It’s pretty rare when an early 80s slasher is able to offer anything new in the story department, or heck, even the originality department, but you know what? New Year’s Evil surprisingly served up an original story that kept me glued to the screen. Combine that with a beautiful Blu-Ray from Scream Factory, a wicked performance from Kip Neven (who looks like Jeffrey Combs) and a killer soundtrack from the bands Shadow and Made in Japan, New Year’s Evil is a party worth going to. The countdown to the rest of the review starts now…
RUN-TIME: 90 min
ASPECT RATIO: 1.78:1
AUDIO: DTS-HD MA 2.0
PRODUCTION DATE: 1980
Short nitty-gritty plot description is as follows:A Different Kind Of New Year’s Resolution
Diane “Blaze” Sullivan, the host of a nationally televised punk-rock show on New Year’s Eve, is receiving calls from a mysterious killer who tells her of his plans to off someone at midnight in each of America’s major time zones… and she will be the last.
Tatlock’s Opinion: New Year’s Evil started off like any other slasher from its time period. A mystery killer, stalking a victim, with rip off music cues from Friday the 13th. I thought to myself, great, another been there done that slasher. However, before you know it, the identity of the killer is revealed and we spend a wonderful amount of time with him, as he stalks his victims, makes mistakes and dons numerous disguises. It’s pretty darn awesome to be honest. Meanwhile, the movie cuts back to a rocking New Year’s party, hosted by Fonzie’s girlfriend herself, Roz Kelly, who puts in a wonderful performance as the rocking chick Blaze. Seeing a group of 80s punk kids crammed into a small room, bouncing around in a mosh pit is pretty hilarious, especially when at one part in the movie, they all look like zombies, as slow music plays.
The movie itself isn’t gory in the least bit, which is kind of surprising given its time period, but honestly, it doesn’t take away from the overall enjoyment. What does add to the enjoyment is a rocking soundtrack from both the bands Shadow and Made in Japan, who perform several numbers throughout the movie. I swear, I will have the main song New Year’s Evil stuck in my head for quite some time.
Any issues with the movie? Grant Cramer, who plays Blaze’s son, puts in a rocky performance on some parts, but excels it other scenes, so I guess it isn’t that bad. The only other small issue is the ending does seem little strange, especially one scene which makes no sense. A masked killer is sitting right in front of a few cops and a bunch of people and they don’t say a word or even notice? Yeah, kind of strange. Oh well, I guess it just adds to the movies overall charm.
Scream Factory does it again, with a wonderful looking transfer and a helping of special features. Besides an audio commentary from director Emmett Alston, the disc also contains an informative and fun 37 minute Making of, which interviews the director of photography Thomas Ackerman, Kip Niven, Grant Cramer and Taaffe O’Connell, a woman who is easily excitable. The only notable person missing is the main actress Roz Kelly, but after looking her up, I can see why. Rounding out the features is a cheesy 80s trailer for the movie.
Blu-Ray Reverse Artwork (minus the text blurb at the bottom)
Blu-ray Special Features:
Audio Commentary with director Emmett Alston
The Making of New Year’s Evil featuring new interviews with actors Kip Niven, Grant Cramer and Taaffe O’Connell and director of photography Thomas Ackerman (37:07 min)
Theatrical Trailer (1:46 min)
Verdict: As you’ve probably already guessed, I loved New Year’s Evil and I most certainly will pop this movie in ever New Year’s Holiday. The Blu-ray from Scream Factory looks fantastic and provides plenty of features to keep all fans of the movie quenched. If you’re a fan of slashers, you owe it to yourself to pick up this Blu.