters left. One of the ghosts appears and explains the plot that we all seemed to miss - apparently, there was a terrible accident at the hotel in the 1950s, and all the victims who died aren't too particular with who they seek revenge on. That's cool and all, but I'm not sure how that Arab guy who came out of the movie screen died in the hotel in the 50s, or why some of them now look like demons. It also doesn't explain an earlier scene, where a Swamp Thing-like monster attacks everyone. Does Swamp Thing vacation at the Grand Island Hotel, too? This place must have great amenities.
If you thought things couldn't get any worse, you're terribly wrong. After the ghoul finishes explaining why the humans must be killed, all of the other ghosts show up and start moaning. Then, the two idiots end up on top of a pool table, which spins around the room for a few minutes while the ghouls just stand still with their arms outstretched for reasons as of yet undetermined. To top things off, the pool table crashes into a wall, sending them flying through a window. I didn't use any pictures from that scene because, in addition to being completely ridiculous, it was shot in a room so dark that you can barely even see what's going on. The director must've shot himself when he saw the finished product. And not that I'd wish harm on any filmmakers, but at least it'd mean he couldn't strike again.
Finally, they manage to find a boat, but it's too late. The guy comes back to shore after being tricked by a ghoul masquerading as his dead girlfriend, as he finds himself buried neck-deep in quicksand while another ghost prepares to slice his face with a weedwhacker. He does, and while the chick cries in the boat, she's pulled under it by an unknown assailant, and everyone ends up as part of the sinister never-ending 1950s Christmas party at the hotel forever after. If this isn't the worst movie I've ever seen, it's pretty damn close. I wish I wasn't over 17 so the guy at the video store couldn't legally let me rent it. Alas, I'm 23 - old enough to rent R-rated crap festivals and sadly old enough to purchase a gun with which to do myself in after watching them. I have to admit, the thought crossed my mind. Death seemed more pleasant than Bloody New Year. So I guess it succeeded at being scary in one respect. In every other respect, it totally blew.
Overall Rating: Absolute F. This movie is the love child of Cool As Ice and The Worst Witch. Stay far, far away from it unless you really hate yourself.
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More By Me: Click here to read my article on the NYC star-studded premiere of Minority Report!
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