New Year's Evil (film)

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New Year's Evil
Theatrical release poster
Directed byEmmett Alston
Produced byYoram Globus
Menahem Golan
Screenplay byLeonard Neubauer
Story byEmmett Alston
Leonard Neubauer
StarringRoz Kelly
Kip Niven
Grant Cramer
Chris Wallace
Music byLaurin Rinder
W. Michael Lewis
CinematographyThomas E. Ackerman
Edited byRichard S. Brummer
Distributed byCannon Film Distributors[1]
Release date
  • December 19, 1980 (1980-12-19)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States

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 midnight 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 that he is serious. There are many suspects as to who the mysterious killer/caller is; a crazed fan, a religious psychotic, or maybe it is 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 "Blaze" Sullivan
  • Kip Niven as Richard “Evil” 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
Laurin Rinder
  1. "New Year's Evil" - Written by Roxanne Seeman and Eduardo del Barrio
  2. "When I Wake Up" - Written by John Pakalenka
  3. "Simon Bar Sinister" - Written by Clifford White and Ray Leonard
  4. "Temper Tantrum" - Written by Ray Leonard
  5. "Headwind" - Written by Clifford White
  6. "Cold Hearted Lover" - Written by Clifford White
  7. "Auld Lang Syne"
  8. "Dumb Blondes" - Written by Tony Fried
  9. "The Cooler" - Written by Tony Fried
  10. "Suicide Ways" - Written by Tony Fried and David Codling


The film was released theatrically in the United States on December 19, 1980.[2]

Home media[edit]

New Year's Evil was released on DVD via on-demand pressings from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's Limited Edition Collection on June 28, 2012.[3] Scream Factory, a subsidiary of Shout! Factory, released the film on Blu-ray on February 24, 2015.[4]


Critical Response[edit]

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."[5] Gene Siskel gave the film zero stars out of four, calling it "a hideously ugly motion picture."[6] Variety wrote, "The true horror of 'New Year's Evil' is the endless musical numbers by punk rockers and shots of their dancing fans. Amongst that, the bloody killings seem a welcome relief."[7]

Among retrospective reviews, 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."[8] 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."[9] The film was labeled "another routine mad-slasher film" and a "strictly paint-by-numbers effort" by TV Guide.[10]


  1. ^ a b Stine 2003, p. 201.
  2. ^ "New Year's Evil". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Archived from the original on January 1, 2019.
  3. ^ "New Year's Evil DVD". Amazon. Archived from the original on January 1, 2019.
  4. ^ Tyner, Adam (February 22, 2015). "New Year's Evil (Blu-ray)". DVD Talk. Archived from the original on January 2, 2019.
  5. ^ Ebert, Roger (December 31, 1980). "New Year's Evil". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014.
  6. ^ Siskel, Gene (December 24, 1980). "No matter whose fault, 'Formula' doesn't work". Chicago Tribune. Section 2, p. 4.
  7. ^ "Film Reviews: New Year's Evil". Variety. January 21, 1981. p. 27.
  8. ^ Vespe, Eric (10 October 2010). "A Movie A Day: New Year's Evil (1980)". Ain't It Cool. Ain't It Cool News. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  9. ^ Serafini, Matt (December 26, 2009). "Saturday Nightmares: New Year's Evil (1980)". Dread Central. Dread Central. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014.
  10. ^ "New Year's Evil". TV Guide. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014.


  • Stine, Scott Aaron (2003). The Gorehound's Guide to Splatter Films of the 1980s. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. ISBN 978-0-786-41532-8.

External links[edit]