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Bloody New Year

Boasting one of the best VHS covers ever, “Bloody New Year” doesn’t deliver on its promise until too late, and then only barely.

Editor’s Note: After a hiatus, The Daily Dig is returning to Morbidly Beautiful. We’re welcoming the return of one of our favorite columns by resharing this Dig, originally posted on December 6, 2022, in celebration of the new year.

On the run from some carnival punks, a group of squares hide away at an abandoned island resort but find it haunted. Let’s dig into 1987’s BLOODY NEW YEAR, directed by Norman J. Warren!

As I See It

Directed by Norman J. Warren, who is responsible for an earlier Dig of equal sleaze value, Satan’s Slave, this film is filled with tropes and half-assed gags.

We start off at a carnival with a bunch of squares who we’re supposed to be rooting for getting into it with some carnival punks (one of them being an older, overweight guy). Their escape leads them to a sailboat that winds up at an abandoned island resort in Wales.

The resort is decorated for Christmas and New Year’s (the film is set in July), but there’s no one around except for a maid who pops up randomly.

Most of the film features a timid poltergeist with things coming to life that wouldn’t scare a child. Books are closing. Vacuums do the cleaning for you (this is pre-Roomba). Most dreadful is the wind-up Santa toy that dances around on his own.

The new wave music is pretty good, specifically the opening track. Musician Nick Magnus created it, along with his band, Cry No More. Nick most famously played with classical guitar phenom Steve Hackett, who had some decent New Wave and progressive rock albums in the seventies and early eighties.

The most depth we get is the Arthur Crabtree film Fiend without a Face playing in the resort theater. That happens to be a film about an invisible killer. “Fuck metaphor; let’s go literal on them!” That’s what I imagine was said in the production meetings.

Warren himself has come out and said how rushed the production was and how it was mostly the result of an impatient producer who just wanted a horror film to bank on.

I don’t imagine much money was made from this, but they definitely didn’t have to spend all that much time on the final product, it seems.

Famous Faces

No one sticks out for me, but I can’t tell you how many times I passed this VHS on the shelves of the video store. I’m not sure what kept me from renting it. I must have had a vision of how horrible the content was.

Of Gratuitous Nature

Setting a horror film at a carnival always provides some good visual fodder, but I’m pretty sure they could have come up with a better way to get these kids to the resort. A sailboat doesn’t seem like the most prudent form of escape.

Heartthrob

It’s the cover art. It has to be the cover art.

Ripe for a Remake

There are a million other ideas you could make before you decide to remake Bloody New Year.

Spawns

No progeny to report.

Where to Watch

Vinegar Syndrome released a Blu-ray of Bloody New Year with sparse extras beyond some new art and a limited edition slipcover. You can stream it on Tubi, Arrow, Plex, and Flix Fling.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 1


THE DAILY DIG
The Daily Dig brings you hidden genre gems from the 1960s-00s you may have not yet discovered. You’ll get a brief rundown of everything you need to know, including where to watch each title for yourself. Come back each day, Mon-Fri, for new featured titles. CLICK HERE FOR A TIMELINE OF DAILY DIG COVERAGE.

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