New Year’s Evil (1980)

Forty years ago today, the film New Year’s Evil premiered. The show notes indicate that it was filmed on October 15th, 1980. All in one day, then the finished movie premiered 2 months later. No one says it is a good movie, sometimes getting zero stars or calling it a paint-by-numbers effort. All the bad reviews and sometime excessive use of blood and New Wave music have made this movie a cult classic you need to add to your holiday viewing list.

Title: New Year’s Evil
Directed by: Emmett Alston
Produced by: Yoram Globus, Menahem Golan
Screenplay by: Leonard Neubauer
Story by: Emmett Alston, Leonard Neubauer
Starring: Roz Kelly, Kip Niven, Grant Cramer, Chris Wallace
Music by: Laurin Rinder, W. Michael Lewis
Cinematography: Edward Thomas
Edited by: Dick Brummer
Production Company: Cannon Group
Distributed by: Cannon Film Distributors
Release date: 19 December 1980 (United States)
Running time: 85 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English

As the film begins New Year’s Eve is on its way and 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, televised live from a Hollywood hotel. 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 midnight in each time zone, a “Naughty Girl” will be “punished” (murdered), then the killer signs off with a threat claiming that Diane will be the last Naughty Girl to be punished.

The studio crew takes safety measures and heightens security but a string of murders occur across Los Angeles at each stroke of midnight across each time zone. The killer records his victims as he murders them and calls back the station each time, playing the tapes back to prove that he is serious. Diane’s son Derek arrives but is mostly ignored by his mother, causing him to start behaving very erratically due to Diane’s lack of interest in his life.

There are many suspects as to who the mysterious killer and caller is: a crazed fan, a religious psychotic or maybe it is someone much closer to Diane than anyone could have ever expected. Evil eventually infiltrates Diane’s party and upon confronting her is revealed to be Diane’s husband Richard who was previously thought to be too busy to attend. Richard reveals his motivation to be a similar feeling of neglect and anger of Diane’s and other women’s treatment of him.

He gets caught by security trying to kill Diane and flees from the scene. He races toward the rooftop where he commits suicide by jumping. Diane is loaded into an ambulance while Derek is seen wearing the killer’s old mask in the ambulance with the corpse of the medic at the front.

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