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A rock show host dubbed Blaze gets threatening phone calls during her
New Year's Eve gig. The caller informs her that he'll murder a
different person each time the clock strikes midnight in one of the
four continental U.S. timezones, and odds are that she'll be his final
One of the few slashers to have eluded me over the years, it was nice to finally scratch this off the list. It's far from a top-tier effort in the sub-genre, however. The killer, played by Kip Niven, isn't the least bit threatening. He only dons a mask towards the end of the film, so he doesn't have that to fall back on either. Also, too many scenes of dancing punk rockers and filth masquerading as music for my taste. Now, there are some quality stalk and slash sequences. Most notable is one victim's unpleasant surprise in a garbage dumpster. We also get a hefty helping of cheese, mainly from the killer himself and Blaze's dopey son. The bit with the former dealing with angry bikers at a drive-in is gold.
Overall, I was entertained, but it's not exactly good. Not even close.
Cannon's Golan / Globus productions join the low-budget slasher party.
Another significant day of the year. Means a psycho going on slaughter
spree. But actually the novelty of "New Year's Evil" is cleverly
planned out (even with the usual staples, vague descriptions and
contrived aspects) as the killer murders someone exactly at the strike
of the new year. However this includes the different time zones across
the country. When he does it, he calls in to a new wave rock TV special
speaking to the hostess and then plays the recording of his female
victim's death. This is the same memo, one after another. Because of
the set-up, just like many horror outings during the 80s we get plugged
by a couple of bands playing their music while we watch fans aimlessly
mosh about. It's padding, but at least there's a purpose behind it.
Although the constant cutting between the TV special and the killer did
make the suspense a bit inconsistent, but still it all boils down to a
preposterously intense finale and there's no hiding how compulsively
nasty it can be. Watching the killer going about his business is rather
amusing in a reckless way, because it never seems to be smooth sailing
as he encounters difficulties of some sort in trying to achieve his
goal. In all, while smart it does fall on the daft side. The killer
stays in plain sight, no hiding behind anything although the film's
well disguised twist took me by surprise and the motivation for our
killer is rather grey. Maybe something to do along these lines ("Ladies
are not very nice people")? Kip Niven is a treat as the sicko known as
Evil. It's worthwhile for just his fun twisted performance and those
phone calls. Roz Kelly is tolerable, but far from likable as the
self-centred TV hostess Blaze and Grant Cramer keeps it unusual as her
son. Chris Wallace plays the well-worn cop on the case. Also there's
bubbly support by Louisa Moritz and Taaffe O'Connell. Director Emmett
Alston's sturdy style keeps a raw edge to it and keeps it moving
forward at a good pace, despite the moments of filler. Also the music
score leaves a stinging shutter with the bone rattling cues Trashy, but
enjoyable oddball slasher offering.
"The show must go on."
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's New Year's Eve, and DJ Blaze Sullivan (Pinky Tuscadero, a.k.a.
actress Roz Kelly) is hosting a night long dance party / concert
celebrating supposed "new wave" music. Somebody else is celebrating,
but in their own macabre way: a dude named EEEE-vil (Kip Niven) is
calling Blaze's show and following through on his threat to murder
someone every time the clock strikes midnight in a time zone. The
clueless cops can't do much to stop him, as he goes through one
masquerade after another - pretending to be a doctor, a priest, a
business agent - while in the act of slaughtering unfortunate women.
"New Year's Evil" was an early production for producers Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus and their Cannon Group company; written by Leonard Neubauer and directed by Emmett Alston, it's mostly good for the laughs it provides. "Evil" speaks through a voice modulator and it's a hoot when he calls Blaze, remaining deadly serious while his voice sounds so funny. Still, as mentioned, the movie isn't without its moments, such as "Evil" having a surprise in store, inside a dumpster, for a young lady. Also, it's interesting the way the movie focuses so much on its killer, not bothering to obscure his face, and following him just as much as it follows the activities of Blaze. It's a real hoot when "Evil", while in his priest garb, incurs the wrath of some bikers and is forced to abandon his mode of transportation. Also entertaining are the hilarious extras in the dance sequences, busting some of the most lethargic and priceless dance moves one is ever likely to see. In fact, all the extras and bit players in this thing are worthy of chuckles. Adding a creepiness factor is Blaze's odd ball son Derek (Grant Cramer, "Killer Klowns from Outer Space"). Co-starring are Chris Wallace ("Don't Answer the Phone!") as the not terribly efficient police detective, and lovely ladies Louisa Moritz and Taaffe O'Connell as victims; Niven is a standout, giving his all to a killer with a thin, not very convincing motivation; Kelly's character is clearly not meant to be sympathetic, but it would help if she weren't so damn annoying in the part. The music is insidiously catchy, especially that title theme song which we get to hear a couple of times. The finale, however, falls short of being really satisfying, at least in terms of the killer's comeuppance.
