New Year’s Evil (1980)

(courtesy of guest reviewer – GORELORD)

Greetings fellow low-budget trash junkies. I am Gorelord, reviewer and collector of bottom of the barrel cheddar. That crazy king of horrible horror and sci-fi, Dr. Psy Chosis, has granted me the honor of contributing reviews to his wild world of weirdness. And believe me, I intend to litter the halls of “And You Thought It Was Safe” with some great bargain bin sleaze sure to please the mad doctor.

As I write this babble we are now two days into the new year, and more importantly the new millennium. So I thought to myself, what better way to kick off the new year than with a review of the 1980 sadistic slash and hack fest, New Year’s Evil? That’s right, this sleazy low grade slasher flick turns 20 this year, and the celebration is sure to be bigger than the millennium bash.

Emmett Alston, the man who brought kung-fu enthusiasts such films as Nine Deaths of the Ninja (1985), Tigershark (1987), and Little Ninja’s (1992), directed and co-wrote this forgotten holiday horror. Alston’s direction gives us a real feeling of some of the scuzzy Los Angeles night life, and also a hopeless feeling as a cunning serial killer promises to strike again and again

The movie stars former Happy Days honey Roz Kelly as Diane Sullivan, who hosts a punk rock and new wave music request show and calls herself Blaze. The show, which is known as the Hollywood Hotline, is doing a special New Year’s Eve live request bash, at which countless crappy punk rock bands will perform.

As the show starts and the music begins you may be lead to believe that you’re watching a zombie movie. Why you ask? Mostly because of the many hilarious scenes of robot-like punk rockers swaying and staggering into each other in a mindless mosh pit. Sid Viscious of the Sex Pistols would be rolling in his grave if he saw these wanna-be’s.

Blaze comes on stage and immediately has us scratching our heads saying “what the hell?” as she tells the crowd, “It’s time to spin out and boil your hair” (!!?) Must be some type of new wave slang. Either that or the script writers had dyslexia. Anyway, Blaze starts to take a couple of phone votes for new wave punk song of the year and on the third call she gets an unpleasant surprise. A warped weirdo identifying himself only as “Evil” (played by Kip Niven) terrorizes Blaze by phone using an electronic voice distorted. He tells her that when the clock strikes midnight in each of the 4 American time zones he will commit murder. Blaze gets a bit freaked out and demands more police protection but her money hungry manager Ernie (played by Jed Mills) tells her to chill out. Little do they know that Blaze’s assistant has just been butchered in a hotel room shower upstairs.

Not only does Blaze have a major problem on her hands with a psychotic freak, but she has a huge ego problem and constantly ignores her twenty-something son Derek (played by Grant Cramer). In fact she neglects him so much that he becomes a depressed oddball. He spends most of the movie sitting in a hotel room, wearing a pair of his mother’s nylons over his head and face, popping pills, and ripping the tops off of flowers. Sounds like a pretty stable individual doesn’t he?

Meanwhile, “Evil” begins his New Year’s Eve terror spree, first in New York where he stalks a sanitarium for mental patients. There he pretends to be an assistant and lures a sexy nurse into one of the rooms for a glass of champagne. About 15 seconds before the clock strikes midnight, “Evil” shows just how sick he really is as he hits the record button on a tape recorder to document his nasty deed. And as the clock strikes 12 he stabs the girl repeatedly as her screams are put on cassette with the sounds of celebration in the background. Happy New Year!

Before he heads for Chicago, “Evil” makes sure to call the Hollywood Hotline so Blaze can hear the tape of the nurse dying on the air, even though nobody called in to request it. Blaze knows this guy ain’t your regular freak and soon Lt. Clayton (played by Chris Wallace) and Sgt. Greene (played by Jon Greene, which is really creative) are on the scene. They spend most of the movie bitching about how the music that Blaze is promoting causes these people to turn into homicidal maniacs. I say bullshit; these idiots were screwed up to begin with.

