I’m sure, like a lot of you out there, you probably spent your New Year’s Eve watching one of the only proper New-Year-related horror films out there, NEW YEAR’S EVIL. It’s a pretty wacky “slasher” movie that arrived just at the start of that trend courtesy of none other than Golan & Globus. And when it came to their films, all you could expect was the unexpected!
While hitting all the typical “slasher” movie beats, it also makes some of the oddest creative decisions you’re bound to stumble upon with this sort of horror movie. The “killer,” for example, calls himself “Evil” and uses a voice modulator to disguise his true identity as he calls and harasses DJ Blaze Sullivan (Roz Kelly), who’s in the middle of hosting an epic New-Wave-style party, live on television, where viewers at home can vote for their favorite song of the year.
But most alarming about “Evil” is that there are no attempts to disguise his visage from the audience. It’s actor Kip Niven right off the bat, clear as day!
And his plan is to murder people, each at the stroke of Midnight in a different time zone leading up to his final, intended victim, Blaze Sullivan. In order to do this, Evil dons many different costumes and looks through out the film, kind of pulling off a Ted Bundy by disarming his potential victims with his looks and charm. For fun, I wanted to devote this week’s “character showdown” to the many faces of “Evil” and decide on which one was the most effective!
First up we have the smooth operating nurse at the mental institution. Evil appears to his first victim Jane, a nurse played by GALAXY OF TERROR’s Taaffe O’Connell, as a new employee of the mental facility and she’s immediately smitten by his cool demeanor. He’s not even on the clock for 5 minutes when he convinces Jane to sneak off into one of the closets to toast a little champagne. He also doesn’t believe in “wasting a single second,” and manages to immediately initiate a make-out session with his new found nurse buddy. But alas, the stroke of Midnight approaches in New York and with the count down his knife comes down as well!
Next time we see him has to be one of my favorite character transitions ever. He’s now at a bar somewhere on Ventura Blvd trying to pick up his next victim, this time disguised with a fake mustache, open shirt and a little bit of gold. He’s an agent, of course! And a total pimp. He tells his would-be victim that he’s got to head out to a party at Eric Estrada’s house, which apparently impresses her greatly. She wisely opts to bring a friend along with her, but it doesn’t help as they both succumb to Evil!
Next time we see Evil, he goes for probably his best, most convincing disguise yet, that of a priest! What’s funny is this “man of God” accidentally and mistakenly catches the unwanted attention of a biker gang and flees to a near-by drive-in movie theater to escape an inevitable beating at the gang’s hands. The police can’t find this lunatic, but these bikers have no problem tracking him down in record time! One of them corners him, he pleads that he’s a man of God and should be left alone and then sneakily knives him to make his escape! That’s low! Even for you, Evil!
Last but not least is probably my personal favorite of Evil’s many looks. For the finale, where his true identity is revealed, he sports this creepy-as-hell Dick Van Dyke rubber mask! When he pulls the mask off, it becomes clear who he really is, but I won’t spoil that for any of you who haven’t seen it yet. Because it is a really bonkers and fun horror movie to watch, especially with a group of friends. And thankfully, Scream Factory has put out a stellar Blu-Ray release so that you can see the many faces of Evil in high def for yourself!
Part of me wishes he wore this mask for the entire movie. I feel like having him be a masked killer, only to be revealed in the climax, would’ve set NEW YEAR’S EVIL apart and perhaps created a new horror icon, one that could’ve thrived on in a few more sequels. But alas, as is, NEW YEAR’S EVIL is pretty unique and bat-shit in its own right.
Which of “Evil’s” looks is your favorite of the bunch?