Chaos and apocalypse: 12 movies to say goodbye to 2021 as it deserves

  • We selected a dozen titles available in streaming with which to send this year to the trash of history: a terrifying (also fun) menu based on psychopaths, demons, riots and shipwrecks at the great New Year’s Eve party

The year is ending and, as it already happened in 2020, the trail it leaves behind is bitter, if not bleak. The annoying omicron variant, with its amazing capacity for reproduction and contagion, has only demolished the fragile psychic foundations that seemed to take shape in the middle of the year. So, waiting for 2022 to be a little more friendly and bright, there is no better way to say goodbye to 2021 than in the worst possible way: in this case, with 12 films that have celebrated the transition from New Year’s Eve to the Year. New based on psychopaths, satanic apparitions, ghosts, shipwrecks on the high seas, social unrest or simply mayhem and apocalypse.

‘The Ghost Carriage’ (Victor Sjöström, 1921)

On January 1, 1921, this silent film classic was premiered in Sweden, not in vain one of Ingmar Bergman’s favorite films. In the middle of New Year’s Eve, three drunks drink in a cemetery and one of them, played by Sjöström himself, recalls an old legend: if a sinner is the last person to die before the end of the year, he must drive the Ghost Wagon for a whole year that collects the souls of the dead. An iconic horror drama, pure film history, endowed with fascinating ghostly atmospheres and stunning special effects in the form of overlays. Available at Filmin.

‘The Poseidon Adventure’ (Ronald Neame, 1972)

Lavish production by Irwin Allen, master of catastrophe cinema of the 70s, recounts the wreck of a luxurious ocean liner during the New Year’s Eve party, after being hit by a gigantic 30-meter wave caused by an underwater earthquake and being dramatically keel up. Necessary cast of stars (Ernest Borgnine, Red Buttons, Leslie Nielsen, Shelley Winters & mldr;) for a classic of the subgenre that featured in 2006 an estimable ‘remake’ (‘Poseidon’) by the always effective Wolfgang Petersen. Available for rent on Prime Video and Google Play. The ‘remake’, available in ‘streaming’ on HBO Max.

‘Cursed New Year’s Eve’ (Emmett Alston, 1980)

The title, quite explicit, already says it all. Priceless production of the Cannon, its action takes place at a New Year’s party in which various punk and new wave groups perform, and which is being broadcast live. The presenter will receive a disturbing call from a guy who assures her that he will commit a murder every time the New Year arrives in a different time zone in the United States, herself included. A ‘slasher’ of balance, but also irresistible, perhaps due to his involuntary humor, his large catalog of deaths or his psychopath with a mask. Available in FIlmin.

‘The terror train’ (Roger Spottiswoode, 1980)

A huge ‘slasher’ starring the queen of the genre in the 70-80, Jamie Lee Curtis, and the very veteran Ben Johnson (actor in films of John Ford, Peter Bogdanovich and Sam Peckinpah). The action: a typical graduation party – of medical students – in which rivers of alcohol will flow and there will be sex. The setting: a train in overdrive. But instead of fun and sex, what there is is a psychopath wielding a knife who wants to avenge an affront from the past on a tragic New Year’s Eve night. Directed by Roger Spottiswoode, a smart guy who learned how to edit from Peckinpah and then directed ‘Under Fire’. Available in Plex.

‘Ghostbusters II’ (Ivan Reitman, 1989)

Second installment of the comic-fantastic escapades against the ectoplasms of Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. These two sign the script, Ivan Reitman directs, and Sigourney Weaver restores artwork and takes care of her baby. Five years after the first film, and since there are no ghosts to hunt, they live in anonymity, hosting crappy television shows about paranormal phenomena or performing at children’s parties. But a sorcerer from the past looks for a newborn to reincarnate in him on the last night of the year. Available on Apple TV +, Rakuten TV, and Google Play.

