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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.
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
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.
... 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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Diane Sullivan (Roz Kelly) is hosting a happening New Wave New Year's TV countdown under her hip sobriquet of Blaze. All is going well as she prepares to countdown across four different timezones with New Year's crawling toward L.A. Of course, some dude calls in named Evil and has to be a total bummer by saying he is going to kill someone close to Blaze every time it strikes midnight. Like, gag me with a spoon! The only interesting thing about this might be the fact that it was the first slasher film produced by Golan & Globus. I'm not quite sure what they were thinking casting Kelly in the lead, when the film clearly would have benefited from a younger, hipper actress. The film also bizarrely tries to mislead the viewer into thinking Blaze's teenage son is the killer, which is crazy because it clearly shows the killer (Kip Niven from MAGNUM FORCE) doing his thing. It was only up from here for director Emmett Alston as he did the Sho Kosugi vehicle 9 DEATHS OF THE NINJA and the great genre-blender DEMONWARP over the next few years.
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 ***
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.
"New Year's Evil" has a punk rock icon hosting a New Year's Eve bash at
a Los Angeles hotel filled with party hardy new wavers. During the
television broadcast of the show, she receives a series of phone calls
from a man with plans to murder someone as the new year dawns on each
time zone. The problem? She's the target for Pacific Standard.
This film eluded me for years as it was scantly available on home video, which was a minor annoyance as an ardent horror fan. A recent Blu-ray release has afforded me the chance to finally see it, and it was certainly not quite what I was expecting.
While the film has been dubbed as a slasher flick, I'd actually argue the opposite it feels more in the vein of a thriller, for two reasons: firstly, the killer's identity is not concealed from the beginning. We see him in action, so there is a face to the villain; secondly, there is a minuscule body count and almost all of the violence is off screen. This is not to denigrate the film at all, but because of these reasons, "New Year's Evil" feels much more like a thriller as opposed to a stereotypical '80s body count flick.
As the film progresses toward the finale, there is a clever plot turn that is very slyly implemented from the get-go in regards to the killer, which is one caveat here that was especially memorable for me; the flipside is that the villain, portrayed by Kip Niven, is not particularly menacing. In fact, he's almost goofy in demeanor at times. Aside from this, there are some pluses here: a few fantastic murder scenes that are really well shot and constructed with suspense above all else in mind. The "New Year's murder for each time zone" plot device is clever, and the ball-dropping countdown to the first crime is particularly compelling.
There is plenty of eighties novelty here, especially in regards to the New Year's bash think "Prom Night," except the music culture of choice is L.A. new wave & neo-punkster as opposed to disco on its last breath. Roz Kelly plays the punk goddess who is hosting the party, and is fantastic in the role, while Grant Cramer plays her Oedipal son in a bizarre and hammy part. The finale is fun and absurd, and the last jab at the end is definitely smile- worthy.
Overall, "New Year's Evil" is a respectable novelty film that is great as lightweight entertainment. As I said, it works more as a thriller than a horror flick, but some well- designed stalking sequences and plot twists give it an edge. Definitely an oddball in the genre, but it's surprisingly enjoyable with all the quirks. 7/10.
My, this has always been one of my faves of the genre. It is really quite
ridiculous, but fairly 'twisty' for a run-of-the mill slasher. Kip Niven is
in my opinion, very good as the killer who switches personas to fit in
different environments in order to kill on his timetable. Grant Cramer, who
was destined for nothing more than soap fame, has a handsome yet creepy
face, especially after he forces that red hose over it. Roz Kelly does
look truly unattractive - but then look at her audience! Those 'LA punkers'
bobbing and weaving in the audience are unintentionally reminiscent of
George Romero's creations...check out their 'dancing'!
Yet I have always found the best part of the film to occur in the beginning, the first time the killer calls into the radio show. He announces that his name is "Evil" in a very odd voice courtesy of a voice manipulation machine. He is dead serious, and Roz on the other end is slightly chilled, but tries to play along: "Yeah, you're bad, you're real bad." At which point he cuts her off, still deadly serious: "NOOOO! Just EVIL!!!" It's truly hilarious if you appreciate that sort of thing.
Enjoyable for the genre.
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