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Awfully Good: New Year's Evil



New Year's Evil (1980)


Director: Emmett Alston
Stars: Roz Kelly, Kip Niven, Grant Cramer

A serial killer calls in to a rocking New Year's Eve party and promises to kill one person at the stroke of midnight across the country.

There are a lot of holiday-centric horror movies, and even other New Year ones, but NEW YEAR'S EVIL might take the cake on sheer goofiness alone. In it, Blaze, the middle aged "First Lady of Rock," is hosting a televised NYE Bash called Hollywood Hot Line when the creatively named Evil calls in and reveals his master plan—to kill someone in each time zone at midnight ending with her. It's a dumb yet intriguing premise, made better by the fact that the film spends more time with the more-interesting murderer than it does the victim.

So in traditional New Year's fashion, we countdown the 10 reasons to watch this movie:

Before they went with William Shatner, the creators of HALLOWEEN first tried out a Bob Hope mask to disastrous results.

10. The villain. While not terribly effective, Evil is such an interesting cinematic psychopath. Sometimes he's suave and cool, seducing a nurse or picking up a dumb blonde at a bar. Other times he inexplicably hides in dumpsters to surprise a victim, gets his ass kicked by a gang of bikers, or wears a completely non-scary Richard Nixon mask. And his evil mastermind plan culminates in possibly the slowest, least efficient way to kill someone—tying them to the bottom of an elevator and making it slowly go up and down.

9. The world's creepiest son. There's definitely something wrong with Blaze's offspring Derek—a budding actor who's clearly in love with his mom—but it's a plot that's not really explored. (Perhaps in the never-made sequel?) So while the main action is going on with the killer and Blaze, we occasionally get glimpses in to Derek's weird life—taking random pills, wearing a red stocking over his head, piercing his ear, and later wearing Data's visor from Star Trek. None of which really has much to do with the movie.

None of the other X-Men enjoyed working with Rapist Cyclops.

8. The killer's hilarious robotic voice. For reasons later made obvious, the bad guy uses one of those mechanical voice changers made popular in the SCREAM series. Except his version sounds like Stephen Hawking having sex with Dr. Evil. Trust me, you'll laugh every time he says, "This… is… EEEEEVVVVIIIIILLLLLL!" (See the Best Lines section below.)

7. The random cast. It was bugging me where I'd previously seen Evil's Kip Niven before I realized he was one of the bad guys from MAGNUM FORCE. Blaze is played by Roz Kelly, perhaps most famous as the Fonz's girlfriend from Happy Days. And you might recognize her creepy son as Grant Cramer of KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE fame.

6. The random store clerk who delivers the goofiest "Happy New Year!" line ever. (See the Best Lines section.)

5. The police investigate one of Evil's deadly crime scenes at a playground. As they shine their flashlights over to the slide, a dead body falls down it at that exact moment. Was the killer holding her at the top, waiting for maximum effect?

If Sacha Baron Cohen couldn't play Freddy Mercury, he would damn well play Marilyn Manson.

4. The soundtrack. The movie features some catchy and extremely literal tunes like "New Year's Evil" and "Dumb Blondes." And since it takes place at a dance party, you can look forward to some hilariously terrible 80s dancing as well.

3. The twist. The film insists on playing up the mystery angle, despite immediately showing you exactly who the killer is. However, there is still one sort-of surprise in store for the third act—[SPOILER] Evil ends up being Blaze's own husband Richard. It's kind of explained why he wants to kill her (he's crazy and jealous of her success), but it's never revealed why he does anything else in the movie. For example, why bother killing random people across the country in different time zones?

2. The killer uses the most 80s pick up line ever—inviting a girl to a party at Erik Estrada's house.

1. There are a lot of stupid things about NEW YEAR'S EVIL, but nothing worse than the basic plot itself: Evil kills someone at midnight in every time zone—meaning he somehow drives across the entire United States in three hours. We see him start off in New York and stop in Chicago and Colorado, before meeting up with Blaze in Los Angeles. And he travels via car, not some magical teleportation device. How did nobody realize this gaping plot hole when they were writing or shooting this movie?

Burt Reynold's patented Fat Bag gag never went over well on set.

Evil's hilarious robotic voice and other winners.

Some of the film's best kills. And the killer waiting in a dumpster.

Former Playboy Playmate Teri Copley gets felt up at the drive-in.

Happy 2014! Buy this movie here!

Take a shot or drink every time:

  • You laugh at Evil's hilarious voice
  • The son is super creepy
  • Someone gets murdered with a bag of pot
  • Diarrhea is mentioned
  • The "New Year's Evil" song is played

Double shot when:

  • Cat fakeout!


Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email or follow him on Twitter and give him an excuse to drink.





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5:35PM on 01/02/2014
Love the article but the geek in me feels the need to point out it was LaForge (LeVar Burton) who wore the visor, not Data.
Love the article but the geek in me feels the need to point out it was LaForge (LeVar Burton) who wore the visor, not Data.
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8:16AM on 01/02/2014

The mask isn't Bob Hope

…it's Stan Laurel (of Laurel & Hardy)
…it's Stan Laurel (of Laurel & Hardy)
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