Retro Review: New Year’s Evil (1980)

Happy New Year’s Eve boils and ghouls! Today is a big day. Not only is it the last day of the year, but it is also my birthday! So, cheers to me! Growing up, I always had a party to go to. With parties in mind, remember to be safe tonight kiddies. Also, keep in mind you only have a little time left to cause trouble and raise a little ruckus before midnight and then begin those resolutions that no one adheres to. With that being said, let’s take a punk rocking, party hopping and ball dropping look at the under-appreciated slasher flick New Year’s Evil.

This holiday romp follows a disc jockey named Blaze as she emcees the new year’s festivities. Introducing bands performing for the studio audience and taking calls from the watchers and listeners at home. Blaze then receives a mysterious phone call from a man calling himself ‘Evil’. He admits to her, that he intends to murder someone when midnight strikes in each time zone, ultimately culminating with her death in the west coast. Can the police find the killer in time? Or will this be Blaze’s last New Year’s Eve?

The flick starred Roz Kelly, Kip Niven and a young Grant Cramer (Killer Klowns From Outer Space) in his first role. Pre-dating my myself by two years, New Year’s Evil opened in theaters on December 26th, 1980 to extremely poor reviews. Roger Ebert gave it 1 ½ stars. Quoting, ‘New Year’s Evil is an endangered species – a plain, old-fashioned gory thriller.’

Ebert is saying this as if it is a bad thing? That’s just what I like about it! Just an old-fashioned good time. We see the killer’s face very early on, so there is no real true reveal other than when we discover the killer’s true identity. As for the gore, by today’s standards it is pretty tame. But still quite effective. The murderer’s calm and collected demeanor was truly chilling, even when his plans to kill go astray.

I immediately saw subtle comparisons to William Lustig’s Maniac. But was soon surprised to discover, that these films shared the same initial theatrical release date. But Maniac only premiered in New York city that weekend. With Lustig’s offering, releasing in full strength months after New Year’s Evil. I am in no way comparing the two films, because they are completely different. There are just subtle aspects I noticed, while the killer is stalking his victims.

New Year’s Evil is a good time. Very good ‘80s punk and metal songs with the title track theme song taking the cake. This film has become a New Year’s Eve tradition of mine after the ball has dropped and I’m quite intoxicated. Do not go into this film with a critical mind. Have fun, sit back and enjoy!

IMDB: 4.8/10

ZombiSurvivor: 6.8/10


Lastly check out the amazingly corny theme song below:

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About Jared Letourneau 189 Articles
Hey there boils and ghouls! My love of horror films came on a dark and stormy night.... ....Truthfully, it probably happened in 1980-something during a sunny day when I was 5 or 6. That movie was JAWS. I had never been so terrified to go swimming and I live in a land-locked state! I have been a Horror Hound ever since. Having seen hundreds of films, some good and some downright dreadful, my love for horror cinema has grown stronger than ever! My wife Beth and I consume all types of horror films. One of our mutual favorites is A Serbian Film (2010). A couple of my favorite directors are Lucio Fulci and John Carpenter. Contributing here at T.H.S and being able to work with these other folks is an indescribable honor to me. I love our T.H.S team.... I will share secrets after a few drinks and I also enjoy long romantic walks in dimly-lit cemeteries. My fave top 5 films are: 1)Dawn Of The Dead (Original) 2)The Thing (Carpenter's Remake) 3)Zombie 4)The Beyond 5)Friday the 13th pt IV: The Final Chapter Stay Scared! -ZombiSurvivor