New Year’s Evil’s left-field story takes place, obviously, on New Year’s Eve. Diane Sullivan AKA Blaze, is hosting ‘Hollywood Hotline’, a show that will ring in the new year over four time-zones during the night, all while conducting a phone-in to decide the most popular New Wave music of the past year. Soon the subtly named psychopath Evil rings in to tell Blaze he’s going to kill someone as each time-zone hits midnight, culminating with someone very close to Blaze herself.
Director Emmet Alston’s New Year’s Evil is incredibly dated, yet there’s something refreshing about the film. We get to know Evil himself; the action follows him as much as Blaze early on, allowing us to see him for what he is, a somewhat handsome man. He’s also fairly skilled and resourceful, a master of disguise and able to think on his feet. There’s also a weird and intriguing sub-plot involving Blaze’s son, but what’s really notable is its decision to literalize themes of its genre as elements of the film. Hollywood Hotline’s house band Shadow sing the memorable ‘Dumb Blondes’ while there are several comparisons made between ‘today’s youth’ and the mental patients at the sanatorium Evil calls home. There’s also Evil’s explicitly sexist motivation, laid out in his “women are not good people” monologue; it’s a film which says what many other slashers simply imply and this really differentiates it from the crowd. Towards the end the story is particularly strong as the characters’ motivations and relationships really affect how this horror plays out, becoming all the more engrossing because of it. Ultimately New Year’s Evil is only watchable at best. If you’re a student of slashers however and interested in something original, this is well worth seeking out to ensure this New Year’s, you’re invited to a killer party.
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