New Year's Evil (1980)

*This review originally appeared on Pretty Scary, but the site has been down for an overhaul, so I just thought I’d reprint it here! Have a great New Year’s EVIL!

Although it’s slipped through many a crack, New Year’s Evil should be notorious for several reasons:

The star, Roz Kelly, better known as Pinky Tuscadero to Happy Days fans, went on a shooting spree in the 1990’s…

Grant Cramer was Kato Kaelin’s best friend and was rumored to have been with him the night he met Nicole Brown Simpson for the first time…

And scariest of all, Kip Niven was married to Linda Lavin!

Before these actors were all featured in their own horror show (of course I kid, Kip), they gathered together to star in the Golan Globus extravaganza New Year’s Evil. Set on the last day of 1980 at a posh hotel, Kelly plays Blade, a hot KROQ DJ hosting a live telecast countdown to the New Year. Blaze is perhaps the most selfish Final Girl in the annals of slasher history. Already waaaaay past her prime, she’s a self-absorbed egomaniac who ignores her son Derek (Cramer) when he announces he’s just landed a part on Space Ship America (!) – Now who could discount that?!? There must something to Blaze’s narcissistic attitude, because she begins receiving phone calls from a guy who likes to be referred to simply as “Evil”. This guy tells Blaze that he’s going to commit murder at the stroke of midnight as she rings in the New Year in each North American Time Zone (excluding Alaska and Hawaii of course). He makes pretty good on his promise too and calls Blaze immediately after he snuffs his victims so he can replay the scene of the crime via an archaic looking tape recorder. This takes up a lot of Blaze’s time (as does her hilarious banter with an investigating cop), so she ends up ignoring her son even more as he begins to reveal a very sinister side of himself. Well, sinister if pulling a pink stocking over your head is scary. As the clock ticks down to midnight Pacific Time, Evil joins the party as he tries to take Blaze down in all her flaming glory.

There are two major reasons to see New Year’s Evil: One is for the ultra-cool post punk bands, whose performances make up almost half of the film’s running time. The best band is obviously Shadow, who sing the title song. And the second reason to watch is to enjoy the time capsule this movie truly is. The opening credits of New Year’s Evil really capture that what-we-all-thought-LA-would-really-be-like attitude, including Sunset Boulevard steaming with obnoxious punks, girls in vans who love flashing their considerable assets and of course, Hell’s Angels.

There are other reasons to kick in the New Year with this too. If you’re interested in catching a glimpse of a semi-topless Teri Copley pre-We Got it Made or if you’d like to see the lovely and underrated Louisa Moritz (Last American Virgin, Death Race 2000) in a wonderful performance as the ditzy blonde who uses meditation to go potty, than this is movie is calling your name! I’m not giving anything away by revealing Kip Niven as the killer. His identity is revealed in Scene #2. Niven pours on the charm though and becomes a rather charismatic (and semi-believable) killer. A mask does come into play later, but never makes much of an impression. Actually that device he sticks in his mouth to distort his voice is probably the scariest part of all.

New Year’s Evil may play purely by the numbers, but there is more than enough retro-charm to push it into the next century. So what do you say, New Year’s Eve or New Year’s EVIL?

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6 Responses to “ New Year's Evil (1980) ”

  1. awesome. “I’m going to commit muurrdderrr at midnight!” “Call me EVIL!”
    it was awesome to see this on the big screen,
    also check out horror movie a day’s review on the film!
    I love this film, its always been my new year’s tradition to watch haha.
    if anyone is in the Los Angeles area, check out Future Kill this saturday on the big screen at the new bev!


  3. I loved this movie the first time I saw it. It’s rare that a film’s killer is introduced from the get-go and as bloody cheesy as this film is, it gives a lot of 80’s feel – which we all love no matter how much we deny it – and it does pull itself off as a decent slasher film. I need to watch my Imperial VHS version again and review it on my blog.

  4. here is the correct link for my blog. =)

  5. This is a real good film, you know despite the anti-women attitude it has. I bought this years ago, and I still watch it every New Year’s. It’s good to spend some quality time with a old slasher.

  6. Shadow played in El Paso, TX and was one of the best around. I have their 45 of New Years Evil. Great bunch of friends. Movies good too.

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