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December 30, 2014

Movie Review: New Year's Evil (1980)

The concept is cool. A maniacal killer plans on killing someone in a different time zone from California to New York at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately, the concept is all New Year’s Evil has going for it. Except for the unintentional comedy, that is. Come with me, dear reader, and travel across this fine country of ours from the hypodermic needle-laden beaches of the Pacific Ocean all the way to the condom-infested shores of the Atlantic Ocean. We will see the country, the heartland, the major cities and the small towns… or maybe not. The whole while we will listen to Pinky Tuscadero’s punk rock New Year’s Slamdancing Eve Show and party to the sounds of mis-cast victims. Sing with me! May old acquaintance be forgot and hopefully this film, too!

It’s about to be 1980 and to ring in the new decade Diane Sullivan, the middle-aged punk rock guru of the East Coast (played by Roz Kelly, Pinky Tuscadero from Happy Days), hosts a night of new-wave music to be broadcast LIVE over the television airwaves. The party is rocking and features weird punk dancers (in upwards of fifteen at any one time) and a really awful band. Diane, performing as Blaze, is visited by her really bizarre teen-something son, Derek (Grant Cramer) who is content to sit upstairs at the hotel, do some drugs and wax poetic about his never-there parents. Soon enough, during the show, Blaze gets a call from someone who rented a voice-manipulator-machine from Lucio Fulci. The sinister cartoon voice on the other end of the phone states that he will kill a ‘naughty’ girl, like Blaze, in every time zone from Los Angeles all the way to New York, ending with our host. That’s when things get a little weird. Our killer (Kip Niven) does indeed start his killing spree. A nurse in a mental hospital, a couple of bimbos in a bar (after he promised to take them to Erik Estrada’s house, or something like that), etc… each of them fall victim to our vile master of disguise. LA, Aspen, Chicago… getting closer and closer. After every kill, our killer (who calls himself Evil but I refuse to support him in that effort) plays a tape of his latest kill over the phone for Blaze. Back in New York, the police aren’t taking any chances. They have the phone tapped. Don’t worry, we’re spoiler free here so I won’t give away the ‘big twist’ but suffice it to say that the weird kid in the hotel room plays a part in it.

What an utter failure. The only travelling we see killer guy do is by car. Correct me if I’m wrong, but there are four time zones in the United States. That means that it will turn midnight four different times in four hours from Los Angeles to New York. How in the hell did he drive across the freaking country in four hours? I mean, come on! Wait. I know how they did it. Those clever filmmakers weren’t really big on lighting their scenes very well. I bet killer dude got on a plane when it was too dark to see what was happening! Tricky, Emmet Alston, writer/director, very tricky. So, to sum up, not only was I subjected to illogical plotlines, awful music, bad acting and uninspired camera work but I will forever equate a wonderful, non-religionafied holiday with this dreck. Go ahead and countdown your big balls until midnight, I'm done.


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