‘Four rooms’ (Various directors, 1994)

An ‘indie’ manifesto, with four episodes directed by Quentin Tarantino, Alexandre Rockwell, Robert Rodriguez and Allison Anders. The action takes place on New Year’s Eve in a hotel in Los Angeles. Tim Roth is the bellboy who links each story in a different room, where he meets Antonio Banderas, Jennifer Beals, Madonna, Bruce Willis or Tarantino himself as clients. There are witches, gangsters and a devilish game inspired by an episode of ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’: either you light your lighter 10 times in a row or they cut off your little finger. Available on Apple TV +, Rakuten TV, and Google Play.

‘Strange Days’ (Kathryn Bigelow, 1995)

Set in Los Angeles on the paranoid, dystopian night of December 31, 1999, when it seemed that the end of the millennium would precipitate the apocalypse, ‘Strange Days is a fascinating and visionary work that no time seems to have passed by, so much so that it seems have been shot today. Racism, police violence, social struggle, urban chaos and virtual reality, in an America on fire, from the figure of an ex-agent who traffics in images recorded from other people’s memories and the murder of a rapper by police. Exciting and feverish like the end of time itself. Available at Filmin.

‘The End of Days’ (Peter Hyams, 1999)

Unfairly battered by the critics of the time, Peter Hyams’ film was able to express, from the highest levels of demonic delirium, the fears that surrounded the crazy transit between 1999 and 2000. Here, an alcoholic ex-policeman traumatized by the murder of his The family (Arnold Schwarzenneger) must face Satan himself (Gabriel Byrne), who has returned to Earth after a thousand years in hell to impregnate a young woman at midnight on New Year’s Eve and make her the mother of the Antichrist. Unlimited blood, fire and madness to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Available to rent on Apple TV +, Google Play, Microsoft Store, Prime Video, and Rakuten TV.

‘Assault on the 13th district’ (Jean-François Richet, 2005)

The French director Jean-François Richet dared with the ‘remake’ of a cult work by John Carpenter, ‘Assault on the 13th district police station’, which was in turn a remodeling of the western ‘Rio Bravo’. The script is signed by James DeMonaco, creator of the saga of ‘The purge’, who changed city – Detroit for Los Angeles – and accentuated the tension of the original – the site of a police station about to be closed by criminal gangs – setting it on the night of the end of the year. Ethan Hawke is the cop trying to stop the mobster Laurence Fishburne from being rescued. Available at Movistar +.

” My big night ” (Álex de la Iglesia, 2015)

Raphael. Rehearsals for a special New Year’s Eve gala. At the moment, nothing strange. Real like Christmas life itself. But it is Álex de la Iglesia who directs the film, so it will not be about Raphael or the traditional television party to celebrate the arrival of the new year. A veteran star facing a Latin music hit singer harassed by fans. Tired and hungry extras about to rebel while pretending to be happy on camera. The presenters are obnoxious. Choral comedy, anarchic, parodic, very black. Available on FlixOlé, HBO Max and Movistar +.

‘Killing God’ (Caye Casas and Albert Pintó, 2017)

A well-deserved audience award at Sitges-2017, Casas & Pintó’s debut feature is a marvelous black comedy set, of course, on New Year’s Eve. In it, four members of a family are preparing to celebrate the party in an isolated mansion in the forest when a dwarf tramp who claims to be God breaks into the home. That is not the thing, because he announces that, when the sun rises in the new year, he will exterminate the human species, but first he will offer them the opportunity to choose two only survivors. Frozen laughter for a cruel portrait of human miseries. Available on Filmin, FlixOlé and Prime Video.

‘All my friends are dead’ (Jan Belcl, 2020)

Related news

Polish cinema has not only produced directors of the international prestige of Andrzej Wajda, Roman Polanski, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Agnieszka Holland or Pawel Pawlikowski. Every now and then he lets go of the cold and serious issues and immerses himself in teenage ‘thrillers’ like this one, with elements of horror and black comedy scattered throughout the many events that take place during the New Year’s Eve celebration by a group of friends. There is ‘slasher’, gore, eroticism, violent reactions and secrets that come to light. Despite its American patina, it has a very elaborate workmanship. Available on Netflix.

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