Bloody New Year is an odd British sci-fi/horror mash-up originally released in 1987, which hit Blu-ray thanks to Vinegar Syndrome. The film, directed by Norman J. Warren (Satan’s Slave, Prey, and Terror), follows a group of carefree British teens who, while spending the day at the carnival or the “fun fair” as the Brits call it, end up rescuing a young woman who is being terrorized by a group of malevolent carnies. After wrecking the carnival in the process of their rescue, the teens go for a boat ride as you would, and end up on an isolated island with a haunted hotel on it.
Got that so far?
Not only are there the spirit manifestations as you would probably expect in the hotel, but the property seems to also be stuck in some sort of time displacement that happened on New Year’s Eve in 1959. With its inhabitants nowhere to be found, the teenagers explore the property and are horrifically dispatched one by one. I am going to be honest, the film makes some pretty big jumps in logic, but manages to pull it off with a creepy atmosphere and a dedicated cast that takes the concept seriously to its bitter conclusion. This allowed me to succumb to the film’s odd charms, overlooking the uneven plotting and homemade SFX.
The transfer here was scanned and restored in 2K from archival elements, but there appears to be a fair amount of damage throughout the presentation. This could be because this maybe all that was available. It really doesn’t detract too much from the enjoyment, but it does become very apparent in outdoor scenes. The lone extra here is a director’s commentary on the disc, which gives a fair bit of insight into the production and how the story was actually based on a real event that inspired the director. It’s an interesting listen, and if you enjoy the film you will find it pretty informative.
Bloody New Year literally just powers though its 94-minute runtime, getting odder by the minute and throwing out every rule that would possibly constrain the narrative presented. It shouldn’t work, but somehow it does and is pretty entertaining as well. About 30 minutes in, I was just rolling with the punches as the film seemed to fall off the rails and get back on, over and over again. Given we don’t see a lot of indie British horror over hear in the states, it’s worth a watch for that reason alone. But that being said, it’s still an intriguing watch that definitely surprised me.