Saturday, January 1, 2011

NEW YEAR'S EVIL (1980) - a new year is but a mathematical concidence, but sexualized murder via phallic symbolism knows no such arbitrary bounds

trailer courtesy of Bleeding Skull via Youtube

Blaze has a mission in life; a vision, if you will. The public must be made aware of the newest and freshest in new wave hits. This proves difficult for her son, an aspiring actor, as he expects her to actually give a shit about his life for some reason. For example, he just got a part on the hit show "Spaceship America" (I guess it’s like Star Trek, except the ship never leaves home and just sits in a garage), but she is much too busy applying new wave eyeliner and cosmic eighties hairspray to give two hoots. She is, after all, “The First Lady of Rock n’ Roll”, Priscilla Presley be damned, although it technically may have been whoever Bill Haley was fucking at the time. One problem though. Someone named “Evil” (I hope it’s not Evil Knievel; having a killer Santa Claus is one thing, but some icons should be above reproach) is calling into her New Year’s Eve new wave showcase program “Hollywood Hotline”, letting Blaze know, in a rather subdued, electro-rasp, that he is killing any and all ancillary characters that might pop into the movie.

This killer’s M.O. is really something. For some reason or another, he has to brutally kill a woman on the east coast as midnight strikes, then teleport to the next time zone and kill someone before the next hour is up, etc. Never before has a serial killer managed to murder someone at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve four separate fucking times in one night. I guess he really really really really wants to make the Guinness Book.

relevant scene begins at 1:45

Well, he dresses up as a nurse and then finds a real nurse to quickly make out with, before stabbing her at midnight and getting on his way (he's got a long night ahead of him, after all). He then quickly heads for the adjoining time zone, puts on a fake mustache, meets two girls at a disco, and gets frisky with them before murdering them at the stroke of midnight. Incredible. Not only has he hooked up with a nurse, a hot blonde, and a chick with blue hair in the span of two hours (a lifetime of accomplishment for someone like myself), he did it in two separate time zones! Holy shit. That’s managing your time. Also, he killed them…and hid the bodies! He must own one of those day planner thingies.

In my favorite sequence, Evil dresses up as a priest, and immediately pisses off a biker gang. He hides out at a drive-in playing a trailer for Blood Feast before attempting his escape by stabbing one of the bikers and stealing a couple’s car. He throws the guy out and shows his bloody knife to the girl, who then immediately offers to have sex with him in exchange for not suffering the humiliation of being stabbed by a fake priest. Whatever works I guess.

Anyway, in the end, Evil shows up at the show in L.A., running around in a Laurel mask (Laurel and Hardy that is). Turns out the killer is Blaze’s husband, who had previously “lived” in a sanitarium. He thinks Blaze has been turning his son against him, so this has drove him to time-zone themed mass slaughter across fifty states in the span of four hours. Also, she’s apparently a “whore”, which is exactly the kind of analysis one would expect after watching him degrade his previous female victims. He mentions he’s going to take his son to the Rose Bowl, but only after involving her in a prolonged, Bondian elevator murder. Of course, the cops interrupt, and he decides to escape by jumping off the roof, squishing his crazed noggin on the pavement below. In the not so surprising twist, the son dons the Laurel mask and continues his father’s rampage, throwing away his promising role in a shitty sci-fi show to star in a sequel to a movie called New Year’s Evil...which was never made anyway. Oh well.

I think the lesson here is obvious. If you ignore your loved ones for careerism, they may go around stabbing innocent women after having sex with them, and may do so dressed as a man of the church, and apparently may develop some sort of super jet pack to get them quickly across state lines in a moment’s notice (the one true positive to come out of the situation). If all this family drama seems a bit heavy, there’s always house band Shadow, playing their vaguely proggy version of death rock, sort of .45 Grave trying to rip off Steely Dan and failing. They may be a little confused, but that New Year’s Evil theme song rocks pretty damn hard. Maybe Blaze’s musical quest was a worthwhile endeavor after all.

Here's a .45 Grave performance from a show appropriately called "New Wave Theater". Coincidence? Probably. Also, I may have misunderstood the entire new year's murder plot, so don't take the review too seriously. Well...happy new year!


  1. For what it's worth, the BLOOD FEAST being advertised at the drive-in is not the H. G. Lewis classic, but a retitling of Emilio Miraglia's THE RED QUEEN KILLS SEVEN TIMES. Cannon, who made NEW YEAR'S EVIL, bought RED QUEEN and titled it BLOOD FEAST to package it in a double feature with Joel M. Reed's anthology film BLOOD BATH!

    There is another funny incident of Cannon cross-plugging in THE HAPPY HOOKER GOES HOLLYWOOD, when at the climactic premiere of the movie-within-the-movie, Phil Silvers in the front row and we hear an announcer plug THE APPLE as a coming attraction, and he says "Am I going to be happy not to see this!" Technically, he's referring to Xaviera's movie which he thinks he has sabotaged, but I also wonder if it was an inside joke on the poor reception of THE APPLE during its brief theatrical run.

  2. @Marc
    Kudos. I wrote the review a couple of years ago, and I didn't rewatch the movie. I guess I assumed at the time that it was H.G. Lewis' film, although it just plays in the background, so maybe it was hard to tell. Or, maybe I wrote "Blood Feast" in my notes when I originally watched the movie, and later assumed it was the HG Lewis film, like a game of telephone with myself, if you follow ;). I guess I'll have to rewatch that scene and change the review.

    I had heard about that double feature (maybe I saw an admat?), but just assumed it was Lewis' BLOOD FEAST, I guess. Cannon also re-released BEAST IN THE CELLAR, I think, which sounds like a similar type of deal. Either way, thanks for pointing that out.

  3. I'm pretty sure he's not killing the girls in the other time zones. I believe he's murdering all the girls in LA, but at the stroke of midnight in each time zone. What's funny is that the biker incident sidetracks him and he fails to even kill someone at midnight Mountain Time.

  4. @Zombie
    You may be right, but, like I implied, I wasn't paying total attention. Either way, I'd prefer to live in my little world of inaccurate plot points, where the killer travels across time zone in magical fashions to kill innocent women. Thank you thoough for the clarification.