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
CinematographyEdward Thomas
Edited byDick Brummer
Distributed byCannon Film Distributors
Release date
19 December 1980 (United States)
Running time
85 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 a string of murders occur across Los Angeles at each stroke of midnight across each time zone. 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. Diane's son Derek arrives but is mostly ignored by his mother, causing him to start behaving very erratically due to Diane's lack of interest in his life. There are many suspects as to who the mysterious killer and caller is: a crazed fan, a religious psychotic or maybe it is someone much closer to Diane than anyone could have ever expected. Evil eventually infiltrates Diane's party and upon confronting her is revealed to be Diane's husband Richard who was previously thought to be too busy to attend. Richard reveals his motivation to be a similar feeling of neglect and anger of Diane's and other women's treatment of him. He gets caught by security trying to kill Diane and flees from the scene. He races toward the rooftop where he commits suicide by jumping. Diane is loaded into an ambulance while Derek 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


Filming began in Los Angeles, California on 15 October 1980.


The song "New Year's Evil", written by Roxanne Seeman and Eddie del Barrio, is performed on-camera by the Seattle rock band Shadow, [1]who appear as a punk rock band in the film playing the song at the opening of the movie and repeatedly throughout. The recorded studio version also appears in the film.

This version was pressed as a 7" vinyl 45 rpm single. Promotional singles were sent to radio stations throughout the US. A full soundtrack record is announced in the closing credits of the film, but has not materialized.

W. Michael Lewis and Laurin Rinder composed the film soundtrack and produced the title track's recording.[2][3][4]

1."New Year's Evil"Roxanne Seeman, Eduardo del BarrioShadow 
2."When I Wake Up"John PakalenkaShadow 
3."Simon Bar Sinister"Music by Clifford White, Lyric by Ray MegaShadow 
4."Temper Tantrum"Ray MegaShadow 
5."Headwind"Clifford WhiteShadow 
6."Cold Hearted Lover"Clifford WhiteShadow 
7."Auld Lang Syne"Uncredited  
8."Dumb Blondes"Anthony H. FriedMade in Japan 
9."The Cooler"Anthony H. FriedMade in Japan 
10."Suicide Ways"Lyrics by Anthony H. Fried, Music by David Stuart CodlingMade in Japan 


New Year's Evil was theatrically released in the United States on December 19, 1980 by Cannon Film Distributors.[5] The "New Year's Evil" 35mm print played at Quentin Tarantino's New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles, California on December 29, 2018.[6][7] New Year's Evil was released on DVD through on-demand pressings from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's Limited Edition Collection on June 28, 2012.[8] Scream Factory, a subsidiary of Shout! Factory, released the film on Blu-ray on February 24, 2015.[9]


On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, New Year's Evil has an approval rating of 14%, based on seven reviews. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times 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".[10] Gene Siskel gave the film zero stars out of four, calling it "a hideously ugly motion picture".[11] 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."[12] 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".[13] 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".[14] The film was labeled "another routine mad-slasher film" and a "strictly paint-by-numbers effort" by TV Guide.[15]


  1. ^ "AFI|Catalog". Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  2. ^ New Year's Evil (1980) - IMDb, retrieved 2019-10-24
  3. ^ "New Year's Evil (1980)". BFI. Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  4. ^ "Cinema Fearité presents New Year's Evil (Dir. Emmett Alston 1980) | | FilmFracture". Retrieved 2019-10-24.
  5. ^ "New Year's Evil". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Archived from the original on January 1, 2019.
  6. ^ Roe, Mike. "New Beverly Reopens With Promises Of Film Over Digital, Plus Great And 'Pretty Mediocre' Movies". LAist. Retrieved 2019-09-21.
  7. ^ Influence, Urban. "December 29: New Year's Evil (midnight show) | New Beverly Cinema". New Beverly Cinema - The premier revival theater in Los Angeles. Retrieved 2019-09-17.
  8. ^ "New Year's Evil DVD". Amazon. Archived from the original on January 1, 2019.
  9. ^ Tyner, Adam (February 22, 2015). "New Year's Evil (Blu-ray)". DVD Talk. Archived from the original on January 2, 2019.
  10. ^ Ebert, Roger (December 31, 1980). "New Year's Evil". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014.
  11. ^ Siskel, Gene (December 24, 1980). "No matter whose fault, 'Formula' doesn't work". Chicago Tribune. Section 2, p. 4.
  12. ^ "Film Reviews: New Year's Evil". Variety. January 21, 1981. p. 27.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ Serafini, Matt (December 26, 2009). "Saturday Nightmares: New Year's Evil (1980)". Dread Central. Dread Central. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014.
  15. ^ "New Year's Evil". TV Guide. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014.

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