1980 . Director. Emmett Alston.
Review by Jarret Gahan.
Remember when Richard Wilkens hosted MTV on Channel Nine back in the late eighties? In retrospect Richard Wilkens seems an odd fit, a preposterously unhip television personality introducing the youth of Australia to new music. Well the plot of NEW YEAR’S EVIL centres around an equally bizarre choice of host, Dianne ‘Blaze’ Sullivan who fronts a punk rock and new wave music television program. On her New Year’s Eve special she receives several live calls to air that threaten to kill someone close to her and just about anyone else the killer may encounter throughout the night. From that point on chaos ensues as the madman cuts, strangles and kicks (yes kicks) his way to Blaze before the clock hits midnight (or thereabouts). The killer’s motive is best expressed through a direct quote and that’s “ladies are not very nice people, they are manipulative and deceitful and immoral and very very selfish”.
Is NEW YEAR’S EVIL a slasher film? It’s debateable but for the sake of argument let’s say it is due to the era from which it came and for the fact that it has a madman dispatching folks from near beginning through end. In any case it’s a non-conventional slasher, the villain’s face is visible within the first twelve minutes though their identity not revealed until near the finale, their modus operandi is all over the shop and honestly quote aside the killer’s motivation is pretty petty, not your typical humiliation/disfiguration revenge scenario. The body count is a little on but at the very least the kills are reasonably creative, a particular highlight being the killer asking their victim if they “want to smoke a number?”, luring them to sniff the contents of a zip lock bag then suffocating them with the very same bag as the weed falls about the victim’s face.
The bulk of the film’s music is performed by a hair metal act named ‘Shadow’, they perform the film’s cracking title track, which can be heard no less than three times throughout the film, twice within the first fifteen minutes in fact! Worth noting that the copyright on every track on the soundtrack is credited to Man-Yor Music which is assumedly producers Menahem Golan & Yorum Globus as their production company Canon were responsible for film.
NEW YEAR’S EVIL is the type of film that shouldn’t work as it seems to lack passion, direction and cohesion but somewhere in the mix of everything else it does and while it may not be remembered as a slasher classic, it’s bizarre enough to be considered a fun curio piece.