Wicked Wednesday: New Year’s Evil (1980)

I’ve wondered why there’s such a surplus of Christmas-themed horror movies but only one that’s New Years. And, well, the only explanation that I can come up with is this:

No on fucking likes New Years.

Seriously. New Years has become the holiday that people love to hate. We know we build it up too much and it constantly lets us down. Just like New Year’s Evil – though I never really had any expectations for this to begin with. But for goodness sake, they didn’t even call it New Year’s EVEL which doesn’t make any sense, but at least it would a stupid pun would get a giggle out of some of us.

New Year’s Evil is a Cannon film. That alone should speak volumes, and it’s exactly what you’d expect: nonsensical, over-the-top, missed cultural nuances. Boy, thank god for Cannon.

Diane (or “Blaze” played by Roz Kelly of Happy Days fame) is the host of a new wave count down show. She’s old enough to have a twenty-something-year-old son, but somehow remains relevant and cool to a group of kids that look like they’ve been rolled around in a Sex Pistols toy box.

But first, bonus points for original music. Totally worth it (because there really aren’t a lot of New Year’s-themed rock songs, it turns out):

Also, none of the music is New Wave, but I’ll let that go. Also also, hardly anyone is actually dressed in New Wave fashion. But I suppose I’ll let that go as well. It was 1980 for goodness sake.

On New Year’s Eve, Diane is getting ready for her big show. The show will be on all night, counting down the best new wave songs of the year while viewers can call in and vote for their favourite songs of the year.

Derek is Diane’s son and he’s a total drip. He brings his mom roses and she doesn’t care. He tells her he got a role on the new television show Space of America (or something). Mama don’t care.  D is pretty preoccupied, to be fair. You know, big fucking night of hosting a national television show all on her own and all. But Derek takes it pretty personally and decides to sit and pout all night in his hotel room.

As the show kicks off, calls start rolling in for Diane’s show in Hollywood. Blaze starts picking up calls and one is a rather disturbing one. A man with a voice processor (police description, not mine) who calls himself “Evil” calls in telling Diane that he’s going to kill someone on the stroke of midnight for every time zone in the continental US until he kills her last.

The killer’s first stop is the Crawford Sanatorium. The man (whose face we see the entire time) sneaks in dressed as a pair of extra hands for the overwhelmed nurses. He begins to hit on one until he ultimately kills her off at the stroke of midnight, while recording the whole thing on tape.

He calls into the show and plays the tape back to Blaze. But the party continues on as normal. Meanwhile, Derek is shown to be clearly losing it. He pulls a red stocking over his head like some sort of neon-coloured bank robber and insists on telling his mom “something important” – and just gets rebuffed again (to be fair – she was just told she’d be murdered that night).

Next, the killer dons a serious moustache and picks up a pair of blonde roommates at a disco. Hilariously, one of the to-be victims is thick. She has to go to the ladies before the man takes her and her roommate to a “party” elsewhere. Then she has to take her friend. Eventually, the two girls make the killer very late for his next appointment to kill them at midnight.

And in time for the Central Time stroke of midnight, he suffocates the first girls, and then attacks the other one in a dumpster. The police find the girls’ bodies hung up in a park outside a liquor store (bonus points for the world’s most awkward shop scene since The Room‘s “hi doggy.”)

After giving Diane a shout again, the killer moves on to his Mountain Time victim dressed as a priest. While in his car, he takes a longing look at a picture of a nun. This is never explained.

But while driving, the killer isn’t paying attention and hits a motorcycle with his car. The biker gang get angry and chase him into a drive-in movie theatre. The killer escapes from his car, and watches while it gets smashed up. So he grabs someone else’s car with a girl in tow. How lucky!

But this little lady runs off before he can get to her. He misses his third kill.

Like I said before, don’t build up New Year’s – things never go according to plan.

Meanwhile, it’s nearly midnight in LA, which means times a’ ticking for Diane. The detective working to protect her brings in a psychologist who tells her the killer has a mother fixation because he mutilates the breasts of all his victims. Hmmm, could this mean this is Diane’s other unloved son?

Nope. The killer sneaks into the venue dressed as a cop and sneaks into Diane’s room. Diane goes to her dressing room for a last costume change when she finds her son. Derek tells her, “I had a surprise for you and right now I don’t want any part of it!”

It’s possible to see the trail of tears as he runs away.

In a twist, it’s Richard, Diane’s husband, who is the killer. He doesn’t appreciate the way she has treated their son (though in the beginning of the film, neither Derek nor Diane seem surprised when Richard tells them on the phone he can’t make it to New Year’s because he’s coked up and partying, so he sounds like a crap dad as well).

It’s revealed that Richard was once a patient at the sanatorium. Nothing else is explained. Just that he can’t have a real conversation with his wife about not paying attention to their 28-year-old cry baby son.

Richard rigs the elevator so that it drops and terrifies Diane and her police escort. Richard eventually gets rid of the policeman and chains Diane to the bottom of the lift before trying to drop her and squash her.

And why? “Women are not very good people.”

Though eventually, Richard is chased by the police and jumps off the top of a building, and Diane is saved relatively unscathed. Though SHOCK it’s Derek driving the ambulance. Oh no!

That’s pretty much it. Not that I’m one to write “the end” on these sorts of things but New Year’s Evil pretty much does that with zero explanation. There are so many questions left. WHY does he hate women so much? I get Diane isn’t going to win world’s best mom, but geeze, you’re her husband who clearly ignores her.

Everyone sucks. This movie sucks. New Year’s sucks.

“Shh. I can hear your heart beating and I don’t like that.”

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