Overall, an underwhelming slasher, with limited gore and no nudity, but it is entertaining in spurts.
Five out of 10.
New Year's Evil is a film that is quite similar to a lot of slasher
films, yet something about it is more entertaining than most. Roz Kelly
(Happy Days) stars as the host of a New Year's television program
featuring a new wave group. She plays an older woman who is a hit with
the younger group. She begins getting phone calls while on the air from
a deranged man claiming that he will kill. Cops arrive and beg Kelly's
character to talk to the killer on the phone, and get an idea where he
New Year's Eve is a great little slice of 80s slasher heaven. Kelly gives a great performance given the genre of the film. A highly recommended film, you will enjoy it.
... and thus I give it a 7/10 rating among its genre, that being the
slasher/horror films of the 70's and 80's. This is not a 7/10 when you
compare it to an A-List film from the same year such as "Raging Bull".
The worst of these slasher films are practically biology lessons as hot
to trot teens in some remote location find themselves being bumped off
one by one by some unknown lunatic with a literal ax to grind. These
films are boring and predictable. That's where this one is different,
even with a cast so anonymous you have to wonder why they bothered
giving their characters names different from their actual names.
The primary character is a red-headed buxom D.J. who looks north of 30 but MUST be north of 35 since she has a grown son, which she ignores completely and probably has for a long time - she is very self involved, and tonight on New Year's Eve she is supposedly going to get her big break if she can pull off hosting a rock and roll New Year's Eve celebration. It's a phone in show, and at 9PM she get's a phone call telling her that this is EVIL and he has just killed someone close to her and intends to kill someone every hour on the hour until midnight - when he intends to kill her.
At first our self-involved D.J. blows this off as a crank, but when the calls keep coming and bodies start piling up, she and the police become increasingly concerned. You see the killer right from the start as he runs around L.A. killing random strangers in rather novel ways, but the twist in this film is you have no idea who he is and why he has a bone to pick with the D.J. The killer has his own problems along the way, and this film gives you a good idea of just how rough L.A. was even 35 years ago, as the killer runs into some characters who are as bad as he is, and plus there are more of them.
On the dance floor of the New Year's Eve rock show, the dancers are shown moving like mindless zombies among the fog. These guys and gals do not look like Rotarians, so when the police say rather late in the film "I wouldn't be surprised if he walked right up on the dance floor and killed you", I had to wonder - how do you know he isn't already there? There is plenty of suspense right up to the end that still leaves you hanging, and I recommend it if you are a fan of the low budget horror genre. So transport yourself back to not a simpler time, but a different one - when phones still had cords, when there were still drive-in movies, when people still smoked in public places even in California, and when electronic devices were large enough to be shorted out with a screwdriver rather than being controlled by one self-contained microchip.
A madman vows to murder someone at the stroke of midnight in each time
zone in 'New Year's Evil'. Roz Kelly plays a 'Blaze', a famous punk
music icon who is hosting a New Years Eve bash at a large hotel. During
her television broadcast that night, a callers phones in and says he
will kill someone each time the clock strikes midnight around the
world. So that means that every hour on the hour, someone is getting
killed. This isn't a whodunit slasher film, we know the killer's
identity from the start. The movie follows him around as he stalks
various women in Los Angeles, making sure he records each murder on a
tape recorder. He calls Blaze after each murder and plays the tape
leaving her frightened. Eventually, he makes his way to where she is at
the hotel leading to a bit of a disappointing ending.
Call me crazy, but I really enjoyed this film. enjoyed it so much so, that it's become a tradition to watch it during the holiday season. I've always loved holiday horror, and 'New year's Evil' delivers. It is full of eighties cheese; the lights, the music, the hair - all of it. And the plot is actually interesting AND original! Having him murder at midnight in each time zone was smart, and it set 'New Year's Evil' a part from other forgettable slashers made at this time. The stalking scenes with the killer was done well too. He disguises himself before each murder, and makes his way around LA to different places (a bar, a drive in movie theatre) to collect his next victim. Some of the scenes with his next victims are pretty tense, and you feel for the women.
Where 'New Year's Evil' fails is with the killer's motive. They give a lame explanation, and I think the whole movie would have been better with a different motive. There is also the sub-plot with Blaze's son, who is clearly deranged. It is never fully explained what is wrong with him. Oh and the ending was sort of disappointing too. But other than that, this is a holiday horror film that all horror fans MUST check out at least once!
