New Year’s Evil (1980): A Macabre Review.

New Year's Evil Poster

Another year has come and gone, and what better way to end 2013 with a movie fitting the occasion.  This time I go way back to 1980 with New Year’s EvilNYE marked the directorial debut of Emmett Alston, who later went on to direct such gems as Demonwarp, and a number of ninja-themed movies.  His last directing effort was in 1990, and he really hasn’t done a whole lot since.  So let’s get into my pick for the last review of 2013, and see what I’ve gotten myself into.

On New Year’s Eve, local television host Diane Sullivan (or Blaze as her fans know her) is hosting a year-end televised celebration, complete with live performances from Punk and New Wave bands and a live studio audience who act like they’re close to brain-death while dancing and thrashing around to the music.

During the show Blaze is also taking calls from people casting votes for the best New Wave hit of the year.  But one call from a man calling himself Evil dampens Blaze’s mood when he announces that he’s going to kill a person once every hour, based on when 12:00 rolls around in every time zone across the country.  Evil is true to his word, as people start dying every hour, until he announces that Blaze is next.  Police are posted around all the entrances of the television station, and everybody is barred from entering.  But will that be enough to keep this psychopath from fulfilling his promise?

New Year's Evil

“You can call me Evil. What? No, I’m not a doctor.”

Oh, and there’s a minor sub-plot involving Blaze’s son Derek who is regularly neglected by his mother, and throughout the night is unable to reach his father Richard.  So instead he stays in his hotel room for most of the night going back and forth between drugs and alcohol and getting REALLY weird and creepy.  Oh, and Derek is played by Grant Cramer, who most of you know from Killer Klowns From Outer Space.

New Year’s Evil was in my opinion pretty bland.  There’s nothing that really makes it stand out compared to other slashers out there.  But it does have it’s good points.  For one thing, Evil isn’t what you would call the “perfect killer.”  While he does manage to kill people on time, he actually manages to run into complications and almost gets caught at one point.  It was just a nice touch to see that for me.

The soundtrack isn’t what I’d call good, but it’s still somewhat entertaining given that it’s 1980 Punk/New Wave songs performed.  BEWARE!!  The main song performed, conveniently called “New Year’s Evil”, is somehow capable of getting stuck in your head.  Probably because they repeat the same guitar chords over and over throughout.  So listen at your own risk.

New Year's Evil

I’m not entirely positive that this isn’t also a zombie movie.

The acting wasn’t anything stellar, but I had no real complaints.  At least not from the main cast.  While Evil sounds moronic when he talks through his voice modulator during calls to the TV station, the rest of the time Kip Niven performed the role pretty well for 80s low-budget horror acting.  Blaze, played by Roz Kelly, did a decent enough job.  To me the character seemed like she was a Punk hostess who probably didn’t have much longer to go before she was replaced by a younger, more energetic woman, though that was never actually mentioned in the movie.

The murders were nothing great.  A fair amount happened off-screen like you see from movies back then, and there’s not a lot of blood.  As I said earlier, bland.  But I gotta commend the guy on his dedication and punctuality.  The ending may not leave you feeling satisfied either, especially since (to my knowledge) there was no sequel made.  But you’ll have to watch NYE to see why.  Oh, and the reveal of who Evil actually is was very predictable to me.  I’m pretty sure I guessed it within the first 20 minutes.

New Year's Evil

Mike Tobacco never fully recovered mentally from the Killer Klown invasion.

In the end, I don’t feel like I got robbed of my precious time, but I also didn’t feel like I got a lot out of it.  But hey, I had a review to do, and sometimes that means I have to suffer a little.  But I do it for all of you, so there are no regrets.  I think you should watch it if you like the 80s vibe and nostalgia, or maybe if you’re one of those people who absolutely MUST see every slasher/horror movie that was ever made.  But for the rest of you, you could probably just skip it without having to feel too bad about it.  I leave it up to you.

So to all of you, enjoy your year-end celebrations, or whatever you may have planned.  I’ll see you in 2014 with more reviews and maybe something extra.  Only time will tell.  Rest in peace, and an early HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Macabre Rating: 2.5 out of 5 tombstones

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