“Call me eeeevil!” That’s how the killer in this movie actually says the line while speaking through one of those cheapo voice processors you can pick up at WalMart. Terror inducing? Hardly. Unintentionally laugh inducing? Oh yeah.
Marketed as yet another holiday themed slasher movie, New Year’s Evil plays like more of a traditional thriller with the police trying to apprehend the taunting Eeeevil as he murders one victim every time midnight strikes in a different time zone. His final announced target is an aging MTV-type VJ, which allows the proceedings to be generously interspersed with all the excessive 80’s style clothing and hairstyles a person could want. And like any slasher/thriller worth its salt, there’s the obligatory BIG REVEAL of the killer’s true identity. (WARNING: Here there be spoilers!) In this case, the reveal is kind of bizarre as Eeeevil turns out to be the VJ’s husband who feels the woman’s intense focus on her career is driving their teenage son insane. And apparently he’s right as the final shot shows the young man donning his father’s mask, intent on finishing the job dear old dad started. Take that all you ladies who have to work outside the home. Guess the makers of New Year’s Evil didn’t take to heart the previous year’s Dolly Parton opus Nine To Five.
If these kinds of shocking reveals appeal to you, then this is your week at mass. As the Catechism notes, “The great feast of Epiphany celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the wise men (magi) from the East, together with his baptism in the Jordan and the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee.” Each of these events, in some form, reveals the messianic nature of Jesus to all the peoples of the world. What makes the Epiphany shocking, both to non-Christians and (sadly) those Christians who subscribe to religious pluralism, is that “ALL THE PEOPLES” part, the idea that Jesus is the way and the truth for the whole world. For those folks, the Epiphany is as outrageous as any reveal ever put to celluloid.
Now as Christians, we don’t discount the elements of truth to be found in other faiths. Commenting on the 2000 Vatican statement Dominus Jesus, Father John Lombardi notes that “God's Life, Teaching and Way is not exhausted through the Catholic Church: an infinite God can never be explained by a limited entity even though it is divinely inspired. Thus, some of God's grace (esp. spread by the Holy Spirit) manifests outside the Catholic Church's domain.” But, the good father continues, “since the Catholic Unity, established upon St. Peter and continued today, in and through [the Pope] and the magisterium (official teaching office) is God's "normal" manifestation for the world and salvation of souls, we should want to propose Jesus Christ as the singular Divine Manifestation of God to the world.” Simply put, we Christians are kind of required to keep the shocks coming.
(For my regular readers who might be curious as to what this is, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that work and family commitments are going to keep my big, lengthy reviews down to probably one a month for the foreseeable future. That’s just not enough space to share with you all of the truly awful movies I see. So each week I’m going to bring you a brief look at some wretched piece of celluloid I’ve watched as filtered, however tenuously, through the readings for that week’s Sunday mass. Hope you enjoy.)