Happy New Year! :D
This is one of my favorite bad 80's slasher flicks with bad acting and an even worse script. Diane Sullivan, aka Blaze, a television vj hosts a New Year's Eve rock concert. When she isn't working her middle aged, unattractive self onstage, a psycho is calling her everytime he kills someone when New Year's strikes in each US time zone. The director has no desire to hide the killer's face, it's his motive for killing that's the mystery here. If you can't figure out who he really is, you'll be kicking yourself for not figuring it out earlier or because you actually sat through New Year's Evil in its entirety. The average viewer will hate this movie because it is inept, not scary, or bloody or exciting. Lovers of bad 80's slashers can sit back and enjoy this silly horror flick which boasts bad acting, non-believable situations (killer vs. bike gang), and an array of ugly, comical characters (Grant Cramer of Killer Klowns as one of them). If anything, its most redeeming feature is a typical 80's heavy metal theme song that you can rock out to at least three times during the film! (e-mail me if you know where I can find it!)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Roz Kelly is totally miscast in this. Like Helen Reddy hosting the
"Midnight Special". Think Disco Granny rather than "New Wave" icon. Her
character is so unsympathetic one hopes the killer does the audience a
favor and succeeds in his evil plan.
Best parts of the movie are the opening scenes of the late 70s early 80s Hollywood Blvd cruising ritual.
After that it's all downhill.
Muddled plot, loose ends. The logistics of doing a murder in each time zone is something not even the most prolific serial killer in history could pull off. Too many plot machinations to allow the viewer to suspend disbelief unless he's on some mind altering substance while viewing.
While hosting a New Year's Eve show on TV, a hostess tries to stave off
a psycho caller's increasingly twisted calls informing her friends are
being murdered at midnight in all four time zones until she's the final
victim of his slaughter.
Overall this one doesn't have all that much going for it. One of the many problems here is the fact that this one comes off as a bland, boring thriller which just takes so much out of the film. The fact that the premise doesn't really hold up that much is the main element against this one which is the biggest problem against this. By using a series of utterly obnoxious story lines is where that tends to fall as the different story lines really don't make any sense. There's really nothing about the killers' motive that makes any sense as to why that would initiate a slashing rampage of this caliber as the psychotic reasoning is just inane, seems to make even less sense the longer it's presented and tends to hold off plenty of uneventful moments. The fact that the premise isn't really all that spectacular enough is the prime motivator here which requires a lot of excess scenes along the way to hold itself up, some of which is found by it being dragged out indefinitely with a series of endless and utterly innocuous songs that really aren't that great as well as the fact that there's just not a lot of suspense to be wrung out of the film makes this one feel all the more boring. There's hardly any real interesting stalking here as these not only show off the killer's identity from the very start which leaves no mystery about that part of the storyline, the set-ups for the most part aren't that thrilling and the method of being killed with a small knife doesn't inspire loads of fear or provide this with tons of gore. As these are the main scenes here for the majority of the movie, that only hampers this one by keeping its main storyline from being all that interesting and enjoyable. These here do damage the film enough that the few bright spots aren't all that impressive either, starting with the big series of action and stalking in the movie-theater parking lot with the bikers being quite fun for the extended action chasing on display. There's some tense moments woven in as well, while the procedural efforts to contain him result in some rather entertaining efforts. The other area for this one was the stalking and tormenting featured in the finale which managed to get some great times here with the utterly cruel and equally ingenious tactic of wrapping a steel chain around the neck and tying it off to a moving elevator along with the fine stalking of the police against the killer to be found here is about all that works here. Otherwise, there's not a whole lot to get worked up over.
Rated R: Language, Violence and Brief Nudity.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In "New Year's Evil," Diane "Blaze" Sullivan (Roz Kelly) is the host of
a nationally televised punk-rock show on New Year's Eve. She begins
receiving calls from a mysterious killer (Kip Niven) who tells her of
his sadistic plans. The lunatic will off someone at midnight in each of
America's major time zones
and she will be the last.
"New Year's Evil" takes an interesting approach to the typical slasher flick. Instead of the killer being masked and the audience being left wondering who they are, the murderer is identified almost immediately. The mystery we're left to solve is who they are and why they're targeting radio show host Roz Kelly. What is the endgame of the stalker and why is he targeting the DJ?
"New Year's Evil" is rated R for violence, gore, language, adult situations, and nudity. If you've seen any other 1980s slasher films, you know what to expect. There's also smoking and drinking at the big New Year's party.
I don't know how much more perfect "New Year's Evil" could be. It's a fitting and entertaining holiday slasher for a time of the year that usually gets lost in all the Christmas craziness. As a bonus, the movie is a reflection of the 1980s new wave and punk rock movements that defined the era. Blended together, we get a film worthy to be added to any horror fan's annual end-of-the-year collection.
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