Here at 52 Bad Stories, I consider it my job to watch bad movies so you don't have to. And with today being New Year's Eve, I just watched a real stinker. You're welcome.
Filmed in 1980, New Years Evil was part of the wave of cheesy slasher films that followed on the heels of Halloween where the murders were centered around a particular date on the calendar (Cf Silent Night, Deadly Night, April Fools Day, My Bloody Valentine, etc,) This one, of course, centers on New Years Eve. It follows a killer who is calling into New Years Eve punk rock call-in show (oooh, so edgy) and commits murder as New Years falls on each US Time Zone, promising the host that she will be killed at midnight Los Angeles time. He does exactly that, and then there is a big twist ending (which one could have guessed about 15 minutes into the film) where we learn who our killer is and a set up for a sequel that never came. Pretty standard early '80s slasher fare.
It starred absolutely no one you have ever heard of and the only person you might recognize is the host of the show, who was played by the same actress who played Pinky Tuscadero on Happy Days a few years earlier.
It was a terrible movie, full stop. However, it wasn't without some redeeming qualities. The first is that the killer seemed to be very human, it was weirdly realistic in that aspect. He didn't go around in a mask (the trailer shows him in one, but there was a reason for that), he made mistakes, he wasn't bulletproof and he couldn't magically teleport to always be in front of his victims. At one point, he has lured a victim into his car under false pretenses and has a definite look of exasperation on his face as she babbles on incessantly about Transcendental Meditation and other such subjects. He also gets annoyed at his schedule being thrown off. He is definitely not some superhuman murder machine like Jason or Micheal Myers, and frankly, I appreciated that.
And the end doesn't come down to some virginal "final girl" killing him at the end a type of ending that was already well on its way to being a cliche even in 1980. Nope, the person he was threatening actually (GASP!) called the cops, and the police did their job and figured things out, and THEY took care of the problem.
Would I recommend this movie? Not really, I mean not as an "Oooh, this is some classic that any horror fan must see" anyway. But if you want to watch a bit of 80s slasher cheese that is thematically appropriate for a night like tonight, check it out.
Happy New Year from 52 Bad Stories and More.
I usually talk about horror, sci-fi and fantasy movies on this blog. But today being Christmas Eve, I think I will talk about how It's a Wonderful Life is the most Humanist Christmas Movie ever made.
For the three people out there who may be unfamiliar with the movie, It's a Wonderful Life is the story of George Bailey. George is a young man with big dreams who life seems determined to keep in his tiny town of Bedford Falls, despite his dreams of traveling the world. He ends up running his family's Building and Loan and when his absent-minded uncle misplaces some money just as a bank examiner comes to look over his operation, becomes distraught and suicidal. An angel (in training) named Clarence comes to his aid and shows George what life in Bedford Falls would be like if George had never existed. Eventually, George decides he wants to live and the whole town rallies to help him out of his predicament. Clarence gets his wings, the end, Roll credits
Now, some of you may be thinking "Humanist? It's a movie about an angel, sent by God to prevent a suicidal man from carrying through. It's as religious as hell," and on the surface, you would be right. But really, the angel and the God stuff, those are all plot devices and little else. Clarence could be a genie or a Time Lord, and it would only change the film on a superficial level.
What the film is really about is how George made the world a better place by his actions. George saved his brother's life when they were kids, and his brother went on to save the lives of others on a troop transport in WWII. Young George prevented the pharmacist he was working for (distracted because of the death of his son) from killing someone with the wrong medicine. George took risks with his Building and Loan to make sure that as many people as possible in Bedford Falls had a roof over their head. And so on. And he did these things not because of some vague cosmic reward for being good, not because he was inspired by God or the inherent goodness of the universe, but because he was just a good man and these were the things a good man should do.
And in the end, because he did these things and despite having no expectation of reward, when his own hour of need came, the many many people he had helped and befriended came to his aid. Happy endings for all, even the trainee angel who finally earned his wings.
Now, those among my readership who know me personally know that I am not an optimistic man. And I realize that the real world does not work out so nicely cut and dried as it does in a hopeful Christmas movie. But still, the idea of just being good, for goodness sake, is still a laudable goal, attainable or not. And if we all strove to do it, maybe life would be, if not wonderful, at least less shitty. And that my friends, is what Christmas should be all about.
Merry Christmas everyone, from all of us (ok, both of us) at 52 Bad Stories and more
I have sidelined with the flu all week and am doing some Christmas prep today, so no story this week. We will resume regular service on Monday. I have something a little bit different planned for Christmas Eve.
In the meantime, Merry Christmas to one and all and enjoy this fine piece of acting from Silent Night, Deadly Night part 2. Someone is definitely going on the naughty list.
With 2018 swiftly drawing to a close, I thought I would look ahead to the movies I am most looking forward to in 2019. Yeah, I know some/most/all of them are bound to disappoint me, but hey, hope springs eternal and all that. And I am feeling kind of David Letterman-esque, so I will do this as a top 10 list.
Just had the first serious snow of the season here at Bad Story HQ. So that has me in a Christmassy mood. So I present to you, my favorite Xmas Carol...
Weirdly, this short little take of of It's Begninning to Look A Lot Like Christmas is a condensed but otherwise accurate of one of my favorite Lovecraft stories, The Shadow Over Innsmouth.
Enjoy, and I will be back with the second part of Murder in Space on Friday.
I can't believe I have run this blog for four months now without a shout out to the pinnacle of Bad Movie appreciation. Mystery Science theater 3000. If you are not familiar with it, the premise is that a mad scientist is forcing a guy to watch bad movies (as part of some vague scheme for world domination). The guy (there have been three 'test subjects' over the years) has several robot companions, two of whom watch the movies with him. It's all an excuse to make wisecracks at the expense of some of the worst movies to ever "grace" movie screens. It's a consistently hilarious show.