GenreHorror, Thriller CinematographyThomas E. Ackerman CountryUnited States
Release dateDecember 26, 1980 (1980-12-26) (United States) WriterLeonard Neubauer (screenplay), Leonard Neubauer (story), Emmett Alston (story) CastRoz Kelly (Diane Sullivan), Kip Niven (Richard Sullivan), Chris Wallace (Lt. Clayton), Grant Cramer (Derek Sullivan), Louisa Moritz (Sally), Jed Mills (Ernie) Similar moviesI Spit on Your Grave III: Vengeance is Mine, Bloody Moon, The Case of the Scorpion's Tail, W Delta Z, Mad Max: Fury Road, John Wick
TaglineThis New Year's, you're invited to a killer party...
New Year's Evil is a 1980 American slasher film written and directed by Emmett Alston, co-written by Leonard Neubauer, and starring Kip Niven, Roz Kelly, and Chris Wallace. The plot follows a Los Angeles punk rock and new wave show host who receives a series of phone calls during a televised New Year's Eve bash from a killer warning of impending murders that he plans to exact as the New Year dawns on each time zone.
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 twelve 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 in the local insane asylum a nurse is found viciously slaughtered at the stroke of midnight EST. The killer records his victims as he murders them and calls back the station each time playing the tapes back to prove he's serious. There are many suspects as to who the mysterious killer/caller is; a crazed fan, a religious psychotic, or maybe it's someone much closer to Diane than anyone could have ever expected.
The killer eventually gets caught trying to kill Diane and flees from the scene. He races toward the rooftop, where he commits suicide by jumping. The survivor is loaded into an ambulance, while her son is seen wearing the killer's old mask in the ambulance with the corpse of the medic at the front.
Roz Kelly as Diane Sullivan
Kip Niven as Richard Sullivan
Chris Wallace as Lieutenant Ed Clayton
Grant Cramer as Derek Sullivan
Louisa Moritz as Sally
Jed Mills as Ernie Moffet
Taaffe O'Connell as Jane
Jon Greene as Sergeant Greene
Teri Copley as Teenage Girl
Anita Crane as Lisa
Jennie Anderson as Nurse Robbie
Alicia Dhanifu as Yvonne
Wendy-Sue Rosloff as Make-up Girl
John London as Floor Manager
John Alderman as Doctor Reed
Michael Frost as Larry
W. Michael Lewis
"New Year's Evil" - Written by Roxanne Seeman and Eduardo del Barrio
"When I Wake Up" - Written by John Pakalenka
"Simon Bar Sinister" - Written by Clifford White and Ray Leonard
"Temper Tantrum" - Written by Ray Leonard
"Headwind" - Written by Clifford White
"Cold Hearted Lover" - Written by Clifford White
"Auld Lang Syne"
"Dumb Blondes" - Written by Tony Fried
"The Cooler" - Written by Tony Fried
"Suicide Ways" - Written by Tony Fried and David Codling
Roger Ebert gave the film a 1½, and wrote, "New Year's Evil is an endangered species - a plain, old-fashioned, gory thriller. It is not very good. It is sometimes unpleasantly bloody. The plot is dumb and the twist at the end has been borrowed from hundreds if not thousands of other movies. But as thrillers go these days, New Year's Evil is a throwback to an older and simpler tradition, one that flourished way back in the dimly remembered past, before 1978." Eric Vespe of Ain't It Cool News said, "New Year's Evil falls into that 'didn't love it, didn't hate it' gray area of mediocrity that doesn’t exactly inspire any kind of passion one way or the other. On the one hand it's too goofy and amateurish to really be creeped out by and on the other it's not fun enough to rally behind." Dread Central's Matt Serafini concluded, "This isn't worth your time if you're looking for a horror film to deliver in scares or suspense, but as a late night horror fix, it's ideal. What New Year's Evil lacks in scares it makes up for in pure entertainment. And really, that's all you can ask for." The film was labeled "another routine mad-slasher film" and a "strictly paint-by-numbers effort" by TV Guide.