Wednesday, February 25, 2015

New Year's Evil (Scream Factory Blu-ray) - Start 2016 Early!

It’s New Year’s Eve… 56 days late. We all understood that Scream Factory couldn’t get us New Year’s Evil by 12/31/2014, but I still think seeing it’s release at any time other than November or December to be humorous. It isn’t even the quintessential New Year’s Eve horror flick and don’t you say Bloody New year takes it. That honor should be reserved for Terror Train (also released on Blu-ray from Scream Factory). The swarm of folks plaguing the Scream Factory  Facebook page can die down now. The release date is here and it’s in time for NEXT New Year’s Eve though I wouldn’t recommend waiting that long to watch it. Move over Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest, Blaze is in punk rock party host mode and somebody’s gotta a hardon for making post-accident Winslow crank calls  (a la Phantom of the Paradise) to her.

Before I go any farther... welcome to a little quickie that Hacktvision (that's me Sean O'Connor and Frank Browning) dreamed up. If only we could have finished the whole damn thing.

New Year’s Evil is a slasher movie with a holiday gimmick; let’s kill someone each time the clock strikes midnight in a different time zone.  It’s got one of the greatest Rock/New Wave theme songs featured in a horror movie especially circa 1980 when featured songs in horror pictures became a staple.  It even has some moments that might even be considering frightening and while I realize there’s a certain camp aesthetic to NYE and that a guy using a voice disguiser with such “elegance” isn’t panic inducing, there’s a grindy realism in it. NYE comes at the height of the slasher boom, during it’s peak when oversaturation was about to turn audiences against the kill by number (unless of course the picture held the prestigious franchise tag). Just following the release of New Year’s Evil you’d be hard press to walk into a video store and not be faced with a pile of similarly titles, similarly covered films, most as unwatchable and un-cinematic, de-plotted and filled with semi-censored porn.  Somehow this one has wormed its way into my glass of champagne and taken root in my liver.

This is a crisp looking Blu-ray. I’m so used to watching it look washed out and with plenty of noise, that it feels like a completely different movie. Extras include an audio commentary with director Emmett Alston, The Making of New Year's Evil featuring new interviews with actors Kip Niven, Grant Cramer and Taaffe O'Connell and director of photography Thomas Ackerman and the Theatrical Trailer. New Year’s Evil is perhaps best known for its iconic, holiday artwork featured on both the cover and the reverse, the reverse being one of my favorite alternate covers for a horror picture.

For all its simplicity, New Year’s Evil gets it right by combining several popular slasher tropes into one uniquely themed picture. You’ve got masks, phone calls, sharp objects, hot women and hotter music. It’s like a music video with a slasher movie interspersed in between scenes to pick up the degenerate audience (and this before the launch of MTV).  Perphaps the most dated part of NYE… the payphones… makes you think that someone could probably do an update on this one with cell phones and modern music while improving on the modded vocal performance of the killer. Add unique mask. Add punk rock icon in the lead (who is today’s Debbie Harry or Patti Smith?).

You can pick up New Year’s Evil now in time for next year’s drunken debauchery on the 31st of December. Warning: Do not try these prank calls at home!

From Scream Factory:

A Different Kind Of New Year's Resolution

Diane "Blaze" Sullivan, the host of a nationally televised punk-rock show on New Year's Eve, is receiving calls from a mysterious killer who tells her of his plans to off someone at midnight in each of America's major time zones… and she will be the last.

Starring Roz Kelly (who played Pinky Tuscadero on Happy Days), Kip Niven (Magnum Force), Grant Cramer (Killer Klowns From Outer Space), Louisa Moritz (Death Race 2000), Taaffe O’Connell (Galaxy Of Terror) and Teri Copley (We Got It Made), New Year's Evil injects an "intimate and refreshing viewpoint into what was once a tired old scenario" (Andre Dumas, The Horror Digest)…and then takes you on a non-stop thrill ride of unmitigated terror!


Audio Commentary with director Emmett Alston
The Making of New Year's Evil featuring new interviews with actors Kip Niven, Grant Cramer and Taaffe O'Connell and director of photography Thomas Ackerman
Theatrical Trailer

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