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  Bloody New Year Time Warp Terror
Year: 1987
Director: Norman J. Warren
Stars: Suzy Aitchison, Nikki Brooks, Daniel James, Mark Powley, Catherine Roman, Julian Ronnie, Steve Emerson, Steve Wilsher, Jon Glentoran, Val Graham, David Lyn, Rory Maclean, Nick Dowsett, Steve Edison, Roy Hill, Chas Cronk, Tony Fernandez
Genre: Horror, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: A group of five friends have settled in this holiday funfair to pass the time, trying a bunch of rides and the two girls even visit the fortune teller. Meanwhile, the boys have noticed there's an American girl, Carol (Catherine Roman), who is being victimised by the carnival workers on the waltzers ride who won't let her off and are spinning her around and around. Feeling gallant, they step in and stop the ride, which results in them being chased by the thugs for their trouble - they narrowly escape and drive away, deciding the best course of action is to take advantage of their sailboat...

The final film of British horror proponent Norman J. Warren, Bloody New Year was barely seen at the time of its release, a somewhat ignominious end for a career that arguably happened along at the wrong time for its director. The British film industry took a serious downturn in the nineteen-seventies and eighties as the cash dried up and if anyone was making movies it was the prestige productions that were garnering the attention, not the tiny budget shockers at the arse end of the business. Actually, Warren did pretty well to get his productions out there, or even completed, in those circumstances.

But he was always fighting against the lack of budget and resources, and they did harm his grand ideas, leading most of them to feature a "that'll have to do" air. Certainly Bloody New Year was not going to compete with the slicker Hollywood product, it was not that accomplished, and you would have to be very young indeed to find any of this scary as its inherent shoddiness was apparent in every frame. The trouble was, Warren's ambitions may have been admirable, but its allusions to cult efforts like The Evil Dead or A Nightmare on Elm Street failed to boost the suspense and excitement factor in this actual result.

On the other hand, some have found worth here, perhaps thanks to its God loves a trier tone that has you willing Warren to succeed against all the odds, and the fact he really doesn't is enough to make this curiously endearing. The bonus to throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks is that some truly nutty ideas were utilised, and that can generate some unintended chuckles, the sheer variety of perils dreamt up in the script containing a "one damn thing after another" quality that is benefited by the invention on display. The excuse for this parade of zombies, killer nets, a seaweed monster, a staircase ornament and more is that the cast are caught in a New Year's Eve deadly time warp and doomed never to escape.

You can certainly guess they're going for the downbeat ending to try and lend the proceedings a gravitas it simply does not have, but largely Warren opted for the succession of weird thingies happening as the group of six (cough) teenagers are stranded on an island that holds a rambling hotel, complete with ballroom for The Shining references. The director was keen to prove his film buff credentials, so halfway through the cast attend a screening of actual cult science fiction horror Fiend Without a Face, and one of them falls victim to a Rudolph Valentino in his sheik garb, but it's difficult to imagine anyone returning the favour for this. Even the attempts at being mindbending were either halfhearted or not presented clearly enough, and a lot of it was just plain stupid in an amateurish manner, like a contemporary kids' TV show somehow gone insane. But few others were giving this genre a go in Britain in 1987, so finishing it was an achievement in itself.

[Available on Arrow Player. Click here to join the Arrow Player website - there's a free trial available.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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