1 star    100% King Cheese!

directed by: Emmett Alston
starring:Roz Kelly, Kip Niven, Chris Wallace, Grant Cramer, Louisa Moritz, Jed Mills

(back of video blurb):


       A celebration of the macabre...

       A nationally televised New Year's Eve punk rock party being celebrated in all four time zones sets an eerie stage for "murders at midnight" in this thriller with a twist ending."

(with thanks to Rod)

choice dialogue:

"There's enough evil floating around here to fill Death Valley!"

slash with panache?

       No. A dull, distasteful (and that’s not usually a bad trait in my book!) waste of time that not even a hefty dose of cheese can save.

       Roz Kelly (who apparently used to be in HAPPY DAYS), plays Blaize- ‘the first lady of rock’. A self-centered and charisma free host of a televised ‘new wave’ special on New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles. Who, NEW YEAR'S EVIL- alternative artworkto make matters worse, looks like she put her rouge on with a blow torch and must have been pushing forty (at the very least). The show includes the ‘Hollywood Hotline’ where callers can ring in with their favourite new-wave hit of 1980. A man who calls himself ‘evil’ phones Blaize, disguising his voice with an electronic device- the result of which is almost as daft as the "quack-quack" voice of the killer in Fulci’s NEW YORK RIPPER (1982). Evil tells her that he will kill someone each time midnight strikes in the different time zones across the US- firstly New York then Chicago, Aspen and finally Los Angeles. This he does. He also records their death throes amongst the celebratory whistle blowing and cheering , and plays them down the phone to her- and presumably the nationwide audience. Understandably Blaize gets a little nervous when the police inform her that they reckon she will be evil’s final victim when the clock strikes twelve. But hey, this is entertainment and the show must go on! Blaize valiantly carries on compering as the police secure the venue. But will evil hunt her down- well, what do you think!

       Actually, reading through that brief synopsis it doesn’t sound too bad! And I’m sure in more capable hands the basic premise could have been made into quite a decent thriller. But NEW YEAR’S EVIL fails to thrill on any level. There is some decent cheese- Blaize camps it up and does manage to deliver some mirth inducing ‘hip’ dialougue as she whips the audience of degenerate new-wavers in a ‘frenzy’ of excitement: "Ok babies it’s time to slam down and get even. It’s time to spin out and boil your hair"(?!)- she barks as she strides around the stage in a glittery fashion-don’t. And, at least at first, the whole ‘new-wave’ angle is pretty amusing, being ‘Hollywood’ new-wavers they look like a cross from the kids in CLASS OF 1984 and SPINAL TAP. Countless unknown new-wave acts pad out the running time with mind numbing new-wave lite ditties- we are not talking PIL here! And just when you think you’ve seen the last of spandex wearing goons yet another lot pops up and kicks into more interminable rubbish. Anyway, this isn’t the main reason why this movie is so shitty- although admittedly it helps! No, NEW YEAR’S EVIL is just dull, practically goreless and worst of all has a depressing streak of misogynism a mile wide running through it. In a sub-genre that has hardly won the approval of the women’s movement, this film takes some beating for it’s mean spiritedness. And again, a mean-spirited movie is not necessarily a bad one but when it is this bland it just somehow makes it worse. The film has much more in common with cack like DON’T ANSWER THE PHONE (1980) than it does with HALLOWEEN (1978) and its carbon copies. The killer’s face is seen throughout the movie (apart from one scene where he wears a mask, setting about the film’s main twist that even Miss. Marple in a coma could see coming from a mile off!). New-wave numbers are just interspersed with scenes of him charming and seducing women before killing them and mutilating their breasts (off screen)- all done in a completely suspenseless way- try think of all the dramatic oomph of the worst tv movie crossed with the most mechanical porno and you are half way there. The misogynism is topped off with a lengthy diatribe by Evil about why all women are "sluts and need to be punished" and why all the men in the film, namely evil and Blaizes’ unbalanced son have a right to place blame on all women for their mis-fortunes. In most slasher films of this time the women, or more exactly ‘the final girl’, would have a chance of some kind of retribution or at least a chance of defending themselves come the climatic chase scene. NEW YEAR’S EVIL just treats it’s ‘final girl’ Blaize as nothing more than a punch bag and one dimensional victim.

       Perhaps one of the only interesting things about NEW YEAR’S EVIL is the fact that characters mention real life contemporary serial killers of the time, namely; Son of Sam and the Zodiac. Something rarely touched upon in the more ‘pop-corny’ examples of the sub-genre. What else can I say about it?...well, it does have one half decent scene set in a drive-in which is running a New Year ‘Spookathon’. Evil is chased by a group of bikers, whilst trailers for BLOOD FEAST and BLOOD BATH (didn’t look like the actual movies to me), play in the background. Apart from that it has precious little going for it and quite a lot going against it.

       NEW YEAR’S EVIL is basically crap- the stale cheese at the bottom of the barrel. Avoid!

BODYCOUNT 7  bodycount!   female:4 / male:3

       1) Female stabbed to death in shower (off-screen)
       2) Female stabbed to death
       3) Female suffocated with a bag full of marjuana
       4) Female stabbed to death
       5) Male stabbed in gut
       6) Male falls to his death
       7) Male killed (method unseen)