New Year’s Evil DVD Review: Exactly What You Think It Is

Written by Ben Platko

Lonely women on New Year’s Eve become easy prey for a misogynistic maniac whose resolution is to kill. Seriously, that is the only description you’ll find on the back of the box. Honestly though, you just bought a movie titled New Year’s Evil; did you expect anything more?

When you pop your copy of New Year’s Evil into your fancy-shmancy DVD player, the first thing you’ll see is a prompt asking you to choose between the film, and its trailer. The trailer is the only extra on the disc, but it is worth it. It’s not quite as good as the trailer for Pieces, but it’s great in its own right. You know what, here. Just watch it.

New Year’s Evil starts off with a rockin’ theme song/opening credit sequence featuring a bunch of anarchists riding around New York in a convertible. Here’s what Wikipedia says about the plot (italics are mine): “television’s most famous punk rock lady icon, Diane Sullivan, or Blaze as her fans call her, is holding a late night countdown celebration of music and partying [by this, they mean that a lot of the movie takes place in a mosh pit, and by that I mean that a lot of the movie is filler footage of a mosh pit]. All is going well until Diane receives a phone call from an odd sounding stranger claiming his name is Evil, who announces on live television that when the clock strikes twelve in each time zone [he doesn’t actually mention the time zones – but the police do later on], a ‘Naughty Girl’ will be punished (murdered), then the killer signs off with a threat claiming that Diane will be the last one to die.” Really, that’s all there is to the plot. Bear in mind, though, that the plot of Friday the 13th was someone killing promiscuous teens at a Summer Camp.

Pieces of cinema like New Year’s Evil, Teenage Mother, or Don’t Look in the Basement rarely rest on their plots. And with that, let’s take a look at characters and gore. All of the characters were pretty flat, but scenes without dialogue actually helped develop them. Kind of. I was kind of impressed. More impressive, though, was the gore. Lots of people get stabbed, and it looks great. If anything, the wounds were accurate to a fault. I definitely wanted more blood.

The score isn’t terrible, either. Lots of creepy ’80s synthesizers punctuated by punk rock. Very fitting.

Thankfully, New Year’s Evil doesn’t take itself too seriously, and director Emmett Alston throws in lots of Hitchcock hands. Seriously, I lost count of how many too-long closeups Alston tossed at the audience.

If this isn’t enough to make you run out and buy New Year’s Evil right now, let me leave you with one final thought. The movie doesn’t know where it takes place. Diane is supposed to be in New York – that makes sense. The killer takes his first victim at midnight (eastern standard time); when he asks his second victim for the time, she replies that it is 9:30 – cool, he’s on the West coast – then he travels from Florida to NYC, which a policeman had earlier announced was Los Angeles. Something about that smells fishy. The bottom line is this: if you dig hilariously terrible ’80s slashers, buy this. If enough of you do, maybe MGM will release more from their vault.

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