Halloween Scene: New Year’s Evil (1980)

Today’s Halloween Scene entry is a little flick called New Year’s Evil. The only thing I knew about it was that an altered form of the poster you see to the left makes up the logo over on Horror Movie A Day. Other than that? I assumed it was a holiday themed slasher movie. I figured it would be something along the lines of My Bloody Valentine, April Fool’s Day (same link as previous) or Halloween and it kind of is, but not really.

It’s actually got a lot more in common with the more real life serial killer flicks I’m not much of a fan of. The killer is a very real person who we see for most of the movie who has decided to torture a woman who hosts a rock show in LA by murdering someone at the stoke of midnight in each time zone without leaving LA, recording it and playing the tape for her on the call-in line.

Like I said, the killer’s just a dude, but unlike something like Maniac which I turned off because it was both too reality based and too much like something you’d see on CSI these days, there was enough weirdness to keep the proceedings interesting. I also thought it was interesting that we spent so much time with the killer and yet were never really expected to root for him. He’s also not super great at this whole thing, has problems keeping his murder schedule and runs into plenty of problems when trying to keep his plans on the rails. And, even though you see the man the whole time, you don’t actually know who he is until the end, which is a nice little trick.

The movie had a certain amount of charm based on my preconceived notions of horror flicks and slashers in particular. On one hand, it plays into the stereotype of terrible parents. The rock show host completely ignores her son and doesn’t seem to support him in any way, preferring to put on weird pink cheek make-up and go host the show that she’s way too old to be hosting. On the other hand, the cops in the flick actually respond pretty quickly and efficiently to the matter at hand. If it weren’t for the killer knocking one out with a brick, he wouldn’t have gotten into the building. From there, though, things just get crazy as the killer apparently went to elevator hacking school (that will only make sense if you’ve seen the movie).

Overall, I thought New Year’s Evil was quirky and strange enough to be entertaining for the short run period. For the most part, the kills were pretty standard, though one involving a dumpster popped out, but it’s still interesting watching a killer try to stick to a fairly ambitious plan (killing someone on the hour every hour for four hours ending with a woman hosting a live TV show in a building filled with cops. The movie probably won’t blow you away, but it’s worth a watch.

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