Friday, October 5, 2012

Roz Kelly's Suckin' New Year's Eve: "New Year's Evil" (1980)

Ah, the '80's slasher film...This little work of art stars Roz Kelly as a DJ who goes on TV to ring in the new year by taking phone calls from across the nation so viewers and listeners can request their favorite song for that year.

A killer begins calling, promising to murder someone every time the four time zones ring in the new year, culminating in Kelly's death. There are two problems here already. If this TV show is being broadcast nationwide on both TV and radio, how come the killer is able to get through to one of the four (count 'em, four) operators each and every time? Without speed dial or redial? And if this is a nationwide celebration, why did this expensive radio and television simulcast only splurge for two bands no one had heard of- the goofy named Shadow and Made in Japan. This must have been their big break, but the songs are terrible.

The killer makes true on his promise, killing through the eastern, central, and mountain time zones. Kelly's son, the talentless Grant Cramer, decides to pick this moment to have a mental meltdown because mommy won't pay attention to him. This consists of putting a red stocking (his mom's, I hope) over his head, a pin in his ear, and spending a scene...talking...very...slowly, since this is an obvious sign of Oedipal rage. He then proceeds to wander around the backstage area and peeking around corners. Cramer might be familiar because of his triumphant work in the genius "Hardbodies," plus he was on the news a while back because he is a friend of Kato "My fifteen minutes was up five years ago" Kaelin. Cramer also has an annoying, whiny, lisping voice, making him sound like Liberace. Kelly, who looks like she applied her "new wave" makeup with a chamois and a slop bucket, is protected by the police, since the show must go on. We see the killer killing his victims, and his connection is finally made to Kelly, unless you figure it out like I did.

The two scenes I liked were kind of fun. A dumpster scene that does not end the way you think it will, and an elevator scene where Kelly is chained to the bottom of the car as it goes up and down its run. That was kind of different.

The killer goes after a bunch of women who come off as complete airheads. The director pads this with tons of badly dubbed footage of teens moshing or head banging (or whatever we called it back then). Be warned: this director is also responsible for one of the worst films of all time- "Nine Deaths of the Ninja."

"New Year's Evil" is bad, but it is one of those rare "so bad it's less than mediocre" films. Everything lurches along, it ends on a hopeful sequel note, and all you can do is shake your head and laugh. I cannot recommend this party. The funniest thing of all is after the closing credits, Cannon Films promised another holiday slasher pic entitled "Be My Valentine or Else." I am still holding my breath. (*) out of five stars.