We now find “Evil” in a Chicago night club hitting on a gorgeous but totally air headed blonde named Sally (played by Louisa Moritz). He claims to be a talent agent heading to a star studded New Year’s Eve party and before you know it he has Sally and her friend in his car on their way to this supposed “party”.

With it nearing midnight, Chicago time, “Evil” gets desperate and pulls into a liquor store parking lot. He sends Sally’s friend into the store for a bottle of champagne. The clock counts down the last seconds and “Evil” hits the tape recorder. And in what has to be a slasher movie first, we witness a death by bag of marijuana! At least she went peacefully.

Sally’s friend comes out of the liquor store and finds a shoe near the parking spot. She notices her other shoe near a dumpster. She hesitantly opens the lid and to her shock “Evil’s” lighter flashes on and he pulls her in to her death. Happy New Year!

And of course before he can head for the third time zone in Aspen, Colorado, he has to play his latest recording for Blaze on the Hollywood Hotline.

Now in Colorado dressed as a priest, “Evil” runs into his first bit of trouble in the form of a gang of bad ass biker dudes after he smashes into their motorcycles with his car. They chase him into a drive-in where he knifes one of them in the gut and kidnaps a big breasted blonde after stealing her boyfriend’s car. Thanks to a couple of drunken bums the big titted harlot gets away and “Evil” chases her through some woods, bringing his knife and trusty tape recorder with him. All the while a wonderfully cheesy musical score plays throughout the chase. The girl hides, and thanks to a cop, “Evil” is forced to flee and miss the kill. Oh well, as the song says, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.

Pissed off and running out of time “Evil” heads back to L.A. Once in Los Angeles he smashes a brick over a police officer’s head and dresses in his uniform in order to enter the hotel, which has now been blocked off.

Meanwhile, Blaze goes up to her room for a costume change where her son Derek says he has a surprise for her Of course she’s too busy to stop for Derek so he flips out and storms out of the room. As Blaze changes, Derek’s surprise comes out of the bathroom. It’s her husband Richard. The same guy we’ve known the entire movie as “Evil”!

He identifies himself to the cop stationed outside of Blaze’s door and she confirms it, thinking that nothing is wrong. However, when the officer accompanies Blaze down the elevator, Richard… or “Evil”, screws with the electrical system and causes the elevator to speed up. Suddenly he stops it and Blaze and the officer are knocked out cold. Richard… or “Evil” gets rid of the cop and sits down in the elevator next to Blaze.

This is where he gets really bizarre. He confesses to Blaze that he is “Evil”. He say’s he killed the women because women have manipulated him and made him feel inferior all his life. He say’s all women are sluts and need to be punished and that Blaze used her money to make him jealous and serve her every command. He has decided the show will go on without her. At least we don’t have to listen to any of those shitty bands anymore.

“Evil” wants to make his wife’s death special so he decides to tie her wrists and hang her from the bottom of the elevator! Then he sits by an electrical control panel where he speeds the elevator up and down as his wife dangles in the elevator shaft. However, before he can crush her like a grape the cops show up for a shoot out and a climactic chase to the roof top. When the police corner Richard… or “Evil” on the roof, he knows that his psychopathic journey has come to an end. He puts a rubber Halloween mask on and jumps to his death off the top of the hotel.

Then in a final twist, as a crowd hovers over the body, his son Derek picks up the mask, puts it on, and prepares to stab an ambulance attendant. Happy New Year!

What I found interesting about NEW YEAR’S EVIL is the fact that it never tries to hide the killer’s face, as many other slasher movies do. It relies more on the killer’s cunning charms and his savage hatred of women. Also, hats off to Kip Niven for his portrayal of a women hating psychotic. He made the part convincing and realistic. The only thing I couldn’t figure out is how he went from city to city at the speed of light.

And if all of this is not enough, look for a preview of the 1981 holiday hack fest Be My Valentine… or Else (later known as Hospital Massacre) at the end of the tape. God bless Paragon Video, if they still exist.

Happy New Year’s Evil!


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