A Movie A Day: NEW YEAR’S EVIL (1980)
I can hear your heart beating. I don’t like that.
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with the next installment of A Movie A Day: Halloween 2010 edition!
[For the entirety of October I will be showcasing one horror film each day. Every film is pulled from my DVD shelf or streamed via Netflix Instant and will be one I haven’t seen. Unlike my A Movie A Day or A Movie A Week columns there won’t necessarily be connectors between each film, but you’ll more than likely see patterns emerge day to day.]
You’ll have to forgive me if this is a slight review, but I don’t have all that much to say about this film.
NEW YEAR’S EVIL falls into that “didn’t love it, didn’t hate it” gray area of mediocrity that doesn’t exactly inspire any kind of passion one way or the other.
On the one hand it’s too goofy and amateurish to really be creeped out by and on the other it’s not fun enough to rally behind.
The basic plot follows a Punk icon named Blaze (Roz Kelly), a blazing red head who is throwing a big televised New Year’s bash at a hotel in Hollywood. When I say punk, I mean the kind of punks that are usually fun to watch in movies of the early ‘80s, like in Repo Man or Return of the Living Dead. They fit in those movies because of their tones. With Repo Man the whole feel of the movie is punk to start with and Return of the Living Dead is so over-the-top goofy fun that it all works.
Here the punk influence seems to be limited to the main character’s identity and the opportunity to have an edgy, for the time, punk rock soundtrack. And even the main character comes across more like an opera diva than Joan Jett.
On the show she’s counting down to the New Year starting on the East Coast, then Central, then Mountain, all culminating to the big West Coast New Year’s celebration. There’s a phone bank where viewers are encouraged to call in and vote for their favorite song of the year. One of the callers is a man who calls himself “Evil” and talks with a voice changing device.
Evil says he’s going to kill at Midnight and proceeds to follow through on his pre-New Year’s resolution, hunting and killing a different victim for each time zone, recording the murder on his handy-dandy portable tape deck. He then calls back and plays the murder for Blaze.
What I was hoping for in a movie like this was a fun time and a little atmosphere. There are moments that border on true creepiness (like the image of the killer in a garbage container or when the cops find a pair of victims in a playground or when the killer shows up wearing a creepy disfigured yet cartoonish human mask), but the whole set-up for this movie seems to cock block any chance at truly getting under my skin.
For one, the production value is amateurish at best. Poor production design (bare walls abound), poor cinematography (everything is high key lighting or too dark to see properly) and the obvious casting of friends of the producers/director/actors/anybody.
I’m sure the movie had a small budget to work with, but it’s not like Halloween was a high budget production. Or Black Christmas. Or any number of low budget horror films of the era. Atmosphere wasn’t a priority for the filmmakers, that’s clear.
They also decide to show us who the killer is right away after only showing us his mouth when he first calls up. I was hoping they’d take a page from the ‘70s giallos and find inventive ways to film him and let our imagination run a little bit. But no. We see this rather plain dude right away and watch him put on various disguises to entrap his victims.
I must say there are moments that work in this movie. The killer murders one of his victims with a big plastic bag of weed, for instance. And I like that our killer accidentally pisses off a biker gang and there’s a totally random chase thrown into the middle of the movie. To make this scene even more ridiculous our killer is dressed like a priest.
The movie could have used more fun like that. I can ignore bad acting and bad production value if the movie is fun. Look at Silent Night Deadly Night, for instance. That’s as cheap as they come, but goddamn is that a fun movie.
Final Thoughts: This Cannon title never made it to DVD, but you can catch it on Netflix Instant… The transfer looks like a good VHS, but it’s better than nothing, I guess. I think New Year’s Evil would fit in if you were doing a marathon of holiday themed horror movies, but I can almost guarantee it’ll be the worst film in the line-up. I’d recommend this only to fanatic horror completionists.
Currently in print on DVD: NO
Currently available on Netflix Instant: YES
Here are the next week’s worth of AMAD titles:
Tuesday, October 12th: PROPHECY (1979)
Wednesday, October 13th: THE OTHER (1972)
Thursday, October 14th: THE MUMMY (1959)
Friday, October 15th: THE GORGON (1964)
Saturday, October 16th: MAD LOVE (1935)
Sunday, October 17th: REPULSION (1965)
Monday, October 18th: THE VIDEO DEAD (1987)
Tomorrow's flick is Prophecy. No, not the Christopher Walken angel flick. Seen that one. A lot. It's awesome. This one's about a mutated bear or something. See you folks then!
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Oct. 11, 2010, 11:12 p.m. CST
by Gary Busey's Upper Half
eating a flaming bag of shit.
Oct. 11, 2010, 11:16 p.m. CST
by Bouncy X
our horror channel often played this. although it recently changed names and switched formats (going from horror to suspens only) i'm not sure if it will air anymore.
