New Year's Evil
From Cannon Films
Original Theatrical Release Date: December 1980
DVD: No (but is currently available streaming on NetFlix)
Plot: New Year's Eve. A TV Music Host receives a call from a crazy who calls himself "Evil". He claims that he will be killing someone every time Midnight ticks off in each time zone and that she will be his final victim. When the clock strikes twelve, the killing begins!
Since Halloween and Christmas have been covered, the good folks over at Cannon, namely the incomparable Golan & Globus, set their Slasher sights around the biggest party of the year-- New Year's. I suppose New Year's is as good as time as any to have a mad slasher around, but there's something about the concept they came up with here that is kind of fun and original. Evil here makes it his mission to kill off people only as each time zone clicks off, thus giving him a plan and excuse to kill, rather than just being a bit more random. Okay, this idea borders on being convoluted, but that could be also why I enjoy it. Films of this nature should all have some sort of hook to draw you in. And if you may feel underwhelmed by a Movie like New Year's Evil (which is sure not to please everyone), you can't deny that it at least tries to spruce up the Slasher atmosphere with something a little different.
Another aspect that freshens up the Slasher concept for me is that we actually get to know The Slasher (the rather preppie Kip Nevin) as the film switches to his point of view from time to time. We eventually learn of his true motivation and it's done with a nice twist. Sometimes a Slasher Movie can benefit from not knowing why it's monster does what he or she does (Halloween, Final Exam for example) but other times they need something to tie it all together, and I like what is done here. Kip Nevin does a good job with Evil. He's constantly changing disguises and plays the roles very well. And he strangely reminds me of Bruce Jenner. Bonus!
The many faces of Evil:
Now that is one fly 'stache wearing pimp looking killer!
Roz Kelly (Pinky Tuscadero from Happy Days!) vamps it up as the bitchy TV Show host. She has throngs of Punk fans that she cannot disappoint so she goes on with her show even though she's been getting threatening phone calls from a man who only identifies himself as Evil. Part of me wishes they had recast the lead role to someone with a least of smidgen of likability, but another part of me enjoys the trashiness that is Roz Kelly in this Movie. Her image on screen is of some sort of Glamorous Punk Diva, but really she comes off like a haggard old bitchy drag queen. New Year's Evil has the added value of both Camp and an almost punk rock sensibility. Which leads me to another reason why I like New Year's Evil as much as I do... The music. This is a Slasher Movie with a title song. And if you know me(ep), you would know that I'm a sucker for any movie with a title song.
Imagine if you will a world where the real killers are the preppies and the real heroes are the punks.
New Year's Evil is a Slasher that delivers some unexpected gifts. It has the unmistakable early 80's Cannon Films feel and some characters who are a real hoot. Speaking of which, Roz Kelly's son in the movie... What a little blonde weirdo. Watch New Year's Evil with the demented family you love.