As is common with the horror genre the holidays get horror films related to them, Halloween obviously Halloween (1978), Christmas (Black Christmas ), and Valentine’s Day (My Bloody Valentine ), just to name a few, and therefore New Year’s Eve, finally got into the mix in 1981, with this flick that is very dated and a tad silly, yet falls properly into the slasher circuit. A film delivered 5-days before the end of the year, Cannon Group, which enjoyed the holiday very much that season as they unleashed Christmas Evil (1980). Director Emmett Alston (Demonwarp ) and screenwriter Leonard Neubaurer (RIP 2011) working on his only horror film, created a basic horror flick that includes a Hitchcockian cameo and some thriller suspense moments. In 2015, Shout Factory released a Blu-ray of this movie and did a decent a job, as it’s often shockingly forgotten in during the holiday season.
For a moment, I’m going to suspend disbelief and overlook the plot holes, we’ll return to them later, Richard Sullivan (Kip Niven) is married to television and radio personality Diane (Roz Kelly (Full Moon High ) who’s hosting a LIVE Los Angeles New Wave music show airing coast to coast and celebrating the New Year as it passes through each time zone. She receives the first call warning/ informing someone is going to die every time they announce the New Year in a time zone, but she merely dismisses it. Meanwhile, her son Derek (Grant Cramer (Raptor )) struggles to get her attention, taking a backseat to her career and fame, we’ll witness his slow mental breakdown and mommy-issue rage. As the shows airs more calls pour across the nation wishing her and each other well, but somehow with only four operators on the massive show the killer keeps getting through to speak with Diane. Sadly television shows in the past have more extras answers phone that this production – oh well, on this performance Diane shows New Wave fashions and music for the era, including one called Shadow performing “New Year’s Evil”.
The killer works his way to his primary target, doing the killing in California, just noting the time changes, but he records the screams of his victims on his huge boom-box radio. The killer uses all types of weapons, and even does name dropping on the club scene to entice one of the women into his clutches, at some point he pulls the dressing up card, appearing various disguises to complete his intended rounds of murder. It appears to baffle the poor police department, including their lame security protocols, it does lean on the weaker side of the standard slasher cycle.
Where to start with issues, there’s plenty of padding throughout the film, to make-up for the script lacking with meaningful scenes, and a killer’s pitiful motives, the concert performance of the teens dancing repeatedly shown. The writing of dull dialogue, adds to wooden acting, and actually becomes full of unintentional comedic scenes and easily noticeable goofs. A few suspense sequences creep up especially he usage of elevator but for the most part it becomes tiresome quickly.
Let’s be honest, this film requires a remake, a good thought, dreadful execution, actually can only recommend it to people that were naughty and need a lump of coal, the only redeeming aspect is the retrospective documentary. It’s not a very good movie, it is loaded with cheese, smelly and dated, unsure if it was ever that scary of a flick.
- A celebration of the macabre.
- This New Year’s, you’re invited to a killer party…
IMDb Rating: 4.8
Baron’s Rating: 4.0