Oct. 11, 2010, 11:50 p.m. CST
Was hyped it was on Netflix. But barely looked up from work to see what was going on. It was funny to see the killer try on different disguises...at one point he's got this cheesy mustache and he's picking up a girl at a bar... "Hey baby wanna come to a party at Eric Estradas?" lol
Oct. 11, 2010, 11:52 p.m. CST
I heart Puppet Master.
Oct. 12, 2010, 12:14 a.m. CST
Scanners was better.
Oct. 12, 2010, 12:22 a.m. CST
by Dr Eric Vornoff
Always remember seeing that one at the video store (where else?) Never got round to renting it. Mad Love and Repulsion are both awesome so should make up for the rest of the dreck you're having to work through.
Oct. 12, 2010, 1:19 a.m. CST
Or at least some early '70s Giallo. Chances are if you don't like the movie you'll at least get a delicious Morricone soundtrack to listen to. It's an official fact that he scored every Italian film released in 1971. It says so on Wikipedia and everything. I recommend Woman in a Lizard's Skin... There weren't nearly as many good Psychedelic Horrors as there should have been.
Oct. 12, 2010, 1:35 a.m. CST
by frank cotton
but i can't remember it
Oct. 12, 2010, 2:51 a.m. CST
So cheesy now, but I was young enough when U saw it that the idea of a tv set doing that freaked me out. When I read Dean Koontz Tick Tock that's all I could think about. I doubt it will win Quint over. It's really bad, but damn if you were young and dumb enough it was pretty entertaining. Was for me anyways.
Oct. 12, 2010, 4:30 a.m. CST
Skip everything and go directly to The Video Dead. One of the most hilarious, enjoyable and entertaining so bad it's good movies ever.
Oct. 12, 2010, 4:38 a.m. CST
by Mr Nicholas
Oct. 12, 2010, 6:52 a.m. CST
what a POS that movie was.
Oct. 12, 2010, 7:09 a.m. CST
by Nasty In The Pasty
I can't wait to read the review of that.
Oct. 12, 2010, 8:37 a.m. CST
Netflix Instant: NO. Dammit.
Oct. 12, 2010, 8:45 a.m. CST
All I remember about The Video Dead is the sorta-3D box cover that lit up the zombies eyes when you pressed on it!
Oct. 12, 2010, 8:57 a.m. CST
OOOHHHHH, this movie is so bad. Tragedy that MST3K never got it. Just silly, enjoy!
Oct. 12, 2010, 9:31 a.m. CST
His name is Kip Niven and he was Linda Lavin's husband. All the time he was working on this show, he was haunting law offices doing his own legal work for their divorce. It paid off, I think he got a million bucks out of her when they split. He may not have been a killer but he was certainly a major a-hole when I knew him.
Oct. 12, 2010, 10:02 a.m. CST
Mutant. Bear. Sleeping. Bag. Attack. That is all..<p>I remember this came out the same summer as Alien, and it actually had the balls to call itself "THE MONSTER MOVIE".
Oct. 12, 2010, 10:03 a.m. CST
great Jerry Goldsmith score...God, how I miss new music from that man...
Oct. 12, 2010, 10:54 a.m. CST
Nothing worse than a mediocre slasher. But, that voice changing bit and awful "punk" song in the trailer are phenomenal. I love the AMAD and doing a bit of Halloween myself. Watched "The Changeling" last, http://wp.me/165o5. Follow along on twitter if you want @dumbricht.
Oct. 12, 2010, 3:36 p.m. CST
If you haven’t seen Prophecy you’re in for a treat! When you see this movie when you’re under 10, it’s scary as shit (especially the attack sequence on the Indian camp where they hide in the underground tunnels). Then, when you watch this as an adult, you are simultaneously entertained by the cheesiness and appreciate the feel of late 70’s horror when a lot of what made was pretty grim. On a side note, I’m fairly certain that Jason Friday the 13th sleeping bag attack(s) were a direct homage to Prophecy.
Oct. 12, 2010, 6:52 p.m. CST
Oct. 12, 2010, 9:31 p.m. CST
I have dish network and they have a free EPIX3 preview. I dvd-r'ed this movie and Video Dead is airing Fri at 1am and sat at 2:45 am. they are also running Evils Eve so check listings.
Oct. 12, 2010, 11:35 p.m. CST
Is to watch the Movie Macabre version with Elvira. I have some good childhood memories sneaking up on a Saturday night and watching this with my brother. Movie had some interesting moments, but Elvira's before/after commercial break moments really made the movie. Same with ALIEN CONTAMINATION, THE DAY IT CAME TO EARTH and KISS DADDY GOODBYE to name a few.
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