Yup, that was New Year's Evil. Everybody make it out alive? Do a head count, find your buddy! Well now that we are assured that only a fraction of you failed to survive, it's time to engage in a deep, insightful conversation about this week's movie club selection. So pick yourself up off the confetti-littered dance floor, polish off that last glass of champagne, and let's talk New Year's Evil!
Jump past the bump to start this party off.
As I mentioned last week, I am a huge nerd for holiday horror films. They constitute my favorite of the horror subgenres and any time I come across one I haven't seen, like an obese child who hears there's one last house giving out candy late on Halloween night, I make it my charge to track it down and devour it. I think it helps that New Year's Evil is a prime example of both holiday horror and an 80's slasher film; the perfect one-two punch to my sensibilities. We have a killer whose motives are mostly hidden until the end of the film, who utilizes a high-concept murder plot, and who demonstrates real style and flair with his execution all while existing in a film that could not be more 80's if it tried. So I must know, are you a fan of holiday horror? If so, what are some of your favorites? Is there a holiday you'd like to see given the horror treatment?
The Theme Song
Cheesy and basic as it may be, how awesome is that New Year's Evil theme song? I love the way the movie opens with that raucous herald of the unholy events to come belting out over shots of traffic and punks arriving at the hotel. I find that it perfectly establishes the tone of the film and, in a strange sort of way, identifies the exact level of quality the viewer should expect from the film. The song is not good, but I'll be damned if it isn't catchy and fun. It's almost as ifthey are saying, "if you aren't on board with the song, you should probably go ahead and turn this off now." What did you think of the theme song? How about any of the other 80's-tastic anthems that can be heard throughout the film? What are some of your favorite rock anthems of horrordom?
I honestly feel that, as goofy as it is, New Year's Evil displays some flashes of legitimacy that at least attempt to elevate it to something more than a forgettable holiday slasher. I think the cinematography in some of the death scenes is really fantastic and hints at a heavy giallo influence. There are multiple moments wherein the light gleams from the blade in the killer's hand in the same fetishistic fashion as in something like Tenebre or Black Belly of the Tarantula. Also, I love the joke where they cut from the mosh pit at the party to a gaggle of mental patients who are doing the exact same dance as the concert-goers. I do believe there is a smidgen of commentary floating around in there. What do you think? I guess first of all, did you enjoy the film? Were there moments that offered content that was more than you expected or did you find this pretty mundane? Favorite scenes?
As much as I love New Year's Evil, you will never hear me use the word perfect or high quality when describing it. There are more than a few terrible things in this film. I think the worst has to be the woman playing the concert host. How old is she? They dress her up like a David Bowie groupie and pile on the cake makeup, but it's clear that she has to be at least 50. This only matters because they keep trying to convince us that she's a hit with the young, punk and new wave crowds which is like attesting that Weird AI Yankovich is the poster boy of the World's Strongest Man competition. Also, what is up with the killer's voice changer? It sounds like someone forgot to change his batteries and his pull string is failing. Not only that, but also the things he says add an entirely separate layer of ridiculousness to our villain. What problems did you find with New Year's Evil? Did these things irritate you to the point that you lost interest or were you able to enjoy them ironically?
What is up with that kid? You know, the geriatric rock diva's son. When he is in the dressing room with the stocking on his head trying to put rods through his ears, the movie takes a noticeable left turn. I have to admit these were the moments that got the biggest laughs during the Alamo screening last year and I can't help but giggle every single time I see it happen. That's kind of the great thing about horror films sometimes is that the abolishment of the moral compass that then allows you to butcher people can also allow for the inclusion of characters who dementia is communicated in other, more awkward ways. What are some of your favorite weirdo moments from horror films? It doesn't even have to be the eccentricities of the killer; it can be from a victim or secondary character. I would have to put Crispin Glover's dancing in Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter high up on my list.
Go on, throw out any parting shots you want. I just want to say, I always have a blast doing these and I love the comments I get from our readers. If you want to see the rest of my musings on this film, check out my review here.