Friday, October 29, 2010
New Year's Evil (1980)
A sadistic killer who refers to himself as 'Evil' keeps calling the world's oldest looking VJ (no offense, not "Downtown" Julie Brown) every hour to mark a fresh killing based on when the clock strikes midnight in each of North America's time zones. He also claims that he will be coming for her when the new year turns over at 12 o'clock Pacific time. Meanwhile, our heroine's production assistant has gone missing and her adult son is in her dressing room acting oddly, if only to make us believe he will turn out to be the killer. Add some overlong renditions of pseudo-new wave songs for the bored teenagers to bop their heads to and you've got yourself a half-hearted, holiday-themed slasher flick.
This is a tough one to delve into as I would rather not reveal the killer's identity though who he turns out to be plays a significant role in New Year's Evil's biggest shortcoming. Motive really should not be an issue when it comes to slashers. The indiscriminate killer is always far more fascinating than just some poor bastard who has been scorned by love, or money, or is hell bent on simple revenge. Even when you look at someone like Michael Myers, while he did have a focus on his baby sister early on, it was never based on anything tangible. So when the third act of your movie suddenly starts to have that Lifetime movie of the week feel to it, someone fucked up.
This is unfortunate as the first half of the film is fairly potent. The killer is effectively creepy (even if the voice modulator he is using makes him sound more muppet-ish than anything else) and is picking off unsuspecting random females as he should. He is also quite the Lothario which is a somewhat interesting departure from our socially inept psychos in other genre-related movies.
As well, New Year's Evil makes a few other atypical choices early on that set it apart. The most glaring being that our killer fails to kill one of his earlier time zone victims. Shockingly, the cops do not show up about two minutes too late like they usually tend to do and scare 'Evil' off before he can complete the deed. Take that, Mountain Standard Time! There is also a pretty fantastic kill involving suffocation by way of a giant bag of weed. Sorry, hippies, apparently marijuana does kill.
I don't know, can I suggest just turning it off with about 20 minutes to go and making up your own better ending? Let me know if that works out for any of you.
P.S. There should be no more than a 3...maybe 4 month delay between reviews from this point forward. That's the TWSNBM guarantee.