JUNE 28, 2007
In my spare time (so, never) I write a cartoon called Fright Reviews. There is a link to my right, your… right, too, I guess, for more information about it. But the gist of it is: these guys host a horror movie review show and every week find themselves in a plot that mirrors one of the movies they are reviewing. Usually, I watch a movie and then figure out how to make it into a serviceable plot. Only once did I come up with an episode idea first (the show premieres and things go wrong) and then look for a movie that would “work” in that context. The movie I found is New Year’s Evil.
In the episode, it is the night the show premieres, and a killer tells them that each time the show premieres in the four time zones; he will kill someone from the show. In this movie, it’s New Year’s Eve, and he is killing someone every time the ball drops. Course, I bought it almost a year ago and just got around to watching it now (this may be even more surprising to anyone who recognizes the Horror Movie A Day “poster”). Who says I need instant gratification?
I thought the film would be a pretty standard slasher movie, but it’s really closer to exploitation than slasher. For starters, we spend more time with the killer than the radio station chick he is taunting. Nor does he wear a mask. Instead, he dresses like a hospital orderly, a swinger, a cop, a... gymnast (?), etc., coming off more like a sort of murderous Fletch than a movie slasher. And our victims (who he says are people ‘close to her’ but as it turns out he means geographically close, not personally) are barely introduced before he does them in. It starts off kind of creepy, but then we meet the girls for his Central Time Zone kill. They are really annoying, and he gets all irritated, turning the film into borderline comedy for a while.
And for a slasher, the kills are pretty bland and gore-less. He just knifes everyone, usually off-screen. Instead of interesting kills, the film gives us endless scenes of New Wave clubbers bobbing their heads to a band called Shadow, who apparently only has one song (called “Midnight”, a song that, including the DVD menu, we will hear 3x before the 10 minute mark). Between that, the fact that the guy picks up two girls by name dropping Erik Estrada, and the very notion that anyone would be listening to a radio on New Year’s Eve, this is the most dated slasher film ever.
I should mention that I watched the film via bootleg, as the film has never been officially released on DVD. I do not condone buying a film that doesn’t net the filmmakers any money, but it’s not my goddamn fault that Columbia has forgotten all about it. I think it would be less fair for their weirdo slasher movie to go forever forgotten by a modern audience who won’t be able to relate to a single goddamn thing in it! As such things go, the quality isn’t too bad, though there is a strange section where the aspect ratio changes from full frame to 1.85:1. Whatever. The DVD mastering is otherwise better than “legit” DVDs like yesterday’s Dark Fields.
Adding to the movie's strange charm is the inherently creepy nature of the relationship between the DJ chick and her son, played by Killer Klowns’ Grant Cramer (!!!). He acts more like a lover than a son, and at one point sniffs, cuts, and then wears one of her stockings on his head for a while. His character doesn’t make the least bit of sense either, he attempts suicide, makes repeated phone calls to his father’s place in Palm Springs even though he knows perfectly well that he’s in LA, and at the end puts on a clown mask and sets himself up to be the killer in New Year’s Evil 2, a surely great film that has thankfully never been made.
It’s also movies like this that make me wish I didn’t live in LA. At one point the killer offs two blondes in a quiet location at “Ventura and Laurel Canyon”. That intersection is in fact one of the busiest in North Hollywood. You wouldn’t be able to get away with killing someone in the open at 3 am, let alone 10 o'clock, especially on a holiday night. Come on man, everyone knows that Moorpark and Hazeltine is the best place to go stabbing!!!
But still, if you always felt that not enough movies featured random (and irrelevant) quotes from Hamlet before the killer falls to his death, this movie is the one for you!
What say you?